Computer games are incredible things, but their real potential is in inspiring young people to be more creative after they put the iPad or joypad down, according to Frank Arnot from Stormcloud Games. Here Frank writes exclusively for HELLO! Online about creating games for families.
As parents and gamers, creating fun experiences for kids is hugely important for us – and that’s why we decided to start up our own company last year after many years in the games industry.
Between the three founders, we’ve worked in the games industry for over 50 years and created 45 titles for just about every computer and console you can think of. We worked on the F1 games, Harry Potter and helped with the Xbox version of Minecraft too.
We think of Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo as ‘origami meets Tamagotchi’ – children get to trace their finger on an iPad or iPhone to fold 24 different animals, choose their colours, and then watch them magically spring to life.
The child then has to pick a habitat and a shelter for their animal, and fold them a partner so they can create baby animals in their Paper Zoo. They have to look after all their different animals, feed them and entertain them to make sure they’re happy.
But for us the real measure of success for Paper Zoo might sound a bit odd – we really want children to put the game down and start folding paper to create a real paper zoo at home.
We’ve been really fortunate to work with a Japanese origami master, Mr Fumiaki Shingu, so all of the designs in the game are completely accurate.
As children (and big kids!) play the game, they’ll learn how to fold animals like pandas, lions, owls and seals, and we’ve included lessons to help make that learning process as easy as possible.
Games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity are incredible because they allow children to mix playing in a game with playing with toys in the real world, but buying all the games and all the toys can be very expensive.
As parents who feel the pressure to buy all the latest toys, we were shocked when ‘in-app’ purchases hit the headlines earlier this year with one boy spending almost £2,000 in just 15 minutes on the family iPad.
Right from the start we were very clear – there’s no hidden extras to pay for in Paper Zoo. You buy the game once, for the price of a kids’ magazine, and that’s it.
We’ve loved working in the games industry for all these years. It can be incredibly tough to get a product finished, but at a basic level being able to bring fun and happiness into people’s lives is just incredible.
With Paper Zoo we’ve taken a big personal step, to design the games that as parents we want our kids to be playing. And if we can bring some joy to young people – and inspire them to fold and paint their own paper zoos – then we’ll have achieved something really important indeed!
We’d love to see pictures of the paper animals your kids make – so please get in touch with us on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/mrshingu] or Twitter [https://twitter.com/mistershingu/]. Origami paper from a craft shop or online store is best, but any square paper – or trimming A4 to make a square – will work.
Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo is available now on the App Store