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ActiMates are a discontinued series of interactive toys released by Microsoft in September 1997, which are in the form of licensed dolls which can interact with many episodes of their respective television series from 1997-2000 or on special ActiMates-compatible VHS videocassettes and special computer games.
Microsoft released seven characters: Barney, Arthur and his sister D.W., and the Teletubbies. ActiMates Barney was the first to be released in 1997, becoming a success that holiday season. The dolls can interact with the TV and the computer (the Teletubbies can't interact with the PC) using a special TV and PC Pack. The toys were marketed as educational tools and gave positive affirmations for correct answers from the user. They can also be played without the packs for the VCR and computer. There are 3 ActiMates Barney PC games released. Microsoft discontinued the dolls in 2000 and Microsoft lost the patent rights to the toys not long afterwards. It is highly unlikely that Microsoft will bring back the ActiMates series.
- Microsoft Launches ActiMates Early Learning System At Toy Fair: Unique Realmation Animation Technology Makes Interactive Barney Ideal Learning Partner Archived June 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- ActiMates Arthur and D.W. Join the First Family of Interactivity, Teaching Kids That "Learning is More Fun With a Partner": This brother-sister act is now available, joining "cousin" Barney and bringing more "edutainment" to the neighborhood Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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