Brian R. Smith

Writing stories about færies and demons 

Brian R. Smith

Mastery Journal

 

Full Sail University mobile gaming master's

Game Review: Toca Band (Toca Boca, 2012)

Genre:             Games, toy

Roll in industry: Casual

Target Demographic: 2+

Monetization: Purchased app

 

Is Toca Band a game, or a digital toy?

 

 

Borrowing from The Art of Game Design (Schell, 2019) chapter four “The Experience Rises Out of a Game,” the author gives us two definitions:

 

  1. “A toy is an object you play with.”
  2. “A game is a problem-solving activity, approached with a playful attitude.”

 

Let’s accept these definitions and apply them against Toca Band (Toca Boca, 2012) – an app that allows you to mix and match funny characters and sounds to create music. I will assign isGame (borrowed from the Java programming style for Boolean variables) points to each of the ten game qualities as defined by (Schell, 2019). A positive 100 points shall be given if Toca Band completely satisfies the game quality. A negative 100 points, if it completely misses.

 

 

Final score: -200. So, the Toca Band is more of a digital toy than game. But, this assessment should not diminish its value as a mobile app.

 

Looking at the purchase-only monetization strategy, it makes sense that a game geared for ages 2+ would not have any advertising and in-game purchases. In fact, Toca Boca promotes this as a positive feature to help protect your child.

 

Personally, I do not like the recent trend where parents pacify their infants with digital devices. According to Healthy Children, 

“Regardless of content, cap your child's electronic entertainment time at 1 hour a day from age 18 months to age five” (Hill, 2016). 

Even if these are quality apps, such as Toca Band, I think 1 hour a day is too much for a young brain.

 

Hill, D. L. (2016). Why to Avoid TV for Infants & Toddlers. Retrieved from Healthy Children: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Why-to-Avoid-TV-Before-Age-2.aspx

 

Toca Boca. (2012). Having fun with Toca Band! Retrieved from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL2ZUYLau6Y