Scottish developers target pre-school gamers
Topsy and Tim: Fun Around The House by Chunk and Tolva And Ting by Me & The Giants are designed specifically with young players in mind, offering beguiling and easily understandable gameplay.
The former title is based around the successful BBC children’s programme of the same name. The cross-platform, web browser title, created in conjunction with Darrall Macqueen, has an unusual play mechanic, eschewing ideas such as accumulating points or moving through levels. Instead, children play the game’s repeat activities - such as decorating cupcakes or caring for a rabbit - in a freeform way so as to mirror other patterns of learning.
In the latest example of a game closely built around existing BBC franchises, the Glasgow-based developers visited the show’s set, and the title’s layouts are based on those plans, incorporating recognisable designs and decor from the CBeebies programmes, themselves inspired by the long-running series of children’s books.
Donnie Kerrigan, managing director of Chunk, explained: “It was important to create a game that did justice to such well-loved characters and that supported the inquisitive, supportive feel of the books.
“Games are valuable experiences for all ages and are an opportunity for adults and children to play along - learning and teaching together. Kids can relate to Topsy and Tim as the activities are similar to their own lives and experiences, both through the game and the TV show as complementary experiences.”
Tolva And Ting, meanwhile, uses its characters to help young children explore their developing emotional states. The concept is underpinned by Globots, robots which glow depending on how they are feeling. A ring of red, for example, denotes anger, and the player is tasked with supplying fuel for the robots to maintain their emotional wellbeing.
The mobile title, created in conjunction with the University of Glasgow and Creative Series, is part of a growing series of games under the Tolva And Ting banner, each of which aim to impart subtle lessons to preschoolers, whether it be motor skills or colour recognition.
Margaret Sutherland, deputy director of the university’s Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning, explained: “Children will often behave in certain ways because of how they are feeling. Helping them to recognise these feelings and to see that they can change their feelings and thus their behaviour is an important part of their development. Parents and children can work together to better understand this relationship through helping the Globots to change their feelings, moods and behaviour.”
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