dr. panda plus home designer

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer Review

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Available On: iOS, Android, Fire OS

At my daughter’s preschool graduation she confidently announced that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. She draws and colors every day. Her desk is a warzone of papers, crayons, paints, Play-Doh, and magic markers.

Like most kids she’s also in love with her iPad, an old hand-me-down. She watches videos and plays games. Nothing had prepared me for how well two of her favorite activities could intersect with the newest Dr. Panda product. Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer combines the creative joys of drawing with the magic of augmented reality to transcribe your creations into a kid-friendly digital playhouse.

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pokémon playhouse

New Free Pokémon Playhouse App Designed for Preschoolers

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Hook ’em on ‘Catch ‘Em All’ while they’re young! Today the Pokémon Company revealed a new mobile app designed specifically for preschool age children (age 3-5). The app is called Pokémon Playhouse. It’s available now on iPhone, iPad, and Android as a free download – without any in-app purchases.

“The Pokémon brand truly is a property for all ages, and the ability to complete activities with cute new expression of recognizable Pokémon in Pokémon Playhouse offers our youngest fans the opportunity to explore the world of Pokémon in an environment made just for them,” said J.C. Smith, senior director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company. “As the popularity of the Pokémon brand continues to grow, we’re thrilled to launch the first-ever Pokémon preschool expression with Pokémon Playhouse, offering parents an age-appropriate and entertaining experience for the littlest Trainers in their family.”

The game takes place in and around a playhouse for Pokémon. All activities are cute and calming, such as grooming your Pokémon and finding Pokémon constellations in the stars. There are no reading or math skills required. A human character narrates the activities, and there are some light puzzles and stories kids can engage in.

pokémon playhouse

The more you play with the Pokémon the stronger a bond you create. Completing activities and befriending Pokémon work toward hatching new eggs to add new Pokémon to your collection, such as Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Snorlax. Over 50 Pokémon are available to hatch, play, and befriend.

The Pokémon Playhouse app is available now on iOS and Android. It’s free to download and play.

pokemon go

Disastrous Pokémon GO Fest Results in Mass Refunds

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When Pokémon GO first launched in July 2016, it instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Its unprecedented mainstream popularity lead to widespread network issues that lasted for weeks.

Unfortunately all reports from last Saturday’s Pokémon GO Fest on July 22 tell a similar story. While it was meant to be a fun one-year celebration gathering, it instead brought back the same network issues that plagued the game at launch.

Connection issues hampered excited players throughout the day, with most event-goers unable to do the one thing they bought a ticket for. Amenities and organization were also subpar, with few charging stations and very long lines to get in (and out of) Grant Park.

Pokémon GO Fest ended up being such a disaster that Niantic announced mass refunds for everyone who attended ($20 ticket price). They’re also offering $100 worth of PokeCoins. Of course many people paid much more than that with airfare, hotel stay, and the typical overpriced event food.

There’s a video now circulating on YouTube from the event that features very disgruntled event-goers, and Niantic CEO John Hanke being booed on stage.

Niantic released an official statement:

Today at Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, technical issues created problems for a large number of players attending the event. From everyone at Niantic, we apologize to all of the Trainers who came out to Pokémon GO Fest today. Although we were able to solve many of the technical issues, we were not able to offer every attendee a great experience. We appreciate the patience of all the Trainers who joined us in Chicago this weekend. We will strive to make sure our experiences are of the highest quality going forward.

In addition to the refund and PokeCoins, all attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon Lugia added to their account. Lugia was meant to be the big reward for completing the challenges, but connectivity problems lead to Niantic simply releasing it. Apparently Team Mystic came out ahead on the few Pokémon captures that could be earned, unlocking Articuno as the other Legendary Pokémon.

Given how well Niantic has supported Pokémon GO and stabilized the servers following its rough launch, it’s exceedingly disappointing to see a large-scale event like this crash and burn. Niantic has had a year to iron out the kinks. You would think they’d be able to better prepare for an actual scheduled, ticketed event.