Activision, Hasbro Igniting Home Gaming with Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Transformers.RiseDarkSparkActivision Publishing Inc. and Hasbro Inc. are collaborating on Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, a video game complement to Paramount PicturesTransformers: Age of Extinction, which arrives in theaters in June. Players get to choose from more than 40 playable characters, derived from both movie director Michael Bay’s Transformers universe as well as the ever-popular Cybertron universe, as they battle over the Dark Spark. [Read more...]

Sega Kicks Off New Era of Toys and Games with a Sonic Boom

SonicBoomlogoSega will launch a new branch of its Sonic the Hedgehog universe entitled Sonic Boom, which will be accompanied by a CG animated TV series, video games for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, new toys from Tomy, and more. To date, the character has appeared in more than 70 video game titles across a span of more than 20 years.

During a press event this past Thursday in New York City, the upcoming TV series was introduced as a character-driven comedy featuring lots of action and adventure. It consists of 52 11-minute episodes, and will debut in both the U.S. and France during the 2014 to 2015 season. “What we try to do is take the character and put them in situations where their personalities take center stage, and take us in interesting directions,” said showrunner and executive producer Evan Baily. [Read more...]

Nintendo Reports Record-Setting 3DS Game Sales in 2013

Jan13.NintendoNintendo has sold a record amount of Nintendo 3DS games in 2013 and is set to release four new games early this year to take advantage of this trend. Last year, more than 16 million combined packaged and digital Nintendo 3DS games were sold, topping 2012 sales by 45 percent. Lifetime hardware sales in the U.S. for the Nintendo 3DS family of portable systems, including the Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS, passed 11.5 million.

Yoshi’s New Island will launch on March 14 in stores and in the Nintendo eShop, where Yoshi will reunite with Baby Mario to help him to safety. Disney Magical World will feature dozens of Disney characters in Disney-themed worlds, launching in stores and in the Nintendo eShop on April 11. A free demo of Square Enix’s role-playing game Bravely Default is now available exclusively in the Nintendo eShop and the full version will be available for purchase in stores and the Nintendo eShop on February 7. Lastly, the final installment of the second Professor Layton trilogy will launch on February 28 in stores and the Nintendo eShop.

New Wii Fit U Challenges Gamers, Families to Get Active

WiiFitUOn January 10, Nintendo‘s Wii Fit U for Wii U will arrive at retail. With Wii Fit U, users can navigate a luge course, spray a water hose, bounce on a giant trampoline, and grab the new Fit Meter to continue their workouts on the go.

Wii Fit U allows users to get up and moving using both their Wii U console and Wii Balance Board accessory. The game features some of the best activities from the original Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus games, as well as new activities that incorporate the Wii U GamePad controller. Users can create their own personalized workouts or select from multiple recommended ones based on their fitness goals. These workouts can even be tracked using Miiverse (broadband Internet required), and members of Miiverse gym communities can view their favorite workouts, as well as track popular activities and total community calories burned.

Wii Fit U bundles come packaged with a new activity meter called the Fit Meter, which is designed to sync up with the game and track daily routines. People can carry the Fit Meter with them anywhere they go, and then easily sync it to their Wii Fit U profiles to track steps taken, calories burned, and other daily activities. If the user doesn’t reach the calorie target, the game will propose Wii Fit U exercises to bridge the gap. Different family members can each own their own Fit Meter, allowing them to create individual profiles and compare their fitness progress and activities with one another. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: USAopoly Gives Classic Games a Licensed Twist

You may love Monopoly, but it’s okay to admit that sometimes you get a little tired of playing the same game over and over again. Games become classics because they span generations, and they’re well-designed and challenging. In a way, they can become timeless. But you can only force your grandma to mortgage all of her properties and hand over all her piles of pastel-colored money so many times before enough is enough. Her little thimble token—and your interest and passion for the game—has been defeated.

USAopoly has solved this problem by taking our favorite classic games and slapping a license or five on them, making each edition more appealing and unique to the players. Properties include The Smurfs, The Wizard of Oz, My Little Pony, and many, many more, to appeal to all generations, collectors, and fans. The great thing about these licensed games is that they give your traditional family favorites a big twist—and turn it into a whole new game! So if you’re tiring of the same old games in your closet, these would be some great additions to your next family game night.

drwho_mn_3dbt_webI’m not one who’s all about sci-fi shows and aliens and such, but I have to admit that I find BBC‘s Doctor Who series highly addicting—and The Doctor has quite the cult following that will back me up on that. Now fans can travel through time and space with their favorite Doctor with USAopoly’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Monopoly.  Two to six plays ages 8 and up can buy, sell, and trade iconic episodes, spaceships, and landmarks, spanning billions of years across the Doctor Who universe. The Poison Sky, A Good Man Goes to War, The Daleks, and the Arc of Infinity are all able to be purchased by time travelers. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: 1996: The Best Christmas Ever

1996. It was the year of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the year of Jerry Maguire and the Macarena. It was the year of Bill Clinton’s reelection. But most importantly, 1996 marked the best Christmas ever, with toy companies cranking out some of kids’ favorite toys of all time.

Cabbage Patch Snacktime KidWho could forget the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, from Mattel? Those pudgy-faced, yarn-haired little cuties each had a motorized mouth, and kids could feed their doll a french fry, a pretzel stick, a banana, and other yummy snacks. This was one of the toys my mom admits to pushing other moms out of the way for at Toys “R” Us on Black Friday morning. The food, which the dolls realistically chewed when kids inserted it into their mouths, fell into a backpack on the doll’s back, so kids could feed them over and over again. Of course, this beacon of glory was shortly recalled after the holiday season, as kids were getting their hair, skin, and fingers stuck in the doll’s mouth (as you can imagine, this resulted in many unhappy parents and kids with bald spots). While I made sure my hair was secured tightly in a ponytail while playing, my Snacktime Kid remained one of my favorite toys through ’97.

[Read more...]

Nintendo Brings Holiday Fun to Malls Across the U.S.

NintendoBetween November 25 and December 22, Nintendo will visit 23 malls coast-to-coast so the public can test drive video games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The expected lineup for the Wii U includes Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, Wii Sports Club, The Wonderful 101, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Sonic Lost World from Sega, Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive, and more.

For Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo is scheduled to show Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Skylanders Swap Force from Activision, and more. [Read more...]

Nintendo World Hosts Launch Event for Mario and Zelda games in Rockefeller Plaza

NintendoWorld

On November 21, Nintendo is hosting a combined celebration for Super Mario 3D World for Wii U, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party: Island Tour for the Nintendo 3DS. The event will take place at Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City from 8 p.m until midnight.

Fans will be able to purchase all three of these Wii U and Nintendo 3DS releases, a day before they launch in stores and in the Nintendo eShop. In addition to early access to the games, chalk artist Chris Carlson will be on site to reveal an art piece featuring iconic imagery from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Costumed characters from both the Mario and Zelda series will also be there and taking pictures with fans.

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [Read more...]

Nintendo Offers Free Wii Fit U Trial

WiiU_WiiFitU_091813_Scrn03Nintendo is giving Wii U owners the chance to get fit for free. Starting today, Wii U owners who own a Wii Balance Board accessory and have access to a broadband Internet connection can download a free trial version of Wii Fit U from the Nintendo eShop. The trial software is not an abbreviated version of the game—it is the full Wii Fit U experience. The trial will be downloadable from the Nintendo eShop between November 1 and January 31, and will work for 31 days from when it is first played.

Any trial participant who buys a Fit Meter accessory and syncs it to the game will be able to continue playing Wii Fit U forever. The Fit Meter has many of the same features of modern activity meters, and people can purchase one at select retailers and online.

With Wii Fit U, the workout goes wherever the user goes. People can work out at home, or take the Fit Meter with them to track steps taken, elevation changes, and calories burned. One button press syncs the Fit Meter data to the in-game profile, so people get credit for their physical activity, even if they aren’t at home for a traditional Wii Fit U workout. The game also lets people create custom routines of their favorite activities, review their progress and see what their friends are up to in online Gym Communities and Miiverse.

With more than 70 different activities to choose from, Wii Fit U combines fun and fitness in yoga, strength training, and fitness games. For the first time, dance activities are also included. Players can try eight different dance styles, including salsa, hula, and hip hop.