New Princess Peach Controller Is the Royal Wii Remote

NintendoWiiPeachRemoteNintendo will be releasing a Wii Remote Plus controller styled in the fashion of Princess Peach. It features many touches that pay homage to the heroine, who recently starred in Super Mario 3D World for Wii U. The new controller includes a crown design over the speaker, blue buttons styled after Peach’s jewelry, and a golden-yellow plus pad that evokes her crown.

The new Peach Pink Wii Remote Plus will start appearing in stores in late April, and joins other controllers themed to Nintendo characters, including red Mario and green Luigi ones.

PAX South to Launch in San Antonio in 2015

ReedPOP and Penny Arcade have announced the addition of a new PAX event to the calendar: PAX South. Slated to debut in San Antonio, TX, from January 23 to 25 of next year, the southern addition marks the fourth PAX show and third in the U.S. The others take place in Seattle, Wash.; Boston, Mass.; and Melbourne, Australia.

Following the PAX format, the new show will focus on video games, tabletop games, game-inspired music, competitive gameplay, and insights from leaders in the world of gaming.

COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 1

Phil.April18.2014.1I may not be the biggest aficionado of Japanese pop culture, but I do consider myself a fan, having devoured lots of manga and anime over the years. What I also appreciate are the toys: Japan has some of the most exquisitely-made action figures and giant robots ever made, and in their native land, these items are generally aimed at adults.

Now when it comes to toys and games, Japan has long enjoyed a healthy foothold in North America—think of all the Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Power Rangers products that have made their way over. So far in 2014, that trend has continued, with several new properties either just launching or expected to launch soon. But these are Japanese imports, meaning they’re sophisticated enough for grown-ups, even if they look like they’re for kids. [Read more...]

K’NEX Education to Exhibit at USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo

K’NEX Education will be participating in the third USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, hosted by founding and presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin. Designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, the Festival Expo allows kids and adults to participate in more than 3,000 hands-on activities, as well as see more than 100 live stage performances.

The K’NEX Education Build and Learn Zone invites kids of all ages to have fun with hands-on learning while designing, building, investigating, problem solving, and evaluating scientific and design principles in action using K’NEX rods, connectors, gears, tires, and hubs at interactive building stations. Kids will have the opportunity to chat with K’NEX designers and engineers, and teachers can stop by and learn how K’NEX Education building sets can complement their STEM curriculum.

The Festival Expo is scheduled for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Puppy Parlour Is a Dog-Gone-Digital Mobile App

PuppyParlourAhead of the release of PS Vita Pets for the PlayStation Vita, a new mobile app, Puppy Parlour, lets players run their own puppy-pampering parlor. Each day brings a new dog, and players will be tasked with meeting their specific needs through a range of activities such as taking them for a walk, showering and feeding them, and playing games.

The games include Dream Chase, which is a race to collect golden bones, and Snack Balance, in which players tilt their device to keep the dog steady as it balances a tasty treat on its nose. Completing these games and looking after the dogs earns points that can be used to upgrade the parlor, as well as unlock new items and clothes.

Players can also unlock exclusive costumes that can be transferred over to PS Vita Pets when the full game arrives in June.

Mattel’s First Quarter Results Include Gross Sales Decline for Top Brands

logo_Mattel logoMattel reported 2014 first quarter financial results, which included a decline in worldwide sales for Barbie, but strength in some of the company’s other girls brands.

For the first quarter, worldwide gross sales for Mattel girls and boys brands were $656.9 million, down 5 percent versus the previous year. This included a decline in worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand of 14 percent. Worldwide gross sales for Mattel’s other girls brands increased 4 percent on the strength of Disney Princess and Ever After High, partially offset by Monster High. [Read more...]

Radio Flyer’s Chicago Headquarters Goes LEED Platinum

Radio Flyer Inc LEED Glass WallsThe Chicago, Ill., headquarters of Radio Flyer Inc. has received platinum certification for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Focused on environmentally sustainable practices, the certification acknowledges key design decisions, including the renovation of existing warehouse space, dedicated on-site recycling areas, and geo-thermal heating and cooling systems.

Radio Flyer renovated 70,000 of its 150,000 square foot space into an open concept area featuring wooden beams, natural lighting, an indoor and outdoor paly lab, eco-friendly parking lot, and landscaped “backyard” complete with native prairie plants. Other “green” solutions include cisterns that retain 10,000 gallons of storm water, which is re-purposed for fertilizer-free irrigation, bike storage and locker room for employees who bike to work, and a preferred parking area for high efficiency, low emission cars.

Strider Bikes Rolls Out Revamped Line of Balance Bikes

StriderBikesStrider Sports Intl. Inc. has unveiled an expanded line of their best-selling 12-inch bikes for 18 month to 5-year-old children. These balance bikes will now be available in three unique models: 12 Classic, which is the skill-building, entry-level model; 12 Sport, which is the feature-rich, mid-level model; and 12 Pro, which is the all-aluminum, high-end model.

The new model names are intended to assist consumers in finding the Strider bike best suited for their children and their budget. All three models feature ultra-light-molded wheels, premium sealed cartridge wheel bearings, flat-free EVA polymer tires, and integrated footrests.

Toys “R” Us Canada Honors Jakks Pacific for Cabbage Patch Kids Launch

JakksJakks Pacific was honored with the 2013 Product Launch of the Year award from Toys “R” Us Canada. Toys “R” Us recognized Jakks Pacific both for its overall business partnership, as well as the exceptional launch of the 30th anniversary of Cabbage Patch Kids last year.

toysrus“We accept this award with gratitude and look forward to continually growing our partnership with Toys “R” Us, as we bring innovative products to all children,” said Steve Morris, senior vice president of Jakks Pacific Canada.

For the anniversary, Jakks Pacific Canada and Toys “R” Us Canada appealed to multiple generations with a program that included media events, exclusive product offerings, and a 30th birthday celebration in select Toys “R” Us stores throughout Canada. The award marks the third consecutive year that Jakks has received an honor by the toy retailer.

Disney Magical World Is a Universe of Fun for 3DS

DisneyMagicalWorldLast Friday, Disney Magical World launched for the Nintendo 3DS system. Players create a personalized avatar and customized dream life, and then embark on a 3D fantasy adventure across a main central plaza, as well as four surrounding worlds inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh.

Along with interacting with iconic Disney characters, players can run a café to earn in-game coins, set off on ghost-hunting quests, and even visit friends’ towns via the StreetPass feature. Developed by Bandai Namco Studio Inc., Disney Magical World offers various opportunities for creativity and customization: With more than 1,000 items, players can hone design skills to create personalized Disney-themed outfits, accessories, and furniture. [Read more...]