Thursday, August 23, 2012
Kids love trading cards. They love collecting cards, arranging them in neat stacks, organizing them into categories, checking their cards off a master list, and just looking at them. They love comparing their collections with friends, trading their doubles, and bartering life and limb (or maybe a week's allowance and a lucky pebble) for that much-coveted super rare card.
Kids also love videogames. They love competing with their friends, completing quests, earning virtual coins and prizes, and immersing themselves in virtual worlds where they can take on different roles and do things they can't in real life.
So why not combine the two?
That's the premise behind two new games from Nukotoys: Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology. Each game lets kids collect (read: purchase), trade and play with physical cards, much like Pokemon or Monsuno or Magic: The Gathering. Some of these card games also have online versions where you type a code in to unlock virtual characters. But that's where the similarity ends. Because unlike anything out there, once you download the (free) Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology apps on your iPad, you simply tap your Animal Planet Wildlands or Monsterology trading cards on your iPad and -- get this -- have the creature on the card COME TO LIFE on the iPad.
That's right: when you tap a leopard card into the Animal Planet Wildlands app, a virtual leopard drops into your virtual wildland habitat, and you can make it run around, race other animals, and take down a gazelle or two.
And when you tap a Sphinx card into the Monsterology app, a virtual Sphinx gets added to your collection of monsters, ready for you to use to battle other mythical monsters in a strategic, turn-based game.
How do they do it? Each card has an invisible code, printed with a special ink, that conducts a charge when the card comes in contact with the iPad's touchscreen. The app recognizes the code and activates the corresponding creature in the game.
Cool, huh? My kids certainly think so. I first told them about the apps a year ago, when Nukotoys was still in mid-development, and they fell in love with the concept alone (although I guess it's not so surprising, given that these 2 apps are based on 2 immensely popular brands -- Discovery Channel's Animal Planet Wildlands series, and the Monsterology book series). After a year of waiting and "When is it going to come out?", we got to test a pre-release version over the summer, and they loved it even more. Both apps were released to the public this week, so now every kid gets to enjoy them!
These kids certainly loved them; they were at Nukotoys' SF headquarters yesterday for a local news segment taping, and they were almost too busy playing with the apps to pay attention to the reporter's questions!
Watch out for future posts with more detail on each app. For now, I'll leave you with a brief description of the app as described by the ABC7 news reporter, the kids.... and one mom blogger :)
You can download Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology apps for free, from the Apple app store. You can purchase physical cards ($1.99 for a pack of 3 cards) at all Apple stores and select ToysRUs and Target stores.
Disclosure: I am a Nukotoys Parents@Play member, and have received compensation for my work with Nukotoys. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.