COMMENTARY: Help! Kids Should Know the Beatles Too

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The Fab Four: George, Ringo, Paul, and John

I was commuting to work yesterday, minding my own business, when I heard a teenager telling her friend that her strawberry-themed bracelet symbolized her favorite song “Strawberry Fields” by Twintapes. Now as a rule of thumb, I normally tune out every single thing that I hear on the subway, but this particular statement stopped me in my tracks. To say that I am an avid Beatles fan is like saying that the band was “a little popular.” I have obsessed over their music for as long as I can remember, and I will stop there because I could go on and on for days on the topic. The band changed my life and made me fall in love with rock ‘n roll at a very young age, and it breaks my heart to know that teenagers and kids are being robbed of the tunes that made me love music.

The Beatles Yellow Submarine, released in 1999

The Beatles Yellow Submarine, released in 1999

This Beatles-oblivious teenager could not possibly go on thinking that one of the greatest songs of all time was written and recorded by the Twintapes, and this problem should be addressed in the future—for all our sakes. Presently, I have seven girlfriends expecting babies and a brand-new nephew—I know, there is something in that Alabama water—so I feel that it’s my duty to make sure that they are brought up listening to “Come Together,” “Revolution,” “Hey Jude,” and “She Loves You.” I want them to recognize the phrase, “We all live in a yellow submarine,” and I want them to know who wrote “Strawberry Fields Forever.” I took it upon myself to find kid-appropriate methods of Beatles introduction. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Moby Dick, or, The Card Game Brings an American Classic to Life

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Moby Dick is considered one of the greatest American novels ever written. But more than just a classic tale, Herman Melville’s masterpiece leaves quite an impression on its readers, examining existentialism and obsession in a truly captivating way. Literary lovers of the classic tale can venture on the high seas in search of the White Whale in a new way.

King Post has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Moby Dick, or, The Card Game, a dynamic, action-packed adventure for two to four players ages 12 and up. The game is adapted from Melville’s classic novel, and is brought to life with three decks of unique cards featuring original compositions, period portraits, and classic illustrations.

The strategy-based game lets players live out the voyage of the Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. The Sea Deck contains adventures, creatures, and chapters adapted directly from the novel, including whales, giant squid, foreign ports-of-call, and pirate attacks. The Sailor Deck features characters including Ishmael, Starbuck, Queequeg, and Captain Ahab. The Whale Deck contains actions, defenses, and attacks of the hunted whales. In addition to the iconic imagery featured on each card, a quote from the novel ties the action of the game directly to the classic tale. The game also includes two dice and 40 oil markers. [Read more...]

Pinkalicious Introduces New Games with POOF-Slinky

Pinkalicious Cupcake Party Game_hi resPinkalicious, the popular picture book about a girl who loves the color pink and eats too many pink cupcakes, has expanded its franchise to board and card games, which are newly licensed under POOF-Slinky, the manufacturer of the world famous Slinky and top-selling foam sport balls in North America. The games include Pinkalicious 3 Cupcake Card Games, Silverlicious Sweet Tooth Game, and Pinkalicious Cupcake Party Game. Additionally, Pinkalicious is now a live and touring musical production.

Leapfrog Announces LeapPad2 and Leapster GS

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., the leader in educational entertainment, announces two new platforms: LeapPad2, the next generation of the No. 1 kid’s learning tablet LeapPad, and LeapsterGS, the learning video game system.

LeapPad2 arrives after the success of its predecessor. Within a year of launch, LeapPad has received more than 20 accolades, including three awards from the Toy Industry Association (Educational Toy of the Year, Preschool Toy of the Year, and Toy of the Year).

LeapPad2 features higher resolution front-and-back cameras and video recorders, twice the memory (4 GB), and improved battery life. The tablet also includes free content: a music player with five LeapFrog Learning Songs, a Cartoon Director creativity app, an Art Studio creativity app, the Pet Pad writing app, and choice of an additional app. LeapPad2’s Cartoon Director app lets kids develop their inner director by creating and starring in their own cartoons, as well as sharing their masterpieces with family and friends.

Continuing with its education and entertainment products, LeapFrog will release the LeapsterGS, an updated version of Leapster Explorer. With a faster processor and more memory, the LeapsterGS delivers fast-action gameplay while building core skills for success in school and life.

LeapsterGS comes with free content, including the new “Escape of the Sillies” game app, the Pet Pad writing app, and choice of an additional app. Exclusive to LeapsterGS, the “Escape of the Sillies” app immerses kids into the game with the built-in camera and face-morphing technology, where they will customize faces of silly monsters while building their math skills.

LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS will be available for pre-sale at leapfrog.com in the U.S. and Canada, and at major online retailers in the UK and Ireland beginning July 18. They will be available at major retail locations in early August and in select other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries later this fall. The LeapFrog App Center can be accessed through the LeapFrog Connect Application for LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS platforms. For more information on LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS, visit leapfrog.com/nextgen.

Top Toy Trends This Holiday Season, According to Target

This holiday season there will be nearly 7,000 toys featured in Target stores and on Target.com. Stephanie Lucy, vice president of merchandising at Target, shares what she thinks will be the five key toy trends this season and the hot toys that match them.

Interactivity

“One of the key items we selected is Fijit Friends. You look at Fijit and the ability to put it in dance mode, and the voice-recognition and built-in responses. Also, Let’s Rock Elmo is interactive for a much younger child, but we believe interactivity is important.”

[Read more...]

Games & Puzzles: New Dungeons & Dragons

Wizards of the Coast is releasing a new Dungeons & Dragons board game: Conquest of Nerath. Designed for strategy gamers who want to immerse themselves in the world of D&D, Conquest of Nerath has players gather armies of footsoldiers, and siege engines, monsters, and dragons in an effort to protect the fate of the fragile League of Nerath against the undead.

The Conquest of Nerath board game includes a rulebook, a game board, dice, 110 cards, and 252 plastic playing pieces representing champions and the armies of Nerath, Karkoth, the Iron Circle, and Vailin.

For more games & puzzles, read The Toy Book‘s July/August issue. Click here to read!

Games & Puzzles: Wild Republic’s Nature-Themed Games

Wild Republic is launching new children’s nature-themed games that put a “natural twist” on the classics. Games include the Chess Board Game, which uses animal pieces; a double-sided board game called Dino Ludo & Ladders; the new Flippin Frogs and Butterflies games; and Wild Card Games, featuring original artwork of different animals.

For more games & puzzles, read The Toy Book‘s July/August issue. Click here to read!

Games & Puzzles: Double Duel Sound-Alike Word Game

It’s a color. The wind did this. What’s the answer? Blue/Blew!

Learning Resources‘ new high-speed challenge, Double Duel Sound-Alike Word Game, helps build vocabulary connections. When players know the answer, they try to be the first to hit their buzzer. Each buzzer makes a different fun sound: honk honk, boxing bell, doorbell, and boing. Color-coded question cards provide two levels of play.

The game, for three or more players, ages 7 and up, includes 200 double-sided, self-checking clue cards; an activity guide; and four buzzers.

For more games & puzzles, read The Toy Book‘s July/August issue. Click here to read!

AT New Media Creates New Game/App Development Services Division

AT New Media has created a joint-ventured development services division that will deliver apps and games on multiple platforms. This services division is aimed at agents and licensors who want to control and own more of the commercial upside of their properties, and integrate the interactive digital offering directly into their marketing activity and licensing strategy.

Simon Kay, AT New Media CEO, said in a press release, “It is a common misconception in the industry that the only option available to a licensor is to license out rights. That is no longer the case. With development costs for some platforms now being substantially lower than in the past, forward-looking licensors should be considering developing, controlling, and offering their own interactive component.”

AT is actively seeking to work with companies who are unsure about how to approach digital interactive components of their brand/property and can now offer an in-house interactive development option as well as the traditional licensing route.

Report: 56.8 Million Americans Have Played a Social Networking Game

According to a new report by The NPD Group, Social Network Gaming, approximately 20 percent of Americans ages 6 and older, or 56.8 million U.S. consumers, have played a game on a social network within the last three months. In terms of kids’ activities, according to the report, 23 percent of children ages 6 to 12 reported that they have played a game on a social network within the past three months.

The report also states that 35 percent of social network gamers are new to gaming and have never played any other type of gaming before playing on social networks. According to the report, gamers are nearly evenly divided between genders: 47 percent are male and 53 percent are female.

Social Network Gaming also reports that 10 percent of social network gamers have spent real money playing social networking games, although the games are free to play, and 11 percent of those surveyed are likely to make a future purchase. Gamers surveyed also report spending 20 percent less on gaming overall since they started playing social networking games.