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“He’s a very established character, a very rich character–we have a lot to work with,” says Scott Ganz, a former TV writer who is now the head writer for the app and a creative director at Toy Talk.“The challenge is really bringing a small child into the story. It doesn’t play down to its audience, it deals with good issues. The challenge there is you can’t quite work at that level of sophistication when a four-year-old child is the hero of the story.
Each episode is three to four scenes that would take about seven minutes for an adult blazing through it, but can take much longer for an engaged kid.
Younger kids are more prone to free-associate, theoretically making it harder for scriptwriters to anticipate relevant responses–but Ganz says he and his team were very conscious of this and programmed the app accordingly.
There is also a very clear video demonstration when the app starts for how to hold down an on-screen button to talk, and release it for a response (this is a key feature of Toy Talk’s apps and the upcoming Hello Barbie–contrary to some reports that the toys are “always on” and listening to kids, Toy Talk only processes speech that is said directly into the toy while holding down the button walkie-talkie style).“We redesigned the mic button for younger kids so it now gives much better feedback when you’re holding it,” says Ganz.
“Particularly at the beginning, it is a little tough for the younger kids.
But we’ve seen out in the marketplace, there are a lot of parents who play the app with their child, they play the app first, evaluate it, and we’re absolutely in favor of having parents join their kids for the adventure.