Interview with Willow Mellbratt of Toca Boca, Discussing Toca Life: City's New Features - The iMums


iPhone Screenshot 1Today’s interview is with Willow Mellbratt, play designer at Toca Boca. Willow is discussing the recent update to Toca Life: City. Please also read The iMums review of Toca Life: City and visit Toca Boca’s  website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thank you for participating our interview. Toca Life: City has just undergone a major update. Can you tell us more about the new features and what inspired these additions ?

When we play tested Toca Life: City we noticed some kids wanted more adventure and imaginative play options. So we knew we needed to create a theatrical, magical location that would support these kids to be able to create completely new narratives within the city, like aliens landing or knights going to the hairdresser. This possibility is aided by the introduction of lots of new costumes and masks, so characters can completely disguise themselves as well as changeable backdrops on the stage. We also introduced new characters to support going to the theatre, performing, and getting snacks.

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To complement the theater, we added the new screen recording functionality.

The new recording feature is fun. A big trend on YouTube these days is videos of playing different games such as Minecraft, do you think the recording feature will encourage fans to post their Toca Life: City videos too?

Absolutely! This idea came from noticing how kids would take screen shots of Toca Town and upload them in a sequence to YouTube, recording their voice over the top to tell stories. What these kids were essentially doing was creating everyday diaries using the app. We hope the screen recording will make it easier for kids to record their own stories and share the video with their friends. As I mentioned it’s something we’ve already seen kids doing without any support and we hope the screen recording will offer them this support.

The other new feature is Life Weekly, it’s a new content channel available directly in the app. Each week, the channel will update with fun videos and tips.

Tell us more about Life Weekly. How can fans submit their
videos ?

There are a few ways to engage with Life Weekly. Kids can share art and videos with the hashtag #TocaLifeCity. We’ll be updating Life Weekly regularly with new fan art. We will also be promoting videos on our Youtube channel. Kids can also comment on the Life Weekly videos already posted to our YouTube channel.

Toca Life: City seems to have been a really big hit, do you know (roughly) how many copies it has sold worldwide ?

We don’t have exact figures to share at this time, but we’ve been really happy with the results so far. Toca Life: City is turning out to be one of our more popular apps and we can’t wait to see how kids respond to the update.

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Why do you think it has been so popular?

The greatest secret about the Toca Life series is it about leaving out predesigned stories so the kids can make these up themselves. In my opinion, too many kids toys nowadays already come with a set story, so kids are limited to roleplaying within these boundaries. But the traditional dollhouse was left open-ended for kids to make up their own characters and stories, and this is the thinking behind the Toca Life series. It’s a great example of how giving kids less allows them to contribute more. And in turn, this gives them the opportunity to direct their own play and build their confidence in a world where there is no right or wrong way to play.

Thank you so much for talking with us today about Toca Life: City and its recent update.

iTunes link: Toca Life: City – Toca Boca AB

Toca Life: City Toca Life: City by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Welcome to Toca Life: City, a metropolis filled with everyday fun! Customize characters, explore exciting locations and find hidden treasures — there’s something in every corner!


INTRODUCING.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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