Microsoft Provides Kids Opportunities to Discover, Create and Learn

Redmond, WA, July 1996 — If producing an original 3D animation movie, exploring the cosmos and designing a web page strike you as adult activities, you’ve no idea how cool it is to be a kid today.

Microsoft’s ever-expanding line of multimedia software for children gives them the simple but powerful tools and knowledge to do truly amazing things. With ultra-realistic 3D graphics, the PC can transform into a submarine, time travel machine, or a sheer rock face inhabited by all manner of wild creature (ascend at your own risk!). In the safest of all environments, tomorrow’s leaders are able to flex their muscles and test their decision-making skills, unlock their creativity and bring ideas to life.

And you thought hide-and-seek and
“Simon Says”
were really neat games.

“Kids are more savvy than ever when it comes to technology and computers. They want sophisticated software graphics and they get excited about new online options,”
said Charlotte Guyman, general manager for the kids and games business unit.
“Our goal is to provide super-entertaining environments that capture and keep the attention of today’s young consumers. We create our products to include ‘friendly guides’ and on-screen pointers, so that there is literally no limit to what kids can accomplish.”

Microsoft specializes in highly interactive environments where the child is
“the boss”
and controls the action. Free of performance anxiety, the child proceeds at his or her own pace. Placed in exciting,
“you are there”
situations, children discover by doing, and in the process, acquire a love of learning.

“Our primary mission is to inspire a child’s creativity and then give them lots of ‘head room,'”
Guyman said.

Beyond the Limit
: Ultimate Climb is the first in a series of challenging, thrilling and perilous outdoor adventure games that let kids experience the excitement of going beyond the limit!!

Designed for children age 9 and up, Ultimate Climb recreates the experience of rock climbing using an ultra-realistic, 3D mountainous terrain and live action video. Succeeding is not simply a question of reaching the top. Ultimate Climb helps children develop critical thinking by giving them real-to-life challenges that test their judgment as well as their reflexes. Like a real expedition, the simulated ascent requires advance planning; conservation of one’s strength and supplies on the way up; and a cool head to survive hair-raising encounters with live-action wild boars, snakes, scorpions and cougars. Although expert mountain guides are available as companions and for consultation, children lead the ascent, and make such critical decisions as when to camp, rest and climb. The game is never the same twice. With its multiple peaks and varied topography, Ultimate Climb presents new challenges, new summits to conquer, and new heights to reach in self-reliance and self-confidence.

Let’s face it. Television is a magnet for kids (and adults, too) because in terms of entertainment, it is the path of least resistance. Nothing is expected of us. We just sit back and watch. Microsoft’s creativity software for children seriously challenges that notion of entertainment. The series of learning-through-doing programs are designed to fully engage children’s minds and imaginations, transform them from passive spectators into active participants — the masterminds of their own fun.

Creative Writer 2 is the new version of the Microsoft®
award-winning and best-selling writing and desktop publishing program for children, age 8 and up. The program incorporates a full-featured word processing tool, a rich assortment of online creativity applications and a complete paint program — all custom-tailored for kids. Creative Writer 2 is serious fun. It teaches kids the joys of self-expression as well as the discipline of following a project from concept to execution. Creative Writer 2 gives kids everything they need to design and produce original works and writing: a content-rich multimedia library of images, font, typefaces, borders and even musical backgrounds. With its advanced direct-to-print capabilities, youngsters can print one-of-a-kind greeting cards, neighborhood flyers for pet-walking services or a homework report, complete with fancy type and illustrations. For kids on the Internet, Creative Writer 2 provides a wizard for easy e-mail delivery and easy web page creation and posting.

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus®
series will climb to five discovery adventure programs by year’s end. These multimedia science adventures, designed for children aged 6-10, are based on the popular Scholastic Book series and the PBS animated show. The whimsical and humorous adventures take youngsters on
“field trips”
to distant and exotic locales. In the company of the beloved Ms. Frizzle and
like Liz and Arnold, your child can take a fantastic journey inside the human body (Arnold’s), through the solar system, to the bottom of ocean, and inside the earth. With the newest introduction, the Magic School Bus now transports kids back in time to the age of dinosaurs.

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs is a delightful tour of the Mesozoic Era. Young paleontologists can trace the evolution of the
“Giant Lizards”
around the world and across three time periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Fact-based scientific knowledge about these prehistoric creatures is absorbed through a series of games, class activities and show-and-tell multimedia reports. Children can watch a baby dino hatch out of an egg, hear sounds a dinosaur might have heard, and compare the size of everyday objects against dinosaurs to appreciate their unbelievable scale. There are fossils to study, footprints to identify, and skeletons to put together. Central to the action is Ms. Frizzle’s special
photo album chronicling her many dinosaur expeditions. Children click on the pictures to hear a brief description about each dinosaur and its time period. Each album page has empty squares that children fill by going on their own
“dinosaur hunt.”

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker is the newest addition to the 3D Movie Maker line-up and was developed specifically for fans of Nickelodeon. With both products, Microsoft has taken full-featured
“grown up”
3D graphic tools — including the same awesome special effects technology used in Jurassic Park, The Mask and Jumanji — and re-formatted them for children age 8 and older. Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker leverages this technology,and lets kids create original 3D animated movies, starring popular characters, scenes, and dialogue from highly rated Nickelodeon programming such as Ren and Stimpy, Aaaah!! Real Life Monsters and Rockos Modern Life. Children make all the creative and production decisions. As they control casting, dialogue, actions, and props, they also can pick and direct the shots they want using a host of camera angles. Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker allows novice animators to experiment with
special effects like Zap!, movements like running, jumping, and dancing, and sounds such as Thump, Burp, and Bump.

Whether kids want to make movies using Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker’s Nicktoons or the original 3D Movie Maker’s talent book of stock characters, learning and honing the craft of 3D movie making will provide untold hours of pleasure and artistic gratification.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for businesses and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Note to Editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft please check out the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. To receive Microsoft press releases by fax, please call1-800-859-5915 within the U.S., or 201-333-0314 internationally.

For More Information, Press Only:

Lauren Snyder, Edelman Public Relations, 212/704-8284, [email protected]

Deborah Caldwell, Waggener Edstrom, 408/986-1140, [email protected]

Marcia Kuszmaul, Marcy Monyek & Assoc., 312/263-2135, [email protected]

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