I was catching up on my reading when I came across Primal Screen’s press release on AWN: Primal Screen Conjures Transmedia Experience For Sesame’s Electric Company. Obviously, the word “Transmedia” caught my attention, so I checked it out.
The Adventures of The Electric Company on Prankster Planet consists of: 12 animated stories; an interactive game; plus an “outreach experience centered on math and literacy skill building” – this takes the form of a magazine. Occurring at the end of each Electric Company television episode, the Prankster Planet animations star Electric Company members, Jessica and Marcus, in a mission to stop the Pranksters from stealing all the words on earth.
The pranksters are using Manny’s latest gadget – the Wordsuckeruppernator – to suck up all the words on earth, giving them total word domination. Electric Company members, Jessica and Marcus, must stop Manny’s dastardly gadget by pushing a series of off-buttons hidden all over Prankster Planet, but they are thwarted by the pranksters at every turn.
Each of the animated segments ends in a cliffhanger with Jessica and Marcus making a direct plea to the viewer to go online and help by shouting, “Hey You GUUUUUYYS!”
The entire experience features 12 new two-minute animated segments, 12 complete online quests, 60 mini-games, an avatar creator, a rewards system to encourage repeat play and the magazine, The Lost Guide to Prankster Planet. Coming early summer 2011, there will also be a progress tracker for parents to follow what their kids are learning online.
The Adventures of The Electric Company on Prankster Planet is a really good example of both transmedia and serious games for kids. It expands the story experience for its audience, as well as providing a fun learning environment. (If you click through to Primal Screen’s Prankster Planet page, you’ll find a great case study of their work on the project.) I must admit, even though I’m obviously not in the target demographic, I did enjoy the online quests … but, if you want to view the animations without working your way through the game, you can find them on The Electric Company’s YouTube Channel.
The Electric Company is a TV show, an online destination and a community outreach experience that offers 6-9 year old children a hip portal into the world of literacy.
In each episode, The Electric Company is called upon to solve a problem created by a naughty group of neighborhood Pranksters. In every instance, the Company prevails with the power of their words.