MasterPieces Puzzle Company plans to introduce a full line of new baby, infant, and child all-natural wooden rattles and push-pull products featuring sports teams from the NFL, NHL, MLB, and NCAA in July. The new MasterPieces Baby Rattles and Baby Push & Pull Toys are made of real, all-natural wood with non-toxic colors and finishes, and are completely BPA, phthalates, and formaldehyde free. [Read more...]
NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, introduces Playmaker Challenge, an exciting new competition for toy developers. To be considered, new toy ideas must feature the unique intellectual property assets licensed only by NFLPI, including names, uniform numbers, signatures, nicknames, images, and likenesses for more than 1,800 active NFL players.
The competition, announced at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, runs through December 19, and NFLPI is accepting applications for concepts through the Playmaker Challenge microsite. The grand prize winner will receive an NFLPI-issued license, an NFL player promotional appearance at their Toy Fair booth, and $10,000 towards player marketing, which can be used on retail partnerships, social media activation, and/or player appearances. Additionally, NFLPI will work with the winner and retail launch partner to donate a quantity of the newly licensed toy to a pre-determined children’s charity.
A committee will review submissions and invite three finalists to present their concepts to the NFLPI committee from January 4 to February 13. The winner will be announced at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.
World Tech Toys is teaming up with Marvel for R/C toys based on Avengers, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Avengers characters will include Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, while the Guardians of the Galaxy lineup will feature Star-Lord, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.
The company has also added Shark Week, and will introduce flying R/C robots based on National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association players. The NFL line-up will include Johnny Manziel and Peyton Manning.
Developed by EA Tiburon, Madden NFL 15 features the most immersive defensive game play control in the franchise’s history. Fans will also experience a broadcast presentation with new camera angles, pre-game, and halftime features.
The Hamilton Collection has partnered with King Features Syndicate to introduce a new series of collectible figurines featuring Betty Boop, the Queen of Cartoons, and NFL teams. The first in the series, “Three Boop-Oop-a-Doops,” is a bell figural measuring 4.75 inches high and features Betty Boop cheering on her favorite NFL teams. The figure is dressed in official team colors with logos emblazoned on her cheerleader’s uniform and megaphone.
Fans can view all available designs at The Hamilton Collection website.
It’s nearing September, which means the start of the 2013 to 2014 NFL season. Among the major American sports, professional football very easily rates near the top; however, unlike baseball or basketball, the NFL is only broadcast three days a week. This raises the question: What to do on those other days when the ol’ pigskin classic isn’t scheduled to be played? With a little help from the National Football League itself, we have your perfect solution: two officially-licensed NFL board games, plus one NFL video game super-sequel that just hit stores.
The first board game up is NFL Game Day from Fremont Die, in which two players (or two teams of players) take turns attempting to score points or stop the other team from scoring. The length of a football field is approximated on a neat magnetic board, and the game features magnetic pieces as well as cards for offensive, defensive, and special teams plays. For the most part, game play revolves around one side plunking down an offensive card, while the other side puts down a defensive card at the same time. Depending on which cards are played, the possibilities range from a five-yard gain to something much bigger, no gain to a huge loss in yardage, or even a turnover.
The game play mechanics are straightforward enough that even football novices can pick them up quickly; however, if you already fancy yourself an expert on football strategy, NFL Game Day has the bonus of effectively putting you in the head coach or offensive/defensive coordinator’s chair. At third-and-five, will you run for the first down, go for a short pass, or opt for the play-action? If you’re on the defensive side, do you play the pass or the run, or maybe even go for an all-out blitz?
A slightly different, but no less compelling football experience awaits NFL diehards and laypeople courtesy of NFL Rush Zone from Techno Source. Like NFL Game Day, it features a game board with customizable end zones for all 32 teams (and plastic uprights that don’t serve a practical purpose, but look pretty cool), but the game mechanics are dice-based rather than card-based. Each side rolls three dice representing a complete set of downs, but if the total of the defense’s dies is higher than the offense’s, it becomes fourth down and the latter must decide between punting, kicking a field goal, or going for the conversion.
If NFL Game Day represents the coach’s point-of-view, NFL Rush Zone is more like the spectator’s. The mechanics are such that despite being active participants, much of what happens on the field is left to chance; any series of downs can go really well or terribly wrong, and it’s difficult to strategize based on the random rolling of three die. Events will transpire as they will, and isn’t that exactly what watching an NFL game (or most any sporting event, for that matter) is like?
In the game I was playing, my hometown Miami Dolphins were marching on offense, but then my opponent (the Seattle Seahawks, for those who were wondering) got a defensive takeaway by rolling three of a kind. They subsequently scored a touchdown and won, at which point, like any true fan and viewer, I called for the Fins’ head coach to be fired and the team sold to parties based out of Los Angeles. Perhaps NFL Rush Zone represents football from the perspective of the team owner as well?
Actually, if any licensed NFL product lets users step into the luxury wing tips of their typical franchise owners, it’s most likely EA Sports‘ Madden NFL 25, the latest installment in the video game franchise. It arrived on August 27 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Playstation 3. New features include an “Owner Mode,” which lets gamers run the organization top to bottom, doing everything from selecting players to setting the prices of concessions, to upgrading the team’s stadium. It’s an intriguing form of escapism—running a corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Madden NFL 25 retains the more traditional game play mode in which users control avatars of their favorite players, and this time around, the simulated action has an unprecedented level of smoothness and detail.
With these licensed games, NFL fans should be able to get their fix well beyond the coming football season.
For more commentary from Phil, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!
Nickelodeon and the National Football League has announced the development of a new animated series. Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core will be a 22-episode, weekly short-form series based on the NFL Rush Zone children’s website. Episodes begin airing this fall, coinciding with the start of the NFL season. The season will culminate with a one-hour long special following the Super Bowl in February.
Rush Zone follows 10-year-old Ishmael as he guards a benevolent life force, housed within each of the NFL’s 32 stadiums, from villain Sudden Death. Endowed with special powers and the strength of a football player, Ishmael must battle evil robots, while being mentored by NFL coaches and players who voice themselves.
The short runs approximately two to five minutes and will be available on nicktoons.com and nflrush.com after airing on the Nickelodeon network. Rush Zone is also being produced in high definition for use on jumbotrons during games.
Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon/NFL