Disney Infinity – Toy Box Mode Great For Imaginative Play

When I was a kid a good few years ago I remember being given a Space Invaders game. It was one of those clunky black plastic monstrosities that any child would happily have sold his sibling to obtain and provided many hours of entertainment late at night under the bed sheets when my parents thought I was asleep. One dimensional game-play and the simplest of objectives didn’t make the game any less compelling. Move over the early 1980s and take a look at what our kids have to look forward to now! I’m going to leave aside the discussion over whether or not kids should be playing video games as that’s a particular can of worms that it will take more than this blog post to cover.

Disney Infinity launches this August and you can see that it’s an idea that has the hallmarks of success stamped all over it. I’m pretty positive that my kids will want a copy, in fact I think I may pre-purchase a copy just so that I don’t have to look at those little imploring faces. So why will Disney Infinity be a hit?

  • Collectibles – There’s something absolutely inherent in a child’s psychological make up that drives them to collect things, whether it’s sea shells, interesting flowers or any manner of other objects. In fact humans just in general are natural collectors. I imagine there’s probably something in our evolutionary background that selected for this particular behaviour. Maybe cavemen who always had that useful object tucked away somewhere tended to have a better chance of survival. Disney Infinity follows in the footsteps of Skylanders in having real world objects that activate game play when placed on a peripheral figurine docking station.
  • It’s Disney – Kids love the films, heck, I love the films. I could spend hours listening to Edna talk in The Incredibles. The idea that kids can play in the worlds inhabited by these characters and share their adventures is always going to be a compelling one.
  • Social Play with Friends – You can’t build a major gaming title today, whether it’s a big AAA title or a little iPhone game, without having some form of social play. I know from watching my kids play Littlest Petshop that the social aspect of play is very important to them and is certainly a factor in determing both the longevity of the game and the amount of time children spend playing. Disney Infinity looks to have very strong social play building on the learning Disney has had from other social titles it’s released.
  • Toy Box Mode – Here is where I think that Disney will “hit the ball out of the park” to use and American maxim. Toy box mode allows kids to actually build there own worlds then play in them with their friends. Disney have obviously seen the popularity of sand box environments like Minecraft and equated that to children’s love for being able to create. This is a great feature and this alone would persuade me to purchase the game for my kids just to see what they’re going to create and the games they end up playing.

From the point of view of a parent another thing I like about Disney is that they spend a lot of time thinking about “safe guarding”. I’ve worked in the past with people that work at Disney and I know they spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how to protect kids online. Disney Infinite should be a safe and creative environment for our kids imaginations to run riot.

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Plug and Play? Console gaming in your pocket.

iPhone and Android apps have really redefined the hold that the big gaming studios have on the video games market with smaller studios and independent developers releasing multi-million euro titles (http://www.businessinsider.com/most-profitable-games-app-annie-2013-2?op=1).

The Gamestick is a nifty little idea from Playjam and could start to redefine the console game market by providing an easily accessible console platform for indy developers. It’s the size of a large USB stick and plugs directly into the HDMI port on the back of your TV. One charge is enough to play 40 hours of games and with 8GB on board and 32GB expansions a decent number of games can be stored.

Sporting an ARM A9 dualcore processor with a Mali 400 GPU common in low end tablets, the Gamestick will be a great platform for the sort of high-end tablet games that are grossing well on iOS and Android platforms.

Whilst games won’t have the sort of rich complexity and photorealistic graphics of AAA console games, they will probably be low cost or Freemium which will be a refreshing change from the forty pound titles common on XBox and Playstation. Gamestick is definitely a product to watch with interest.