It was 1991, or ’92. I was maybe six or seven years old. My ballet backpack rested next to me. Every so often I caught a whiff of sweaty hairspray coming from the slick perfect bun seemingly glued to my head. My ballet class was over, but Mom’s Jazzercise had just begun. After a few minutes of watching the Jazzercise instructor bounce around in her lavender leotard, waiting for Mom to finish would get increasingly boring.
That is, until I got Little Mermaid and Aladdin game devices. I think they were made by Tiger. They weren’t Gameboys, but like Gameboys, they were made of a little screen with buttons, excitement and mini surprises like genie lamps. With my Aladdin game, going to Mom’s Jazzercise began to host an appeal similar to that of Saturday morning cartoons. During Jazzercise, no one could distract me from my magical games– even if they were ridiculously limited compared to today’s games (a whole device was needed for one game!). For that full hour after ballet, I could lean back and dive into the sea with Ariel.
If you were to tell my seven year old self that eventually, I could carry multiple games around, games with color, music, design options and themes, I would have told you that your imagination is even bigger than mine. Today though, it’s what we have: access to a universe of joyful stress relieving, mind pleasing apps. And unsurprisingly, the game apps I have on my I-pad are full of fantastical surprises like my ancient Aladdin game.
Luckily, my generation (generation Y or “the millenials”) seems to have carried its childhood into its adulthood with phenomenons like “bronies” and Kawaii artists. Bronies are adult fans of the cartoon show, My Little Pony, and Kawaii is an art form or style founded in Japan. Kawaii relies on a level of “cuteness.” Kawaii carries the lovable fluffy vibe of Care Bears, but with the added sophistication of sushi toons, huggable vegetables, plump koi fish and chubby kittens. The best part of these millenial subcultures is that they are not tied to any age frame or gender. An excellent example of Kuwaii art is Kuwaii Universe.
Alongside my productive and grading apps are apps that take me away during times of boredom, stress or general restlessness. Above all, these apps emit vibrant colors, comforting music, and nonviolent ambitions. So, unashamedly, I’ll share my digital twinkles with you. Hopefully, like me, you will find sanctuary and entertainment with my favorite adorable apps.
My 7 Favorite Magical Apps
1. My all time favorite is Line Play. It’s an avatar game, consisting of cartoon interior design, fashion, quests and frantic games similar to Candy Crush. There’s worlds within this stylish Kuwaii world called “squares,” like Treasure Island and Times Square– both places you can visit with your self designed sweet avatar. Your avatar has his/her own house, closet and if you’re inclined, a full time pet like a dog or cat. Trust me, you will find delight in the construction of your own little paradise.
2. Berry Rush is a speedy game in a garden of fruity treats, coins and excellent graphic design that includes the landscapes of beaches, forests and snowy trails. Don’t be intimidated by the Strawberry Shortcake theme; it’s this theme that makes the game so joyful and dynamic. Unlike, Line Play though, with Berry Rush you can’t take your eyes off the screen or else your little runner will crash into a mushroom or boardwalk.
3. Like Berry Rush, you need to utterly focus on your screen for Sally Fitzgibbons Surf. This game is more challenging than Berry Rush, where the you move in a very simple forward way; with Sally Surf, the game puts you on the surf. And just like real surfing, the way forward is less predictable with currents and drops etc. So, when there’s no surf, there’s still some surf on your screen.
4. If you like Candy Crush, you will definitely like Blossom Blast Saga. I enjoy both games, but Blossom Blast graphics bring me more ease with the game’s majestic backgrounds and gardens. Upon each level attained, you discover artful imagery, a combination of unrealistic floating lands and realistic greenery, waterfalls and blossoms.
5. Both Sally’s Spa and Sally’s Studio HD (unrelated to Sally Surf) will absorb your attention, not only sharpening your time management and multi-tasking skills but also relaxing you in the visual contexts of spas and yoga studios. Sally’s Spa and Studio apps unfortunately aren’t free, however there is a free Sally Spa Lite. I recommend trying this out before buying the full package to make sure you like it (but I’m sure you will!).
6. You don’t have to be a brony to fall in love with this game: My Little Pony–friendship is magic. With this app, you build entire pony towns, play guitar-hero like touchscreen games, welcome different ponies, host parties, collect gems in an underground mine, pick apples…need I list more?
7. Monument Valley is a magical minimalist 3-D puzzle game guaranteed to challenge your brain as much as please it. The graphic design on this is more architectural, but still full of whimsy and “other worldliness.” In Monument, you will find yourself lost in interesting unimaginable buildings full of secret twists, turns and waterfalls.
Don’t deprive yourself of “childhood zen” as an adult. Use it to your advantage as a form of recovery, entertainment or a basic brain break. What are your favorite adorable apps?
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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