GUEST OP-ED: Is That a Squirt Gun in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Displaying Your Deep Human Need to Play?

by Matthew Lawrence, strategist, Fresh Squeezed Ideas

FreshSqueezedPlay2As a 42-year-old dad to two young boys, I get excited when they ask for toys bearing the same franchises I loved as a child during the 70’s and 80’s (It seems to be superhero everything, these days!). Providing them these experiences reminds me that I still have some youthful zeal and enthusiasm, which is a great asset in my role as a cultural strategist who works day-to-day at loftier, more adult-natured stuff. But it also reminds me that they are able to enjoy the richest play experiences possible, through tried and true brands that have endured the test of time. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: This Holiday Season, Let’s Not Forget the Value of Games

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.21.15 PMJust this weekend, I attended a party at a friend’s house—a “FriendsGiving” gathering hosted by her and her husband. After a delicious pre-holiday feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and veggies, we decided to let the food settle while playing a game of celebrity Charades. Our game was spontaneous, so we worked with what was at hand: post-it notes, a pen, and a salad bowl. We tore up the post-its, wrote the names of celebrities, and tossed them into the bowl before breaking into teams and doing our best Michael Jackson, George Washington, and Vanna White impressions.

This reminded me that games aren’t just for kids. Somewhere along the line, the concept of “fun and games” became synonomous with youth, a lack of responsibility, and blissful ignorance. But one could make the argument that grown-ups need games even more than kids sometimes, to help us unwind, loosen up, and chill out at the end of a busy day or a hectic work week. [Read more...]

THQ Unveils Graphic Tablet for Nintendo Wii

THQ has revealed its latest peripheral, a graphic tablet for the Nintendo Wii. Dubbed uDraw, the tablet borrows heavily from the Wacom products often used by professional graphic artists. The tablet includes a painting game that offers various brushes and color palettes, as well as locals for inspiration, such as a study or mountaintop. These creations can then be saved to an SD memory card and shared on a computer.

During its 2010 holiday preview, THQ brought me behind closed doors to witness the tablet for the first time. They demonstrated the two announced games, Pictionary and Dood’s Big Adventure, and demonstrated a few levels of each. Pictionary is a re-imagining of the classic board game. In the game, one player draw images using the tablet while the others try to guess a keyword. Enhancements to the board game include the ability to select different brush and fill types, as well as use color. The countdown timer may also be adjusted. [Read more...]