Now, I'm not sure this is even allowed, but I am going to bring back two little characters that can't seem to leave me alone. Yep. It's these guys:
I really liked the concept of a fearless little kid and a dinosaur solving mysteries together. Alex and Melvin have stayed with me. A few years ago my sister told me that she had such a hard time finding good books for my nephew. He must have been around eight years old at the time and he wasn't really into reading. I remember when I was that age and how I used to hide under the covers with a book and a torch for hours past my bedtime... There is something very wrong with the world if a child ever grows up without experiencing that.
Ever since that conversation with my sister I've wanted to bring Alex and Melvin on a bunch of adventures, either in the shape of books or as interactive story apps. This pitch would obviously explore the latter. Having had a look at the hollow and brain-melting rubbish in the"children's books" category of the iOS app store, I'm even more keen to do this.*
I thought that, perhaps, my nephew or some other kids out there might be into crimefighting, prehistoric reptiles... So I did a quick sketch and some scribbles of what I had in mind.
At this point I was using the story from Tiny Dinosaur, but framed as an interactive book instead of a DS game. It would feature puzzles, minigames, little interactions and cool gadgets, not to mention an awesome story. Obviously!
But I can't use the same story. That would be cheating. So tonight I sat down and wrote a little blurb for a new adventure, following on from the events of Tiny Dinosaur. In this tale Alex have met Melvin, and together they have outsmarted the evil Doctor DeVicious and liberated all the tiny dinosaurs in the village of Backwaters. My cunning master plan of establishing the duo as detectives for future sequels needed a story where Alex and Melvin are forced to act when no adults are capable of doing so, thereby earning them some recognition as problem solvers. And, naturally, every good children's story rests on the principle that Adults Are Silly.
Here it is. It doesn't have a name yet, and obviously it needs to be interactivified and it needs some pretty pictures and buzzwords to go with it. But I'll do that later.
Nothing ever really happens in the small town of Backwaters... Except that one time when Alex found a small dinosaur called Melvin in her back yard and uncovered a devious plot to capture a group of tiny and not-at-all-extinct reptiles, but that was AGES ago. Several weeks, at least.
Since then, Alex and Melvin have had the bestest summer together.
But lately, something hasn't been quite right. Alex' parents can't seem to get out of bed in the morning, and yesterday Alex saw their neighbour Mrs Pickles fall asleep on the pavement when she was walking her dog. And to make it all worse, someone - or something - is breaking into houses all around town, leaving strange dust tracks behind. With the city's adult population snoozing the summer away it's up to Alex and Melvin to figure out what's going on.
So, something strange is putting the city's grown-ups to sleep for a sneaky purpose. Imagine this with lots of interactive elements, maybe even a branching "choose your own adventure" system, minigames and an inventory full of cool detective gadgets... And a dinosaur. Can't go wrong with that, right? Oh, and I have this really cool idea of how I could get parents involved in the story as well and make the kids to put the iPad down for a moment. More on that next. Sleepies now!
* There are also loads of awesome and amazing storybooks on the app store, but seeing them obscured by fifty different variations of CARS 2 LIGHTNING MCQUEEN JIGSAW PUZZLE STORY RACE GAME made me cry on the inside.