The explosion of Apps over recent years has been incredible and there is a huge range of them about. They’re cheap, fun and easy to find. There’s even plenty of them around that are free. Compared to xBox/PS3/Wii games, they are such good value for money (well, not all of them). As a parent I’m not too keen on paying huge amounts for games that my kids will play a couple of times and then forget. That’s why Apps are such good value. At $0.99 (or close to it), or even free, they are a good buy incase the novelty quickly wears off. As with anything there are plenty of hits and misses, but at least I haven’t forked out $59-$99 (probably cheaper in places other than here in Oz) on something that will lay in a cupboard. Don’t get me wrong, I have rules with my kids as to how long they can play their games, we don’t want them consumed by them. They also do plenty of other activities. Games are just part of life, they are not life – it’s all in the balance.
As a parent, I am also keen to make sure that the games my kids play are suitable for them. That’s why I am the powerful custodian of the all important Apple password. Any Apps that they want, they need to ask me about first. I can check out the reviews, ratings etc to see if it has suitable content for them. Only when I am happy with it, do I secretly input the password to let the download begin.
Another benefit of Apps is that whatever is downloaded for them also appears on my iPad and iPhone, so I can actually play and check the games out after we have downloaded them, incase there is a problem. I have switched in-App purchases off on each of our iDevices so that there are no accidental purchases of enhanced content. I don’t want any surprises. I generally steer clear of the games that rely in these in-App purchases, as they are just the bait and I’m not biting the hook.
A couple of days ago my son came to me asking about a new App he had found, and wanted me to download it. So I checked it out. It was suitably rated – tick, good reviews – tick, looked like fun – tick, was free – tick tick. So I entered my secret Apple password and the download was done. He and his sister were happy and they headed off to play it.
Yesterday I picked up my iPad, as I do many times a day, and found the new App had appeared. It’s called BuddyPoke and is available at the Apple App Store. I opened the App and started having a go myself. ‘WOW.’ I thought loudly in my head, ‘This one looks like a lot of fun.’ It essentially lets you make your own Avatars and take photos, create gifs, email them, share them, and change almost everything about them. I decided that I’d like to see how an Avatar of me would look. Har Har! that was fun, I liked what I ended up with. Then I thought, ‘I should try to make Avatars to see what my book characters could look like.’
So I got to work and did some creating. ‘WOW’ again I thought. ‘These are so cool.’ – What do you think of them?