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Choose Your Own Adventure: Netflix launches its 1st interactive show

Puss in Book will allow kids to determine the animated show’s action.

Puss in Book will allow kids to determine the animated show’s action.

In Netflix's first interactive offering, Puss gets trapped in a land of fairy tales. (Netflix)

Choose Your Own Adventure is one of the most-loved children's book series of all time, and now Netflix is bringing the same "branching story" style to the small screen.

On Tuesday, the streaming media service released Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale featuring the popular Shrek character Puss. In it, the sassy cat is stuck in a book of fairy tales, and has to tackle a series of challenges to make his escape.

Kids choose whether the Goldilocks bears are friendly or "really not friendly," and whether Puss should fight or have a tea party. (Netflix)

Along the way, he has to make choices: Does he venture into the world of Snow White, or Sinbad? Does he fight Taranis or fight a tree? Should the three bears be friendly or "really not friendly"?

Viewers have 10 to 15 seconds to decide; if no choice is made, Netflix chooses and continues with the story.

The program, which was produced by Dreamworks Animation, marks Netflix's first foray into interactive programming. The company is promising more to come, including Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, which is slated for release July 14, and Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout next year. 

"Netflix is an interactive device ecosystem, so there are a lot of things we can do that others can't because we aren't beholden to traditional linear television distribution methods," said Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Netflix's San Francisco-based director of product innovation, in an interview.

Netflix won't say when, or even if, interactive TV for adults will arrive. 

In Puss in Book, viewers get to decide which way the action leads. (Netflix)

Interactive online videos have been around for years, but Puss in Book marks the first large-scale production by a major streaming company — one that reaches 100 million subscribers.

The interactive programs should work on newer smart TVs and streaming boxes, as well as iOS devices. Currently they are not supported on Apple TV, Chromecast and Android phones, but Netlfix says they will be in future. 

— Jennifer Van Evra, q digital


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