Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mystery Math Town Coming Next Week For Your iPad

We got good news from Apple today - Mystery Math Town is Approved and Ready for Sale in the App Store!

But you can't have it...yet.

You won't actually see it in the App Store until next week.

We scheduled the availability date beyond the expected approval date so we can control the launch.

It's a far cry from the usual fire drill that erupts when an app is approved and set to go live immediately, inevitably when you're walking out the door after a long day cracking wise on Twitter.

In fact, it's so calm and peaceful around here, I could go for a nap right now.

I just want to collect one more portrait for my Gallery first...

Sorry, I'm teasing again.

Mystery Math Town Available April 3. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marble Math Apps Win ON for Learning Awards From Common Sense Media

Marble Math and Marble Math Junior have each received a 2013 ON for Learning Award from Common Sense Media.

The award is given to the apps, games, and websites that received the highest rating for learning potential from Common Sense.

We're especially excited because our apps won 2 of only about 50 awards this year.

And we're in good company - here's the list of Winners:

Now I'm going to see if I can talk Steve into parachuting into the ceremony tonight at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco dressed as one of the Mystery Math Town characters to promote our new app.

Monday, March 25, 2013

[VIDEO] On The Set - Mystery Math Town App

I grabbed some video from our final Mystery Math Town production meetings last week so you can get a peek behind the curtain at (The Great and Powerful) Artgig Apps.

Watch as Matt, Steve, Jim and Lis tackle tough last minute design decisions, investigate Google bugs (while dodging barking dogs) and settle once and for all whether or not Elvis has left the building.

It's as real as app development gets.

Just one more week of this and you'll finally get to play the game for yourself.

Hang in there.

Mystery Math Town coming to the App Store April 3.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What a Bunch of (Mystery Math Town) Cards

Clara runs the only dance studio in town - she's also the mayor.

Bradford, well, he's busy perfecting the art of handlebar mustache waxing.

The Admiral loves talking tactics - especially when it involves chasing pirates.

And Flapjack is just waiting patiently for a slice of Shirley's shoo-fly pie.

People really seem to enjoy meeting the characters of Mystery Math Town as we release their individual trading cards on our Facebook page.

Have you collected the first 12?

We'll keep releasing them right through launch.

Speaking of launch, we submitted the app to Apple on Wednesday for review.

Which reminds me, we have a big announcement:

Mystery Math Town will be available in the App Store April 3.

Now I know it's pretty brave to set a hard launch date in bold type before the app is even approved, but we have some padding in our plans - hopefully, we don't need it.

So mark your calendar, set your alarm or leave a detailed message in permanent marker on the back of your hand - whatever gets the job done.

If that fails, we'll still remind you.

And we'll try to keep you entertained until then.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Marble Math Junior Wins Parents' Choice Award!

It seems like just yesterday we were carrying on, giddy with excitement over Marble Math taking home a Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award.

Today it's Junior's turn in the spotlight.

We couldn't be happier for the little guy.

Check out the Parents' Choice Award winner here.

Now we have to go shopping for a suit...

Monday, March 18, 2013

[video] Mystery Math Town App - The Ultimate Tease

I know I've been talking quite a bit about our upcoming Educational app, Mystery Math Town.

And I've also shown you some pretty nice pictures (if you haven't seen the virtual trading cards, you should check them out).

But none of that comes close to actually playing the game - and that's what has us so excited.

In fact, I'm playing the game right now.

Did I go too far?

Am I dangerously close to the line between an artful tease and just being mean?

If so, I apologize.

With just a couple of weeks to launch, our enthusiasm is boiling over and I really want to share it with you.

I've got an idea.

It's the next best thing to playing the game...

Presenting the Mystery Math Town app trailer.

It's the ultimate tease.

We used the awesome Reflector app for the screen capture and Lis constructed the trailer in Flash (yes, it's still good for something).

We hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Good App Icon Scrubbing

Original icon
New icon after a good scrubbing
And you thought we were done talking about icons.

Check out the latest and greatest Mystery Math Town icon.

Sure, at first glance it looks like the original (new) icon but look closer...

It seems in our haste to settle the great icon design debate, we overlooked icon design rule #675 - overloaded detail and too many competing design elements are bad (especially when reduced to a quarter size of a postage stamp).

So we set our Aussie artist, Lis, on the task of cleaning the icon up to read better across all sizes.

Looking at them side by side now in the harsh light of day, even the large version of the original looks murky and yes, a little confused, beside the new and improved polished version.

Things are moving quickly now as we prep to submit the final app build to Apple next week, so stay tuned.

Next up, our app video teaser...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marble Math App Friday Promo Report

Did you catch our Marble Math app giveaway on Friday 3/8?

How about Saturday?

I really hope you're not one of the 110 people who missed out and paid to download it on Sunday (but if you are, thank you.)

With our new Mystery Math Town app set to launch in a matter of weeks, we decided to run a free promo to give our app titles a jolt ahead of the new release. And what better way to do it than with our old friends at Moms With Apps and the generous support of the App Friday team.

We made Marble Math free (normally $1.99) on Friday 3/8 for the promotion. This is the first time Marble Math has been free since its June release.

Normally, we send a press release to announce our promotions but we decided to run this giveaway with only direct support from our network and social media.

I tried to run a couple of paid/promoted Facebook posts but both were rejected for having too many words in the images (apparently, your image cannot be more than 20% text). I'll have more on this this at another time in another post, but let's just say it was frustrating to say the least.

On the other hand, I feel nothing but love for Twitter and it appears the feeling is mutual. I don't know who told the virtual coupon clippers that we were giving away our app, but they showed up in force on Friday and I salute them, and #freeapp loving tweeters everywhere, for their tidal wave of support. It's really amazing when you can just stand back and watch your SM stream light up with strangers promoting your app for you.

We also got a nice boost from App Advice as they included Marble Math in their Friday Apps Gone Free feature. They asked us to let the promo run an extra day to make sure everyone had a chance to download the app, so we extended the offer through Saturday.

So how did we do?

With over 75,000 apps in the Education category, it's getting harder and harder to make a dent in the Top 100 charts and I was expecting the resistance to Top 5 would be so great it would be virtually impenetrable.

Nevertheless, Top 5 was our target.

Marble Math peaked at #3 on the Education charts (yes, I was up at 5am Sat) with over 20k downloads on Friday.

In other words, we passed Mickey Mouse on the Education charts.

We added another 10k downloads on Sat.

Marble Math Rank Trend - the line marks the Friday promo

Marble Math Junior Rank Trend

Marble Math Multiplication Rank Trend

Even better, Marble Math pulled the rest of the Marble Math family up with it. Paid sales for Marble Math Junior went up considerably and downloads for our free Marble Math Lite: Multiplication also bounced.

Today ranks and sales are settling back to the usual Top 150 to 200 but still better than average for this time of year.

We asked for a jolt and that's exactly what we got.

Hopefully, we can ride this wave right into our Mystery Math Town launch in a few weeks.

Monday, March 11, 2013

App Marketing 101 - If You've Got It, Flaunt It

Our upcoming Educational app, Mystery Math Town, features a colorful cast of quirky townspeople created by our Aussie artist, Lis Cherry. 

Each of the 27 characters is represented in the game by a talking portrait (some are quite chatty) so I'm extremely fortunate to have a wealth of wonderful character-driven art to use in our promotional efforts.

With launch just 3-4 weeks away, I want to build interest in the game now.

It would be easy to just slap the portrait art about, plastering our SM channels with the characters as they appear in the game.

But we decided instead to reveal the characters in a unique series of time released virtual trading cards, on our Facebook page and Pinterest, and right here.

Collect them all!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

That New App Icon Smell

Feast your eyes upon the new App Store icon for our upcoming Educational app, Mystery Math Town for ages 6-10.

Now INHALE deeply...


Smells good, doesn’t it?
There’s nothing quite like the scent of a brand new app icon.

Every icon needs a flavor.
And with 75,000 Education apps in the App Store, your icon better be distinct.
And don’t forget, it needs to scale down to a quarter of the size of a postage stamp.

This presents what we in the biz call a design dilemma.
And we've been wrestling with it for over a week.

We went through a couple of iterations of possible designs, refining and focusing the options along the way, until we reached the final candidates.

After polling friends and loved ones, we used the power of Facebook to put the decision to a vote and declare a winner.

Here’s the runner up...

It’s nice and reads well at the smallest size, but it also feels kind of...generic.
Kind of like lots of other icons you’d see in the Education category.

We think Mystery Math Town is pretty special so the icon should intrigue App Store shoppers and entice them to find out more. And when they tap for more details, we’ll wow them with the screenshots.

And that’s all I’m gonna say right now.

That’s called a teaser.

My job right now is to give you information is small, tantalizing bits, so that by the time the app launches later this month, you can’t stand going another day without the game.

So hang in there, we’ve got a few more weeks of this.

* Update 3/14 - Check out the new icon after a good scrubbing