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Twit or Miss - First in a Series of Roald Dahl Apps


Roald Dahl's writing played a massive part in my childhood, along with the Quentin Blake illustrations that so commonly came packaged with it and there are thousands, if not millions more like me who can say the same. His stories are utterly timeless and whilst other children's fiction has faded into and out of focus through the years, his work has never lost its influential potency. Even now that children's literature is losing ground to the touch-screen world, it has found a way to persevere.

A new series of apps based on the legendary author's work are being released, starting with 'Twit or Miss', a game based on his 1980 book The Twits. The apps are being rolled out by Dahl's family estate and Penguin Random House to coincide with Dahl's centennial, which is on September 13th, 2016. Blake's artwork will also of course have a role in each individual app.

For this first one, Aardman Digital took on developmental duties, drawing from Blake's art to create a game which has you deflecting food spat from Mr. Twit's mouth before it hits the sleeping Mrs. Twit. It's a simple concept, but an amusing, effective one. There are plenty of other little nods to the book embedded in the app, like the infamous mugwump monkey, who periodically appears to spread glue all along the ceiling. Hopefully it will help encourage kids who have never read the original book to seek it out, even if it's just to understand the game better. An audiobook app is promoted within the game, just to cement that aim.

More and more apps, each one based on a specific work or character, are planned to keep rolling out for the next 3-5 years and the possibilities are enormously broad. The appeal of Dahl's books ranges right across from the earliest reading age right up until young adulthood. You can already imagine how an app based on Matilda, James and the Giant Peach or Fantastic Mr. Fox might work.

Random House aren't the only ones undertaking projects to celebrate the 100th birthday of the author, Steven Spielberg's live action BFG film is set for release next year. It's currently in post-production, having wrapped around a month ago. I'm a bit more dubious about that, although the fact that the book was adapted for film by ET screenwriter Melissa Mathison bodes well.

The apps are much more consistently laudable, since they are so geared towards encouraging more children to explore Dahl's work. His books have long been hailed as absolutely ideal content for kids as they develop, the stories explore fascinating ideas and present complex characters without ever making the narrative too difficult to follow. They don't patronise their audience. Touch screen technology and literature needn't be at odds with each other, and this is a fine example of that.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Twit or Miss - First in a Series of Roald Dahl Apps Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Rating: 5

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