Thursday, February 29, 2024
GAME ON

Metamorphabet

Learning your ABCs the fun way

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Metamorphabet is an alphabet game with simple animations. Each letter transforms into an animation that morphs into another with the click of a mouse. The animations are whimsical and really help to engage the child’s imagination.

I purchased this game five years ago when my son was three, and he loved it. He would sit in my lap and use the mouse to click on the letters. He figured out very quickly which animations he liked the best, and what letter they were linked to.

Each letter has four or five different words that it morphs into. A ‘U’ for example grows eyes and teeth, and starts crying. It becomes ‘upset.’ A ‘P’ turns into a pinwheel. A ‘J’ starts to juggle. With the letter to word association, it will help your child learn their alphabet, and it’s a welcome break from the ABC song.

The game is great if you want your child to have a broad vocabulary. It’s the first game that I felt comfortable letting my child play alone without supervision, and it kept him entertained without being frustrated.

Vectorpark

Metamorphabet is produced by Vectorpark, an animation company founded by Patrick Smith. He started as a student in college with an abstract animation. He was just learning to animate, so kept it simple. He ended up selling the animation to MTV, and it won two awards in 1995. Check it out at this link: My First Ever Animation

MTV offered him a job on Beavis and Butthead, and he moved to New York City. He went on to animate Down-Town and directed the animated series Daria. Since then he’s created many short films and commercials.

Vectorpark.com is a collection of his playable animations. Since Adobe Flash is no longer supported, the games (except for Sandcastles) have to be downloaded, but they are available for free. They use simple colors and shapes, and rely on an abstract aesthetic.

They’re appealing not just because they’re simple, but because the movement of the animation is so organic. Each element has a satisfying drag and pull action which unlocks the morphing of the element into other shapes.

Windosill, a simple logic puzzle game, features eleven rooms with different scenes, all of which have objects that can be manipulated. The objective is to find the hidden cube to unlock the door to the next scene. Solutions are not obvious. One puzzle features three monsters, and the objective is to distract one monster while you take the hat off another to retrieve the cube. Meanwhile the third monster is trying to grab your little vehicle and return it to the middle of the room. You’ll find yourself just grabbing and clicking on elements because they’re fun to watch.

Other minigames include Feed the Head and Sandcastles, very simple stress relievers. Check them out at https://vectorpark.itch.io/.

If you’re looking for great games for your children, especially the under-5 set, these are perfect. They teach essential skills like using a mouse to grab and move objects, and simple problem-solving. They’re currently free to download and install, although tipping is encouraged.