“Fun and simplicity win the day with this app. The sound is well executed and makes both adults and children smile. The combination of manual play with prearranged compositions is compelling and stands up well to repeated use.” —juror Nathan Moody
“One of the better kids games out there.” —juror Harold Jones
Overview: Melody Jams lets kids direct a jam band of their very own with fun animated characters and recorded music tracks. By selecting a musician to drag onto the stage, users can mix and match different tracks and instruments to compose unique songs. Best of all, there’s an option to jam along with songs, using the app’s built-in instruments—including a drum set, a keyboard and a xylophone—that utilize a tablet or mobile device’s touchscreen.
•Arbitrary created Melody Jams with the programming languages Swift and Objective-C and Apple’s SpriteKit framework.
•The app has received more than 400,000 downloads from around the world.
•Melody Jams took about a year to complete.
Captions supplied by James Bartley and Jamie Kosoy:
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Our team was remotely scattered around the world. We never actually met in person until after launch. Animation and music were handled in New York, whereas code was largely centered in San Francisco and Germany. We had to learn how to show each other progress and collaborate closely in spite of the enormous geographic distance between us.”
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “Melody Jams has three levels that we refer to as ‘jams.’ Each jam features a set of adorable monster musicians that can be dragged from the bottom of the screen onto the stage. Each jam has a different theme to it. For example, our Mars Disco jam has a futuristic feel, with each monster dressed in jetpacks and space suits. Kids can also tap a button to switch to playing a variety of different instruments related to that jam—a xylophone, a keyboard and so on.”
What was the response? “The response has blown our minds. As this was our first collaboration together and a bit of a side project, we felt excited just completing it and getting it out into the world. Since Melody Jams launched in April 2016, Apple has featured us internationally; we were reviewed by The Washington Post; and we were the number one kids app in markets from Vietnam to Poland. Best of all, we’ve seen videos posted online from kids around the world playing with our app. It’s amazing.”