Bandai's AnimeVillage.com is the first video releasing company in the US that enables consumers to purchase Japanese animation directly through the Internet. The site also features the latest animation news from Japan, real-time chats, games, message boards, and contests. AnimeVillage.com's initial release slate includes the "Gundam" series and "The Vision of Escaflowne" with plans to expand their library up to 200 titles by the end of 1999.
HotWired's Animation Express (http://www.hotwired.com/animation/) is a new site that showcases the latest animation from both professional and independent animators. The animation can be viewed using plug-in technologies like Quicktime 3, Shockwave's Flash 3 and Director 6 and a "plug-in tester" will help you download the right plug-ins if you don't already have them. Currently, the site features selections from Pixar's Oscar-winning short "Geri's Game" and highlights from Spike and Mike's 1998 Festival of Animation.
Spumco, the studio that brought us the first web cartoon series, The G@*&!$ George Liquor Show, has teamed up with Electric Communities to present the Internets first 3D cartoon chat event. The chat, scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. on November 6, and run through November 9, 1998, will take place on the web site cartoonsforum.com port 9994.
Broderbund Software has released the first of its "Rugrats" CD-Roms: "The Rugrats Movie Activity Challenge," "Rugrats Adventure Game" and "Rugrats Print Shop." Aimed at kids aged 6-12, the activity-based games include creative activities, problem-solving stories and story-based adventures.
Humongous Entertainment has released the first two CD-Roms based on Nickelodeon's animated/live-action series, "Blue's Clues." "Blue's ABC Time Activities" is available for U.S. $19.99 and "Blue's Birthday Adventure" is $29.99. Both titles are Windows and Macintosh compatible, and feature games and educational activities aimed at 3-6 year-olds. The games are the first releases to come out of an exclusive, five-year worldwide deal with Nickelodeon.
Coinciding with the U.S. tour of The Spice Girls, Psygnosis has released "Spice World," a PlayStation console video game. The game, aimed at pre-teen girls, gives users a chance to choreograph dance routines starring animated versions of Ginger, Scary, Baby, Posh and Sporty Spice. While it may not be rocket science, the Spice Girls game does address a need for games designed for girls. "Spice World" for PlayStation is $35.95.