I discovered the TV show Phineas and Ferb earlier this year, I’m a bit late coming in as it was first broadcasted on the Disney Channel in 2007 and ended in 2015. It was created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. They have experience working together on other shows like SpongeBob Squarepants.
The show has been described as a musical comedy, which I find to be very true. The plot of the show follows two step-brothers Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher during summer vacation. Instead of staying inside, every day the boys decided to create or do something wildly inventive. These events always annoy their sister Candace, and she spends most of every episode trying to “bust” her brothers by revealing their shenanigans to their mother or father. The subplot of every episode follows Perry the Platypus, their pet, who is actually a spy for OWCA (The Organization Without a Cool Acronym) as he fights Dr. Doofenshmirtz, a mad scientist who tries to take over the world with one of his “inator” inventions. Perry always beats him, and those events inevitably lead to the destruction or disappearance of the boys’ inventions before Candace can show it to their mom.
Parents on Common sense media rate the show has being appropriate for children ages 5+. It also gets points for having positive message and positive role models. The show is very age appropriate and the plot never wanders into the realm of “should my child really be watching this?”. It has a wonderful sense of humor and has a very repetitive and linear narrative. Every episode uses on running gags to drive the plot like; some event giving Phineas an idea for a project, and he announces, “Hey Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today!”, the fact that Ferb rarely talks, and Doofenshmirtz, beaten again, crying out “Curse you, Perry the Platypus!”
The show has also been nominated for several different awards, one of which was a Emmy award that it won for “Outstanding Writing in Animation.” It has also been noted for its music which ranges to everything from classical to rock. The Seattle Times wrote that the story of the show was “valiant” and that the main characters of Phineas and Ferb were “young heroes.” Video librarian has also reviewed 5 of the video collections that have released positively (all of the ones located on their site). The show paints a blended family in a very positive light, and urges children to get out and do things during summer vacation. The characters genuinely care for each other.
The show does have a high commercial interest, as it is a Disney product. It has been reproduced into books, toys, and games.
The game Minecraft has been around for a while now, but its growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Many adults have heard the name, even if they have never played it. Not originally geared towards children, Minecraft was created in 2009 by Swedish game designer Marcus “Notch” Persson. He created a fairly simplistic game where players build creations out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. One of the reasons Minecraft has endured so long is its opened ended gameplay. There is no end, a person can keep playing until their imagination runs dry. The main goals in the game are to explore, gather resources, craft tools and objects, and to build.
Another aspect of the game is combat, however that is not true for every game. Minecraft has several different game modes a player can choose: Creative, Survival, hardcore, Adventure, and Spectator, and all of these can be applied to a multiplayer server where a player can collaborate with other players.
In creative mode a player has an infinite number of every kind of block as well as being free of a hunger and health bar. The world becomes a great big sandbox for the player to build in. The only limit that a player has is their own creativity.
In survival mode players have to gather resources in order craft blocks. An example is having to collect wood from trees in order to make planks. In this mode a players has a health and hunger bar. In order to stay alive a player has to make sure they feed themselves as well as staying away from dangerous creatures (called mobs) like creepers and skeletons who want to harm them. There is also a “Peaceful” difficulty in this mode that allows a player to gather and build without having to worry about the hunger and hostile mobs.
Parents on Common Sense Media rate this game appropriate for children ages 8 and up. They also give the game an A+ with a 5 out of 5 for educational value. Currently the cost of a desktop version is $26.95. Console version vary in price, but most of them cost $19.99. There are mobile versions of the game as well.
The game in itself does not have any major negative qualities besides some violence (which is optional). However, as with any multiplayer game, a parent will need to watch their children if they plan on playing on a server with other people. Not only children play this game, adults do too.
Minecraft comes from a background where there was no advertising for the game, but because of its popularity, there is now a huge commercial force backing it up. Books, toys, and even spin off games have popped up since its invention.
Many people also think that this game has a great potential for being educational for children. In a School Library Journal article by John Blyberg he talks about how a sanctuary has been formed by the game allowing young people to collaborate and communicate with each other.
Blyberg, John. “Our Public Library minecraft Community.” School Library Journal (2015). Electronic source .
“Minecraft.” n.d. Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews/minecraft.
“Phineas and Ferb.” n.d. Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/phineas-and-ferb.
Video Librarian plus. n.d. http://www.videolibrarian.com.