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LeapPad was one of the learning toys released in 1999.

Product Overall

The LeapPad Learning System is an educational device whose product is intended for use in conjunction with books and cartridges designed for it, which include the original LeapFrog characters (which their own titles have been used as the "Alphaville Learning Adventures", and uses the branded characters: Leap, Lily, Tad, Mrs. Frog, Mr. Frog, Grandpa Frog, Casey, Della, Dan, Parker, Tim, Dot, Edison, Professor Quigley, Mr. Websley and more) and popular TV program and movie characters (e.g. The Cat in the Hat, SpongeBob SquarePants, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Dora the Explorer and numerous Disney/Playhouse Disney characters to name a few examples).

Production

It was developed by a team from Explore Technologies, Inc. acquired by LeapFrog in July 1998. It uses the same patented "NearTouch" technology developed for the Explore Technologies Odyssey Atlasphere. Investigation and development was started in December 1997. Its former title was called "The Book Wizard", but it got changed to the popular name of LeapPad.

Design

It is a reader which looks like a large lap-desk but is attached with a pen.

Technology of the LeapPad

The LeapPad features a device called "The Magical Pen" which allows stories to come to life. The audio hardware includes CELP Compression and the MIDI on-chip synth called The Leap-font Wavetable Synthesis.

Directions And Use

To use the LeapPad, the player touches the power button and begins play. He or she can touch the green “GO” circle to start the fun, or stop the play with a stop sign. If desired, he or she can also read the story to themselves, and use the pen to point at a word they are unsure of to receive help from the "offscreen narrator", who in fact is called the LeapPad Storyteller (mostly a male starting from 1999; sometimes a female). He or she can touch the ear/speech bubble to hear the pages read out loud.

There may be different icons to play a game; The games are designed to not only enhance the enjoyment of the story, but to sharpen key skills such as letter and number recognition, following directions, logic, memory, and so on. 

When the illustrations are touched with the pen, character dialogues as well as brief sounds and music will make himself/herself known and directed towards the player. 

There is also a music note to sing a song and hear some music.

To preserve battery life, the LeapPad says "Bye bye!" and automatically turns OFF after several minutes of inactivity. If it is not used after turning the unit ON, the LeapPad automatically turns OFF after 30 seconds.

The LeapPad will also auto power off when the batteries are very low. When the player hears a horn loudly honking like a clown car, followed by "Time to change your batteries! You need 4 new AA/Double A/LR6 batteries.", the player can change new batteries right away. This message sometimes alters between games.

Ratings

It is extremely popular as an educational system, with an average rating on Amazon.com of 4.3/5 and well over 400 reviews.

Age Appropriateness

It is rated for ages 4-8, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Models

It is available in a number of alternate models, including the LeapPad Pro, LeapPad Plus Writing, LeapPad Plus Microphone, My First LeapPad, LeapPad Plus Writing and Microphone, and Quantum LeapPad.

It contains four double A batteries.

Replacements

The LeapPad has since been supplanted by The Tag System, a iPad version of it, and LeapStart - a device that is similar to it, but remains generally available for purchase.

Credits

Developers and Manufacturers
Jim Marggraff
Mike Wood
Michelle Bushneff
Larry Lynch

Advisors
Sarina Simon
Ann Earp
Jane Glicksman
Robin Loerch
Dr. Robert Calfee

Book Design/Production
Bumpy Slide
ess d & d
Sheena Needham

Software and Cartridges
Dave Conroy
Tom Musolf
Ron Helstad
Sheri Brooks
Brenda Noyes
Bill Winterberg
Peter Milford
Tracy Bialik
Tim Duncan
Richard Marriott

Hardware
Mark Flowers

User Testing
Lynn Rosener

Leap-Font Wavetable Synthesis Onboard Instruments Hardware
Brad Fuller
Richard Marriot

Music, Underscore, Song Arrangements
Jeanne Parson
Jay Cloidt
Brad Fuller
Gary Schwantes
Jon Herbst
Judy Munsen
Richard Marriott
Paul Newell
Mitch Brink
Andy Belling
Mary Ekler
Matthew McGuire
Louis Cortelezzi
Ralph Schuckett
Ferris Ellen Gluck
Craig Dobbin
Brian Mann
Paul Heistch
Stephen Lam

Sound Effects
Judy Munsen
Jon Herbst
Leigh Anne Gillespie
Baxter Robertson

Songs by
Jeanne Parson
Judy Munsen
Brad Fuller
Gunnar Madsen
Sandy Sherman
Fran Avni
Bevin Blectum
Chris Daddio
Matthew M. Huesmann
Craig Dobbin
Brian Mann
Stephen Lam
Don MacMannis, PhD

Original production musicians
Jeanne Parson
Jon Herbst
Andy Belling
Stephen Lam
Paul Heistch
Brian Mann
Craig Dobbin
Christopher Cross
Del Franklin
Mike Miller
Rob Meurer
Ron Cobb
David West
Tom Ball
Chas Thompson
Craig Wood
Dan Zimmerman

Music and sounds (c) 1999-2007 Knowledge Kids Enterprises and Rounder Records, inc

Voice Talents
Most voice talents have been voices for 2 years, 3 years or more than that, while some do only one-time voices or substitutes, when one talent may be out for unknown reasons (e.g. sick for one day).

Original USA Voice Cast
1999-2003:
Zachary Schuman
Kelsey Lally
Blake Marggraff
Anna Marggraff
Ron Seawright
Christiane Crawford
Michael Mendelsohn
Bob Ayres
Isabella Marriott
Ali Samuel
Janie Escalle
Meagan Smith
Richard "Andy" Fruchterman
Peter Kappen
William Blair Boren
Hannah Boren
Hayli Boren
Al Mathey
Julianne Giusti
Danny Lee Walker
Richard Streeter
Charles Martinet
Kathleen Barr
Hynden Walch
Grant Rosenmeyer
Patrick Stogner
Carmen Oakley
Lauren Burcham
Michelle Huang
Marty Gay
Gerald Canonico
Richard Sullivan
Deanna Mustard
Tiffany Anne Evins
Jen Taylor

2001-2003:
Julie Stevens
Desiree Bogas
Fran Avni
Joy Burnworth
Joe Retta
Amy X. Neuberg
Katy Stephan
Angelina Marriott
Britt McKillip
Tosha Schmidt
Vita Romano
Katy Vaughn
Alessandro Juliani
Steve Marvel
Christopher Gaze
Kyle McDonald
Richard White
Ming Na
Kerry Williams
Alexis Kalehoff
Liza J. Kaplan
Ted Lewis
Gunnar Madsen
Cassandra Morris
Kelly Ray
Veronica Taylor
Eric Stuart
Red Steagall
Kirstin Candy
Michelle Lawyer
Kathryn Ish
Leslie Lembo

Late 2001-2004:
Pamela Adlon Segall
Lana Whittington
Nicole Rapp
Nika Futterman
Kayzie Rogers
Cristina Milizia
Anne Marie Nestor
Kether Donohue
Max Tuma
Jenell Slack
Jim Kuklinski
Ami Hines
Jasmine Woods
Jessica and Josephine Moore
Kathleen Herles
Roger Rose
Ogie Banks III
Keeley and Myranda Alexander (The Alexander Sisters)
Dave Fennoy
Emily Sullivan
Melissa Caldretti
Grey Griffin
Sean Thies
Randy Crenshaw
Sean MacMannis
Susie Stevens Logan
Kirk Taylor
Jose Zelaya
Naelee Rae
Christiana Anbri
Nash Bates
Lucy Becker
Havana Caso-Dosembet
Johnny Cenicola
Harrison Chad
Paulina Dahan
Patrick Duffey
Samantha Harnoff
Ashley Rose Orr
Stephen Scarpulla

Mid 2002-Late 2005:
Candi Milo
Sandy Fox
Debi Derryberry
Tom Kenny
Billy West
Jim Cummings
Jodi Benson
Kevin Schon
Joe Alaskey
Cheryl Chase
Cindy Robinson
Sheera Wells
Andy Hartford
Brian Drummond
Kelsey Grammer
Antoinette Blanchard
Michael Donovan
Sam Kelly
Irene Trapp
Gina Ribisi (sub)
Andrea Libman (sub)
Amy Rubinate (sub)
Jennifer Blood
James Carter Cathcart
Suzanne Goldish
Wayne Grayson
Dan Green
Jason Griffith
Carrie Keranen
Jim "Nappy" Napolitano
Anthony Salerno
Erica Schroeder
Michael Sinterniklaas
Marc Thompson
Tom Wayland
Oliver Wyman
Eve Whittle
Donna Grace Caldwell

Late 2005-2007:
Kate Higgins
Julie Maddalena
Doug Boyd
Sheila Rose

The Children's Chorus Song Vocals (2001-mid 2005)
Christiana Anbri
Nash Bates
Lucy Becker
Havana Caso-Dosembet
Johnny Cenicola
Harrison Chad
Paulina Dahan
Patrick Duffey
Samantha Harnoff
Ashley Rose Orr
Stephen Scarpulla
Philip Trencher
Tiffany Anne Evins
Grant Rosenmeyer
Jenell Slack
Patrick Stogner
Jim Kuklinski
Kathleen Herles
Ami Hines
Carmen Oakley
Keeley and Miranda Alexander
Jessica and Josephine Moore
Lauren Burcham
Emily Sullivan
Gerald Canonico
Marty Gay
Max Tuma
Aisha Shickler
Tosha Schmidt

UK-Dubbed Voice Cast
Susan Sheridan
Emma Tate
Harrison Oldroyd (from 2003-06)
Mae Wright
Julia Moss
Jeff Rawle
George Woolford
Theo Smith
Jeremy Douet
Hazel and Daisy Rudd
Zoë Baker (from 2004-08)
Oliver May (from 2004-07)
Megan Hall (from 2003-07)
Mike Grady
Nicolette McKenzie
David Graham
Frances White
Penni Tovey
Michael Offei
Eve Karpf
Josie Lawrence
Taig McNab

UK-Dubbed Children's Chorus Song Vocals
Queen Eleanor's Junior School Choir

Narrators
1999-2001: Jim Marggraff
1999: Whoopi Goldberg
2001-03: Christiane Crawford
2001-03: Julie Stevens
2002-03: Michael Mendelsohn
2002-05: Robin Smith
UK version: David Bamber, Morwenna Banks

Voice Casting and Voice Director/Coach
Jim Marggraff (USA)
Stephen Lam (USA)
Brad Fuller (USA)
Julie Stevens (USA)
David Peacock (UK)

Special Thank You
Mike Wood
The Tape Gallery (UK)
All the folks at LeapFrog who made it possible

(c) 1999-2007 LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.

Book List

Main article: List of LeapPad Books

LeapPad Models List

Main article: LeapPad Models

LeapPad Variations List

Main article: List of LeapPad Variations

Trivia

  • When the LeapPad thinks a cartridge is not compatible, it says "Whoops! That's not a LeapPad cartridge!".
  • When the cartridge is taken out when it is turned on, sometimes it will cut out, make gurgling sounds, a high pitched noise, or a Soundfont dump.
  • The speakers in these units are 57mm paper cone speakers, rated for 16 ohms and 0.25 watts.
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