CHICAGO -- Characters who already are famous and intensive media hype are the best gimmicks to differentiate a new video game from the hundreds of competing cartridges on the market, says Alan Fetzer, president of Taito Software.
Fetzer should know. His company's top fall release features Indiana Jones. And the media hype is nothing less than saving the world's rain forests.
Fetzer, previewing 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show, said Lucasfilm Ltd. approached Taito to develop the game, based on the movie of the same name and the character portrayed by Harrison Ford.
'The majority of successful games are based on licensed characters,' Fetzer said. 'Research shows that Indiana Jones appeals to people of all ages because of the dilemmas he faces in the movies. We have been very careful to preserve that element in the game.'
Not content to rely on the popularity of the Indiana Jones character, Taito has concocted a publicity campaign that will involve its primarily young target audience in the environmental effort to preserve tropical rain forests.
Still on the drawing boards, the project will include a 900 telephone number which will enlist the caller's help in ecological preservation, offer environmental prizes and -- surprise! -- hype the new game.
'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' is scheduled for November release.NEWLN:------
CHICAGO (UPI) -- The National Captioning Institute, a nonprofit organization that captions television shows for the hearing-impaired, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The institute's work makes available both entertainment and some news and current affairs programming that otherwise would be unavailable to the hearing-impaired. It also helps people learn English by watching television, John Ball, NCI president, said during the Summer Consumer Electronics Show.
As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, the NCI is pursuing development of an integrated circuit chip that will allow television manufacturers to build decoding capability into new sets. Users currently must buy separate decoders.
'By the end of the century, every home in America will be able to watch our wonderful service and enjoy the benefits,' Ball said.NEWLN:------
CHICAGO (UPI) -- How about setting up your video camera and having it track you around the tennis court, capturing on tape all your mistakes so you can study and correct them at your leisure?
Visionary Products of Cambridge, Mass., has just the ticket called 'In the Picture.' The device, which debuted at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show, consists of a small, lightweight transmitter worn by the subject and a black box that mounts between the video camera and a tripod.
When everything is turned on, the gadget pans the camera back and forth automatically, following the subject.
'It sounds simple, but it's not,' said Joe Sieber, president of the company. 'We programmed it so the camera speeds up or slows down just as if it were being operated by a cameraman. There are several patents involved.'
Sieber said visitors to the show were coming up with a seemingly endless stream of ideas for the invention. Among them were would-be electronic babysitters and professors who want to tape lectures while they move around a classroom.
Golfers might want to combine the product with the Caddy Cam shown by Sony Corp. The outfit includes a Sony camcorder and playback unit mounted on a sleek yellow-and-black dolly that vaguely resembles a pull-it-yourself golf cart.
The Caddy Cam is designed for duffers with enough self-esteem to review their bad shots immediately to see what they did wrong. It also might give the club pro a chance to correct a hook or a slice later by popping the cartridge into a VCR in comfort of the '19th hole.'NEWLN:------
CHICAGO (UPI) -- If Susie and Johnny are driving the family nuts with Nintendo 'music,' mom and dad now can turn the tables by having the Nintendo system teach the kids how to play the piano.
Software Toolworks of Chatsworth, Calif., showed its piano-teaching system, called 'The Miracle,' at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show.
The system is a sophisticated keyboard, teamed with special software and operated through the basic home Nintendo. Designed to reproduce the feel of a grand piano keyboard and high-quality sound, The Miracle promises to take the student from novice to intermediate level ability with an emphasis on technique.
It uses a combination of video game action and music teaching technique to attract and keep the attention of young learners.
The system also uses artifical intelligence techniques developed by Software Toolworks to sense when a student is having difficulty with particular parts of a lesson and take over other parts so the learner can concentrate on a problem area.
Actor Dudley Moore, an accomplished classical pianist, is media spokesman for the system.