Let’s Get Physical
Blogged by Sanjay D’Humieres
Sharna Jackson, Tate Kids Editor introduced this session produced by Ben Simpson, Producer at Plug-in Media, that explored the different ways we can engage with children using different platforms and technologies.
Josh Atkins, Game Designer at Microsoft demonstrated an interactive game based on the Sesame Street TV series, whereby children have to complete physical tasks in order to help characters in the story. This is all achieved with the help of the Xbox Games console and its Kinect accessory; a device designed to sense movement and replicate it on-screen in the game’s environment.
During the demo we were shown how players help Cookie Monster by jumping in the air to get food for him from the nearby tree. This enables closer ties between kids and their favourite characters inciting them to think and do physical exercise whilst doing something fun.
Writer and Director Ruth Chalmers took us back to basics showing us some of her work that involves including an on-screen script to facilitate interaction with characters. She showed us some examples and it was surprisingly well timed to help children respond and gives more flexibility for kids to deviate from the script that has been set if they wish.
Daniel Bays, Producer at BBC Children’s gave a taster of Tree Fu Tom, an animated fantasy adventure show commissioned by his department to FremantleMedia Enterprises. This demo showed how physical involvement by players is instrumental in the success of the franchise. He showed the different moves that Tom learns and teaches players throughout. A member of the audience did raise the issue of whether or not the movements were suitable for small confined spaces and for children with special educational needs such as dyspraxia. He did reassure us that these considerations were factored in when producing the series and the movements for the Tree Fu segments.