- Disney Interactive of Burbank, California, is making the first completely computer-animated feature film interactive with this month’s launch of Disney’s Animated StoryBook, Toy Story.
The title follows the story of the movie, and features all of its well-known characters, as well as the original voices of Hamm, Mr. Potato Head, Bo Peep, Slinky Dog and Rex. Children four to nine can participate in four games, and in activities on each of the 15 story screens. Pixar Animation Studios, the computer animation company behind the movie, is the developer.
The Macintosh and PC compatible product becomes available in the U.S. by the end of the month, with the Canadian release to follow in early May.
- Microforum of Toronto is introducing a slew of products this month for kids five and older, all of which are designed to encourage creativity. Entering the children’s area is a new step for the company.
In Jungle Kids, children can create animated movies using built-in 3-D backgrounds and cartoon jungle animals. Players can manipulate the images on the screen with distorting, scaling and drawing tools. The Adventures of Busy Billy invites kids to explore Busy Billy’s world and bring the animals, plants and trees they see along the way to life. Make Me a World challenges players to invent a world complete with people, animals, cars, homes and stores. Let’s Draw, aimed at an audience 10-plus, allows users to design caricatures.
All are for use on a PC, and are being sold in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the U.S. and Canada. Microforum collaborated with companies based in Canada and Israel to develop the titles.
- Creative Wonders of San Mateo, California, is bringing out a second title featuring Madeline, the well-known French girl from books and a television series, with the release of Madeline: Thinking Games at the start of this month. The company is the property’s exclusive multimedia licensee.
Targeted to children, particularly girls, five and older, the title offers 11 activities to improve thinking skills, from a memory and matching game to French and Spanish vocabulary lessons, and three skill levels.
The product is available for Macintosh and Windows. It is kicking off in the U.S., Canada and Australia, and Japan and some European countries have expressed interest.
A third title, Madeline’s European Adventure, is planned for October.
- Saban Interactive of Los Angeles plans to support its new Power Rangers Zeo television series (see page 4) with the launch of two educational titles before the end of July.
Power Rangers Zeo PowerActive Math takes children four to 12 through various math problem-solving exercises. Power Rangers Zeo PowerActive Words focuses on spelling, definition, letter recognition, phonics, alphabetization and word association. Parents can customize the level of difficulty and check a built-in scorecard to assess their children’s progress.
Novotrade of San Jose, California, is developing the titles, and Saban will handle distribution. The products will be available first for Windows and Mac in the U.S. only, but the company is looking to expand distribution abroad.
- Discovery Channel Multimedia of Bethesda, Maryland, puts players 12-plus in a test to save the universe by discovering the hidden links in history in Connections, released last month.
Like the half-hour Connections2 television program that airs three times a week on The Learning Channel, the puzzle/adventure game is hosted by James Burke. The title features footage from the show.
SOME Interactive of San Francisco developed the two-disc pack, which is available for Mac and Windows in the U.S. and Canada. The title will come out overseas by summer.