Darren Murtha hasn’t looked back since the fateful day he picked up his first iPod. “I always kind of badmouthed Apple products because I didn’t own one,” confesses the Delaware, Ont, web-administrator-turned-app-designer. “Then my brother bought me one for my birthday, a fifth-generation iPod. I downloaded a game and handed it to my son who was three-and-a-half at the time and he played it for half an hour.” Murtha immediately recognized the developmental potential of apps for preschoolers and hasn’t looked back. His company, Darren Murtha Designs, has designed apps for PBS Kids in the U.S. These highly rated games are available from iTunes:
SHAPE BUILDER - The Preschool Learning Puzzle Game
The app for iPhones and iPod Touch that started it all for Darren Murtha & Co. Shape Builder offers 146 puzzles in which players move five to 10 pieces into place to create objects whose names are spoken by a licensed speech therapist. $0.99 (a free sampler, Shape Builder Lite, is also available).
CONNECT THE DOTS
Kids connect numbers and letters in over
200 puzzles by tapping or “drawing” on
the iPhone or iPod Touch screen. Again,
a speech therapist is on hand to call out
the names of finished objects in categories that include transportation, musical instruments, animals and insects, food and objects. $1.99.
Preschool Launched just in time for the April 3 debut of the iPad in the U.S., this is a mobile art studio for the new platform that allows young artists to create their own works using paint brushes, coloured pencils, crayons and roller pens that appear in “drawers” at the side of the screen. The app debuted as an iTunes Staff Favourite and is a featured item on the iTunes store. $1.99.
The latest Murtha creation is also the
company’s first universal app fit for
iPhone, iPod or iPad. The player matches
fingertip-sized cards showing objects
from the same categories as Connect the
Dots with lots of verbal encouragement
and fun sound effects. The game offers four levels, easy, medium, hard and super duper hard. $1.99.
LEGO HARRY POTTER
Books 1-4, available for most gaming consoles
Potion making, spell casting and puzzle solving are all part of the fun in this new game that allows players to choose from over 100 playable characters in adventures drawn from the first four books of the Harry Potter series.
100 CLASSIC BOOKS
This ebook collection arrives in Canada on June 14. Among volumes by Shakespeare and Dickens, expect to find works by Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Bram Stoker and Jack London. These are the kind of books that lined the family bookshelves of yesteryear, but are still worth handing to precocious school-aged readers.
PURE FUTBOL, for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC
With its down-low and up-close camera angles, this new soccer game from Vancouver’s Ubisoft studio isn’t so much designed to give the popular FIFA games a run for their money as it’s intended to capture the “raw sensations of the soccer field,” emphasizing the rough and tumble. Just in time for World Cup.