COMMENTARY: Oldies but Newer: Upcoming Video Game Sequels to Look Out For

With the impending release of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, it’s only natural to be on the lookout for new video games to try on these latest platforms. However, games from other consoles and devices shouldn’t be excluded either especially with the forthcoming distribution of newer versions of old classics. Whether it’s a sport, action-adventure, or fantasy game, there’s a game out there geared towards any gamer in any genre. The best part is that the timeless games players have grown up with are being revamped to ensure a different gaming experience than previous versions. Before eliminating these new editions to opt for a newer series, it might be worth it to consider what these current renditions have to offer. Here are some classic franchise games getting ready to put out their latest publication that might capture your interest.

FIFA 14

fifa14The annual soccer game is back for another year filled with players across the world in various leagues and tournaments. The FIFA soccer video game series premiered in 1993, and is still going strong. This latest addition to the line will be available for a multitude of platforms including Xbox 360, PS3, and PC download on September 24 in the U.S. An early release version is also available for the PS3 and comes out on September 20. The game will also appear on the PS4 and other Playstation and Nintendo devices including the PSP and the Wii. The Xbox One however might arguably be the best deal for the console which FIFA 14 debuts on for free (at least in Europe anyway—with a preorder of the device) and comes with FIFA Ultimate Team Legends, which features legends of the game. Now, you can play with players of today and yesteryear, and can in fact see Pele tackle the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo—if that’s your preference. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Different Licensees Mean Different Toy Takes on Pac-Man

Quite a few companies are taking on Pac-Man, the character featured in the classic arcade game by Namco. It’s easy to see why, as Pac-Man is the most popular video game of all time, not to mention a global icon that inspired a slew of merchandise during the ’80s. One current toy licensee is Paladone, whose recent Pac-centric products have included the radio-controlled PAC-MAN Racers Set, a plush doll, a candy dispenser, and much more. These toys are based around the basic character design: a yellow spheroid with a missing wedge for a mouth. Other than having eyes (shaped like small Pac-Men) and a handy third dimension, he doesn’t look all that different from Pac-Man in the original game.

Paladone Pac-Man and Ghost

Pac-Man original game

I passed on the candy dispenser (it still being swimsuit season), but as for the Pac-Man Racer, it is great fun on smooth surfaces. You control Pac-Man using a remote cleverly styled like an arcade joystick. There is a bit of a learning curve: For example, in order to get Pac-Man to turn, you have to move him forward or backward, and then bank hard left or right after he picks up some speed. Meanwhile, moving him out of certain tight spaces is not so dissimilar from parallel parking with a car (which is potentially good news for adults who need the practice). [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play sets, bubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series. [Read more...]

Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. App Surpasses 2.5 Million Downloads

Tamagotchi_L.i.f.e._Logo

Bandai Co. Ltd. and Sync Beatz Entertainment announced that downloads of the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app have surpassed the 2,500,000 mark within just 90 days after its initial release. This milestone comes as downloads of the iOS version, which launched March 28 of this year on the iTunes store, have passed the 1.5 million mark, while more than 1 million downloads have been registered for the Android version since its premiere on the Google Play site on February 14.

Prompted by this response, Bandai will be issuing a recreation of the Tamagotchi Generation 2 version this summer, developed by Namco Bandai Games Inc., as an update to its app for both Android and iOS users in the U.S. and Canada. Users will enjoy a new game in its Toy mode, and a new game and new shell designs in the App mode, along with the introduction of new characters. Early next year, the company has plans to release Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. apps that recreate one of the brand’s most popular versions, the Tamagotchi Angel, for both Android and iOS platforms.

The companies have also confirmed the second winner in its Hometown Heroes program. This initiative encourages the public to nominate a local citizen who has made a measurable contribution to improving their community, with the nominee receiving the most votes winning a $5,000 charitable contribution. For the March/April 2013 voting period, the winner is Lori Weise, who was recognized for her work with the Los Angeles non-profit group she founded, Downtown Dog Rescue. In honor of her efforts, Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. presented her with a $5,000 check along with its Hometown Heroes Crystal Award.