What's in the bag, Bert?Two more Sesame Street apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch are now available from IDEO Toylab, following in the footsteps of Grover?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Number Special, Elmo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Monster Maker, and Rosita?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Jump Count. (Do apps have footsteps?)

First up is Bert?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Bag, and isn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t it nice to see Bert get his own app without having to share it with Ernie? This is really the first Sesame app to make extensive use of both the touch screen and the accelerometer, which is nice because my #1 and #2 hobbies happen to be touching things and shaking things. As with the previous apps, there?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s original video, with Eric Jacobson as Bert. Here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s the premise: Bert has some bags. (Are you with me so far?) You, the player, have three responsibilities: Open the bag, shake out the contents, and then count them. There are enough different bag contents, including a few Bert-appropriate ones (bottlecaps, Ernie?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s rubber duckie) that you can play several rounds in a row without any repeats. Anyway, it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s worth playing for a while just to hear ?¢‚Ǩ?ìBert?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s got a brand new bag!?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

It's not TV, it's HBO.The other app is Count TV, a thrilling app that realistically recreates the excitement of watching television. The Count, who is much nicer than your older brother, gives you possession of his TV remote control. The remote has numbered buttons, and each button you press brings up a video from Sesame Street related to that number. There?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s only one clip per number, so once you?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve pressed every button you?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve seen it all, but for the Sesame geek, part of the fun comes from trying to predict which number segment will be connected to which number. (?¢‚Ǩ?ìSix? It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s gotta be Bert?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s song about his favorite number! It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s gotta be! Oh, it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s the Queen of Six. Yeah, that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a good one too.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù)

We fans have done some grumbling as the Sesame Street TV show has evolved to a new format that includes far fewer segments than the old days, which leaves fewer opportunities to run classic bits, but Sesame Workshop has done a great job of making the old clips available elsewhere so the tiny tots of today can still discover them. The Sesame video player and Sesame?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s YouTube channel are packed with old favorites, and now there?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s this app?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ By my count, six of the nine clips here are from before 1980. Many of them are a bit truncated, but still: Yay, old stuff!

Oh, and not only is the Count?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s TV hooked up with an on-demand service, it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s also interactive. In every video, there?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a moment where the action pauses and the Count asks you count the items on the screen, whether they?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re apples or brownies or monsters. Come to think of it, every Sesame app so far except Elmo’s Monster Maker has been about counting. There?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s got to be another way to make these things interactive and educational beyond just counting stuff, right? What about a ?¢‚Ǩ?ìOne of These Things Is Not Like the Other?¢‚Ǩ¬ù app?

So, it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s another round of fun stuff on iThingies for kids or immature grown-ups like me. And at $2.99 each, they?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re less than the price of a Double Down at KFC, and much better for you, so there?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s no reason not to eat them. I mean, download them. Or whatever.

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Click here to lose the Count?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s remote under the couch cushions on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Ryan Roe ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Ryan@ToughPigs.com

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