高科技玩具:创造永远玩不腻的体验

2017-01-01 04:27:38
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这种木头小火车曾经是几代人最喜爱的童年玩具,然而它最多只能吸引我2岁的儿子15分钟的注意力,然后他就会像一个巨婴怪物一样把火车轨道拆得七零八落,让我深感压力山大像我这样一个工作极为繁忙的父亲,要怎样才能享受一些“低强度”的亲子时光呢?
所有父母其实都知道这样一条暗黑秘技给你娃塞一个iPad,你就可以解放了。你娃见了这些闪闪亮亮的画面,就像小猫见了猫薄荷。哪怕只是扔给他一部智能手机,他也能瞬间从无敌破坏神变回乖宝宝。
当然,把iPad当镇静剂使,多少会让父母们感到内疚。但是时代已经变了,现在各种各样的新玩具、好玩具以及能连接平板电脑的玩具层出不穷(另外美国儿科学会近日也发布了儿童每日面对屏幕时间的指导意见),完全可以打消你的这种担心。
我给儿子买的第一款能用手机应用控制的玩具是Sphero公司出品的《星战》原版机器人BB-8。在我只有我儿子这么大的时候,我也曾梦想过能拥有一台R2-D2机器人,哪怕它的功能只有这台售价199美元的机器人的一半也行。然而我做梦也没有想到,有朝一日我只需要用一个APP就能操纵它的AI系统当年,“APP”还是我们对Ground Round餐厅提供的餐前爆米花的叫法。我还在蹒跚学步的儿子也同样不知道APP是个什么东西。
玩具产业协会的玩具趋势专家艾德里安阿佩尔表示:“孩子并不在乎玩具有没有APP,他只希望玩具好玩。”
当玩具行业引入了应用控制的概念后,大家都争先恐后地将玩具与APP进行配对,但这种趋势却使得孩子们将大部分精力(和视线)集中在手机屏幕上,而不是玩具上比如《迪士尼无限》(Disney Infinity)就是这样一款失败产品,它让孩子们化身为他们手中的玩具角色在视频游戏里驰骋,结果孩子们的注意力全部集中在了配套的视频游戏上。不过通过像Sphero BB-8和今年大热的机器人Anki Cozmo等新一代玩具,APP的存在已经融入到了背景之中,使孩子们的注意力始终集中在实体玩具上,从而锻炼他们与现实世界互动的能力。
Anki公司一直走在APP联网玩具领域的前沿。该公司是在2010年成立的,也就是iPhone问世的三年后。2013年,该公司发布了一款赛车玩具Anki Drive,将刺激好玩的赛车游戏搬到了实体世界中。你可以将它看作数码时代的四驱车。Anki Drive(还有它的最新版本Overdrive,也就是它的卡车版)是我和我儿子都很喜欢的一款游戏,从安装赛道到看着赛车你追我赶,无不充满兴味。在这款游戏中,作为APP终端的手机只是充当了赛车的遥控器,所以你完全不必担心它会让你的孩子对手机屏幕上瘾。
玩具行业专家艾德里安阿佩尔指出,Anki Overdrive之所以是一款极为出色的玩具,是因为它将实体玩具和APP的“玩法进行了无缝整合,从而使其产生了有趣和多姿多彩的体验”。它的玩具赛车和APP是相辅相成的,因而营造了一种永远玩不腻的动态体验。玩具本身的可玩性也毫不亚于APP。
阿佩尔指出:“玩具的可玩性必须要根植在玩具本身当中。通过APP或者其它元素提高玩具的可玩性是个很好的思路。但是如果APP比玩具本身更吸引人,那么玩具就会变得不重要了。”
通过APP连接的玩具之所以日益火爆,还有另外一个原因。在这个数字化程度不断加深的时代,要想给孩子送一个看得见摸得着的实体礼物越来越困难了。现在几乎所有孩子都想要iTunes的礼品卡和Spotify会员之类的虚拟礼品,但是孩子的父母和爷爷奶奶还是想给孩子买个玩具,好享受跟孩子一起玩玩具的过程。阿佩尔表示:“玩玩具是一个更加社交化的过程,这个过程中有可分享的东西。”
从这个角度看,桌游也是送给孩子的一种很好的礼物现在桌游基本上早就被吸收到iPad里了。不过《平衡野兽》却是一款将桌游玩具与APP完美整合的堆积木类的解谜游戏,玩家可以将游戏的实体玩具像积木一样堆起来,这些堆出来的角色模型会被还原到iPad游戏里,并且在屏幕中与玩家进行互动。孩子们在玩的过程中需要亲手操作这些实体玩具并大声说话,从而同时锻炼了他们的社交技能和空间感,可玩性远远超过了一款桌游APP本身。
APP为《平衡野兽》这款原本十分简单的游戏添加了很高的可玩性,为这些塑料积木增添了故事情节和魔法元素。它充分证明了当玩具与科技碰撞时所产生的神奇魔力。该游戏的出品方Sensible Object公司很可能开辟了一个全新的市场。想象一下经典桌游《龙与地下城》如果搭配上这项技术会是什么效果当屏幕上出现一只九头蛇向你咆哮时,你可不要吓得跳起来哦。
所有《龙与地下城》的死忠粉看完上面那段文字估计都会对此感同身受,不过这也说明APP技术与玩具的结合也有着不利的一面。虽然玩具与手游的可玩性和吸引力已经远远超过了以往任何时候,但它们也在一定程度上扼杀了孩子的想象力另外,玩具商们似乎想当然地认为所有孩子都拥有一台平板电脑或智能设备。虽说数据表明情况确实正在朝着这个方向发展,但这毕竟也产生了一些进入壁垒,或者说至少让一些没有iPad的孩子难以享受到这种乐趣。所以我们暂时还是先别把布里奥小火车束之高阁为好。再说,等到你娃把iPad玩到没电的时候,你总得先拿一个玩具来应急不是?(财富中文网)

作者:John Patrick Pullen
译者:朴成奎
The little wooden trains the darling toy of generations of well-meaning parents can barely hold my 2-year-old son’s attention for fifteen minutes before he tramples the tracks like a giant toddler monster. This is distressing on multiple levels, not the least of which being: What does an overworked guy like me need to do to get some low-impact dad time?
The answer is a dirty little secret parents know all-too-well: Hand your kid an iPad and you’re off the hook. The flashing lights and colors are like digital catnip to kids, and even dangling a smartphone in front of their eyes is enough to snap a melting-down toddler back into line.
Of course, there is the guilt of using a screen to (more or less) sedate your child. But times have changed, and now a bunch of great, new, tablet-connected toys (as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recently- relaxed screen time guidelines), can get you over that angst.
The first app-enabled toy I rolled out for my little one was Sphero’s Star Wars BB-8. When I was my son’s age, I dreamed of having an R2-D2 that could do just half of the tricks this $199 droid can perform. But never in my wildest imagination did I think a phone would be driving its artificial intelligence. Apps? Back then, that’s what we called the popcorn we’d get at the Ground Round before being served meals priced according to our weights. And my toddler has no idea what an app is either.
“A kid doesn’t care if a toy has an app the kid wants the toy to be fun,” says Adrienne Appell, a toy trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association.
When apps first came onto the scene, there was a big effort to pair them with toys, but this pushed attention (and eyes) towards the screens, not the playthings. A perfect example of this was Disney Infinity, the ill-fated toys-to-life ecosystem that let kids play video games as characters whose physical figurines they (or their parents) bought in stores. But through toys like Sphero’s BB-8 and this year’s hit robot, Anki Cozmo the app has faded into the background, keeping the attention on the physical toys and making real world play the focus.
Anki has long held the pole position in app-connected toys. Founded in 2010, three years after the release of the iPhone, the company released Anki Drive in 2013, taking race car games off the screen and plopping them onto the floor in front of you. A sort of slot car racing for the digital age, Anki Drive (and Overdrive, Anki’s newest version featuring a track-dominating truck) was something my son and I have enjoyed together, from arranging the track to watching the vehicles zip around. In this case, the connected device serves as the car’s remote control and is hardly a ‘screen time’ concern.
Paraphrasing Appell, the thing that makes Anki Overdrive great is “the seamless integration of play, making the experience fun and well-rounded.” The cars and the app is dependent on each other, creating a dynamic experience that never gets old. But the toy is every bit the equal (if not better than) the app.
“The play value has to be inherent in the toy,” says Appell. “Bringing on an app or any kind of element to make the play more enriching, more fun, that’s great. But if the app is more engaging than the toy, then the toy becomes irrelevant.”
There’s another reason app-connected toys are gaining traction. In an increasingly digital world, it’s getting ever harder to give a physical present. These days, all kids want is iTunes gift cards and Spotify subscriptions. But parents and grandparents still want to give toys and share in experiences, says Appell. “Toy play is much more social,” she says, “something that can be shared.”
To that end, board games which were absorbed by apps en masse in the early days of iPads can still be great gifts. Beasts of Balance, an app-integrated stacking puzzler, embeds game pieces with computer chips to create unique and interactive on-screen experiences over the course of a game. Requiring players to manipulate the pieces, talk out loud, and use both social skills and spatial recognition, the game is so much more than its app.
But Beasts’ app adds incredible value to this otherwise simple game. Infusing molded plastic with storylines and magic, this game shows what’s possible when you pair toys and tech. The company that makes it, Sensible Object, may be on to something. Imagine playing old-school Dungeons & Dragons with cards packing this technology and try not to jump when a Hydra roars on the screen.
I have no doubt that almost every hardcore D&D fan winced at reading the previous paragraph, because they’re proof that there is also a downside to tech’s pairing with play. While toys and games now have the ability to be more dynamic and engaging than ever before, toymakers are not only smothering imaginations, they’re also assuming that little ones all have their own tablets or smart devices. While the numbers show that they’re increasingly right, this idea still creates a barrier to entry, or in this case a, barrier to enjoyment. So it’s not time to pack away the Brio trains just yet. Besides, you need to have another toy at the ready when the iPad’s batteries run dry.

来源:
http://www.fortunechina.com/business/c/2016-12/27/content_276281.htm


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