Happy Action Theater: The Trippy Xbox 360 Kinect Game That Incites Your Imagination

Happy Action Theater
Ever want to destroy tall buildings, play in hot lava or attend a super awesome dance party? If you're a second grader or an extremely imaginative adult, there's a good chance that you'd love to, and thanks to the new game from Double Fine called Happy Action Theater, those dreams will soon be a reality.

Ever want to destroy tall buildings, play in hot lava or attend a super awesome dance party?

If you're a second grader or an extremely imaginative adult, there's a good chance that you'd love to, and thanks to the new game from Double Fine called Happy Action Theater, those dreams will soon be a reality.

Happy Action Theater is a party game that will be released on the Xbox Live Arcade, the direct download distribution platform for the Xbox 360.

The game cycles through a variety of scenarios--each with no objective--that allow players to interact with virtual items in a virtual world. Using the Microsoft Kinect, players can jump, leap, dance and ultimately goof around in these virtual environments. Emphasis is placed on the ease-of-use:

The original pitch doc that we pitched to Microsoft makes a big point of explaining that it is not a game, said Drew Skillman, a technical artist at Double Fine. One of the reasons for that is that the original idea for the game came as [video game designer Tim Schafer] was playing a different Kinect title with his daughter Lily and saw how frustrated she was just trying to get the profile signed-in and do the right thing.

This is an experience where there's no failsafe, says Skillman. There's no way to lose. There are all kinds of things you can do, but nothing that you have to do.

Happy Action Theater, in essence, is a sandbox mode game that allows people to test the technical capabilities of the Microsoft Kinect. The device detects the depth of a room and skeletal structures of players. Using that information, Happy Action Theater immerses individuals in wild, imaginative scenarios.

It's a game for babies. It's a game for adults in party situations, and I think in the pitch doc it says that it has to be fun for monkeys, too, says Skillman.

Happy Action Theater will be available February 1, preempting the launch of the Xbox Live Arcade's House Party promotion, which begins on February 15. The cost of Happy Action Theater is 800 Microsoft Points, or roughly $10.

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