The Public Broadcasting Service children's website PBS Kids Go! has introduced a series of educational web games that appear as interactive layers over streaming video content. The program's first six episodes are now available for play at pbskids.org.
The technology that powers these interactive games is provided by the online advertising platform Panache, a software suite originally designed for popup advertisements and dynamic video ad insertion. PBS has modified Panache's software to allow video content to stream in the background of a Flash-based gameplay screen.
PBS Kids Go! introduced the technology with a pair of web-exclusive episodes in its Cyberchase series. At certain points during the streaming episodes "Together Again" and "Can't Wait to Tessellate," the website's video content will pause and present viewers the option to play an educational minigame. Upon completion of the game, the episode will continue.
Interactive episodes of WordGirl challenge children to identify images and sounds in real time. In "Butcherisms," kids must press a button whenever an on-screen character speaks a made-up word, while in "Honey Bee Hunt," players must click on images of bees as they appear over the streaming video.
PBS Kids Go! additionally offers a memory-themed game based on its animated series Arthur, along with a puzzle title that layers over a streaming episode of Fetch!