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|MousePlanet at E3 Expo 2001 in Los Angeles - Part III|
Monsters roar and girlfriends giggle
In Part I of this series, we covered the introduction of games themed around Disney's Atlantis . Atlantis , however, was not all Disney Interactive (DI) had to offer. Several new titles are poised for release, but I got a sneak peek at what is to come.
DI's upcoming releases can be categorized into several groups, including action games, family entertainment, learning or "edutainment", and girl games. So, let's take a look at what's coming!
In case you haven't heard, the geniuses at Pixar (who brought us Toy Story and Bug's Life ) have yet another movie in the works. Due out November 2, Monsters, Inc. follows those scary monsters in your closet on their "night" job. In conjunction with Atlantis and Monsters, Inc. , Disney and Pixar are releasing two kids' PCgame titles, as well as PlayStation and PlayStation 2 offerings.
Geared for kids ages 4 through 8, the Monsters Inc. Junior Games includes 10 different activities that immerse you in the day-to-day life at Monsters Inc. A cute game, it should appeal to the target age, as well kids of any age.
The other half of the Monsters Inc. PC offering are the "Wreck" Room Arcade games. A combination of four titles, each game is sold separately. In the "Wreck" Room, you can play four different classic arcade games with a Monster's touch: pinball, bowling, billiards, and an exploration game. As an added bonus, if you collect all four games, you unlock a free fifth game: Monster Tag.
The Monsters Inc. PlayStation one title is a prequel to the movie that allows Mike or Sulley train to become the "Top Scarer" of the company. The PlayStation 2 title story runs in parallel to the movie as players work to scare kids throughout different levels.
To say that I'm excited about this next title is an understatement. Imagineering's Ultimate Ride isn't simply another roller coaster simulator. First, consider that this is the very first time Disney Imagineering has ever permitted the use of its name on a computer game. This is the first ever, photo-realistic, real-time 3-D simulation that allows you to design, customize, test, and ride your own roller coaster.
The image above is a screenshot from an earlier test version of the game, and one which does not do the game justice. The version being shown at the expo was closer to the final version, and although I didn't test the game out personally, it felt so real that just watching the monitor was enough to induce a bit of motion sickness. Launching the September, it is sure to be a hit!
When you think skateboarding and Disney characters, who comes to mind? I think Goofy, who is about as coordinated as I am, and probably just as funny to watch. Well, Goofy teams with his son Max to bring you Disney's Extremely Goofy Skateboarding . Geared to the younger crowd, this game is easier to master and has some fun antics.
The last offerings in the action games category are the new ESPN titles. Taking advantage of the ESPN name acquired as part of the ABC merger, Disney Interactive is launching several games built around the sports theme of ESPN. The first two use the ESPN X-Games name and offer action on skateboard and snowboard. Expect the first this fall. Other games to follow include golf, basketball, winter sports, and bass fishing.
In the family entertainment realm, two new Who Wants To Be A Millionaire titles are arriving. The first is the third edition of the popular game, now with an ability to download questions to keep the question pool fresh. The kids' version focuses on pop culture through the eyes of a 10-year-old. Even I couldn't answer most of the questions in this version, but your kids should definitely do well.
Disney Learning's "edutainment" offerings are expanding. For toddler, preschool, and kindergarten kids, the Winnie the Pooh Learning Series is being re-released with improved interactivity, as well as new language offerings that provide introductions to Spanish and French. Also for the preschool crowd, Rolie Polie Olie makes his debut in Playhouse Disney's Rolie Polie Olie . Kids team with Olie in an interactive environment where they develop creative skills using color and music, as well as problem solving, sharing, and cooperating with others.
With the introduction of Disney's Phonics Quest and Disney's Zoog Genius , the Learning titles are starting to skew to a little older audience. Disney's Phonics Quest features Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and is designed for kids ages 5 to 8 and helps them develop reading skills through Phonics-based principals. Disney's Zoog Genius is a learning quiz show for kids. The first titles focus on math, science, and technology, while the second title covers language arts, geography, and history.
The last few years have seen an explosion of girl-oriented games. Game developers have realized that most younger girls aren't as interested in explosion-based action games. To tap this lucrative market, Disney began creating the Girl Games line. Using the Disney princesses effectively, Disney Interactive is introducing two new titles.
Disney's Cinderella's Dollhouse is a magical place where every girl can use her imagination to decorate the dollhouse of her dreams, and play with Cinderella and her friends. From chateau to palace, little girls can try out decorating rooms with lavish combinations of furniture, fixtures and accessories. Unlimited surprise animations make decorating exciting, and with a sprinkle of pixie dust, animated characters from the movie come to life right before little girls' eyes!
Disney Girlfriends lets girls get connected with an interactive game experience that encourages them to communicate, explore, and create with great games to play alone or with friends. Girls can make their own personal scrapbook, design their own Web page, chat online with friends, and exchange personal calling cards. Nine activities in all, the title is hosted by Disney's princesses Jasmine, Belle, and Ariel, each of whom hosts a fun and exciting activity that coincides with each of their personalities. Disney Girlfriends is the first safe, self-contained Internet product geared to help girls get connected. Full parental controls are included to ensure that you know exactly what your young princess is up to.
There's a lot coming up in the next year from Disney Interactive. The best thing I am seeing are the balance of titles. There is something for every audience, with some highly innovative offerings.
Monsters, Inc. Junior Games
Monsters, Inc. Wreck" Room Arcade
Imagineering's Ultimate Ride
Exxtremely Goofy Skateboarding
ESPN X-Games Skateboarding
ESPN X-Games Snowboarding
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 3rd Edition
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Kids Edition
Winnie the Pooh Learning Series
Rolie Polie Olie
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