COMMENTARY: Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

zombieLast year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback.   

Who will you be this year? The Marvel superheroes will be strong sellers. Lets face it: what kid doesn’t want to save the world—and what adult doesn’t want a few hours to be “that hot” at a grown up party dressed up as Iron Man or Wonder Woman!

For little girls, if you haven’t purchased their Doc McStuffins or Sofia the First costumes yet, good luck finding them. I’ve yet to meet a 4-year-old girl that hadn’t loved one or both of these new favorite characters. Boys are loving Jake and his Never Land Pirates, Skylanders, Trash Pack Kids, and Slugterra.

But it’s not just in the costume. There are some great additions to the two hottest video games with Halloween themes this year that I need to share. Skylanders Giants released their special Halloween edition called Eye-Brawl. It’s sports a pumpkin head and a skeleton head at his feet. Disney Infinity will let kids build their own Halloween town in Toy Box mode, with the Pumpkin King throwing pumpkins at other characters, including the newly released Jack Skellington. [Read more...]

Angry Birds Star Wars Licensed Products Provide a Boost to the Toy Industry

Hasbro Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star PackageBased on data from The NPD Group, Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets so far this year. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period was £5.3 million, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4 million, and third place Monsters University at £2.9 million. Angry Birds Star Wars is even the No. 1 license in the board games category.

Over the first seven months, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. Just one year ago, Angry Birds alone was ranked at a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

The original Angry Birds sold £4.2 million worth of toys in the first seven months of last year across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The figure for the same seven-month period this year had almost doubled to £8.1 million. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3 million added in, in total, the Angry Birds license achieved combined sales of £13.4 million in the seven months through this July. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity Release Toy Story in Space Play Set

disneyinfinityDisney Interactive has released additional details and assets for the Toy Story in Space Play Set for Disney Infinity. This is the first Play Set to be released since the game launch in August, and invites gamers to take on the role of space rangers Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, or Woody as they try to help relocate the Pizza Planet Aliens to a new world.

The Play Set will be widely available on October 22 at all participating retailers. The new asset release includes character images, action screenshots, and a gameplay trailer featuring both Play Set and Toy Box modes of Toy Story in Space.

 Check out the gameplay trailer below:

[Read more...]

Voting Opens for 2013 Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards

TAGIE.AwardsThese nominees for the annual Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards in the categories of toy design, game design, young inventor, and rising star were selected by industry colleagues. Now the public is invited to place their votes before the annual award show taking place in November as part of the 11th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair.

The 2013 TAGIE Award nominees are as follows:

Excellence in Toy Design

  • Bruce Lund, inventor of the Dino Construction Company Line
  • Cheong Choon Ng, inventor of Rainbow Loom
  • Jon Paul Capriola, inventor of ZippyDo
  • Sean Frawley, inventor of Aero Force Flight Designs: “Ultra-Light/Extended Flight” Gliders/ Wind Ups/ Power Gliders
  • Wim Ouboter, inventor of Microlino Airseat Hybrid

[Read more...]

Disney Infinity Launches New Custom Toy Boxes

CaveofWonders1-X2Disney Infinity fans can continue their adventures in the revolutionary Toy Box mode with five brand new custom Toy Boxes that are available now for download free of charge on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.

The five free Toy Boxes available now for download are:

  • Cave of Wonders Race – Race through the Cave of Wonders and Aladdin’s Agrabah Castle. Compete against Cars characters or other players.
  • Super Sidescroll – Trigger the side scrolling camera to start, then jump and bash through a classic game level. 
  • ESPN Speedway – Rev those engines and race friends around the stadium loop, brake for a pit stop, and celebrate with a victory lap.
  • Hot Lava – Rope bridges are the only thing between players and flowing lava in this treacherous Toy Box.
  • Wrestling Arena – Want to become the Disney Infinity combat champ? Battle friends in two tricked out wrestling rings.

[Read more...]

Disney Infinity Debuts at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

disney-infinity-figurinesToys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com officially launched Disney Infinity on August 18. Disney Interactive’s new video game platform will be available on the Xbox 360 system, the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and iPad. The game integrates collectible figures featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios with a video game experience that allows the characters to interact together—for the first time ever. In the U.S., the Infinite Crystal Series figures will only be available at Toys “R” Us. The figures are an assortment of collectible figures that have enhanced in-game abilities, as well as power discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles, and more.

Each Disney Infinity character figure will come to life and play together in a virtual Toy Box. In this mode, players can build and customize their own virtual world using their favorite characters, vehicles, settings, and accessories. The game also includes a Play Set mode, a story-driven experience that allows players to solve puzzles, battle enemies, and explore locations from Disney properties.

Disney Infinity launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs, including those found only at Toys “R” Us. Toys “R” Us will offer the largest assortment of Disney Infinity products available, which includes the Lighting McQueen Infinite Crystal Series figure, and Mike’s Car Power Disc (Monster’s Inc.).

Disney Interactive Releases Two New Infinity Mobile Apps

DisneyInfinityDisney Interactive has unveiled two new Disney Infinity mobile apps, Disney Infinity: Action! and Disney Infinity: Toy Box, which will provide connected extensions of the console  experience. The Disney Infinity: Toy Box app allows players to build and edit new worlds from the Disney Infinity Toy Box mode on their iPad. Players can also transfer any Toy Box creation between their iPad and console, and play with Mr. Incredible for free. Disney Infinity: Toy Box will be available for free for the iPad in the coming weeks.

Disney Infinity: Action! will be available for free on iTunes and in the Windows Store on August 15. It will be available for the Google Play Store soon. Features of the app include the ability to discover unique animations and use them in the Movie Maker so kids can create their own movies. Kids can from a high caliber cast of characters, including Mr. Incredible, Sulley, and Jack Sparrow, and more than 30 animations to use in videos sword fighting with Jack Sparrow and scaring a friend with Sulley and share the movies by posting to Facebook or YouTube.

Disney Infinity Unveils Incredibles Gameplay Trailer

Disney Interactive unveiled an in-depth look into the Incredibles Play Set in Disney Infinity through an all new gameplay trailer featuring both Play Set and Toy Box modes. Within the Incredibles play set, gamers can take on the role of any of the “Super Family,” including Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, and Violet as they try to combat Syndrome and his evil minions in Metroville. The Incredibles is one of the play sets available in the Disney Infinity starter pack that will be available on August 18, along with Monsters University and Pirates of the Caribbean play sets.


The Incredibles Play Set Trailer – DISNEY INFINITY on Disney Video

Key highlights include:

  • Play Set: The Incredibles play set adds its own specialized game play mechanics and pieces to the Disney Infinity world, showcasing the unique super powers displayed by the Incredibles family and Syndrome. The battles among characters with strength, speed and flying abilities can also be activated in Toy Box mode, which will allow players to build and customize worlds and incorporate these super powers into their interactions with other Disney and Pixar characters.
  • Toy Box mode: The cast of characters, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, Violet and Syndrome, will be able to interact with Disney and Pixar characters from movies, including Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cars, to create new and exciting adventures in customized worlds.  

Disney Infinity Hits the Road for Summer of Endless Fun Tour

infinityDisney Infinity, Disney Interactive’s biggest and most ambitious video game to date, is embarking on a multi-city Summer of Endless Fun tour to showcase the most anticipated game of the year. The cross country road trip, which is free to the public, kicked off on July 7 in the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, Calif. Players will get an exclusive sneak peek at the game before it hits store shelves on August 18.

Zigzagging across the country, fans will get the chance to play Disney Infinity—featuring the innovative Toy Box mode that truly brings every kids’ imagination to life. The Summer of Endless Fun Tour will make stops in Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Detroit, and Richmond, Va., culminating with a weekend of launch activities in New York City from August 17 to 18. Activities at each tour stop include game demos, surprise guests, photo opportunities, giveaways, contests, entertainment provided by Radio Disney, and more.

Disney Infinity is an all-new video game that gives players the freedom to create stories and play experiences featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios. Players can place real-world toy versions of beloved Disney characters onto a device called the Disney Infinity Base and transport them into the virtual game worlds of Monsters University, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars, and The Lone Ranger, as well as into a giant Toy Box.

Disney Infinity Summer of Endless Fun Tour Schedule and Locations

July 13-14: Taste of Chicago in Chicago
July 18-20: Gaslamp Quarter during San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego
July 19-21: Revere Beach National Festival in Boston
July 26-28: Coast Guard Festival in Detroit
August 10-11: Prince William County Fair in Richmond, Va.
August 17: Nintendo World Store in New York City
August 18: Times Square in New York City

 

Disney Interactive Launches New Lone Ranger Play Set for Disney Infinity

Lone Ranger_1b-LDisney Interactive announced the newest play set for Disney Infinity, The Lone Ranger. Please see below links for character images, action screenshots, and a gameplay trailer showcasing both Play Set and Toy Box modes. The Lone Ranger play set pack will be available when Disney Infinity launches on August 18. Within the Lone Ranger play set, players can take on the role of the Lone Ranger or Tonto as they set out to bring Butch Cavendish and his gang of outlaws to justice.

View the gameplay trailer that showcases both Play Set and Toy Box modes below:

Key gameplay highlights include:

  • Ricochet Combat: The outlaws in the play set are clever and will seek to hide behind cover or ambush the player whenever they can. Fortunately, a unique ricochet mechanic allows both Lone Ranger and Tonto to hit the bad guys indirectly and around corners by lining up shots that bounce off of pots, pans, bells, posts, or other metal objects. 
  • Mounts: Players will find traversing the Wild West and the areas surrounding the town of Colby to be much quicker on the Lone Ranger and Tonto’s iconic steeds of Silver and Scout or any one of the other many horses that can be found throughout the play set.
  • Train Defense and Customization: He who controls the railroad, controls the West. In the Lone Ranger play set, players can build and customize their own train from the trim on the wheels to the painting on the cars. A key part of the gameplay revolves around building up the train and getting the right resources to the right locations. 
  • Toy Box: In addition to these game mechanics, the Lone Ranger play set also allows players to bring in all the buildings, mounts, weapons and other surprises into the Toy Box so that players can include their own wild west gameplay into their imaginative scenarios.