Author: Ali Mierzejewski

New Warner Bros. Behind-the-Scenes Videos Take You Far Beyond Gotham

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released two new developer diaries that give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the upcoming LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. In the first video below, check out how more than 150 DC Comics characters come to life in worlds that expand far beyond Gotham. The game lets players go on adventures with characters they know in love in a whole new way. In the below video, you can preview the open-world gameplay that expands not only the storyline of the game, but also the opportunities in free roam play. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will launch November 11 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC. The game is rated 10+ for Cartoon...

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GoldieBlox Takes Down “Big Sister,” Introduces New Action Figure, in Mold-Breaking Ad

GoldieBlox, a company set out to get girls building by giving them a role model in the STEM fields, introduced a brand new commercial for its newest product: a Goldie action figure. The commercial shows the company’s alternative to the fashion doll industry. Set to Metric’s “Help, I’m Alive,” the slightly creepy, but very empowering GoldieBlox ad encourages girls to break the mold. As AdWeek points out, the commercial has the same idea as Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. Girls all dolled up like—well—dolls line up to grab perfect dolls off an assembly line that are dressed just like them. Meanwhile, Big Sister robotically drones repeatedly, “You are beauty and beauty is perfection,” until one Goldie-inspired little girl in overalls and red Chucks steps out of line and smashes the machine with a hammer. The result? A brand new Goldie action figure for girls. GoldieBlox’s past commercials have garnered a lot of attention, including one that earned a spot during last year’s Super...

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Skylanders’ Eruptor Will Take Flight Over NYC in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Activision‘s Skylanders franchise, best-known for bringing physical toys to life, will take flight in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time. Fan-favorite Skylanders character Eruptor will join the collection of balloons at the parade. Eruptor hails from deep in the underground of a floating volcanic island that laughed his entire civilization to the surface after a massive eruption. He is known for being quite the hot head—steaming, fuming, and (literally) erupting over almost anything. To re-create Eruptor’s smoldering physique, artists used more than 40 gallons of florescent paint and five barrels of glitter. You and your little Skylanders fan can catch the broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in all time zones on NBC. The newest game in the Skylanders franchise, Skylanders Trap Team, is now available at retail nationwide on Xbox 360 and Xbox One; PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4; Wii and Wii U; and a unique adventure is also available on Nintendo 3DS. Skylanders Trap Team also ushers in the complete console gaming experience on tablets, introducing a Starter Pack that supports iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android...

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License to Build: Familiar Properties Fill Up the Shelves of the Construction Aisle

This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of The Toy Book. To read the entire digital issue, click here. The construction play pattern has always allowed kids to create buildable worlds and adventures straight from their imaginations. But with a recent surge of licensed toys entering the category, kids are able to build more and more familiar worlds based on their favorite existing properties. According to The NPD Group, dollar sales of licensed building sets grew by 6 percent from 2011 to 2013. As the world becomes more multi-media driven, licensed properties are deeply integrated into...

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Les Berger, Founder of Cardinal Industries, Passes Away at Age 95

The Toy Book is so sorry to hear about the passing of Leslie Berger, founder of Cardinal Industries. In 1944, Les Berger founded the company with a dream and knowledge of plastics, on the corner of Keape and Hope Streets in Brooklyn, N.Y. The first product that he produced was dominoes. Now Cardinal Industries games and puzzles in some of the most popular licenses, while maintaining business in core basic games, such as dominoes. Berger continued to work, and until very recently, was still coming into the office to work. He was a true pioneer in the business. Berger lived his 95 years surrounded by a loving family. His son Joel and daughter Bonnie, who have take over and grown the company to a very successful privately owned toy company that is committed to making family-friendly, challenging, and innovative games and puzzles that are affordable for everyone. His wife Sylvia has been his partner in life and business for 64 years. He will be profoundly missed by his entire family:  Sylvia, Joel, Bonnie, Jody, his grandchildren Carly, Ilana, Justin, Perri; and his numerous friends and countless associates in the toy...

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FunTime Inflation Station Pumps Up the Classic Bouncy Ball

MegaFun USA introduces the FunTime Inflation Station, a new way to display play balls to customers. This machine brings a 21st century update to a classic bouncy ball toy by adding a bit of interactive fun to the process of buying one.  You can watch the entire process in action here: The FunTime Inflation Station is already at retailers including  Hy-Vee Stores, Do Best Stores, CVS, Party City, Toys “R” US Canada, HEB, Orscheln’s, Atwoods, Kroger/Fred Meyer, Great Wolf Lodge, Six Flags Great America, and Cedar Fair, as well as independent toy, gift, candy, book, and souvenir stores and zoos. Internationally, the FunTime Inflation Station will be carried in Germany, Russia, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Uruguay, Honduras, Columbia, and Panama throughout this year and next. Holding up to 288 balls, the Inflation Station offers no shortage of choice when it comes to colors and patterns.B alls are sold in 36-count packs for easy restocking and marketing for new seasons. In store, kids can place one of the Inflate-a-Balls on the Inflation Station’s patented inflation device with a safety shield for the inflation needle, grab the station’s easy grip handles, and pedal away until the ball is completely inflated and ready for playtime. MegaFun’s patented Inflate-a-Balls are pop-proof and worry-free.  The Inflation Station comes with a one-year warranty, is 24 inches in diameter, and...

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COMMENTARY: It’s All About the Robots

Earlier this week, Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo wrote about how the floor of the American International Toy Fair 2014 was lacking in the realm of appcessories, and that many companies were heading back to the classic play patterns, especially in the activities category. I also noticed an emerging trend that does not heavily rely on app technology, but does not veer from the idea of incorporating tech into playtime: robots. As I walked the floor, I saw a bunch of different robotic products that really displayed where the category is heading—and a lot of that was not app-reliant. Of course, most of these robots can be controlled with or used with smart devices, but gone are the days where “and it has an app!” was a suitable enough novelty to convince consumers to purchase the toy. First, let me introduce you to MiP. MiP, which is short for Mobile Inverted Pendulum, is WowWee’s latest innovation in association with the University of California at San Diego’s Coordinated Robots Lab. MiP has unique dual wheel balancing (thanks to that inverted pendulum science!) and is a fully interactive robot. MiP is able to navigate his surroundings while being controlled by hand gestures or through a Bluetooth link to a smart device. MiP also has a personality that is communicated through motion, sounds, and his LED eyes. MiP’s pendulum allows him to become...

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Laser Pegs’ Pegasaur Greets Guests at the Toy Fair Entrance

Laser Pegs will construct a 15-foot-tall, 10-foot-long dinosaur, the Pegasaur, to greet guests at the entrance of the 2014 Toy Fair convention this weekend. A team of four people spent more than a month building the mammoth creature that is illuminated in shades of purple, yellow, green, and red by the thousands of LED lights that are encased inside each tiny Laser Pegs piece used to build it. Here is a video showing the time-lapse construction...

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A Letter to the Industry from Björn Jeffery, Co-Founder & CEO, Toca Boca

Dear Toy Industry, Hope all is well! I’m writing to you from the App Store, where Toca Boca just had the biggest holiday season ever—we even landed in the Top 10! While the App Store is a space for digital products, so much of what you know about toys can be applied here—and there’s room for you to excel in this space. Toca Boca started researching your products a little more than three years ago. We looked at play patterns and blockbuster toys—searching for themes that could work for us. Since you were such a key influence, I thought...

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