Jojo’s Fashion Show is in the running for Best Arcade & Action Game and Best Casual Game of 2007 at the upcoming Zeeby Awards. We chatted with Game Design Lead Gregory Trefry and Producer Catherine Herdlick of Gamelab about what makes Jojo’s Fashion Show special and why it deserves to get your vote.

Can you give us insights or fun facts about the development of this game?

CH: Everyone on the team started dressing a lot better while we worked on the game. Also, we took a lot of inspiration from our daily lives and of course fabulous New York City: one of the surf shirts is modeled after a real one from my personal collection, the quotations from “famous” fashion designers in the cut scenes are attributed to people like Carolina Moya’s (Lead Artists and Character Designer on Jojo’s) mother and Greg’s wife.

GT: We had actually pursued a different direction originally – more of a traditional dash game, running around a boutique delivering clothes. Several months into the game we realized this just wasn’t delivering on the promise of high fashion. We weren’t able to make really pretty clothes and the player was more focused on serving customers than indulging their sense of style. So we experimented with a totally different system. The game takes a lot of it’s inspiration from meta-tagging systems like Flickr where users get to classify things with keywords. We all put our heads together as a team and came up with this new underlying system and went with it.

What makes Jojo’s Fashion Show special, and why should people vote for it?

CH: Not only does Jojo’s Fashion Show feature beautiful clothing that anyone would want in her wardrobe, it also tells a charming and inspiring story about a dream revisited and the difficulties (and rewards!) in mother-daughter relationships. People should vote for it because it changes the way you look at clothes, it makes you want to dig up old dreams, and it makes you want to call your mom (or daughter) to cheer her on.

GT: I think it really does make you look at clothes in a whole new way. I know that after playing the game I walk down the street and mentally catalog all of the attributes of people I pass, thinking, "Oh that’s a nice empire waist blouse, with boot cut jeans and closed-toe boots — 900 points!"

The coolest thing was how it got in everyone’s heads. My favorite thing written about Jojo’s was a blog post in which Jill, player and blogger, dug her favorite pieces out of her own closet, posed in them and scored them. It was so cool and gratifying to see! It made us really feel we’d made a fun game people loved.

We also really wanted to create interesting realistic characters with interesting personalities and problems. Carolina Moya, who drew Jojo and Ros, did such an amazing job bringing them to life. We’re just wrapping up Jojo’s 2 now, and it’s been really fun to live with these characters again and see their story continue.

Besides your own game of course, what other games impressed you in 2007?

GT: I really loved Build-a-lot. Very smart game that really guides you through it’s complexity. I was totally addicted to Desktop Tower Defense for a while. And my wife wouldn’t stop playing Rock Band, and since I’m her guitarist (she likes the drums), we logged quite a few hours.

CH: The World Series in 2007 was pretty fun. Also, the SFX on Teddy Tavern were really cute. As far as gameplay, we were all very impressed with Home Sweet Home. A lot of the dress up and fashion games that were out in 2007 inspired us to focus on making really killer looking clothing items and not worrying so much about creating a way for the player to customize them. We figured, people like clothes that look good. And we generally don’t go around wearing clothes we make because they usually don’t look as good as those made by professionals.

If you win a Zeeby, how do you plan to celebrate (aside for going to Disneyworld, of course)?

CH: We’ll go shopping!

GT: And then we’ll dress up in whatever we buy and score it! And post it on!

Any final words for your fans?

GT: Thanks so much for making Jojo and Rosalind so popular! We really do read through all of the posts on the different sites and listen to what you say, so we can make Jojo’s next game even better. We love them as much as you do!

CH: Please vote for Jojo’s Fashion Show! Jojo and Rosalind need the love and support to put together their next line of fabulous fashion!

Voting for the Zeebys runs from now until July 5. Click here
to vote for you favorite casual games of 2007.