Tommo Completes Acquisition of Humongous Entertainment

Tommo Inc. has completed the acquisition of the Humongous Entertainment Brand and most of its assets. The acquisition was initially announced last summer, when Tommo acquired the Humongous Entertainment Brand and over 100 classic game IP’s from Atari Inc. during the Atari assets bankruptcy auction. Humongous Entertainment was originally formed in 1992 and has sold more than 15 million games over 20 years.

Classic Humongous titles Putt-Putt Joins the Circus, Pajama Sam: Thunder and Lightning, and Spy Fox: Dry Cereal are currently available for download on the iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon app stores.

Super Duper Going the Retail Route with Educational Products

SuperDuperSuper Duper Publications is partnering with U.S. retail and online resellers to sell its children’s educational products. The company has more than 750 common core and state standards-aligned card decks, games, workbooks, software programs, mobile apps, and more for children ages 3 to 12.

Previously, the company mostly sold directly to consumers and educators, and only offered certain items to retailers. “We are very excited about working with retailers to bring our unique products to parents and educators throughout the country,” said Super Duper president Sharon Webber.

Super Duper also has over 40 international resellers that distribute its products worldwide. To date, the most popular Super Duper creations include the HearBuilder programs, which have helped students dramatically improve their early learning and pre-reading skills, such as basic concepts, following directions, phonological/sound awareness, auditory/listening memory, and sequencing.

JumpStart Releases School of Dragons for Mobile Devices

dragonJumpStart has launched School of Dragons on mobile, featuring simultaneous, 3-D cross-platform multiplayer gameplay. The mobile game, based on the company’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) School of Dragons, provides fans of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon franchise a way to immerse themselves in the brand through seamless online browser and mobile gameplay. School of Dragons mobile is now available in the iTunes store for iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad mini, and iPad Air.

Since its free-to-play web browser launch in July, School of Dragons has garnered a wide fan base. Now, the game is adding a mobile app component, allowing players to dive into a 3-D MMORPG world seamlessly either through their mobile device, Facebook, or web browser. This interactive technology is one of the first of its kind in the educational MMORPG space.

As the How to Train Your Dragon world develops, so does School of Dragons. JumpStart plans for the game to integrate this popular animated franchise into various features, such as the educational and adventurous quests. The unique element to School of Dragons’ gameplay is its successful integration of education and a popular entertainment franchise. Players learn skills in Earth, Life, and Physical sciences, and other educational concepts while interacting with the characters they love, such as Hiccup, his dragon Toothless, and others.

Animal Alphabet Singers Teaches Children Letters A to Z

Think Smart GamesThink Smart Games has launched Animal Alphabet Singers, an app for kids ages 2 to 6 for iOS. The fully interactive app teaches children the alphabet using animal association, visual and audio hints, and world-class animation.

The developmental team behind Animal Alphabet Singers includes experts such as Grammy and Emmy-award winner Christopher Cerf, best known for his work on Sesame Street and Between the Lions. The educational team was lead by educational professionals, and experts including Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph. D. and Jane Aaron. Performers from children’s shows such as Sesame Street, The Muppets, and more also have entertaining voice performances in the app.

COMMENTARY: Not Your Average R/C Toys

Give a child a R/C controller, and he or she will be occupied for hours, steering or flying whatever device it is around the room or outside. Give a child an iPhone and chances are your contacts will end up being deleted, you’ll be left with 350 pictures of the inside of your little boy or girl’s mouth, and your phone will soon self destruct—but, that’s about to change.

There’s no denying that it’s now essentially encrypted in children’s nature to be intrigued by new technology at increasingly younger ages—and let’s face it, most of the time they get the hang of it a lot quicker than adults. But instead of parents discouraging their children from toying around with iPhones, iPads, and tablets (because they’re of course not toys, they’re high-tech adult equipment that are soo not used for playing Candy Crush), they can instead support a productive way to use such devices with these awesome toys.

I was first introduced to Orbotix’s Sphero 2.0 when someone in the office put it on my desk and said, “Here, play with this.” I looked at the box a little confused wondering what it was, and as I starSP0SPHERO003ted to read the instructions (very helpful to figuring out how toys work), I realized that this was, hands down, one of the coolest toys I’ve ever played with. It’s simply a ball, not a fancy monster truck with huge wheels and the ability to smash into the wall, crumble into pieces, and put itself back together all while singing jingle bells—or something like that. But, it’s a robotic ball with an engine and it’s really, really fast and controlled by your phone. You just download the Sphero app on your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or android device and using a Bluetooth connection your device transforms into a control that propels Sphero at speeds up to seven feet per second across the room and off ramps. The driving accuracy really impressed me because I do tend to be a little spazzy with toys like these, but it was actually easy to maneuver the toy around bends and turns and what not. Sphero 2.0 also lights up in a variety of neon colors which looks as spectacular as it is to play. There are also a ton of other apps available to engage Sphero in a variety of games. [Read more...]

New Research Data Released on Kids Making In-App Payments

New data from youth research agency Dubit has shown that parents have a greater hold on in-app payments (IAP). The research shows that only 2 percent of kids have ever spent without their parent’s permission, and not one of the 500 kids surveyed had ever spent more than $16 on a single purchase. Furthermore, only 17 percent of children are allowed by parents to spend money in-game, and they rarely spend more than $3 in one go.

Of the 500 parents and children (ages 6 to 12) surveyed by Dubit, 71 percent of the children played mobile games, compared with 91 percent of parents. Only 17 percent allow their child to spend real money in-game. The data shows that such permissions increase as kids get older: the older the child, the more likely they are to conduct an in-app purchase.  

Eighty-seven percent of kids always ask their parents before making a purchase, and 11 percent usually ask, meaning that only 2 percent have ever bought something without their parents’ consent. Although 2 percent is still a worry, this does not appear to be a case of kids being out of control. It appears that parents acknowledge this as 41 percent of children who are allowed to make in-app payments know their parent’s app store account details. [Read more...]

Tiggly Introduces New Tiggly Shapes and Apps

tigglyshapesTiggly Shapes, the first physical product from Tiggly, is a set of four geometric shapes (a square, a circle, a triangle, and a star) that are designed to interact with learning apps on tablets. Tiggly Shakes come with three free apps and a felt carrying pouch for easy transportation. The three included apps are Tiggly Safari, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to construct animals from the jungle, farm, and sea; Tiggly Stamp, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to build seasonally themed scenes and use voice record and camera options to tell stories and save their work; and Tiggly Draw, where kids use the tablet as a canvas and Tiggly Shapes as their tools. 

Tiggly is a learning company that is pioneering a new way to educate kids in the digital age. By combining educational benefits of physical play with the learning potential of digital tools, Tiggly Shapes believes they can create an ideal environment for early childhood learning.

Tiggly Shapes and apps are designed for kids ages 18 months to 4 years.

Turbo Racing League App Hits 20 Million Downloads

DreamWorks Animation’sDREAMWORKS ANIMATION TURBO RACING LEAGUE APP Turbo Racing League app, has reached the 20 million downloads mark. The Turbo Racing League app, from DreamWorks Animation and PikPok, features the thrill of racing in the palm of your hand, and is available on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch from the iTunes Store; Android handsets and tablets from Google Play; and Windows Phone 8 from the Windows Phone Store.

In conjunction with the app’s release, Turbo Racing League unveiled the $1,000,000 Shell-Out Contest Presented By Verizon. This in-game contest awarded $1,000,000 in cash prizes over an eight-week period and culminated in a live grand finale event where champion Brian Dragotto of Mays Landing, N.J. walked away with nearly $300,000 in winnings.

VTech Introduces InnoTab 3S

VTech InnoTab 3S_BlueVTech, introduces the InnoTab 3S for kids ages 3 to 9. The InnoTab 3S, the next generation of one of the first children’s learning tablets with Wi-Fi, features VTech Kid Connect—an exclusive communication app that allows kids to be connected with their parents and friends through both tablet-to-mobile and tablet-to-tablet communication, a rechargeable battery pack with AC adapter, and a kid-safe web browser. In addition, access to VTech’s Learning Lodge app store—home to a plethora of downloadable content and curriculum for purchase—and 20 free apps provides kids with a bright start on their learning journey. The InnoTab 3S is now available for pre-order on www.vtechkids.com, Amazon.com, Target.com, Toysrus.com, and Walmart.com.

With VTech Kid Connect, kids can use their InnoTab 3S to send text messages and animated stickers to parents’ smartphones. In return, parents can send text messages and stickers to their child’s InnoTab 3S. VTech Kid Connect gives kids the ability to emulate their parents, allowing them to feel like they are part of the text messaging trend, but from a kid-safe, kid-friendly tablet. In addition, kids can stay connected to their friends and siblings with tablet-to-tablet communication, sending messages safely between two InnoTab 3S tablets from the next room or from across the country. A value-packed Deluxe Apps Package with Premium Kid Connect will be available in the fall (sold separately), including more enhanced features, allowing kids and parents to send each other personalized voice messages, photos, and drawings, in addition to texts and animated stickers. [Read more...]

Mike the Knight Trains Knights in New App Pack

MiketheknightHit Entertainment and Funny Garbage Inc., an app design firm, launched the Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With six interactive games in one, the Mike the Knight Game Pack invites and transports young knights-in-training into an imaginative world of castles, dragons, and trolls.

Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack features everyone’s favorite young hero and includes Jam Tart Fling, Fruit Shoot, Paint the Castle, Jigsaw Jumble, Seek & Find, and Match Mission. This game app features fun missions for children to practice their archery skills, learn shapes and colors, unlock different puzzles, search for hidden objects, and match their favorite characters from memory, while developing children’s cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. The game’s easy and hard modes welcome all children to play.

The app can be downloaded at the following links for the U.S. and for the UK.