The Infinite Arcade by Tinybop

App review by
Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Media
The Infinite Arcade by Tinybop App Poster Image
Design, play, and improve your own arcade games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the design process, goal setting, problem-solving, and persevering. Within a given set of constraints or rules, kids generate solutions, try them out, and adjust. 

Ease of Play

At first it's hard to figure out, but once kids learn the different game world parts they'll be begging to play.

Violence

Kids can design games where the object is to kill all the enemies, but it's block arcade-style violence.

Sex
Language

The language built into the game is appropriate, but kids have the chance to type in their own directions, tips, and win/loss messages.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Infinite Arcade by Tinybop is a video-game-design app. Kids can create, play, and modify their own arcade-style games. If they want someone else to play the game they designed, kids must share the device. As in many other Tinybop apps, kids are given the freedom to figure things out for themselves, though there are more parent-friendly instructions in several languages. Families who are looking to help their schools get the app should check out Apps for Impact under the Parents & Teachers Menu since this organization gives free apps to teachers in Title 1 schools and underserved communities. Read the app's privacy policy to find about the information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Kids and adults alike can create their own games in THE INFINITE ARCADE BY TINYBOP. Begin by selecting a game type such as pinball, ball and paddle, platformer, maze, or blank template. Then game designers have to decide how to win the game: Will you win by entering a victory portal, gathering all the collectables, killing all the enemies, or simply staying alive? Regardless, when a player's character or ball runs out of lives, they lose.  Designers can also choose between characters or balls with different strengths and weaknesses and can create their own characters. After deciding the basics, kids can customize further with sound effects, backgrounds, colors, and messages for winning and losing. By mixing and matching these options, you can create endless combinations of games.

Is it any good?

More than simple arcade fun, this game creator is a powerful learning tool because kids define problems, develop possible solutions, test the game, and then come back to make improvements. Each child is empowered by being able to make a lot of choices, and they can build a collection of the games to manage. While kids could hand the device off to a friend to play, the game would be improved by providing ways for kids to digitally share and play each other's games. Also, for kids who are less comfortable playing around until they figure things out, the written instructions might be too complicated since they're written in several languages with lots of text and small print. Since they can input their own win/loss messages, it's a good opportunity to remind kids that good sportsmanship is important online, too, and positive messages are best.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can help kids pause and make the connection that behaving respectfully online (such as positive comments in the games they design) is a lot like being respectful in the offline world. 

  • Talk about the process. How do engineers design solutions for real-world problems? How might that be similar to the process of building a game using the app?

App details

For kids who love engineering and coding

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