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It’s Not an App or a Game, it’s a Real Toy and a Real Treat! Pt 2.

A SAHGeekMom & Pump Featured Article.

  • by: Playtime Theater (Seth and David) Make Believe Worlds, LLC.
  • Price: 2.99 (Introductory Sale!)
  • Version 1.0
  • Platform: iPad Only
  • MultiPlayer & MultiTouch
  • SAHGeekMom gives it 5 STARS
  • Pump Insists Playtime Theater gets an unprecedented 6th STAR

Recommended age: 7 to 107 (4-6 with adult help)

Don’t Forget Check out: It’s an App or a Game, it’s a Real Toy and a Real Treat Pt 1, for screen shots, a how-to video and more.

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Enter The Playtime Theater Contest to Win of those Fabulous Limited Edition Posters Signed by the Artist, Diane Cholette.

A really special gift from Make Believe Worlds: Click Here for Details.

What’s Missing and What’s Coming

Saving your Creation:

As the devs at Playtime Theater are quick to admit, the first question every user asks is, “why can’t I save more than one story and why can’t I save my child’s work permanently?”

This is a big drawback, but it’s temporary and there is a workaround for now (see below.) For the time being the best way to keep your child’s hard work is to use your video camera or iPhone/less-groovy smartphone to film your screen.

David Katz, co-developer says:

The answer for now is only one at a time. But that will be addressed in the next version. Most people carry cell phone video cameras nowadays and an easy solution right now would be to video your child’s play to keep it forever. We also are asking our users to send us some funny or creative videos that they have done with their kids. We’d like to post those on our YouTube channel.

He also offered some tips as to how to get the best video (which you will need to do to enter the contest, See my CONTEST PAGE for details.)

iPhone 4 takes great video. I actually used a rubber band and tied my iPhone to a microphone stand. There probably is a more elegant way, but it worked. The iPad emits a lot of light, so you really don’t need to worry about lighting too much, other than possibly overexposing by or being too close to the iPad and going out of focus. Experiment and see what works.

More More More!

As much variety as this app already has, you are going to want more. Well more is coming both for version 1.1 and for a little further down the line. David Katz, says:

We are working on [a] castle courtyard, 3 towers, princess, prison, wizard, and a forest. As you know these sets are complex and require a lot of labor to produce, so we really need all the support we can to keep them coming! Most of the elements for the additional sets have been drawn and we are beginning the coloring process now.

Seth Levine, the other co-dad-dev expands:

Future versions will include more stages, costumes, props, sound effects and music (starting with the rest of the castle world and eventually other worlds including Pirates [yay!] and Space).

There are a Few Bugs.

We have had instances of the app crashing instead of playing back, which is very disappointing to a child especially. Pump doesn’t really care about saving his work for posterity, but he likes to view it over and over and show it to mom and dad. Repeatedly. As Murphy’s Law would have it Pump made a terrific show using every feature for you all, but after playing it once, the app failed and we couldn’t record it.

Seth  let me know, however, that the issues is known and will be fixed in the next update. In the meantime what seems to fix the problem for us is shutting down all other apps running in the background and if that fails try rebooting the iPad. You can always contact Seth and David for support too.

Seth said Version 1.1 will include:

  • The ability to save more than one show.
  • An updated help system.
  • If time permits, some more goodies too.

A Quick Tip for Getting the Most out of

Playtime Theater.

Seth and David both wanted to make sure all their user know this.

One cool thing about our app is that it takes uses the iPad’s multi-touch capabilities so you can move more than one character around at a time.  This is great for single users wanting to perform actions with more than one character at a time, but it also allows more than one user to move a character at a time so kids can collaborate and make shows together acting out different parts.

Enjoy this Instructional and Fun Video!

A Development Team Worthy of Your Support

A few words about and from the Playtime Theater Devs

As I said at the beginning, I really care about who is behind the apps I buy. I promised to contact developers to let you know if they are responsive and so I did. David was quick to reply with answers to all my questions. He was affable, friendly, and genuinely interested in my feedback and is in yours as well.

Then I met Seth via Twitter and he is a really nice guy too and always quick to reply to any questions I asked prior to starting this blog (they were in part my inspiration, I just had to tell people how much fun the iPad was for Pump) and during the writing of this article i.e. before and after they had vested interest other than good customer service in helping me.

The first thing I learned was that the motivation behind Make Believe Worlds, LLC. was to make something their own kids would love. It’s obvious they care about providing us with the best possible app and with the best possible inspiration. Seth told me:

Being a dad helps me look at the world from a kids perspective again and reminds me how important nurturing imagination is for kids and adults. I am grateful to my wife and daughter for all the patience and support they’ve given us in this endeavor.

Apple was started by two guys that liked to tinker and now with the App Store, they’ve created a place for other tinkerers to share really great (and sometimes not so great) things with the world.  They have provided the tools and resources for non-developers like David and me to create an app for kids that is inspired by the toys and activities we loved as kids and that our kids love today.

David added,

We are a “2 dad” company with day jobs and represent the “little guy” We feel we have developed a sophisticated app that offers a deep level of interaction and creativity.

When asked how they compare themselves to apps like Toontastic they said that while they others may have larger budgets, larger staffs and a marketing division, they are dedicated to their craft, and are aided by the fact that they both work in ‘show biz,’ on the editing side of things:

I personally think that aspect and that we are both Television editors with experience in post production is pretty cool!

SAHGeekMom thinks so too. 🙂

A final note from Seth:

We are busy parents with day jobs but we are working hard and committed to updating the app in stages.  Speaking of time – we have to give a shout out to our artist Diane who has been generating amazing hand drawn art in her spare time too.  We are very fortunate to be working with her.

A Topical Tangent…

Remember the vote you have that is heard the loudest is the one you cast with your dollars. The best way of ensuring that “little guys” have a fair chance in a market glutted with huge multinational corporate entities is if we support each other.

I am not condemning corporate culture (at least not here, anyway,) but it’s a well-known reality. In regards to the App Store neither Apple itself nor game powerhouses like EA or Disney needs much help from the likes of me. They have the infrastructure and insider information that gives them a tremendous advantage over everyone else.

That said, I think everyone knows at least one app that went from small beloved project to superstardom, Angry Birds, and Doodle Jump come to mind, as once independent RovioMobile and LimaSky now have major distribution contracts and even feature film tie-ins.

We all see the power of the public, else how could Justin Beiber have gone from YouTube sensation to the mega-pop-star he is so quickly. Lord knows I am not saying that is a good thing, I’d sooner have my ears stoppered than listen to him, but we don’t often think about how decisions about what to purchase effect what fad we will next be served and saturated with. If you want the best to shine, not just the richest, support indie everything, including app development (and bloggers!)

Pump’s Points

A final wrap up by the real expert

SAHGM: Is this game easy or hard?

Pump: It was kinda hard in the beginning ‘cause you have like a million hats and dragons and swords and girl stuff and you have to choose it all and make everything. But now it’s easy.

SAHGM:  What is your favourite thing about it?

Pump: The cool dragons and the sounds and the swords and night-time and the monsters and all the dragons ekspecially [sic] when they have fire.

SAHGM: What would change if you could change something?

Pump: I want more characters and stuff and I need more, you know, like places for them to be. [He means backgrounds.] And for it not to lose my movies. They should fix that first.

SAHGM: What would you like to tell other kids?

Pump: This is really fun and you can make really fun shows with dragons and knights and monsters!

SAHGM: What would you tell parents?

Pump: You should buy it for your kids if they love monsters and dragons and making shows and stuff. It’s ok for girls too because they have girl stuff. [Can you tell Pump likes dragons? And of course it is for girls too, see video above. I am really trying not to raise a caveman, but that darn Y-chromosome is hard to out-nurture ~sigh~]

Don’t Forget Check out: It’s Not an App or a Game, it’s a Real Toy and a Real Treat Pt 1, for screen shots, a how-to video and more.

OK, that’s it from The SAHGeekMom for this week. Between all this writing, the blizzard and Pump’s being sick, I have avoided my real life for too long and weekends are always frantic. But check my blog often for updates on my various contest and for the odd App Stalker Report or Edu-App No Brainers, or even a story about my Uncle Joe’s Cabin in Abitibi-Témiscaminque (Kidding! Don’t panic!)

Thank you all so much for your interest and support and to the developers my thanks for all the swag and exclusive tips. To get up-to-the minute updates subscribe to my rss feed or the blog itself, or better yet follow me on Twitter @sahgeekmom. I am always tweeting.

As always developers are welcome to contact me if they want a review, email sahgeekmom@gmail.com

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