Local Queen Anne startup aims to ignite kids’ passion of reading via an interactive experience

Posted on March 16th, 2013 by Laura Fonda

A local startup founded by a Queen Anne video game designer has a new approach to getting kids to read and engage in stories that adapt to their choices in the narrative. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Well, if you do, think of Vidya Books as spring-boarding from those interactive print books to a more immersive experience with today’s technology. (I may be dating myself here, but I loved those books when I was a kid!)

The concept merges the printed word, e-Books, and video games, and the end result is pretty cool. Vidya Books provides an interactive book experience for kids that they experience via an iPad/iPhone app. According to the company, “it’s a novel you play with – it’s a book that is a game.”

After kids open the app and start reading, the story appears on the screen, one word at a time. Kids interact with the words as they appear, directing the main character through the literary journey – each swipe or touch of the screen advances the story; it appears before the reader as it happens.

As an example, the first Vidya Book is an adventure where readers control the choices made and next steps taken by the hero who traverses the globe to solve a centuries-old mystery. It’s more than just reading, it’s creating the path of the hero and the storyline depends on the choices of the reader. As with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, it’ll likely captivate young readers and not only drive them to create the final scenes of the story, but also tempt them to re-read and make new choices to see what happens.

You can check out the Vidya Book as experienced by both kids and adults via the video below (click the image to play):

If you’d like to learn more about Vidya Book and how you can be a part of this Queen Anne startup, check out their Kickstarter campaign. And, if you’re interested in seeing the technology first-hand, Joe and Anna Booth are hosting an open house today til 8pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm at 1632 3rd Ave W.

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