I can’t believe it’s been a week since New York Toy Fair which means that despite the fact that I’m drowning in follow-up work and business cards from this year, the count down to Toy Fair 2013 has already begun.
Most of my wonderful loyal readers know that Toy Fair is a hectic time for inventors because the majority of Toy Fair is spent running from appointment to appointment showing concepts, discussing new products and catching up with clients old and new. BUT I still managed to get around to most of the game booths to see what’s new for 2012! So without further ado…let’s talk about some TRENDS!
TREND: Toy-esque Games
I remember years ago when I first started in the invention business plastic action games weren’t that easy to license because there were a very small number of companies doing them. Something about plastic being expensive and speculation about kids having video games so games that were too “toy-etic” weren’t hot anymore like they were in the 60s, 70s and even early 80s. We saw this trend building slowly last year with Mattel’s successful and TOTY-award winning, Angry Birds: Knock on Wood game and a handful of other titles, but this year plastic action games were at companies of all sizes!
Patch Products has a couple new plastic action games: Cluck ‘N Chuck has a timed device that launches chickens and Don’t Rock the Boat is giant ship that players must balance pirate penguin movers on top of. Identity Games has Boom Boom Balloon in which players poke a balloon with sticks until it pops. If play food is more you’re thing, Educational Insights has the beyond adorable BBQ BLITZ! which has players flippin’ little plastic burgers and buns to win. After their success with Headbandz, Spin Master has a new game called Fibber and it requires players to wear giant glasses and add little cup-like pieces to their nose each time they are caught lying. Players grow long Pinocchio-like noses during the game, which is actually quite funny! And then there is Playroom Entertainment, which has blown out their “Three Little Magician’s” line with a bunch of games all centered around very toy-etic play including Catch a Falling Star, Magician’s Kitchen and Vampires of the Night. Even Peaceable Kingdom Press joined the trend with Willy’s Wiggly Web, a cooperative 3-D web cutting game complete with little scissors!
And there’s no way to discuss this trend without talking about what’s new from Hasbro. Almost all of Hasbro’s new products from the past couple years have been moving more towards “toys with rules” and further from “classic game play.” Some great examples from previous years are Connect 4 Launchers, Sorry Sliders and Cuponk. This year’s Twister Dance, Connect 4 Dunk, and Lazer Tag, all feel like they’re moving Hasbro’s game line even closer to the toy end of the spectrum.
Amazing that this is one of my top trends for this year, but I swear it felt like everywhere I looked there were games in tins! Now don’t get me wrong, there have been games in tins for years but this year felt like there was a tin warehouse explosion at Javits! It’s like everyone seemed to jump on this bandwagon at the same time – so weird!
By far the most prolific user of tins was Blue Orange. They have a whole line called “The Pocket Collection” which are all packaged in cute little circular tins like they’ve used for Spot-It in the past. Educational Insights introduced Travel Blurt! and Zobmondo! released Would You Rather? Sick Twisted and Wrong, The “Late Night” Edition in rectangular tins.
Mindware used tin packaging for many of it’s new games including Find Your Way Gnome and Scramblitz. Same goes for Gamewright with titles including Big Fat Tomato. Gamewright also had a game called Elephant’s Trunks, which isn’t packaged in a tin, but includes 4 mini tins that are little suitcases. I’m telling you – tins were IN!
TREND: Updated Packaging
A couple companies made updated packaging one of their hot new offerings for the year. Out of the Box is planning a revamp of their whole line and have already tackled, with great success, Word on the Street and 3 of their card games (which used to be in tins) including 7 Ate 9, Run Wild, and Bug Out.
Buffalo Games also decided that after selling more than 1 million copies Last Word that it should get a new package. The game now sports a fantastic bright blue box, which I find far more appealing than it’s old green box! Also in the over 1 million sold category, Buzz Word from Patch Products got a face-lift. And of course this topic wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the very-boy packaging that you will now see on the perennial classic, Connect 4. Forget the friendly blue it used to have, now Connect 4 is mostly black with yellow and red accents.
There were plenty of other products in updated packaging, but these were the most notable to me. As a side comment, it’s nice to see companies breathing fresh life into some well-loved classics by updating their look. I know I talk about this a lot, but it’s always easier to convince someone to play a new game if it’s in a great-looking package!
To continue on to PART 2 click HERE.