Tap Fish Dealer

  • Aired:  12/08/11
  •  | Views: 89,891

Aasif Mandvi interviews a family that learned an expensive lesson about bringing fish back to life. (4:45)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

THE iPHONE, THE iPAD, THEY

SEEM LIKE THE PERFECT

BABY-SITTERS.

ECONOMICAL, ALWAYS AVAILABLE

AND YOU CAN'T HAVE AN AFFAIR

WITH THEM.

(LAUGHTER)

BUT DID YOU KNOW THEY COULD

ACTUALLY COST YOU MUCH MORE

THAN A REAL BABY-SITTER?

AASIF MANDVI HAS MORE.

>> VIDEO GAMES.

FOR YEARS THEY'VE COME UNDER

FIRE FOREIGN COURAGING

VIOLENCE, PERPETUATING

ETHNIC STEREOTYPES, AND

INSPIRING THE FAULTY BELIEF

THAT IF YOU GET STUCK BEHIND

A CAR FOR A FEW SECONDS YOUR

HEAD WILL REPAIR ITSELF.

BUT A NEW ERA OF GAMES HAVE

ARRIVED THAT ARE GOOD FOR

KIDS.

>> OUR MOST POPULAR GAME IS

CALLED TAP FISH.

IT IS A VIRTUAL AQUARIUM.

AND YOU HAVE TO GO IN AND

FEED YOUR LITTLE VIRTUAL

FISH WITH VIRTUAL FISH FOOD.

>> AND GAME MAKERS ADDED A

VALUABLE TWIST THAT PARENTS

LOVE.

>> TRADITIONALLY YOU HAD TO

GO TO THE STORE AND BUY A

$60 CARTRIDGE IN ORDER TO

PLAY.

THIS NEW MODEL YOU CAN PLAY

GAMES FOR FREE.

>> WOW, FREE.

WHICH EXPLAINS WHY TAP FISH

HAS BEEN DOWNLOADED 20

MILLION TIMES.

>> GAMES LIKE TAP FISH ARE

VALUABLE TO CHILDREN BECAUSE

THEY HAVE TO GO IN AND TAKE

CARE OF THE FISH, IF THEY

DON'T, THE FISH WILL DIE.

AND THEN ONCE THEY DIE,

THAT'S IT.

WITH A VIRTUAL FISH TANK YOU

CAN REVIVE FISH.

BUT IT COST MONEY TO REVIVE

THE FISH.

SO THAT'S A GOOD LESSON FOR

KIDS.

IF YOU KILL SOMETHING, YOU

CAN THROW MONEY AT IT, TO

BRING IT BACK TO LIFE.

>> WELL, THAT'S HOW THE GAME

WORKS.

>> OH SO, IT TURNS OUT THESE

GAMES ARE FREE UNTIL YOU

DON'T WANT THEM TO SUCK.

AT WHICH POINT KIDS CAN

SIMPLY PUSH THIS BUTTON AND

INSTANTLY CHARGE $100 WORTH

OF BETTER FISH TO AN iTUNES

ACCOUNT AND NOBODY HAD A

BETTER AQUARIUM THAN THE

BETTER RAM KIDS OF MOUNT

PELLIER, VERMONT.

>> I WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION

TO THEM PLAYING A FREE GAME

LIKE THIS AND NEXT THING I

KNOW THEY SPENT OVER $1500

BUCKS FOR CRAP DIGITAL

FISHIES.

>> YOU SPENT OVER A THOUSAND

DOLLARS PLAYING TAP FISH?

>> THAT WAS ALL HE HAD.

>> ACTUALLY, I MIGHT HAVE

GONE OVER --

>> SO YOU MAXED OUT THE

CREDIT CARD.

>> IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED?

YEAH.

>> Reporter: EVEN THOUGH AN

INTERVENTION HAS BEEN STAGED

FOR THESE KIDS, TAP FISH IS

STILL PULLING IN A MILLION

DOLLARS A MONTH.

>> YOU PROVIDE A PRODUCT,

THE FIRST ONE IS FREE.

AND THEN AS THEY GET MORE

ACCUSTOMED TO YOUR PRODUCT,

THE PRICE RISES.

>> YES.

>> SO YOU ARE A DRUG DEALER.

>> NO, WE'RE NOT LIKE A DRUG

DEALER.

I MEAN WE'VE HAD MANY

PARENTS E-MAIL US, TELL US

THAT THIS GAME IS TEACHING

THEIR KIDS RESPONSIBILITY.

WE ACTUALLY SPOKE TO A

PARENT WHOSE KID LOVES YOUR

GAME.

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TALK

TO HIM ON THE PHONE?

>> WOULD I BE WILLING TO

TALK TO HIM ON THE PHONE.

>> TALK TO HIM ON THE PHONE,

RIGHT NOW.

>> WE-- I WOULD RATHER

HANDLE THESE THINGS VIA

E-MAIL.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT, BUT THIS

PARENT JUST WANTS TO LIKE

TALK TO YOU.

HOLD ON, I'M GOING TO PUT

YOU-- MICHAEL?

>> YES.

>> HI.

OKAY, SO ARE YOU ON WITH THE

C.E.O. OF TAP FISH.

>> YOU PEOPLE SHOULD BE

ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.

I THINK IT IS OUTRAGEOUS.

>> AND OVER THE COURSE OF

THE NEXT 20 MINUTES THEY

NEVER DID EXCHANGE E-MAILS.

>> DO THESE GAMES TARGET

KIDS?

>> I WOULDN'T SAY WE

NECESSARILY TARGET KIDS.

>> YOU CAN STILL PLAY OUR

GAMES FOR FREE.

THAT'S THE IMPORTANT PART.

>> TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE,

YOU KNOW-- AND THEN --

>> KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU

THINK.

>> ARE THEY?

>> CHILDREN'S BRAINS ARE NOT

YET FULLY DEVELOPED.

THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX OF THE

BRAIN THAT CONTROLS IMPULSES,

IT DOESN'T FULLY DEVELOP

UNTIL WE ARE IN OUR LATE

20s.

THEY ARE VERY DRAWN TO

ANYTHING THAT MOVES.

ANYTHING THAT IS COLOURFUL,

IF YOU THREATEN DEATH OF

ANIMALS, FOR INSTANCE, KIDS

ARE GOING TO BE EMOTIONALLY

INVESTED IN THAT AND NOT

WANT IT TO HAPPEN.

>> ARE THERE ANY OTHER

MENTAL DEFICIENCIES IN

CHILDREN THAT WE CAN PROFIT

FROM?

>> I MEAN THEY ARE LEARNING

RESPONSIBILITY.

IF YOU DON'T TAKE CARE OF

THINGS, THEY GET DIRTY,

MESSY, OR THE FISH DIES.

>> AND BECAUSE KIDS HAVE AN

UNDERDEVELOPED FRONTAL

CORTEX, THEY WANT TO KEEP

LEARNING HOW TO TAKE CARE OF

FISH, RIGHT?

>> KID DOES LIKE TO LEARN,

THAT'S TRUE.

>> THEY SURE DO.

>> IF THERE WAS A GAME

CALLED MAX OUT YOUR DAD'S

CREDIT CARD, WE WOULD HAVE

WON.

>> AND THANKS TO MY COUSIN

IN BANGALORE, NOW THERE'S AN

APP FOR THAT.

>> YOU'RE MAXED OUT!

>>

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