Is it possible for an app to make you feel nostalgic? With the new A Charlie Brown Christmas app, it turns out the answer is yes, from the moment you enter and see the 45 spinning on the record player.
“Mommy, what’s that thing?”
“That’s a record player.”
“Why don’t you curl up and I’ll tell you a story.”
“Here we go again…”
“Back in my day that’s how we listened to music. And if we wanted to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas we had to find out the time and channel it was going to be on, and we had to be in front of the TV or we missed it.”
“Did you also walk to school uphill both ways?”
“Be quiet and play your app.”
It’s hard not to be taken in by the A Charlie Brown Christmas app from the moment when you hear first few notes of that familiar Christmas tune. Loud Crow has done a lovely job capturing the spirit of this annual special. The whole story is told in a sort of pop-up book format. I wish a screen shot would do the page turns justice, but as you go from one page to another characters seem to fold into slots while new ones pop up on the next page, animating the whole time. (It should be noted that this is coming from someone who typically hate fakey digital page turns.)
A narrator tells the story, and it’s punctuated from the character recordings from the show. I wish the sound quality matched a little better, but the nostalgia of those old recordings makes me not mind that much.
The interactivity is a mixed bag. As with some of the other Loud Crow apps, a lot of things just wiggle when you touch them. It’s cute in Sandra Boyton ebooks, but here it just feels odd. I’d like for more of the interactivity to have a purpose. But then there’s some interactivity that’s truly great, ranging from fun stuff like turning snow into snowflakes to decorating the little Christmas tree to playing Shroeder’s piano.
Overall this app is a winner, a lovely high-tech take on a classic. The app is available for iPad, iPhone, and Android ($6.99).
Note: I was provided a review copy of this app.