Taro at the Center of the Earth

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The Taro at the Center of the Earth iPad application is a digitized version of the popular Finnish childrens’ author Timo Parvela’s first book about the character Taro (2010). The story is about a little boy and a bear’s journey to the center of the Earth, and is delightfully illustrated by Jussi Kaakinen. Taro makes use of point-and-click adventure game conventions to create an experience which is still quite close to a print book, but it manages to evoke more of a sense of exploring a fictional space than turning print pages by its unusual use of the spatial screen space. The individual panes follow each other either seamlessly in horizontal or vertical directions, depending on the movements of Taro and his bear friend, so there is no strong division between parts of the work, as is the case with book pages. The scrolling illustrations, which are only partially under the user’s control, help the user to identify with Taro in his exciting adventure, perhaps allowing for a tighter experience of emotion and immersion in the story.

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Hannah Ackermans