Seems like we’re getting all of “spring showers” today! New York City is chilly and wet. Happy that our segment tomorrow on the Today Show will be indoors! We have so many great new toys to share and there will be lots of kids on the set with me. To get a sneak peek, read our article here on some of new favorite toys for spring 2012. The focus tomorrow will be on active toys for older babies and toddlers, construction toys (for both girls and boys), games and science toys!
There’s been a lot of controversy about the new LEGO FRIENDS line. And we’ll be writing a lot more about that soon. So far, we have gotten nothing but positive reviews for both the building aspect and the pretend play potential of these sets. (We have however stayed away from the more gender-stereotyped sets such as the hair salon.) You can read our review by clicking here.
But I did need to share the following….
I was very interested to note how our girl builders became quickly invested in the names of each of the friends. They quickly knew their names and which sets included which figures. With the exception of maybe the Harry Potter or Star Wars LEGO sets, I’ve never really had this kind of conversation about the regular LEGO figures.
Then I got confused. The man with the beard? Who could that be? Why was this bearded play figure living with two female figures in Olivia’s House? My toy testers just assumed he was a boy and that they were all just friends. After all the line is called LEGO FRIENDS. That made a certain amount of sense.
So maybe this was LEGO’s version of NBC’s hit comedy Friends? Was the bearded guy meant to be Ross? Chandler? I can’t really remember that any of them had a beard. Anyway…then I thought maybe this is like HBO’s BIG LOVE. I mean the two female figures look as grown up as the bearded man.
I called the folks at LEGO…and in case you were wondering, here’s the relationships of the figures in Olivia’s house.
The guy with the beard is Peter. He is Olivia’s FATHER. The other female figure in the house is actually Peter’s wife, and Olivia’s mother, Anna.
I don’t know about you, but I feel much better now.
I was just reading posts about how most four year old girls are obsessed with being princesses. The Disney machine is back at work, pulling in another generation into the fairy tale of being swept away by love that conveniently also comes with a castle and jewels. I’m all for pretend play…but this incredibly gender specific PINK scenario makes me pause.
So, here’s a sentence I never thought I would write… Barbie has come to our rescue. That’s right, this morning, Mattel announced that Barbie will be running for president this year. Is she wearing huge hair and a Legally Blonde inspired Chanel suit, you betcha. But at least she’s running.
Funny, that I’m actually in London this morning to write about the launch of the Barbie William and Kate dolls. The young couple (doll version that is) arrived in our New York City office a few weeks ago–but mums the word until April 4th. So here I am, only blocks away from the palace to preview the dolls!
I used to marvel at my older brother’s ability to really draw things with Etch A Sketch. He could make those curves work for him. I was pretty good at….boxes.
The New York Times today tried to spin the Etch A Sketch moment in to one of second chances.
Even as someone who played with the Etch A Sketch in the backseat of our car (long before there were Gameboys and DVD players), I can’t see this characterization as anything but a stretch.
The Etch A Sketch is not a toy that has kept up with the times. Over the last two decades of covering toys, I’ve visited the showroom in hopes that there would be some radical new innovation that would give this beloved toy a true second chance. There have been mini versions, glow-in-the-dark frames (sadly, the actual drawing part never glowed) and glitter versions….but no big breakthrough. My kids were willing to play with the keychain version I carried for years…but with all of the high tech hand held toys to play with, the little red frame just didn’t do it.
While this morning’s news is about LEGO’s Peter (from their new Friends line) and his 5 o’clock shadow, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Barbie’s Ken (Mattel) also went through his “I’m sexy and I don’t feel like shaving” period.
Peter, the new and only male member of the new LEGO “Friends” line directed at girls, seems to be taking styling advice from George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Or maybe he’s going for the younger Ryan Reynolds. In any case, feels like we need a new tag “toys with facial hair.”
We don’t recommend point and shoot anything, real or virtual. But the idea that you could now have Call of Duty in the real world (with virtual play) made us pause.
This pitch came from a new company that will launch a new product called APPTAG. This new version of Laser Tag allows you to play via a download. Promoted as the “first real-world first-person shooter gun/game combo (it works with a free App so users can play immediately), will sell for $39.99 (single unit) and $74.99 (two-pack) starting in June (available online and in stores nationwide).”
The company sets their product apart: “What makes AppTag different from other laser blasters is that it uses high frequency sound to communicate between the blaster and the mobile device. This eliminates the need for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth - both of which are expensive to implement in toys, heavily consume batteries and are painful for kids to setup.”
Now here’s the best part according to the company: “Even better, AppTag also has an open SDK and its developer, Jon Atherton, expects some fantastic games from the development community in 2012! NOTE: the SDK is being made available for free to all App developers. Imagine over 1,000 people all playing together across an entire city, or 10-20 friends battling it out in a park! AppTag will allow for Real World First Person Shooter Games…it’s like Call of Duty in the real world!”
The company is raising funds on kickstarter. You can watch their video here.
Now if you think this is just some small start up, you should know that Laser Tag from Hasbro has also been upgraded this year with a new APP version. We weren’t allowed to take pictures at Toy Fair of the new version.
The APPTAG group has already received $31,120 – which exceeded their goal of $30,000.