China Toy Fair


Diamond Select Toys, Popcap to Launch Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Toys

ZombiesGroup1Next month, Diamond Select Toys will launch toys inspired by the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare game. Each “bloom and doom” action figure two-pack will include one plant and one zombie, both based on designs from the video game. The assortment includes Gatling Pea with Scientist Zombie, Camo Cactus with Foot Soldier Zombie, Chomper with Engineer Zombie, and Shadow Flower with All-Star Zombie. Two box sets of Minimates mini-figures will also be available in early September. The toys will be available at comic shops, specialty stores, and Toys “R” Us.

In addition, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to the PlayStation 4 console, and is already available for the Xbox One and PC platforms. The game is a traditional online shooter blended with the humor of Plants vs. Zombies.

K’Nex Releases New Building Sets for Plants vs. Zombies

PlantsvsZombiesWith new licensed building toys from K’Nex, fans of Plants vs. Zombies can now build and play with the characters from the game. The partnership between K’Nex and PopCap Games Inc. combines K’Nex building systems with the digital franchise for the first time ever.

Along with the first series of Mystery Figure Bags, the Plants vs. Zombies line includes the Pirate Ship Building Set, Wall-nut Bowling Building Set, Wild West Skirmish Building Set, and Jetpack Zombie Attack Building Set, all suitable for kids ages 5 and up; and the Cone Mech Building Set, Football Mech Building Set, and Pirate Seas Plank Walk Building Set, suitable for kids ages 7 and up.

COMMENTARY: Video Game-Based Toys Can Ease Kids into Other Kinds of Play

KNEX.SuperMarioDesertIt’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.

We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Digital Properties and Toys Are a Match Made in Heaven

Today’s culture of apps and Internet memes has spawned a new category for licensees. These new digital brands have inspired toys that carry the excitement, reference, or joke of a digital property beyond its original state and into the physical world. Smartphones, apps, and the Internet have allowed people of all ages to swap images, play games, and contribute to digital communities faster than ever before. The appeal of a licensed toy can largely be attributed to an emotional connection—such as victory, challenge, or humor—to the property by a consumer. When I see a toy (or any other type of product) that I identify with a funny meme or a favorite app, I’m instantly drawn to it, almost like being in on an inside joke.

For the past few years, many a birthday card that I’ve given and received has featured cringeworthy images of a person (or several) in an array of ridiculous outfits, making odd facial expressions, in questionable poses, and more. Since 2009, Awkward Family Photos (AFP) has accrued nearly 2 million Facebook fans and currently offers plenty of products for fans to enjoy. AFP has also expanded its brand to include Awkward Family Pet Photos, adding a whole new hilarious dimension to the theme. Fans can purchase the AFP puzzle in either the pets or siblings versions, which feature 999 puzzle pieces and come together to create a collage of several awkward images.

afpboardgame

Fans can also enjoy a rousing game of ridiculous photos, questions, and answers with the AFP Board Game, from All Things Equal. A player flips over a card featuring an Awkward Family Photo and reads an open-ended question aloud. The other players must come up with their own answers; the player with the best answer wins the round. [Read more...]

Green Gang vs. Gangrene: Plants vs. Zombies Arrives on Xbox Systems

PlantsvsZombies.GardenWarfarePlants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is now available from PopCap Games for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in North America. The new multi-player shooter, based on the popular Plants vs. Zombies series, lets players choose a side and wage all-out war on plant or zombie enemies in a variety of gameplay modes.

The game features favorite items from the series, such as the Peashooter and Sunflower, along with a new cast of characters including Ice Cactus, Hot Rod Chomper, and all kinds of zombies. Players can select from two 12 vs. 12 competitive multiplayer modes called Garden & Graveyards and Team Vanquish, or a four-player cooperative mode called Garden Ops. Customization options give players an opportunity to personalize plants and zombies with costumes, items, hats, and more, some of which provide new abilities to characters.

The Xbox One version includes two additional modes, the first of which allows for local cooperative split screen for multiple players. The second is Boss Mode, which allows for a third friend to join via a SmartGlass device, and is also available on Kinect for a full screen experience.

A digital version of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare can also be downloaded for Xbox One or Xbox 360.

Plants vs. Zombies Declares Garden Warfare on Xbox Systems

PlantsvsZombies.GardenWarfarePopCap Games, a division of Electronic Arts Inc., has announced that Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare will be shipping for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 video game systems on February 18 in North America and February 20 in Europe. The game is a third-person multiplayer shooter that lets players become favorite characters from the franchise.

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare features 3-D worlds, more than 10 maps, and three distinct modes, including two competitive, multiplayer modes called Garden & Graveyards and Team Vanquish. There is also a four-player cooperative mode called Garden Ops. In Garden & Graveyards, plants must defend their garden bases from zombies attempting to turn them into graveyards. Players can also square off in Team Vanquish and try to send the other team to the compost pile. Meanwhile, Garden Ops lets gamers work together to battle off waves of zombies on the attack.

In the Xbox One version, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare includes two extra modes: local cooperative split screen and Boss Mode. With split screen, players can team up with a friend to fight endless hordes of zombies, while in Boss Mode, gamers utilize their Kinect or SmartGlass device in any of the other gameplay modes to support their respective teams.

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is available for pre-order at major retailers nationwide and at www.origin.com. A PC version will be released at a later date.

PopCap Launches Plants vs. Zombies 2

plantsvzombiesPopCap Games has released the Plants vs. Zombies 2 game. The sequel to Plants vs. Zombies will initially be available exclusively for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Featuring a time travel theme, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free to play and can be found on the App Store around the world in seven different languages with additional languages supported soon. The game will be available for other platforms later this year. PopCap also unveiled the official launch trailer for Plants vs. Zombies 2 on its YouTube channel.

Designed as an ever-expanding universe that will offer regular updates including new worlds full of new plants, zombies, and challenges beyond the first three that comprise the initial game, Plants vs. Zombies 2 extends the gameplay of the original game and provides players with dozens of new levels, plants, and zombies. While the vast majority of the game is entirely free to play, Plants vs. Zombies 2 players can also purchase upgrades and other in-game items.

In addition to new places, Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes a variety of gameplay enhancements, including Plant Food, which drops from glowing zombies and offers a temporary but powerful boost to plant attacks. Plants vs. Zombies 2 also includes new gesture-based power-ups that enable players to interact with zombies directly and  augment their plant defenses. Other features include touch screen power ups, side missions, and mini games.