COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

Nintendo Shares Details on Mario Maker, New Legend of Zelda Games

On Friday, Nintendo game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma appeared via video at The Game Awards in Las Vegas to share new details on Mario Maker and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U.

Mario Maker lets users create their own Mario levels. This includes the ability to tap the Wii U GamePad screen to change the look of a level design to those of previous Super Mario games, such as Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and the New Super Mario Bros. U. Each style includes game mechanics unique to their respective games, and players can integrate these mechanics into designs for the various titles featured in the game. Mario Maker will launch next year, which marks the 30th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game.

In the latest installment of The Legend of Zelda franchise, players can pinpoint locations on the map on the Wii U GamePad, which then appear as beacons in the game as navigation aids. Miyamoto and Aonuma shared information on Epona, Link’s horse, which in the new game avoids trees and obstacles, just as a real horse would do, leaving players free to use Link’s sword or shoot arrows.

Nintendo won four Game Awards on the night, including Developer of the Year, Best Fighting Game for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Best Sports/Racing Game for Mario Kart 8 and Best Family Game for Mario Kart 8. In other news, the company set a March 13 launch date for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., which will have multiplayer mode that lets players compete against one another in local and online matches on their Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo Files U.S. Patent for Handheld Video Game Emulator

NintendoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday, Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that could pave the way for Nintendo to offer its games on smartphones or other mobile devices.

The patent, which was published last Thursday and filed by Nintendo in June, is described as a software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform. However, analysts are skeptical that Nintendo is planning a move into video games on mobile devices. The patent, originally filed in 2000 and extended in 2003 and 2012, could also be used to fight piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata previously said the company would stick to using its intellectual property, which includes Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, solely on its own game device.

Nintendo’s Super Mario Franchise Featured in Mercedes-Benz Commercial

NintendoThis past week, Mercedes-Benz Japan began airing the latest series of commercials for its GLA sports utility vehicle featuring characters from Nintendo’s Mario franchise.

The original TV ad began airing in May and featured only Mario, who rode the SUV in a two-dimensional 8-bit world. The digital Mario eventually morphed into an actor with a mustache wearing Mario’s signature dungarees.

The newest commercial, inspired by Mario’s agility and the way he can move around anywhere he wants, adds more characters from the Super Mario franchise.

Mercedes-Benz’s SUV appears in Nintendo’s Mario Kart game, making it the first real-world car to appear in the series.

Disguise Celebrates Halloween with Popular Licenses

DisguiselogoDisguise Inc.’s Halloween costume line-up for this year includes popular characters for the entire family based on theatrical blockbusters, popular television shows, pop culture, and more.

This year’s line-up includes toddler and children’s costumes for Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, as well as an adult Elsa costume. From Disney’s Maleficent, Maleficent and Aurora costumes are available in sizes for children and adults. Disney Junior properties such as Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have costumes in baby, toddler, and child sizes.

The classic Minnie Mouse costume is available in sizes ranging from baby to adult. Super Mario Bros fans can dress up as their favorite characters including Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Costumes for Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from Hasbro’s Transformers are available in baby to adult sizes.

Children and adult fans of Hasbro’s My Little Pony can dress up as their favorite characters, including Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. Accessories and costumes for Saban’s Power Rangers span from baby, to child, to adult.

The costumes are available at mass market, specialty, and online retail outlets including Target, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Spirit, Buy Seasons, and more.

Nintendo’s NES Remix 2 Hearkens Back to 1990 World Championship

WiiU.NESRemix2NES Remix 2 will launch exclusively at the Nintendo eShop on Wii U on April 25. The game has a new mode inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championship, which challenged players to achieve the highest cumulative score in three specific games through a multiplier-based scoring system.

The three games in Championship Mode include Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario. Players will take on three successive score-based challenges to achieve a cumulative total score, which they can post to Miiverse. The first NES Remix game is required to access Championship Mode in NES Remix 2.

NES Remix 2 is a mash-up of classic Nintendo games including Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Kirby’s Adventure, with added challenges and modified stages.

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...]

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.