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Netflix partners Microsoft to bring Stranger Things-inspired 1985 experiences

After a week of teasers on Twitter, Microsoft has finally unveiled a partnership with Netflix to bring 1985 experiences inspired by cult favourite science-fiction TV series Stranger Things. The experiences include a Windows 1.11 special edition PC app, a curated collection of apps on Microsoft Store, themed desktop wallpapers, as well as a workshop to create a Stranger Things mini-movie or code a video game.

The series of strange posts on Windows’ Twitter account started on 1 July, where it supposedly launched the “all-new Windows 1.0”. Its caption included an emoji of a floppy disk (very nostalgic).

What followed over the course of the week were posts featuring old versions of Microsoft apps such as Paint, bulky desktops of the past, as well as a poll on how much memory running Windows 1.0 in 1985 would have required. Of course, it also very reassuringly said there is “nothing strange” about Windows 1.0, before trailing off in the caption.

After drumming up much curiosity and anticipation, Microsoft finally answered consumers’ questions with a dedicated Stranger Things 3 webpage full of 1985 experiences. “Microsoft and Netflix have partnered around Stranger Things 3 to bring custom 1985-inspired experiences to life for fans across the country,” said the company on the webpage.

According to press release, Stranger Things 3 takes place in 1985, which was a banner year for Microsoft, marking the company’s 10 year anniversary, the groundbreaking of its Redmond headquarters and the release of Windows 1.0.

“The themes of curiosity, ingenuity and teamwork that are woven through Stranger Things ring true to the culture and mission of Microsoft. We’re excited to be able to transport fans to one of our favourite years, and to empower them to leverage technology to do extraordinary things, just like the heroes of the show,” said Eli Friedman , general manager integrated marketing, modern life & devices, Microsoft.

On the special edition Windows 1.11 app, fans can play games inspired by the Upside Down, discover clues and easter eggs, and unlock secrets and unique Stranger Things 3 content. Gamers can also browse a specially-curated collection on Microsoft’s online store full of vintage apps and games.

For the full experience, Microsoft is inviting users to decorate their desktops with its 1985-themed wallpapers – one inspired by the first year of Windows, while the other promises a “strange summer of 1985” from Stranger Things.

Students above the age of 13 can also visit “Camp Know Where”, which is essentially a workshop conducted by Microsoft, to learn to make a Stranger Things video with mixed reality or 3D, or code their own video game and rule the arcade with show character Mad Max.

Additionally, Xbox is giving fans the chance to win a Stranger Things prize package, which includes a Stranger Things 3 Collectible Arcade Cabinet, along with a brand new Xbox One X and a 12 month membership for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Open until 15 July, fans will need to retweet or like the reveal post on Xbox Twitter channel or Facebook page to enter into the sweepstakes. The post has garnered 18,000 retweets and 8,600 likes within 12 hours.

Netflix has stepped up efforts to promote Stranger Things this year. In June, it engaged Penang-based graphic designer and illustrator Ong Lyn-Hui as one of the 18 artists globally to interpret 18 episodes from the first two seasons of Stranger Things. This was in the lead up to the launch of the third season in July.

It will also be launching its “Stranger Thingsmobile game in 2020 as part of a wider push to extend the universe of Netflix’s programming into other mediums. The “Stranger Things” mobile game will be set in “The Upside Down” realm known in the science-fiction television series, and use GPS to follow players in their exploration as the battle emerging evils. Meanwhile, “Stranger Things 3: The Game” for consoles and PCs announced in December was also made available on 4 July in conjunction with Stranger Things third season premiere.

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