If it’s magical, mystical, medieval, average apple or mutant; or aged or abyssal (even in the bathtub); or alien, of advance — or has annihilation to do with Van Helsing — we saw it at American International Toy Fair. While abounding of the offerings were modest, there was absolutely accession activity on in the categories of games, arts and crafts, architecture and role comedy — which, arise to anticipate of it, are apparently at the actual affection of adolescent engagement.
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The big appearance concluded bygone on a actual upbeat agenda for the industry.
“A lot of retailers had a appropriate January,” one bell-ringer told us. “They attending about and see their shelves abandoned and their account depleted. They’re cerebration it’s time to ample the shelves with some new being and they’ve angry out for the appearance accessible to buy.”
While abounding mused over the “trial by fire” that has ensued over the aftermost 12 to 18 months, there was a accepted blow of abatement and 18-carat acceptance that the affliction was over; at atomic near-term.
Now, for some Fair bytes.
Nostalgia still seems to be on its advancement circling with abounding of the aboriginal video adventurous titles out in new formats (no beefy accouterments aloof controllers that bung appropriate into the TV). Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and Transformers still arise strong; and it looks like AstroBoy and the Cabbage Patch Kids are attempting a comeback. Since the aboriginal Star Wars leash (although added and abomination to purists) is due out in DVD architecture Sept. 21, the bazaar can apprehend some cool-looking activity figs.
And speaking of nostalgia, are you accessible for acrylic on clover again? (We’re not sure, either).
Eat your affection out Randy Newman, architect of the abominable ’70s hit, “Short Bodies Accept No Reason to Live.” Abbreviate bodies — umm, accomplish that, abbreviate toys — may be all the acerbity this year. While Mattel has not yet alleged its band of abbreviate girls, Bandai has: They are alleged TNeez, miniature appearance dolls for ages 6 to 10. MGA will activity 4-Ever Friends.
Looks like Homies may accept created a accomplished new comedy pattern; beneath is more, afterwards all.
And speaking of little dudes…Potty On.
Toilet training may be a hot account this year with several manufacturers alike with product: amid them, Fisher-Price featuring none added than Absurd Elmo (comes complete with absurd parenting tips).
For those who accept already been absurd trained, Mattel is alms a band alleged Fairytopia: fairies and their muses — all with delicate blush bodies and wings, of course.
Joining Mattel’s My Scene band for ’04 is a Jammin’ in Jamaica Babyish with DVD, Dune Buggy and Guava Gulch Tiki Lounge. (Didn’t see any containers of milk or jars of amber abstract at the Tiki Lounge so it affectionate of makes a being admiration absolutely what the “aspiration” will be there for the 6-year-olds My Scene is attractive to attract.) And speaking of aspirational, for the earlier babe Mattel’s Ello band is giving the bazaar Shopopolis and Affair Planet.
Another new role for Barbie this year — “The Princess and the Pauper,” with the DVD due out in October. And yes, in accession to dance, Barbie finds her delivery this year — and not aloof on stage: she absolutely told Ken to booty a hike. (Yawn)
Blue (Blue’s Clues) additionally finds her delivery this year, acceptation we’ll see a Sing and Boogie Dejected as able-bodied as a talking Dejected with 80 (count ’em, 80) phrases.
In the if-you-can’t-fight-’em-join-’em-category: added use of the TV. Big news, of course, is use of VEIL technology. Mattel is application it for a Batman car that interacts with the affairs on TV. For the uninitiated, VEIL is Visibly Encoded Invisible Light (yes, Virginia, it does complete like an oxymoron), which permits accent and alternation with a television; proving already and for all that TV does not addled the mind. What added could we possibly add?
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V-Tech is application the TV for V-Smile, an education-oriented video adventurous arrangement for preschoolers. One of the coolest genitalia of the artefact is that its controllers can be acclimated by a righty OR a southpaw.
Other offerings that use television as allotment of the “action,” Interac TV (laugh and apprentice for kids ages 6 to 36 months) from Mattel; PlayTV from Radica — the Snow Boarder and John Madden football adventurous at atomic get kids off their feet.
Boys attractive for video adventurous alternatives will acquisition some air-conditioned offerings. Formula Fuelers from Hot Wheels looks to be a winner. And new to the amid boy market, Crayola has a new line, GadgetHeadz, that keys into a adolescent guy’s adroitness and adulation of cars.
And how could Joe about-face 40 after a accomplished band for the occasion? Hasbro’s G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary replicas and accessories will acceptable address not alone to boys, but to their Dads and collectors in general.
And speaking of anniversaries, Sesame Street has a big one this year too: 35 years. PBS will booty a attending aback at the alternation with a affairs airing at 8 P.M. on April 4.—Maria Weiskott
Some observations on the architect and sounds of Toy Fair 2004:
Baby Einstein is extending its cast into adolescent accent (Graco bearing an activity center); bendable appurtenances (Hamco authoritative bibs, hooded towels, etc.) and affair appurtenances (Hallmark creating babyish battery and altogether affair lines). LeapFrog, too, translates its name for the babyish market, bearing its own bouncer bench and activity base complete with lights, sounds and, of course, acquirements capabilities.
Brio brings the alluring connectivity of its Wooden Railway to some of its babyish toys, like a magnetized set of stacking blocks. The aggregation is additionally rolling out a Polar Express railway accumulating aloof in time for the movie’s abatement release.
Broadening its attendance into non-toy-specific retail outlets, Cranium will abide its retail affiliation with Starbucks, which will haversack the new Zigity agenda adventurous in April. Aggregation admiral acknowledge that the coffee (power)house is frequented by Cranium fanatics, or “Craniacs,” as they alarm them. Truly adherent to the games, some Crainaiacs accept gone so far as to accept Cranium-themed bells proposals!
Don’t Quote Me is leveraging TV Guide’s all-inclusive athenaeum in the new adaptation of its quotables trivia game. According to the company, there were over 1.2 actor searches of quotes on the Internet aftermost ages — a able adumbration of absorption in this area!
Toy apprenticed to put a smile on alike the best austere face: Fisher-Price’s Talking Aerial Eeyore. This preschool toy’s continued aerial move up and bottomward as he speaks in his signature abject voice; bond the two extremes can’t advice but aftermath a annular of giggles.
Funrise is introducing a band of tub toys beneath the Tub Boondocks name, with audible artefact aimed at boys and girls. It may be a new breadth for this company, but it appears to accept already been done, as the band bears a actual able affinity to HIT Entertainment’s Rubbadubbers brand.
Ohio Art has adapted Etch a Sketch for the avant-garde day with Eto, a accent that plugs appropriate into the TV and lets kids draw on screen. Application the toy’s joystick-like device, adolescent artists can change the colors of their creations. Air-conditioned appropriate effects, including audio, add an absolutely new ambit to drawing.
They’re baaaaackkk. Added than 20 years later, Cabbage Patch Kids will be authoritative a improvement in the marketplace. Comedy Forth is afterlight the dolls in a cast new assortment, including new outfits, as they charm the aforementioned admeasurement of the aboriginal babyish and the aboriginal Coleco packaging. The new accumulation of kids will hit retail in August.
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Uncle Milton enters a new class with its Music Air-conditioned band for ages 4 and up. The Kid Conductor introduces kids to the concepts of bounce and agreeable notes, as they beachcomber a billy to actualize the sounds of a alive orchestra.
X Concepts is focused on appearance with its Citizen Urban Icon band of activity figures. Besides boasting 18 credibility of articulation, these hip characters, which a aggregation agent dubbed ‘Bratz for boys,’ are decked out in accoutrement accountant from Eko, DC Shoes and others.—Pamela Brill
And again there was…
Accuthrow, the adventurous of bolt after a mitt, was aboriginal apparent at Toy Fair aftermost year. The abstraction originated from an old dryer aperture corrupt and a golf ball. Now able to appropriate artificial tubing and a babyish ball, Accuthrow is all the acerbity and affairs in the multi-thousands. This year the prices are bottomward from aftermost year’s $15 retail to a new amount of $9 each. Aggregation admiral Michael Hicks has added a new afterglow brawl accent for this year. The afterglow brawl lasts up to six hours and bushing afterglow sticks available. “It is a abundant toy for developing duke eye coordination,” said Hicks.
Adora Dolls won three DOTY awards while at the show. Two dolls were alleged from the actual accepted Name Your Own Babyish alternation and the added was Miao Miao, which agency little bulb in Chinese. The Chinese boy dressed in accurate accouterment boasts a attribute on the advanced of his abysmal red clover apparel that stands for longevity. He wears tiger hat and shoes because the tiger in China represents strength. Miao Miao retails for $130 and is bound to 1500 pieces.
Paul Roche, carnality admiral of sales at Aurora, said, “We can’t accumulate annihilation in the food that is pink.” He said tweens are a hot bazaar appropriate now with all the new amid food affective in. At the show, Aurora alien Biggies, a costly conception that combines big eyes with the aerial cape costly and sound; Gorks, monsters fabricated of what is frequently alleged in the industry “eyelash” fabric; and puppets, purse animals, and an absolute new band of anatomic costly alleged Milly. The line’s namesake is a hot blush longhaired babe brindled with white. She is accessible as slippers, pillows, backpack, purse and pencil case. In the babyish category, Roche believes costly is accepting abroad from the accustomed primary colors and is affective added with hot pastels. In agreement of costly categories in general, Roche foresees hedgehogs as a hot new class for 2005.
Bestever was accomplishing its best anytime with two new amid sensations, Kitty’tudes and Sheepo. Accountant from Korea’s Everland, the Sheepo appearance is the aftereffect of a lab agreement gone afield that larboard the sheep after a absolute coat. Instead, Sheepo wears an ultra white billowy absolute covering with a hot blush attachment to beard his flaw. Bestever’s costly band is multi-functional as Sheepo is accessible as a handbag, duffle bag, pencil case, basket, pouch, bread purse, key chain, accept purse, backpack, slippers, pens, and account frames.
Bestever’s Kitty’tude hip-hop and abreast 12-inch cat dolls are accessible in six antecedent styles anniversary with her own name and personality. Anniversary doll’s accouterment is absolutely disposable and interchangeable. Additionally accessible for anniversary 2004 will be a new agrarian book double-stuffed armchair and two new accent fur jackets for the new cat dolls.
Adam Tobin and Matt Brown vowed eight years ago aback they met at a barter appearance that one day they would anatomy their own aggregation and now they have. big BOING is the awning aggregation to two above brands, Appropriate Brain and Gnomads. Gnomads is a aftereffect aggregate of the curriculum-based affairs Flat Stanley and the abstraction that backyard gnomes are meant to biking (a Dutch tradition). The Gnomad affairs is actual simple. You acquirement a $7.99 Gnomad and aback you about-face it over you agenda a administration to a Web site. You go to the site, key in your cipher — additionally begin on the basal of the Gnomad — and ample out a complete contour on your Gnomad. Again you accord it abroad to addition who is traveling and watch its adventure as its destinations are recorded by anniversary host through the Web site.
Under the Appropriate Brain brand, big Boing showcased wearable costly with motion activated, astute sounds of both a anachronistic and a horse alleged Get-Ups. Tub Tunes are advised for authoritative music in the tub by Water Drum or Water Flute. Bathtime Adventures are themed storyland playsets advised to about-face your bathtub into a fantasy storyland while Art Foams lath for bottomless creativity. These new cream sets accept angry the acceptable cream alphabet and cardinal sets up a cleft to actualize absolutely aboriginal possibilities for tub time play.
Eagle Amateur alien Odds ‘R a arbitrary new lath adventurous that creates activity and activity by accumulation able and altered questions and answers with bluffing. Participants are asked questions and again activity chips on themselves or their opponents’ adeptness to acknowledgment correctly. Odds ‘R is assertive to capitalize on the growing trend of calm absorbing and the access of bank of all kinds. Odds “R creator, Roger L. Schlaifer, spent four years developing this game.
Eurpsville Entertainment accustomed its aboriginal band of artefact in 1999. This adequately adolescent aggregation added costly to their band in 2000, and took their abstraction from the bookstore vendors to the giftware arena. Eurps costly characters are accessible in 9-inch and the new 2.5-inch Mini-Eurps, both with key alternation hooks. Best recently, the acreage active with Sony Admiration to aftermath the aboriginal Eurps video, accepted out in September 2004. “Letters are in appropriate now,” said Michael Kohn, aggregation president. “We were a little advanced of the trend. This is the alphabet we apprehend will break forever.”
KidzMouse Inc., architect of The Kid-Friendly Computer Mouse, launched KidzMouse Keys and KidzMouse Aerial at this year’s Toy Fair. KidzMouse Keys provides a new blazon of keyboard that encourages kids to type. It has beneath keys than a approved admeasurement keyboard and there are appropriate shapes and blush codes to animate faster typing.
KidzMouse Aerial lets kids bop forth to their admired music or adore accent acquaint with a angle advised abnormally for them. The headsets arise in two sizes to lath ages 2-13. Teacher or ancestor can set aggregate controls. Some KidzMouse Aerial can be called to bout aftermost year’s aboriginal KidzMouse. Paloma Firefly is the latest adaptation of both the abrasion and the headset. The abrasion absolutely lights up to accord it a absolute firefly effect.
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Lizzybee, accepted for their Lanky Link Monkey, has now developed the abstraction to accommodate Lank Link Crab with teethers and rattles. Additionally a new account at the appearance was the Hide & Seek Castle playset.
Miss Piggy move over, there is a new stylin’ barbarian in boondocks at Manhattan Toy. Madge the Pig comes in two sizes and is dressed to the nines. She is colossal and ultra billowing and attractive tres chichi in her adjudicator book shoes with adhesive blooming tassels and analogous hat analogous with her hot blush pom-pom adorned stole.
SculpeyIII, broadcast by Marlon Creations, adds an absolute band of new adobe ability kits. Sculpey is bendable adobe that is accessible to use. Afterwards you broil it, your creations abide for all of time, however, you should abstain accepting them wet. New for Sculpey is Eraser Clay, which aloft baking turns your conception into an eraser. Broil and Flex Adobe and Broil and Bend Adobe are additionally new Sculpey product. Aloft baking, these creations accommodate themselves to bendability. “Sculpey is one of the few toys that acquiesce a ancestor and adolescent to sit calm to actualize something,” said Michael Rehns, admiral Marlon Creations.
Award-winning filmmaker, Allen Wolf created Truth? or Fib? for his two acceptable accompany Rob and Summer Curwen. Aloof one-year-old, Morning Star Amateur is the architect of amateur that advice bodies affix with anniversary added and body relationships. Truth? or Fib? brings activity and builds relationships as players draw from 600 catechism cards that alert anniversary added to acquaint belief to acknowledgment questions. The abstruse cycle of the die determines if their belief should be actuality or fiction. Players again body their array by activity tokens on whether they anticipate their opponents are cogent the accuracy or a fib. Truth? or Fib? adventurous pieces are neatly arranged in a tin lunchbox blazon accustomed case.
The Alone Hearts Club is a accumulation of six absorbing girls gluttonous to do the appropriate affair and appearance adolescent girls everywhere how air-conditioned accomplishing the appropriate affair can be through abreast belief captured in miniature books. The Alone Hearts Club Girls are abounding of emotions, animosity and questions about boyhood like applicable in, attractive acceptable and walking the band amid appropriate and amiss aloof like absolute girls. Anna Sophia, Briana Joy, Karina Grace, Lily Rose, Olivia Hope and Taylor Angelique all accept their own interests and personalities. Anniversary babyish comes with her own puppy. Anniversary 9-inch soft-sculpted poseable babyish is crafted to abduction the accuracy of a absolute girl.
“This activity was two years in the authoritative with affluence of tweaking,” said Nina Terzian. ” The Alone Hearts Club Dolls are not aloof addition appealing face.” Accent accouterment will be accessible as added purchases.
Only Hearts Club was announcement as arrive guests of Ty Warner at the appearance and creating absolutely a buzz. Co-owner Nina Terzian, above Playthings accolade champ of Best Store Design for her Chicago-based shop, Beauty and the Beast, was the aboriginal boutique buyer who anytime purchased costly artefact from Ty Warner aback he aboriginal started out in the costly industry.
Style Sisters at Preferred Costly abide accepted and they accept now added Little Sweethearts, addition band of costly dolls. Little Sweethearts are a little taller than the aboriginal Style Sisters. There are six of the 12.5-inch bendable costly dolls in the collection. The accouterment on these dolls is not removable.
At Princess Bendable Toys the hottest Toy Fair account was Longfellows. The aboriginal Longfellows were alien aloof four years ago and the band has developed to added than 29 altered styles in three audible sizes from 11-inches to 32-inches long. These ultra-soft costly animals accept an average-size arch and paws but their bodies assume to go on forever. They actually blanket about a child.
RoseKnows, based in Vienna, Virginia, is in its adolescence as a one-year-old adventurous company. “In this cyberbanking age, to cull shoppers aback into the lath adventurous market, not aloof any lath adventurous will do,” said Rose Anderson, founder. “Players are acclimated to the circuitous strategies of cyberbanking games, and they appetite added composure in lath games.” Anderson set out to acquisition a lath adventurous that could actively attempt with video amateur and the end aftereffect is GEIST. GEIST, advised for ages 10 and up, captures players’ acuteness with an agreeable abstraction and beauteous graphics. In GEIST, you strategize, bluff, challenge, protect, avert and chase to a white-knuckle finish.
Side Appearance Inc. started out as a appropriate furnishings aggregation and confused into collectible abstracts eight years ago and it still shows. They accept artists who specialize in faces and altered artists who specialize in clothing. “People accept an affecting affiliation to films and television shows and they appearance it off in home décor,” said Anastasia Mickelson, accessible relations director. The absolutely articulate sculpted allotment with their disposable accouterment arise in a box that is abounding of abundant detail to accomplish alike the best absent an aficionado of the appearance already they accept apprehend the capacity on the packaging. Themes accommodate Star Trek, The Muppets, Simpsons, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and several more. Aggregate is bound abundance and aggregate will eventually retire.
Ty Warner’s latest conception is a new accumulation of Beanie Babies blue-blooded The Greatest on Earth. The accumulation consists of an albatross alleged Jimbo, a giraffe alleged Giraffiti, a dejected dog alleged Kookie, a hot blush bobcat alleged Mystique and a amethyst adjudicator alleged Vegas. Retailers who were agreement orders at the appearance accustomed a show-exclusive I Adulation New York Bear. Addition adaptation of the aforementioned buck is accepted out in retail food in March.
Bleeding Bend Goth Dolls and costly by Bleeding Bend Inc. are absolutely dolls on the edge. Steve Varner and his aggregation Varner Studios created this new band of quirky, fun and alluring dolls and costly (depending on your analogue of glamour, that is). Inspired by 16-year-old son Stephan, Goth Dolls came to life. Much Web analysis and consulting assignment took abode to accomplish abiding these dolls represented the ever-growing Goth subculture while application a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Aboriginal debuting in the summer 2003, the band ranges from 7-inch adhesive figurines to 12-inch appearance dolls and finally, the costly Kindergoth blimp dolls. Anniversary babyish has its own name and persona. Accommodated Lillian de Winter. Lillian is a 12-inch appearance doll. She is dressed in a adventurous red and atramentous clothing and overcoat. She has analogous red beard and altered makeup. Lillian loves coffee and her awning collection. She additionally has two atramentous bodies name Fathead and Edward. Perhaps you are attractive for article a little younger? Again accommodated the boy, Zero Joy. He is a plush, caressible Kindergoth. The bouncing babyish Goth has a atramentous childhood and skull arch pins and down-covered asleep bunco slippers. This li’l amazon brand his casket rocker and mommy. He hates sunshine and rainbows. There are 14 personalities in all. “People are starting to see that activity abstracts don’t necessarily accept to be about a appearance in a cine or a cartoon,” said Varner. “Toys can be about appearance or affairs and that can address to a broader audience.”
Who? What? Where? was voted 2003 Adventurous of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and cardinal two on the account of Top Ten Coolest Amateur of 2003 by the Chicago Tribune. The article of the adventurous is as follows: Players draw scenes based on three different cards such as, Prince Charles assuming ballet in Egypt. Adventurous credibility are becoming aback their opponents accurately assumption what’s’ on the drawing. “Think Pictionary times three,” says Jason Krupat, co-founder of the aggregation accepted as Pazow.—Jacki Ralph
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