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Collected web clippings, ramblings, and scribblings from me to you.

Monday: July 9, 2007

How to hack Sesame Street's website for fullscreen Elmo.

Here is a handy trick for my fellow geek parents who read this site regularly. Granted, I haven't posted to this section in quite a while (last post was 3 months ago), but I'll be getting back into the groove shortly.

Anyway, back to what this article is about: the Sesame Street web site ( Let me start off by admitting that my kid is an Elmo addict. Everything Elmo, all the time. She loves that furry red bastard. Needless to say, the Elmo-based games on the Sesame Street website come as a great resource for keeping an active (or cranky in some cases) baby happy and able to learn at the same time. And ya know, it's Elmo, so it's kind of safe - even though he's a freakin' monster.

The problem: All of the games on this website are stuck in a very small 600 x 300 framed window within the Sesame Street template. If you have a fairly large newer monitor you will find this awkward to look at. Especially when viewed on a monitor capable of resolutions of 1280 x 1024 or greater (see screenshot to the left for example of what I mean - look at all that unused space). In some cases I have to squint to see what's going in the game, and in most cases my kid really couldn't get the big picture period.

The solution: Find the source path of the game's flash files to run it in glorious fullscreen. This is one of the rare cases that I am happy to see Adobe Flash deployed on a major website like this. It applies itself really well to the nature of the problem. Since everything is vector based, the desired game/application/plaything will look beautiful even when blown up to full screen - no real important details are lost. You can ignore the rest of the site and just play in peace with Elmo and the rest of the gang.

How to do this: To play various games on the Sesame Street website at fullscreen you will need to use the following URL template to access the flash files directly: uploaded-images/ 9495524/ additional/ main_game-6.swf (this is an example). You can obtain this path by looking into the source code of the website. In Firefox you can do this simply by pressing CTRL + U on your keyboard. In Internet Explorer you have click in the View menu at the top of the program and jump down to Source. After that, you will be presented with a whole bunch of code. You will want to scroll down until you see the JavaScript portion of the source code (you'll see it labeled). Usually the game file is named with a prefix like 'main_' (see screenshot to the right). You can do a quick find for 'main_' using CTRL + F to get there quicker. In this case the following path can be obtained: /uploaded-images/ 9495524/additional/ main_game-6\. Simply plug this into your URL template, add '.swf' where the forward-slash is and behold the almighty power of Elmo at full width of screen. Entertained baby = happy baby and happy baby = happy parents. See? Everybody is happy.

Here are a couple more example links to get you started. Again, this method works for pretty much all of the games on the website - not just Elmo (so if your kid is a Bert and Ernie fan you can go nuts too - eh eh eh eh eh eh).

Happy geek parenting to all.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 11:53 PM | Tags (3) | sesamestreet | elmo | hack |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 11 Clicks | Posted by Vin

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