Microsoft recently invited me to a preview of one of their new Xbox 360 games – Kinect Sesame Street TV – that really does seem to bridge the gap between linear television and console gaming in a seamless way – using, of course, the Kinect in some surprising ways.
There are eight “episodes” of Sesame Street on the disc, with another 8 available online via Xbox Live – as well as 4000+ vintage Sesame Street clips, which should keep most “adults” entertained for a few minutes …
It kicks off with an introduction from a new Muppet who invites you to stand in front of the “mirror” on the TV screen – quite a nifty feature this, as the Muppet then changes clothes to wear a T-shirt the same colour as the clothes you’re wearing.
Then follows a various selection of features with the Muppets – some with Elmo, some with new characters, some with people filmed on the bustling streets of New York – where they invite you to do the action of the day, whether it’s “throwing” at the TV, or jumping. As an adult, it feels a bit weird to be throwing nothing at the TV screen, but who knows, maybe the kids of today will take to it like a duck to water. And fortunately, if your kid is feeling like a couch potato and doesn’t want to interact, the system will accept that after a while and carry on as if nothing had happened.
There are also similar counting games with lovable Grover – although it’s odd to see him with legs! – and letter games with the Cookie Monster, possibly the only Muppet to contribute a phrase to the Internet lexicon.
Overall, it seems to be an interesting edutainment twist on your standard Xbox 360 game and I look forward to testing it out with my son to see how he takes to it. Maybe he’ll actually learn a number…
(* a hearty slap on the back if you can spot the movie quote)