China Toy Fair


Nintendo World Hosts Launch Event for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

imagesNintendo World in New York will host a Pokémon X and Pokémon Y launch event to celebrate the release of the two new games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on October 11 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. These new installments in the famous Pokémon series will introduce a new generation of Pokémon, new Mega Evolutions, and a ton of new features.

At the event, fans will have the chance to play games, participate in activities, and be the first in the country to purchase the new games, which are also available on the new Nintendo 2DS system. Game sales will commence at midnight, but Nintendo World will remain open through the night. The event will also feature a Pokémon costume showcase, a live DJ, Pokémon trivia, a Pikachu costumed character appearance, and more. Attendees will also be able to participate in giveaways while supplies last.

Swaptober Kicks into Gear in Anticipation of Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders-SWAP-Force_NightIn anticipation of the Skylanders Swap Force launch, Activision Publishing Inc. is using the month of October, or “Swaptober” to get gamers ready for the game’s launch on October 13. Lucky Portal Masters will have chances to win copies of the Skylanders Swap Force game, explore the world of Skylanders in Times Square, and more during the month-long activities.

To kick off Swaptober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack per day beginning October 1 and going to October 31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame). For a chance to win, portal masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite character combination and then tweet it along with a suggested catch phrase using hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders.

There are even more ways to celebrate on  October 10, when Skylanders partners with Toys “R” Us to bring Skylanders to life with “Swaptoberfest”—a celebration in Times Square where fans will have the chance to be among the very first to play the game before it’s available at retail. This Times Square takeover will feature Skylanders Swap Force-themed activities, photos with Skylanders costumed characters, and chances to win Starter Packs and Skylanders-themed merchandise from companies, including Mega Brands, Rubie’s Costume Co., Hybrid Apparel, and Power A. [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Continues the Franchise’s Reputation

This week, The Toy Book got a chance to preview Activision Publishing Inc.’s upcoming Skylanders Swap Force video game and toys at an after-school event in New York City. The original entry in the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, pioneered the idea of video games that interact with real-world toys. Now comes Skylanders Swap Force, in which special action figures can be disassembled into top and bottom halves and then reassembled into new characters that are playable within the game.

Skylanders SWAP Force, Stink ChargeThe game itself is as visually rich and immersing as previous entries in the series (although Playstation 4 (PS4) version takes the experience to a whole new level, but more on that later). At the demo, kids and their parents got to preview the levels, “Rampant Ruins,” a creepy jungle graveyard, and, “Winter Keep,” in which the Skylanders heroes have to retrieve a special device called the Illuminator—all while dodging huge flying snowballs. Each level features mini-games that vary in play style, keeping things from ever getting too repetitive. At one point during “Winter Keep,” the game switches from more traditional combat to a race through the sky along “rainbow rails.” [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Launches on Nintendo DS This Fall

SwapForceActivision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., will deliver the innovation of “dynamic swapability”  to the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system this fall with the launch of Skylanders Swap Force.

The Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders Swap Force offers gamers a unique adventure complete with its very own story, levels, and special starter pack characters. A truly complementary experience to the console version, Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS will hit retail destinations worldwide with three new characters—Rattle Shake, Volcanic Eruptor, and Free Ranger—that are not found in any other Skylanders Starter Pack. If fans buy both a console version and the Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders Swap Force, they will end up with four Swap Force Skylanders, giving them 16 different combinations.

The story of Skylanders Swap Force on Nintendo 3DS begins in Boomtown, home of Skylands’ favorite pilot, Flynn. As the town is celebrating Flynn as their hometown hero, a new villain known as Count Moneybone sneaks his way into Boomtown to kidnap Cali, long-time friend to Flynn and the Skylanders. It’s up to Portal Masters everywhere to assemble the Skylanders and Swap Force to save Cali and defeat the evil Count Moneybone. [Read more...]

Nintendo Invites Fans for a Legend of Zelda Contest

legendofzeldaNintendo is holding a contest on Facebook that lets fans submit art inspired by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the Wii U console. The creators of the five top selections will win a Wii U console and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD game. In addition, the five winners and top 50 finalists will have their art displayed on the main screen at The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert, where it will be accompanied by music from The Legend of Zelda series. The five winners will also have their art displayed in the lobby of the Seattle performance of the concert tour on September 12.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses features live orchestral performances of theme music from The Legend of Zelda games. The Seattle performance will also include game-play kiosks for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HDThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Nintendo 3DS, and photo opportunities with the King of Red Lions replica. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a remastered version of the Nintendo GameCube original. The game launches in October for Wii U and features high-definition graphics, GamePad features, and enhanced game play, such as faster sailing.

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...]

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.).

Luigi’s Living the Dream in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Mario and Luigi Dream TeamNintendo will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Luigi, the younger brother of its mascot character Mario, with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS system.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is the fourth game in the company’s Mario & Luigi series. At certain points during the game, the gameplay shifts from controlling both brothers in an isometric 3-D world to controlling Mario and a dreaming Luigi through the side-scrolling vistas of his dreams. Using the touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS, players can manipulate a sleeping Luigi, which will in turn make things happen in the dream world. Luigi also has special powers in his dreams, such as spawning hundreds of himself to form towers or wrecking balls.

Nintendo had previously named 2013 the “Year of Luigi,” and had announced plans to release several games starring the character. In addition to retail stores, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team can also be purchased and downloaded at the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo Debuts Animal Crossing Plaza App, Pokémon Series on Wii U

acpFans of Animal Crossing now have a new place to go on Wii U to talk about their towns and share images with players from all over the world. Nintendo unveiled the new, and free, Animal Crossing Plaza app during a recent Nintendo Direct presentation. It is available for download at the Nintendo eShop.

Nintendo also discussed a variety of other topics about Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games, including the debut of the Pokémon series on Wii U with Pokémon Rumble U and the story behind The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Nintendo 3DS.

In Pokémon Rumble U, which launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on August 29, players will have the opportunity to befriend some of the Toy Pokémon that they defeat in battle. They can also play as or do battle against every one of the 649 Pokémon that have appeared in the video games through Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2.

To view the Nintendo Direct news broadcast in its entirety, visit the Nintendo Direct site.

Disney Planes the Video Game Launches Exclusively for Nintendo

Disney PlanesDisney Interactive has announced that Disney Planes the video game is available at retailers worldwide. The game is exclusive to all Nintendo platforms including the Wii and Wii U systems, as well as the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS handheld systems.

Inspired by Disney’s animated comedy-adventure film, Disney Planes continues the storyline with Dusty, a big-hearted, speed-loving crop duster voiced by actor and comedian Dane Cook. Players can embark on races and global adventures with Dusty and other characters from the film including Ishani, voiced by Priyanka Chopra; Echo, voiced by Anthony Edwards; and Bravo, voiced by Val Kilmer.

From Propwash Junction to China, players will soar across different environments inspired by the film, playing as any one of 10 of the film’s most memorable characters. Co-op play for two players is available on any console mission. Meanwhile, handheld players will enjoy six different film-inspired skies and the option to play as any one of six characters.

Four different modes of gameplay include Air Rallies, Story, Free Flight, and Balloon Popping. Free Flight mode is exclusive to console play, while the handheld has an exclusive Challenge mode.