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CTR October 2019
Vol. 27 No. 10` Issue 237
Download this issue as a PDF
There's a Goose on the Loose, Ring Fit and LeapFrog's RockIt Twist

“Strength just comes in one brand – you stand up at sunrise, meet what they send you and keep your hair combed.” Reynolds Price in the book Kate Vaiden (borrowed from the email footer of Alice Cahn).

Dear CTR Subscriber --

Where did the summer go? As you read this we’re madly getting ready for the 19th annual Dust or Magic institute and our new reviewer, Chris Guest has been zipping to press events with his camera, collecting the news.

LeapFrog’s RockIt Twist
We always love it when designers successfully mix different play patterns. That’s what you get when you unbox your new RockIt Twist, which combines tried and true screen based games with a set of innovative tactile controls that have busy board style switches and dials. And it’s all in a road-trip, non-Internet, pass around the mini-van format. Nice work VTech/Leapfrog. See the full review in this issue.

Does the “DS” in the Nintendo DS now mean “Dead System”? 
Perhaps. Missing from recent press fall events was any mention of the beloved Nintendo DS. Why? The Switch is designed to work as a mobile system. Last month Nintendo released the a compact, cheaper Nintendo Lite Switch system dedicated only to handheld play with no TV docking support. This new edition trades out several features for a more affordable price point, and doesn't accommodate certain types of games. Another clue is that the latest version of Pokémon runs only on the Switch. Read the full review of the Switch Lite in this issue.

The New Apple Arcade Shows Promise, But....
Apple still views children as a market segment. If they cared about children, they wouldn’t feature apps like Hot Wheels Infinite Loop in their app store. Designed for profit, the app follows the tried-and-true formula that makes parents livid. Start with something children find irresistible, like Hot Wheels, and make the download free. Make the app easy to start -- at first. Then gradually ratchet up the need to buy things in order to keep playing. You can either earn your way through the game as you save the in-game currency and redeem the daily bonuses, or you can hurry things up by subscribing or using in-app purchases of premium currency. The subscription is $11 a month or $100/year. The game’s currency, “Chromers” are rare to acquire normally, but can be purchased with real money, anywhere from $2 to $100. Herein lies our problem with Apple, Mattel and this app. While its gameplay is simple, flashy and satisfying enough, there is an interface built over the core loop of play which exposes children to constant resource requirements, fluctuating progress bars and 'special offers'. The compounding of this practice with a not unsubstantial subscription model for cosmetic and quality of life additions leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and in app stores in general.

Hot Wheels Infinite Loop
KidiBuzz G2
New Super Lucky's Tale
Nintendo Switch Lite
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield
Super Kirby Clash
Untitled Goose Game