Games with Purpose 2: Smack That Gugl and pin down visual discrimination and focused attention

There are thousands upon thousands of game apps in the App Store and the Android Market.  A lot of these games are so engaging, it’s literally difficult to pry your iDevice out of your little one’s hands.  We all know how crucial it is to sit down and guide our kids in using these gadgets and not make these become replacement babysitters, but we also know that many games can be used at therapy.  Given the right game and the appropriate set of goals, a mediated session with an iPad or iPod Touch can be just as fun as doing free play on the device.  Want to work on prepositions? Your kid will love you for using Angry Birds and you get to work on on, under, in, beside, etc.  Want to work on increasing vocal intensity? The app Ah Up! (now $0.99 in the App Store) just might make little voices go loud without them realizing it.

Smack That Gugl is one game that can be used with a lot of purpose in the therapy room.  These little green blobs rise up from the screen, inviting the player to smash, squish, and smack them flat.  Of course, there are rules:  One can’t squish all the blobs.  Make sure your kid knows that:

  • each Gugl must be squashed before it turns red, or else one loses a life (or a turn, if you’re using the app in a dyad or group session)
  • smash the yellow and red ones twice to really deactivate them
  • don’t whack the chickenpox Gugl! Do it and lose a turn or life
  • blue and yellow Gugls split into two.  If one isn’t fast enough, they can multiply fast and turn red
  • if five red Gugls are unsmashed, they take over the screen and the game is lost

Excitement and the competitive spirit can easily highjack anybody’s visual discrimination skills and attention to detail.  For as long as your kid knows the rules (and learns from his mistakes), this game can help him slow down a bit and process each Gugl visually before he makes an action.

Smack That Gugl is currently FREE at the App Store! Try it out yourself (and go Pro Mode), and enjoy the game’s 3D rendering, cool background music and sound effects, and overall engaging gameplay.