Littlest Pet Shop is developed for children aged four or older. I’m an adult and still I play this game every day. Am I easily addicted or is this a game developed for players between 4-99 years?
Studies show that touchscreen games are taking over the world of toys. Game developers try to rebuild all traditional games into a digital version. To prevent a fallback in the toy industry they want to make a connection between new toy lines and mobile apps. The connection between the imaginary, digital world and the role plays with toys in the real world are very innovative. Hasbro is one of the first companies that made a connection between toys and digital games. They even made a connection between an animated television show, a toy line and mobile games.
Games for children of the age group three to five are easily played with one hand. They still need to learn to coordinate their hands in response to what they are seeing. The tasks in Littlest Pet Shop are simple, tapping on thought bubbles and golden coins, swiping the screen to flick treats or wash a pet. Children want to know what happens when they tap the button, adults enjoy doing something easy to relax their mind.
Children of the age group six to eight love pretending to be something that they’re not. They want to know how it feels like being a doctor, a singer, a sportsman or a teacher. They want to learn about the differences and they love to make their own decisions. In Littlest Pet Shop they can be Blythe, a fashionista with a heart of gold for animals. While being Blythe they can talk to the pets, work in the Pet Shop selling biscuits or accessories, work in the Day Camp taking care of pets, … Lots of themes available for endless hours of role play. As an adult I enjoy the beautiful graphics and often wander where they got the inspiration.
Children in the age group of nine to twelve need more complex games. For children who know how to read there are quests to complete. All the quests are easy, but some of them take time, lots of play time. Girls in this age group will start collecting dolls as decoration, not to play with. The pets of Littlest Pet Shop are collector items and each pet comes with a token. When they scan in the token with their mobile device they can keep record of all the pets they have. Collecting dolls is a hobby that is very alive among adults. Littlest Pet Shop is an American toy franchise created in the early 90’ by the toy company Kenner. All the pets and playsets released before 2005 are vintage collector items. As an adult I love collecting to see how far I can get.
It seems to me that creating a game starts by creating a game for children. After that it’s all about keeping players entertained. Releasing new features, new quests, new graphics and building a strong community where players can share their thing, whether it is a strategy to reach their goals or building alliances to compete with others. It all starts with children and or basic instincts.