Microsoft Gives Kids Tools and Technology To Unleash Their Imagination and Experience New Adventures

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 9, 1996 — Kids want to explore intriguing places, express their outrageous creativity, exercise their desire to be in control, and be entertained: That’s what they’ve been telling Microsoft Corp. This holiday season, Microsoft responds with four exciting new CD-ROM-based titles – available now – that deliver all this and more by building on the proven hits that have made Microsoft a leading player in the children’s software market. Microsoft is giving kids tools and technologies to unleash their imagination and experience new adventures never before possible.

Kids can exercise their creativity and explore fresh adventures with these products:

  • Microsoft
    ® Creative Writer 2, a completely updated version of the original Creative Writer that delivers complete creative writing and desktop publishing features and includes the ability for kids to create their own Web pages.

  • Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus

    ™

    Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs
    , which expands this hugely popular series of Microsoft CD-ROM titles. Learning science has never been more fun, and this new CD-ROM offers an intriguing interactive adventure that kids will love exploring the world of dinosaurs.

  • Nickelodeon
    ® 3D Movie Maker, which lets kids create their own 3-D animations using their favorite characters from three Nicktoon shows:
    “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters® ,” “The Ren & Stimpy Show® ”
    and
    “Rocko’s Modern Life® .”

  • P.J.’s Reading Adventures , three timeless tales that unfold into captivating storytelling adventures filled with hours of discovery, learning and interactive fun.

“Microsoft titles have made it to the best-selling kids software charts because they reflect what we hear from kids,”
said Lisa Brummel, kids product unit manager in Microsoft’s interactive media division.
“We consult with kids at every stage during the design of our new titles. The results are entertaining products that encourage kids to express their own creativity, direct their own learning, and take advantage of the latest technology, while having fun along the way.”

Creative Writer 2 Unlocks a World of Imagination

Creative Writer 2 builds on the success of Microsoft’s flagship kids creativity title, Creative Writer, by adding powerful new writing and drawing projects to unlock kids’ creativity and by introducing pioneering online features so they can showcase their creations to the world.

The original Creative Writer won the most prestigious awards available for kids software, including the Parent’s Choice Award, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, the NewMedia Invision Award, the Newsweek Editor’s Choice Award, the Technology and Learning Software Award of Excellence, and the National Parenting Seal of Approval.

To ensure that Creative Writer 2 reflects the latest interests and needs of kids ages 8 and older, Microsoft involved hundreds of kids nationwide in design and testing. Through user surveys, focus groups and usability testing sessions a trademark process for Microsoft’s kids software Microsoft gathered rich input for product design.

Creative Writer 2 incorporates the features today’s kids want in a creative writing program: new projects and templates; a cleaner, simpler and more contemporary interface; online help; and an integrated, full-featured painting and drawing application. Among Creative Writer 2’s most exciting innovations are easy-to-use features to let kids create a personal Web page and send e-mail.

“Creative Writer 2 expands what children can do with their work by opening the many worlds of the information highway to them,”
said Dr. Merle Marsh, head of lower and middle schools at Worcester Country School in Berlin, Md.

It integrates the best features of word processors, paint programs and projects with World Wide Web publishing it’s easy, fun, quick and irresistible.”

The Magic School Bus Makes Science Fun

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs is the fifth and newest title that builds on the critically acclaimed best-selling series of interactive multimedia science adventures. Designed for children ages 6 to 10, The Magic School Bus software series is based on the beloved PBS-TV series and award-winning books from Scholastic. The first three titles in The Magic School Bus series are ranked among the top 20 best-selling kids educational titles and the fourth title, released last spring, has shot to the top-10 chart of the best-selling kids educational titles (PC Data, 1996 calendar year to date and July 1996, respectively).

The newest Magic School Bus adventure brings the prehistoric world of dinosaurs to life for kids through a multimedia field trip that blends interactive learning, multimedia reports and fun facts with entertaining adventures and activities. The title educates kids about dinosaurs and helps them develop self-confidence to explore and think on their own.

“With Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs, students are sure to become active, engaged learners as they direct their own adventure,”
said Beth Buchler, technology resource coordinator for District 44 in Lombard, Ill.
“Once again, The Magic School Bus series has chosen a topic that grabs students’ interest and starts them on a paleontologic exploration of fossils, extinction and the origination of new species.”

Kids lead the irrepressible Ms. Frizzle and her inquisitive students on a time-machine journey to find and photograph the dinosaurs and reptiles missing from
“the Friz’s”
photo album. To do so, they must explore seven sites around the world through the three time periods – Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous – of the Mesozoic era.

More than 20 multimedia reports feature video clips, narration, photos and animation to demonstrate extinction, fossils, warm- and cold-bloodedness, and the link between dinosaurs and birds. Seven games reinforce key science concepts and have multiple levels so kids will want to play again and again. More than 200 clickable features engage kids and encourage exploration. And the eight activities, including the Dino-Sizer, the Paleo Card Collection and the singing Dino Quartet, will fascinate kids for hours.

New York-based Music Pen Inc. has again collaborated with Microsoft and Scholastic Productions to develop Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs, using Music Pen® Mpen Technology
™
tools.

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker Brings Favorite Nickelodeon Characters to Life

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker builds on the success of the original Microsoft 3D Movie Maker title and on the success of Nickelodeon, the No. 1 cable network for kids. For the first time ever, kids can create unique, real-time 3-D animations featuring kids’ favorite Nickelodeon characters from three hit Nickelodeon television shows:
“The Ren & Stimpy Show,” “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters”
and
“Rocko’s Modern Life.”

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker combines the humor and irreverence of Nickelodeon with the Softimage® technology first introduced in Microsoft 3D Movie Maker. This innovative technology, the same used in Hollywood to create powerful special effects and blockbuster animations, is now available to kids in a fun, engaging and easy-to-use environment. Kids just click and drag on the mouse, and characters are animated the way they want, right before their eyes. Kids have complete artistic control to create their own original Nickelodeon animation. They can change characters’ expressions and motions, choose backgrounds and camera angles, and select from hundreds of music clips, sound effects and dialogue choices, or even record their own voices.

“We are thrilled to bring kids’ favorite characters from Nickelodeon’s award-winning animated shows to Microsoft’s innovative and successful 3D Movie Maker title,”
said Lisa Marks, vice president of marketing, Nickelodeon Consumer Products.

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker is targeted to kids ages 8 and up. It includes original and newly created Nickelodeon content: 12 characters with 15 actions and six facial expressions each, as well as 39 props, 13 scenes, up to 20 camera angles, 145 music clips, more than 290 sound effects and over 240 dialogue clips. When kids need help, Nickelodeon’s TV host, Stick Stickly, is on screen to offer advice.

The original award-winning 3D Movie Maker is the No. 1 movie-maker software title for children, according to PC Data. It remains available for kids who want the control and freedom to create their own original story lines and movies.

Reading Adventures That Go Beyond Books

P.J.’s Reading Adventures is a collection of three high-quality storybook adventures for kids ages 5 to 9. The interactive tales, contained in a three-CD set, are based on the award-winning print and audio books published by Rabbit Ears Productions. The collection includes Rudyard Kipling’s
“How the Leopard Got His Spots,”
told by Danny Glover;
“Koi and the Kola Nuts,”
told by Whoopi Goldberg, with jazz by Herbie Hancock; and
“Paul Bunyan,”
told by Jonathan Winters.

The title combines Rabbit Ears’ talents for bringing children’s classics alive via well-known actors and musicians with Microsoft’s expertise in developing multimedia titles that expand the boundaries of printed text. Guided by a whimsical animated character named P.J. Rabbit
™
, kids can listen, read along, or interact through the three culturally rich stories, engaging games and activities.

Pricing, Availability and System Requirements

Microsoft Creative Writer 2 is available now for the estimated reseller price (ERP) of $34.95. It requires a multimedia PC with a 486/33 MHz or higher processor, the Windows® 95 operating system or Windows NT® 4.0 operating system, 8 MB of RAM on Windows 95 or
16 MB on Windows NT, 16 MB of available hard disk space, a double-speed CD-ROM drive, a Super VGA 256-color monitor, a 16-bit sound board and speakers or headphones (microphone recommended), a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device, and a Microsoft Windows-compatible modem and online service for e-mail and Web pages.

Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker is available now for the ERP of $44.95. It requires a multimedia PC with a 486/50 MHz or higher processor, the Windows 95 operating system or Windows NT Workstation operating system version 3.51 or later, 8 MB of RAM on Windows 95 or 16 MB on Windows NT, 12 MB of available hard disk space, a double-speed CD-ROM drive, a Super VGA 256-color monitor, a 16-bit sound card and speakers or headphones, a microphone for recording, and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs is available now for the ERP of $44.95. It requires a multimedia PC with a 486SX/33 MHz or higher processor, the Windows 95 operating system or Windows NT Workstation operating system version 3.51 or later, 8 MB of RAM on Windows 95 or 12 MB on Windows NT Workstation, 6 MB of available hard disk space, a double-speed CD-ROM drive, a Super VGA 256-color monitor, an 8-bit sound card, headphones or speakers, and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

P.J.’s Reading Adventures is available now for the ERP of $34.95. It requires a multimedia PC with a 486SX/33 MHz or higher microprocessor, the MS-DOS® operating system version 5.0 or later with Microsoft Windows operating system version 3.1 or later, or
Windows 95, 4 MB of RAM, 6 MB of available hard disk space for each CD, a double-speed CD-ROM drive, a Windows-compatible sound card, headphones or speakers, a Super VGA 256-color monitor, and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

The School Edition, available to schools, libraries and museums, includes a free Teachers Activity Guide to extend the learning experiences in Creative Writer 2 and Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs. The teachers guides for both of these titles are also accessible on the World Wide Web at http://www.microsoft.com/k-12/ .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business 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.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT and MS-DOS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Softimage is a registered trademark of Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

Scholastic, The Magic School Bus and associated designs and logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

Music Pen is a registered trademark and Mpen Technology is a trademark of Music Pen Inc.

P.J. Rabbit is a trademark of Rabbit Ears Productions Inc.

©1996 Rabbit Ears Productions Inc. Rowayton, Conn. All Rights Reserved.

©1996 Viacom International Inc. All rights reserved.

Nickelodeon, The Ren & Stimpy Show, AAAHH!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. AAAHH!!! Real Monsters was created by Klasky/Csupo Inc.

Note to editors: For more information on Microsoft kids products, visit our home page at http://microsoft.com/kids/ . If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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