Kinect, whilst it may not be a hit with the hardcore gamers across the globe – it sure does provide a fun and genius way for kids to interact with games through gesture and motion control, but now thanks to Microsoft, a new interactive 2-way TV experience is possible.
Both Kinect Sesame Street TV and Kinect Nat Geo TV has been released into retail stores where through the magic of Kinect, a series of both shows come alive. This allows you to interact with real episodes and make it a learning experience combined. It’s a great idea, and in theory it does work really well. Despite being an early thirties male shouting “picture” at the screen every time Sesame Street displayed a ruler image, and having to jump up and down to the Alphabet – I could actually imagine how much fun this would have been if I were a young child. Being able to watch something you enjoy, learn from it and then interact with it would seem like some kind of magic.
The 2-way TV experience with Kinect means that it’s neither a game nor a TV show, but more like a training DVD. If you don’t want to participate in any of the interactive elements with both shows then you can just sit down and watch them – otherwise you do exactly as the on-screen presentation says to get yourself involved. Sesame Street TV, titled “Season 1” which does suggest more in the making, comes alive over two disc’s – Volume 1 is a learning experience about growing up from a childs point of view, and Volume 2 is a basic science experience. Kids will get to play and learn with Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, and a whole range of other characters known from the series.
Kinect Sesame Street TV will use the sensor to always keep an eye on you – this includes placing you directly into Elmo’s world where it replicates you on screen (inside a mirror) and has you involved with the environments. It does take snapshot images and short clips that will be shown in galleries after each interactive showing. You’ll also be asked to throw balls, count, jump up and down as well as point and shout at objects as they appear on screen. The great concept with 2-way TV experiences is that it is as if the on-screen character is reacting directly to your own responses, so your young kids will truly be amazed. When they throw a ball back, the on-screen character responds on perfect timing…
All in all with Kinect Sesame Street TV there are eight 2-way TV Experience shows to get involved with and each lasting around 30 minutes. If you’re buying Kinect Sesame Street TV brand new you will get included in the box a 12-month season pass that includes access to thousands of Sesame Street clips, music and video’s after downloading a required Xbox 360 App.
Now with Kinect Nat Geo TV, this pairs you up with host Casey Anderson and his 800-pound grizzly bear named Brutus. This series not only takes you through a learning tour of Yellowstone National Park and Alaska, but with the magic of Kinect once again – you are transformed into a bear (on screen) and it’s kinda cool regardless of age! The difference between Sesame Street and Nat Geo TV is that where the former is designed for kid, Nat Geo is set up in metro style and aimed for the older kids pre-teen. You’ll start by learning about the bond between Casey and Brutus, as well as some introduction scenes showcasing Brutus as he developed from Cub to Bear.
As with Kinect Sesame Street, Nat Geo TV also features eight 30 minute 2-way TV experience shows where you have optional involvement to take part or just watch and learn. This interactive experience features quizzes, mini-games and varied sidetrack activities all related to wildlife where the Kinect sensor will place you on-screen donning your best grizzly bear (or Owl) suit as part of the fun. Nat Geo TV has the aim of allowing kids to develop naturalist skills, learn about the environment and get to know wild animals. It encourages families to play and learn together as it “turns living rooms into forests and transforms kids into animals” using Go WILD role-play games. It features many videos of animals in their living habitat – including their eating habits which may show scenes with some blood in them, so this title does have an older age rating (Pegi 7) compared to Sesame Streets (Pegi 3) rating.
Unlike traditional games, a 2-way TV experience features Achievements that unlock only after participation after each episode from either Sesame Street TV or Nat Geo TV has ended. Both Kinect experiences come complete with a 12-month season pass to access even more episodes and learning experiences online. Just to clarify since this a doubled up review – Kinect Sesame Street TV, and Kinect Nat Geo TV are both two individual titles available in stores now (not one package). Both titles are inspirational to kids and teach them how to learn in a unique way that is aimed at engaging them to ensure they remember what they have learned. Rather than just watch, kids can get involved and take part in role play activities that makes learning more fun.
As an entry into the 2-way TV experience, both Kinect Sesame Street and Kinect Geo TV are two great titles that will undoubtedly bring hours of entertainment to your kids where they will learn something new and additionally be occupied for months on end with downloadable content in the Season Passes. Using gestures, motion control and the camera to place you directly into some of the scenes this is a genius way of getting kids ‘hooked’ into education.
If you have kids under 10, own an Xbox 360 console with Kinect – then this is two must have titles that can be enjoyed together as a family.