Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Retro Apps We Love: “Punky Dunk and the Gold Fish,” “Colorforms Revolution,” and “Knock Knock and the Who’s There Doors”

If you’re like me, you love to share old favorites—books, toys, even jokes—from your own childhood with your kids. I found a trio of apps that re-imagine “hits” from the past and makes them joyously, cleverly new. These apps welcome our kids into the fold of generations who’ve grown up with time-tested books and toys that they’re sure to share with their own kids one day.

Tap just about anything to
make this story come alive.
Punky Dunk and the Gold Fish is adapted from a charming book first published in 1912. It’s the story of a feisty kitten who takes her chances with a bowl of goldfish. App developer Kat Llewellyn told me that she loved to read this book when she visited her grandmother. The hand-drawn illustrations capture the spirit of the original storybook and are filled with functionality and fun. Just about everything a user touches causes a clever tap and swirl reaction, from Punky Dunk’s ears to the bell on her collar, to the bowl of goldfish on a table. The story is beautifully narrated by Matthew Modine and Kate del Castillo but the real star here is the writing: this text is poetry for kids. And the app easily switches to Spanish mode. Here’s a nice addition: part of your purchase price supports worthy literacy projects. This project was inspired by Kat Llewellyn’s life-long affection for the Punky Dunk books and she’s spreading the optimism these books have always brought to her.

The color wheel allows you to change
the color of objects and backgrounds.
The revolution won’t be televised, but it will be on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Colorforms Revolution - Free translates the classic drawing-with-shapes game into an app and I can only say—it’s about time! This app sets Colorforms (and the user’s imagination) free, easily enabling users to change size, color, and angle of shapes; as well as change the background color; pattern; even import your own photographs as backgrounds. The possibilities really are infinite here. The youngest player will have a blast with this but older users (even you) can create some serious artwork here. Did I mention this app is free? What are you waiting for?

Just knock on the door to start the fun.
Knock Knock and The Who’s There Doors (Volume 1 or 2) was created by Disney animator Dan Lund whose inspiration for this app came from a visit with his niece and nephew who inundated him with the jokes for the entire trip. He set out to celebrate this touchstone in the growing-up process. It’s pure silliness and effectively voice-activated so the app will say, “Knock, knock,” and then the user says, “Who’s there?” and so on, through sixty interactive, animated jokes, using a terrific range of voice artists from Lund’s Disney sphere.

We’re giving away the app Punky Dunk and the Gold Fish. Just leave a comment to this story with a way to reach you (email preferred) by Saturday, September 1st at 5pm EST. It’s exciting to see Punky Dunk, Colorforms, and the Knock-knock joke get new life in the world of apps. These apps click because they build on tried-and-true foundations. I couldn’t be more pleased to share these with my own little girl. Who knows what form this media will take when she’s ready to share these with her own child; but I’ll bet they’ll still be around. The continuing thread is the quality of the message and all three of these apps speak to the fun of just being a kid.

Review Summary
App Name: Punky Dunk Project: Punky Dunk and the Gold Fish by Dumfun Productions
Category: Books
Released: August 6, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Price: $2.99
Bottom Line: Charming, gorgeous, and fun. A real winner.

App Name: Colorforms® Revolution™ - Free by Out of the Blue Digital
Category: Games
Updated: May 24, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Price: FREE.
Bottom Line: There’s an HD version for $2.99 but the free version provides infinite creative possibilities.

App Name: Knock Knock And The Who’s There Doors – Volume 1 by d-lund projects
Category: Entertainment
Updated: August 13, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Price: $0.99
Bottom Line: Silly but irresistible.


  1. Old is gold! Unfortunately I dont own an Apple iphone yet. Will buzz you as soon as I buy one. :)

    1. Send your friends over. We haven't gotten any comments, so the app is up for grabs!