China Toy Fair


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.

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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.

New Wii U Bundle Features Skylanders Swap Force, Nintendo Land

SkylandersBundle

A new Wii U bundle featuring Activision Publishing Inc.’s Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack will launch November 15. The bundle includes everything needed to start the new adventure, including a white Wii U Basic system; Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack, which includes Skyalnders Swap Force Wii U software, Portal of Power, three Skylanders figures, two Swap Force characters, a collector poster, trading cards, and sticker sheets;  and a Nintendo Land game disc.

Nintendo Teams Up with Snowboarder Jamie Anderson for Road to Sochi 100 Day Countdown

NintendoNintendo has partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee to kick off its nationwide Road to Sochi Tour in Times Square in New York City on October 29 with a 100 Day Countdown event, celebrating 100 days until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The event will take up three blocks in  Times Square and will include athlete demonstrations on a ski and snowboard ramp, as well as an ice rink for curling, figure skating, speedskating, and ice hockey.

Nintendo will also be there with hands-on demos for its new game, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which launches for Wii U on November 15. The game features characters from the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog universes competing together in 24 winter events, including the new event snowboard slopestyle, which is making its Olympic Winter Games debut in Sochi.

Jamie Anderson, slopestyle snowboarder and six-time X Games medalist, will be at the event to help promote Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He may meet with visitors in a designated area. In addition, the Mario and Sonic costumed characters will make appearances to take photos with attendees.

Nintendo Releases New Nintendo 2DS Portable System

Oct10.Nintendo2DSNintendo has launched the Nintendo 2DS system, designed as an entry point into Nintendo handheld video games. The Nintendo 2DS system maintains many of the same hardware features as Nintendo 3DS, like touch-screen controls, StreetPass, online multiplayer functionality, and the ability to download games.

Without any hinges, the Nintendo 2DS is a recommended first-time system for kids. It will be available in red and blue and plays all Nintendo 3DS games in 2-D. In addition, Nintendo 2DS is backward compatible and can play Nintendo DS games. Two carrying cases in either red or blue are also available.

Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog Returns to TV

Sonic TV Animation Tease ONLINE USESega has announced that Sonic, the iconic blue hedgehog with four TV series and more than 70 video games, will be returning to the TV screen next year in a CGI-animated series. Produced by Sega of America Inc. and Genao Productions, the new Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Boom, will premiere in the U.S. on Cartoon Network, and on Canal J and Gulli in France, with a global rollout to follow.

Sonic Boom is a character-driven comedy that leaves a trail of robot wreckage in its smoldering wake. The series centers on Sonic, his best friend and sidekick, Tails, their search for adventure, and their battles with Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. Rounding out the ensemble are fan favorites Knuckles and Amy Rose, plus a rogue’s gallery of enemies—some familiar to Sonic fans and some brand new.

After being licensed in areas such as toys, apparel, comics, and animation, Sega has also signed a three-title exclusive partnership with Nintendo for the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise. Sonic Lost World will be the first title to launch under this agreement, and will be available in stores later this year for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms.

Nintendo Re-launches The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker in HD

TheLegendofZelda.TheWindWakerHDThe packaged version of the re-mastered, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, has launched for the Wii U home console. The disc includes distinctive gold-foil packaging. Wii U owners can also download the game from the Nintendo eShop.

Fans who do not own the Wii U console can opt for a limited-edition bundle, which includes a black Deluxe Wii U console; a controller adorned with the gold Hyrule crest and symbols from the game; a download code for the digital version of Hyrule Historia, which details the chronology, history, and artwork of the Zelda series; and a code to download the game from the Nintendo eShop.

TheLegendofZelda.WindWaker.stillOriginally released for Nintendo GameCube in North America in 2003, the game tells the story of a young boy, who goes on a quest after his sister is kidnapped by a giant bird. The re-mastered, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, features enhancements such as Miiverse functionality, which lets players with broadband Internet access attach helpful messages or images to Tingle Bottles that wash up on the shore in another player’s game. The game also includes the Swift Sail, which increases the speed of the player’s boat.