posted at 2:24 p.m., April 8, 2016

Apps potentially creating bad values

Behavioral issues may occur due to games

Anyone who’s ever spent three minutes with a 3-year-old can describe the emotion of annoyance. Kids are great, don’t get me wrong, but any parent that tries to deny they had the urge to stick their head in a blender because their little bundle of joy won’t stop asking “why?” is lying. Once a munchkin learns to talk they need to learn how to use that new ability. They’re going to play with it a bit and mock and copy and repeat. This I get, this is natural, they’re learning, they’re alive, they’re real.

What I don’t get are these apps that mimic just for the joys of it. How is that fun? It’s annoying when a small human does it, let alone when it’s done by an animated creature speaking in a squeaky voice.

Experience with new apps

So I downloaded a few of these apps just to see what the fuss was about. The first app I downloaded was called “Talking Parrot Couple,” and as catchy as that sounds, it was a very cheap app covered in ads.

The birds were well animated and cutesy. One was a red macaw and the other a blue-and-gold macaw. Their animated sequence was a little buggy and they’d glitch a bit. The red macaw doesn’t really move, but the blue macaw won’t sit still. It scratches its wing over and over and over, poor thing obviously has a skin condition and were it a real bird, it would be molting.

If anybody speaks at all around them, however, they both lean forward, listen and repeat in a high-pitched recording of the speaker. However, they only repeat it once and it’s sped up so it’s almost indistinct. Plus they only listen for half a moment. If there is any noise interference at all, they try and mimic that. For example, as I’m pounding away at this keyboard, they are repeating the ticking noise. It was funny 10 minutes ago, but now they won’t stop. I can’t write without them leaning in to hear me tick away. But if you keep going when they’re trying to repeat something, they stop and move. It’s very glitchy in its recording abilities.

Around the birds are different buttons. There are four above the bird’s heads, two of which are photo related, one being a gallery and one being a camera, and the other two are just ads for more games. There are six more below the birds; five of them are action buttons for the birds and one is a rate button that invites you to rate the game.

The buttons were cute, but most of them led to abusive acts. The blue bird should be tried for domestic abuse. He hits his mate and she hits back, which is just as bad, but he also doesn’t share his food and pushes her off the perch. In only one of the buttons does he actually do anything nice for her. First, he offers her a flower and she’s coy about it, then he finds a diamond somewhere and she accepts that. What is that telling children? Be a gold digger, that’s what it tells children.

This app was mostly just ads with bouts of funny mixed in but those where fleeting and swiftly followed by annoyance. So as far as a mimic app goes, this one did not have me convinced.

Raised a kitten online

The second app that I explored was called “My Talking Angela.”

Very frilly app, but as far as fluency went, it was infinitely better than the talking parrots. The animation was patient and actually waited for the user to say something and fall silent before repeating, and there wasn’t any distracting animated sequences that got repetitive.

However, this game was mostly about raising a little kitten. You feed it and wash it and make it go to sleep.

You also dress it up and put makeup on it. This thing is anatomically similar to a 2-year-old and you put make up on it. That disturbed me, a lot. Call me old fashioned, but babies don’t need makeup, especially animal babies. Babies are pretty all on their own. They don’t need an extra puff of rouge to seal the deal.

This app had a bunch of cute features though. There were other games inside the game, game-ception, and they weren’t bad. They were the sort of games I’d use in high school to numb my brain after calculus.

However, I was in this app for the mimicking portion and that was almost an afterthought. It’s like a fashion-oriented Tamagotchi rather than a mimic game.

It makes me concerned for the education of domestic abuse. Children shouldn’t be wearing makeup while in diapers, and people shouldn’t be able to apologize for physical abuse to their significant other with gifts of diamonds. I started this venture trying to find a mimicking game and ended up with a concern about public awareness on abuse.

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