You know how people complain that today’s toys require no imagination? The lights and batteries and noises do all the entertaining while the child sits and watches. It all bears a suspicious resemblance to watching television.
Last week I was looking for a computer game that the kids could play without internet access and I wanted something that wouldn’t instantly rot their brains. I looked at cnet.com so I could check reviews, and downloaded a few promising programs. One stood out from the crowd – so much that I immediately deleted the others.
The kids were instantly addicted – as soon as I quit “checking out the game for them” and let them try it out themselves. Since then, 5yo Perry has played at every choice, his brow furrowed deep with concentration.
What I stumbled across has all the charm and imagination of a toy-box full of old fashioned toys: SoupToys.
This game has no quest, no talking characters, no rules, no bad guys…just toys that do exactly what toys do: the balls bounce and roll. The balloons go up until you pop them or they disappear. You stack things up and knock them down, or try to make a hoop with the basketball, or create your own Rube Goldberg contraption. There is a huge assortment of prebuilt playsets that are fun by themselves but also inspire new ideas for playing with your box of toys.
From the developer website:
Designed with players aged 5 to 12 in mind, but enjoyed globally by everyone, this physics sandbox game replicates a child’s wooden toy box full of toys, including basketballs, robots, wooden blocks, snowmen, cannons, flying bees and a pirate ship. With its open-ended design, the possibilities are endless and players are limited only by their imagination. With an intuitive and tactile feel, the easy to pick up and play style will allow kids to be enjoying themselves within seconds. Souptoys is also perfect for busy parents who want to play together with children who are too young to use a mouse but are delighted to see a stuntman flying through a basketball hoop. Players can also visit Souptoys.com, where they can share their own creations with others and download over 20,000 more. This growing community known as SoupWorld is a fun and secure place for kids to share and discuss their toys and ideas with other fans.
I can’t convey the simple appeal of this game. It’s not exciting, but it’s intriguing. You just have to try it. It’s free, there are no ads or sales pitches.
Do it, and tell me what you think. I’m waiting…