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Tot tech: How low can they go?

The KAGOY (Kids Are Getting Older Younger) principle is making its presence known in every sector of the kids entertainment biz, and software is no exception. Shadowing their older siblings' play habits, preschool-aged kids are increasingly turning to console games to...
May 1, 2000

The KAGOY (Kids Are Getting Older Younger) principle is making its presence known in every sector of the kids entertainment biz, and software is no exception. Shadowing their older siblings’ play habits, preschool-aged kids are increasingly turning to console games to get their digital kicks.

To keep up with this industry trend, many gamecos targeting tots are turning away from PC development, focusing instead on making younger-skewing arcade-ish titles for vid game platforms.

NewKidCo, a company that has been producing console games for preschoolers for a few years, is taking KAGOY one step further by trickling individual kid trends down to tot-targeted game titles. This year, the New York-based software producer is introducing a licensed Sesame Street vid game title that taps into the burgeoning popularity of extreme sports like skateboarding and rollerblading. Designed for the PlayStation and Game Boy Color platforms, The ‘S’ Games lets kids ages three to six participate in six sporting events hosted by Big Bird. In addition to in-line skating with Elmo and shooting the rapids with Ernie in his bathtub, wee gamers will get to interview their favorite Sesame Street athletes. Hitting stores this October, the PlayStation version will carry a price tag of US$39, while the Game Boy title will be US$24.99.

Also slated for unveiling at E3 are two NewKidCo vid game titles based on PBS’s newest kids TV hit Dragon Tales. Targeting the same three to six demo, Dragon Seek for PlayStation (US$39) lets kids search Dragon Land for missing members of the Dragon Tales crew, guided through four difficulty levels by lead dragon Quetzal. In To Fly With Dragons for Game Boy Color (US$29), players attend Quetzal’s ‘School in the Sky’ flight academy, learning how to hover and carry objects at the same time in order to become a full-fledged dragon. Both games are slated for an October 2000 retail debut.

Although traditionally a PC software producer for the younger kids market, Knowledge Adventure has also begun branching out into console development to reach today’s technologically precocious preschoolers. The company is bringing the Teletubbies to PlayStation in Q3 with Play With the Teletubbies, a US$20 title that lets tots ages two to four explore the magical world of the Teletubbyland. Youngsters will accompany one of the `tubbies through a range of 11 whimsical games and activities that include nursery rhymes and video shows. Focusing on object discovery and environment exploration, the title’s designed to give tots a basic familiarity with computer manipulation.

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