Part 1 of 3: End the reign of the screen zombies! You need not look far to see children glued to their screens playing a game. Worse, these same kids are interacting with nobody. This “Screen Zombie” model shouldn’t be the only option available to young mobile gamers. Okay, okay. All mobile gamers.
There is a reason why mobile games have ended up zombies. The tablet and phone are personal devices. Game development economics have driven game developers to get kids and adults so addicted to playing that they either (1) buy in-app points or perks or features, or (2) come back so often and stay for so long that they will eventually click on ads.
This is how game developers make money today. Yes, there are outlier exceptions: Mobile games that either have such a strong brand equity or are one of the rare newcomer viral hits that they can justify either up-front app prices, new-level purchases, or time-based subscriptions.Learn more & support Gazintu! >
For ages, kids have learned and grown through play. Their play has engaged both their imaginations and their bodies, it was the reign of real toys and real games. The advent of mobile devices ushered in the reign of Screen Zombies. Flipping through my Word-A-Day calendar, however, I came upon a better word: Interregnum. That is the name of the period between one reign and the next – and that’s what we’re ending right now. Screen Zombie isn’t healthy, and it cannot last. But, the devices aren’t going away (and we’re not luddites). We are committed to escaping these chaotic middle-times and gaining healthy gaming for kids that includes virtual and physical play.
Our antidote for Screen Zombies is the Playrific Gazintu. Gazintu levels the landscape for gamers and developers.
With Gazintu, the mobile screen doesn’t have to be the focus anymore. Gazintu re-centers game play on a toy, and puts the screen in a supporting role. Yes, the app can be immersive and fun. Yes, it can do all the things that the other apps can do like dig for things, find treasures, or roam worlds and get high scores.
But, Gazintu can restore in-room, as opposed to on-screen, creativity and imagination. Remember, interaction with toys has been around for thousands of years; screens have been zombifying for a dozen. The mobile app provides visual and auditory cues; Gazintu provides tactile cues and physical feedback to communicate with the child. Gazintu captures a child’s intentions within specific mobile game activities.
For example, if children have Gazintu enabled dolls or action figures, they can be playing in the same or different physical rooms. The tablet could ask “where do you want to play.” One girl says “let’s go to the ice cream shop.” In the virtual ice cream shop there are objects at the table. The game might say, “OK, Olivia and Suzie, the one of you that jumps the fastest gets to pick where we sit!” And so the girls move their dolls all over the living room laughing and screaming and Gazintu breaks the strangle-hold of the screen. Similarly, they could have an interaction with physical toys to see whose truck goes the longest distance in order to unlock a special surprise.
Thus, the goal of fostering interaction with each other. The physical toys becomes the center of play. Gazintu breaks the cycle of staring at the screen and tapping it over and over again. Like a Screen Zombie.
Gazintu unlocks the kind of play we had when we were kids and that our kids had when they were really little. Play focused on imagination and motion.
How did you play when you were a child, and how would you reflect that in our world of tablets and phones today?
And, to ward off the zombies once and for all, see www.gazintu.com.