Around the same time we reported that Nickelodeon were teaming up with Mattel to produce an older, "tweenage" version of the Dora the Explorer, an explosion of outrage erupted from parents concerned by the teaser silhouette which had many thinking Dora was to become a "sexed up" version of her former self. They need not have worried, as the recently unveiled "Dora Links" doll recreates the much loved kids icon as an "age appropriate" interactive doll that connects to a computer via USB and offers an educational and fun experience both on and offline.
Building on the existing Dora the Explorer ethos of "adventure, friendship, learning, empowerment and teamwork" the Dora Links doll is a 13 inch update on the traditional Latina heroine that runs on three AAA batteries and connects to a PC via USB, allowing kids to explore Dora's online world, Puerto Verde. Once connected, they can navigate through the online neighborhood, solving mysteries of an environmentally-conscious nature like volunteerism and tree planting. The doll aims to keep youngsters aged five and older engaged with the character as they grow older and more technologically aware.
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The bi-lingual Dora Links doll incorporates speech that updates in both English and Spanish as the player progresses through the online world and, when connected, physical features of the Dora Links doll change according to online play. The jewelry, eye color and even hair length of the doll transform in correspondence with the player's moves online. An alert system ensures that, even when disconnected, the doll will let their owner know of any regular updates happening in Puerto Verde. Putting parent's minds at ease, the online world is a locked environment, devoid of social networking.
With other childhood favorites like Barbie having made the move to life online, the Dora Links doll looks to be a savvy extension of the Dora brand that will ensure the immensely popular character continues to grow with her fans.
The Dora Links doll is retailing for $59.99 and is also available via the Dora Links site.
Check out the vid below to see Dora physically interacting with commands: