Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bug-A-Loo Kids

My husband is a web developer (one of many talents he has) and has spent the last 11 years (plus) building up a website we’ve dubbed Bug Cafe. Over the years he’s developed a lot of classic games and word games that people can play via email or even live.
Our boys think this is awesome, and at least one of them has high hopes of being employed by Bug Cafe when he’s old enough. They especially love being solicited to test the games. The latest game craze around here has been Bug-A-Loo. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that we have a few relatives who are completely addicted to the game.
This has caused some frustration for the boys because they really wanted to be able to play it without help, but the phrases and other word puzzles aren’t ones they know very well. Which led the founders of Bug Cafe to have a meeting and discuss the possibility of branching out with games specifically designed for kids. And so another chapter for Bug Cafe began!
Mr. Scarecrow surprised the boys with a need for them to test a game a few weekends ago, and they agreed. However, they were ecstatic when they found out that it was a kids version of Bug-A-Loo! They were even farther over the moon when they realized it had all their Word Wall and Dolch words in it so they could actually solve the puzzles on their own!
There was so much buzz around here and celebrating and competing. At one point Jayden had himself the nice fat score of 485 points. We all celebrated with him, and then I went into the pantry to cry for a bit because honestly I’m not that good at regular Bug-A-Loo. Okay, so I didn’t really cry in the pantry, but I debated it.
Interestingly enough Adobe Developers felt that Bug Cafe was an awesome enough company to allow them to do some testing on Adobe’s behalf. In exchange, you can now purchase downloadable versions of Bug-A-Loo & Bug-A-Loo Kids via the Adobe Marketplace. How’s that for neat?
But that’s not all (that sounded very infomercially!), Bug-A-Loo is now one of the Adobe Marketplace’s Staff Favorites. You should of seen then celebrating around here when we got that bit of news! And, within a month of having released Bug-A-Loo Kids it’s been spotlighted on their front page!
So what exactly can Bug-A-Loo Kids do? It’s preprogrammed with the 1000 most used word list and the Dolch word lists (yes some of these words appear on both!) It also has the ability for a parent/student to type in a chosen group of words (think spelling lists here) for the game to use as the puzzles for your child to solve!

How does it work?

Once you've decided which list of words you're working on the puzzle pops up (see picture above). Kids can click on the colorful letters or use the keyboard to type a letter in. If a letter is correct it fills itself in on the puzzle above (yellow tiles). You have 8 helps in the game which can be used at anytime by clicking on B.O.B. (Big Odd Blob). These helps come in the form of filling in a missing letter (or two) for you. One can also click on the vowels at the base of the screen (which uses up a Life Line/Help) and it will fill in the vowels in your puzzle.

As you move through solving a puzzle keep an eye on B.O.B., he has some hilarious facial expressions! We had so much fun watching B.O.B. that at one point we forgot to keep track of what we were doing with the solving our puzzle!

You can keep track of your score and compare it to other high scores in your family by trying to outdo each other's play and typing in your name. There is one high score preprogrammed into the game, Charlie, with a top score of 500. Can you beat him? 

How much does it cost?

A minimal $3.99 and then you have it saved on your desktop forever. However, you can also play a trial version of the game for free to see how you like it!

How Fun Is It?

Personally, with B.O.B. in the game it makes for laughs all around win or lose! However, our littlest testers gave this game two thumbs up and are delighted that they now have Bug-A-Loo scores that rival not only Daddy but also Nana who has a huge passion for the adult version. 

Anything else we should know?

I feel it would be unfair, and perhaps a pinch unwise, to not warn you that both of these games tend to be a tad additive. "Once more!" seems to be the resounding word around here when someone is asked to hop off and move on to another task. Yet, we can't fault the kids when adults playing either version are heard saying the same thing! 

Where can I find it again?

Both Bug-A-Loo & Bug-A-Loo Kids are available through Adobe Marketplace which can be found here. Currently these are the only games Bug Cafe is offering through Adobe, but there are more in the works. There's also been a lot of chatter between the various Bug Cafe Staff about a larger Bug-A-Loo Kids site/games. We're eagerly awaiting their arrival!!


Natalie said...

OK, my kids are totally in love with this game already. I am going to recommend it to all the teachers at their old school (my old school). This is WONDERFUL!!!!!
Your husband is a genius!

I'll add it to my blog later.

Lori said...

Can't wait to try it with my kids!! Fun.

Julie said...

I ordered it and my kids both like it! Thanks!