Czech cartoon characters conquer the cyber world

Famous cartoon characters from Czech Television’s bedtime stories for children called Večerníček have ventured into the cyber world. Thanks to a husband-and-wife IT team Josef Vosyka and his wife Šárka the cartoon characters have expanded far beyond Czech borders not just to entertain, but also to educate.

Rákosníček, Křemílek and Vochomůrka and Štaflík and Špagetka created by Czech cartoonist Zdeněk Smetana are among the most popular bedtime story characters with generations of Czech children. Now they have a new exiting role to play, having been selected to star in educative games for children developed for mac platforms. Josef Vosyka explains the initial idea.

“We had some games and the games were selling on the app store. And one day we thought – OK, we have nice graphics, but it would be great if we had a memory game to alternate and to find some new graphics for it. And we thought our kids are always watching cartoons on TV –so why not to use those. We did some research and found some cartoon characters by Zdeněk Smetana that we liked. We closed a contract, we got the license and created the game.”

Before Křemílek, Vochomůrka, Rákosníček and other Smetana cartoon characters arrived on the cyber scene, the Vosykas developed their first electronic game with hand-made decorative motives. This memory game - pexeso, has become the most downloaded game in several countries. Šárka Vosyková adds:

Šárka Vosyková,  photo: Czech Television
“Once we learned that the game was very popular, and as you heard it was top of the chart in best selling free applications in the United States and also in Germany, we thought if people like our memory game, why don’t we use famous Czech fairytale figures in it? After all Czech children know these figures well from the TV series Večerníček and would be happy to play with them in new platforms like Ipad and Iphone, so this was the intitial idea.”

Josef Vosyka developed his first application, a memory game, about 2 years ago. Since then he has worked on five more applications, focusing primarily on educational games. For example in the audio memory game children can learn colors, shapes, space orientation or simple math, all in 8 languages including Chinese or Japanese. There are over 600,000 games and applications for children available in the Apple store. What makes the Vosyka games different from the others?

“First of all, it has really nice graphics, we have hand-made drawings. Second – we have pretty nice animations. It’s not only card turning, we also have nice animation for card shuffling. We also have scores on-line. So once you achieve a certain score, you can submit it online and then you can see how you are doing with the others. Another nice feature is that we also have an audio memory game. You don’t match the pictures, but you have to match the sounds. Then you practice completely different brain cells. It’s nice brain practice.”

Innovative graphic design, an educational focus and a user-friendly layout –those are the main traits of the Vosyka games. Children between the age of 1,5 years and six can play with Štaflík, Špagetka or Rákosníček not only as games, but they can also develop their imagination with the jigsaw puzzle. Surprisingly, not only Czech or Slovak kids love the popular Večerníček cartoon characters.

“Applications like the memory game Z mechu a kapradí and the jigsaw puzzle with Rákosníček are available today in five countries - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Japan. We hope that people in Japan will like them, they certainly liked our hand drawn set of pexeso memorama concentration game and we know that Czech bedtime stories like Rákosníček a Křemílek and Vochomůrka are known in Japan and the kids like them. They are available on all three platforms, like ipad, iphone and mac computers.”

The Večerníček bedtime story characters, beloved by generations of Czech children, have found a way to reach a wider audience. Following the huge success of the cartoon character Krteček created by Zdeněk Miler, other Czech characters are expanding to the cyber world to entertain children around the globe. As Šárka Vosyková says, our generation grew up on Večerníček, and now it’s time to utilize the latest technology to pass it on.

“My wish is to take all these beautiful bedtime story characters from Večerníček created by our illustrators and animators and project them into cyber games so that children from all over the world can get to know them.”