Author: James Zahn

Quibi’s ‘Life-Size Toys’ Pairs Epic Stunts with Radio Flyer, LEGO, Thomas the Tank Engine, More

Some classic toys are about to go big for the short-form content platform, Quibi. Originally slated to debut in May, Life-Size Toys will premiere July 6 with Nitro Circus ringleader Travis Pastrana playing host as iconic toys are transformed for epic stunts. “At Nitro Circus, you’re never too old for toys. Tricycles and rocking horses all get pushed to the limit on our tour, but Life-Size Toys definitely raises the game,” says Pastrana. “In this show, we have the chance to take some of our favorite childhood toys, make larger-than-life-versions of them and go for the most insane stunts...

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The Gruffalo Takes a Walk with Wow! Stuff

Wow! Stuff inked a licensing deal with Magic Light Pictures to create toys based on some classic publishing brands from author and illustrator duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Characters from The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Zog, and The Snail and the Whale will begin hitting toy aisles in January. The Gruffalo range will be first out of the gate with action figures, playsets, collectibles, and electronic feature plush set to debut across the U.S. and Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Australia. “This is a fabulous way to show what we can do when we have a...

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Toys Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore: Adults Are Rediscovering the Joy of Play

There was once a time when kids grew up. At some point, usually on the cusp between being tweens and teens, kids moved beyond traditional play and started viewing toys and games as “kid stuff” — as if that’s a bad thing. While some kids still do hit that point, big kids are realizing that they don’t have to let go of childhood. Once they move beyond the traditionally awkward teen years, a lightbulb goes off to signal that play is something for everyone. The stereotype of 40-year-old men collecting toys — a phenomenon captured to perfection in a...

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Backstory: Pac-Man — 40 Years of Chasing Ghosts and Gobbling Quarters

On May 22, 1980, the world changed. Engineers from Namco plugged in and powered up the first public iteration of a new arcade game that put players in charge of a mysterious yellow creature with an insatiable appetite for power pellets, fruit, and ghosts. Created by Toru Iwatani, Puck-Man was well-received by test audiences in Tokyo, and by mid-summer, the coin-op game was being played throughout Japan. Executives at Namco, eager to chase potential success in the growing U.S. arcade market, retitled the game Pac-Man — a nod to its working title, Pakkuman — a move Iwatani says was...

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License This! Toymakers Are Turning the Tables on Licensing to Build Their Own IP

Licensing is a changing business, and it’s not just about chasing the hottest brand or the flavor of the moment. In fact, many toymakers are turning the tables on the licensing game as they work to develop their own intellectual properties (IP) in house, creating new brands that get licensed outward. And while some take that approach, others are mining the corporate archives to revive dormant brands and legacy products or even forge new partnerships that celebrate milestones. Of course, this is hardly a new idea, but in a cyclical industry, many are tired of paying out when they...

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Pai Technology’s Thuan Tran Talks Botzees and More on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Thuan Tran, national sales director of Pai Technology. On the show, Tran discusses living at the crossroads of technology and toys, including Botzees — Pai Technology’s award-winning STEM robots that kids can program to move, dance, make sounds, and light up using the free companion app. Part of Pai Technology’s mission statement is to create “new lifestyles” for its customers and Thuan unpacks that while discussing the development differences between traditional toys vs. tech toys. Additionally, Albritton and Tran delve into...

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Hasbro Kicks the G.I. Joe Relaunch into High Gear

For more than a year and a half, Hasbro has been hard at work on a plan to relaunch the iconic G.I. Joe brand. Now, ahead of next week’s official launch of the new G.I. Joe: Classified Series action figure line, Hasbro kicked off its first-ever YO JOE! June campaign by opening a brand-new official website, and, for the first time, official social channels for the brand. The new website includes details on the 56-year legacy of the G.I. Joe brand and a deep dive into the elite fighting team and its battle against the criminal organization known as...

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Mattel Brings Mr. T into the WWE Elite Series

An iconic personality from the 1980s is joining Mattel‘s WWE Elite Collection. Intended to be an exclusive for Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), the 6-inch scale WWE Mr. T Elite Collection Action Figure – 2020 Convention Exclusive follows last year’s SDCC exclusive Randy “Macho Man” Savage x Slim Jim figure that quickly sold out. The limited-edition action figure is inspired by Mr. T’s appearance at Wrestlemania I in 1985. On that night, Mr. T jumped from The A-Team to the tag team as Hulk Hogan’s partner for the main event. Available exclusively through Entertainment Earth while supplies last, Mr. T includes realistic...

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COVID-19: The Battle Persists

The toy industry continues to adapt in survival mode as the coronavirus challenges the retail landscape. Six months ago, the idea that a pandemic could happen on U.S. soil was something that few, if any, were considering. The “coronavirus” was tossed around as a problem that would stay overseas. Toy fair season kicked off in Hong Kong amid fears of disruption thanks to regional protests, but went off without a hitch. Shows in London, Nuremberg, and New York took place, each with increasing anxiety that this virus and the disease it causes — COVID-19 — could become a real...

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Big G Creative Invites Families to Say ‘Bye, Felicia!’

It doesn’t have to be Friday to utter the iconic “get lost” phrase from the ’90s. Bye, Felicia! is a new party game from Big G Creative that incorporates the famous pop culture phrase into a fast-paced game of wild word associations for 3-8 players ages 12 and up. Designed by Peggy Brown, Bye, Felicia! requires players to “mind-meld” with friends and family to guess what other players are thinking. On each turn, players have 30 seconds to list as many answers as they can before time runs out. The topics are random and range from “TV Sitcoms” and...

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