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Video Game of the Week – Kinect Nat Geo TV

This week marks another step in the evolution of video gaming with Microsoft’s release of two new interactive games for the Xbox 360. Kinect Sesame Street TV and Kinect Nat Geo TV are both examples of what Microsoft is calling a “2-way TV experience,” where players can watch a regular TV show but also interact with what’s taking place on the screen.

In the case of Kinect Nat Geo TV, Microsoft has teamed up with wildlife expert and Nat Geo WILD host Casey Anderson to produce eight 30-minute TV episodes, in which kids get to learn about grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, and more. Each episode is accompanied by a series of mini-games, which give kids the chance to interact with the animals on screen and even take on the role of the animals themselves, whether it’s Papa Bear hunting for that day’s food or Mama Owl protecting her young.

There is a point system for the mini-games, so kids can go back over them and try to improve their score. Mr. Anderson’s narration adds encouragement and it’s hard not feel a sense of accomplishment – and a renewed respect and love for animals – when a task is completed or a problem solved.

The unique blend of stunning scenery, great storytelling and interactive gameplay makes for a wonderful learning experience, and it’s not hard to visualize the enormous possibilities for the 2-way TV format. However, parents should be aware that Kinect Nat Geo TV involves a significant amount of watching time in between the calls to action, so it may not be the game to play when your kids are looking to blow off steam.

Kinect Nat Geo TV also comes with access to archived episodes of the actual Nat Geo WILD TV series. If your child is interested in nature and the great outdoors, or if you are just looking to add a little educational content to the family’s regular video gaming sessions, then Kinect Nat Geo TV is the perfect way to go.

Kinect Nat Geo TV is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older). Some footage depicts predators hunting and feeding on other animals and there are occasional images of bloodstained snow or prey.

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platform: Kinect for Xbox 360

Genre: Education

RRP: $29.99 or 2400 MS points

Release Date: September 18, 2012

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