|The game industry is a dynamic and competitive
industry. Although many games are invented each year. Few get to be
successful passing the traditional time-tested success such as games
that lasted several hundreds of years. The following links are web sites
related to game industry. It serves as a good reference for people who
are interested in games invention, manufacturing, publishing,
distribution and retailing. Scrammble.com is an independent game web
site. Scrammble.com does feature the Scrammble games but maintains an
independent view on the game industry. It is not sponsored by or
affiliated with any other game companies. We
especially call your attention on the DiscoverGames.com and its
sponsored toy fair in Chicago in September. (Visit the Game Industry
Events Page) Mary Couzin has a noble goal to help independent game inventors to
bring their inventions to the game industry and to the public. Many
new products are introduced each year at the American International Toy
Fair. The 2004 Fair is no exception. Some real good toys and games will
be featured here after the Fair is over.
Dr. Chang has visited the 2004 American International Toy Fair from February 12 to 18th. He has met a number of game and toy inventors/entreprenuers. He has played and enjoyed many games during the fair. In discussion with many experts in the game & toy industry, it has become obvious that the interactive Mi-Card technology which has been successfully applied to 'Value Marketing' and 'Collective Marketing' (See examples DBCC and OSMart) should be applied to the game and toy industry to promote the good games and toys created by the many independent inventors and entrepreneurs.
One of the odd phenomena at this international trade show is that many large toy companies choose to be secretive about their new products. They choose not to let the public (mainly peers and professionals in the trade) to view their new products. They do show them to their invited buyers and distributors. Hence eventually the word is out. In the author's opinion, the secrecy is more to avoid objective comparison and criticism from peers and critics than to fend off copy-caters and competitors. Another phenomenon is that many independent toy and game inventors are eager to describe and show off their creations. However, they do face a steep uphill marketing hurdle. It is clear that the entry marketing expense for toy and game entrepreneurs are very significant.
Headutainment Games will join other independent toy and game inventors as well as small entrepreneur companies to deal with the marketing challenges. Mi-Card may be just the solution needed for collectively promoting the value toy and game products. (refer to magic marketing solution ) Based on the past experience of Mi-Card, MWSearch and IPO2U will create a Magic Information Card for Games & Toys to be distributed before the holiday season of 2004. All toy and game inventors and entrepreneur businesses are invited to participate. If enough people join in this effort, collectively the group shall have a marketing clout. Anticipating the success of such an organized effort, Good Inventions For Toys & EDucation (GIFTED) is reserved as a name for the participation group. For information and how to submit games and toys to be included in the Collective Marketing Medium visit GIFTED Web Site and write to email@example.com. More details on
can be found on the GIFTED Web Site.
The following are interesting and relevant web sites for Toy and Game Business:
Some inventors' and entrepreneurs' web sites:
Other related web sites:
the Gaming Industry Department of LWM (LinuxWorld)
Experts Game Experts Board Game Manufacturing Prototyping Toy ...
-- Toys, Games and Puzzles
What Are the Great Products at the 2004 American International Toy Fair? (Toy District and
Javits Convention Center) by Dr. Chang
My experience with Toy industry is not deep but my interest in games does go back a few decades.
My view towards the game and toy industry is not conventional nor commercial. I have a personal bias that is I am a game
inventor and an educator.
I tend to view innovations as the first critical element. Then I look at the game
or toy from the following elements: safety, fun, learning,
design (include manufacturability, packaging) then cost. It is needless to say that it is impossible for anyone to cover the Toy Fair's thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of
products in a few days. The toy industry runs a string of toy fairs world
wide with Five international fairs concentrated in the months of January and
February. See the trade show web sites collected under the game industry
heading. There are a number of game industry trade magazines trying to report new products.
I am not so sure how independent each magazine is from commercial (advertisers) view. I tend to visit the booths not by any magazines' recommendations rather
I will walk the aisles methodically to discover the goodies. I am naturally influenced by the product design (external appeal) and display but more influenced by the
exhibitors' and browsers' enthusiasm at the booth. I often seek out the
inventors and talk to them. By birth right, every inventor (the author
included) can claim his or her invention to be a great one. Talking to the
inventors will get all the positive aspects of an invention. Then one can do
an objective comparison or critique. One thing I definitely stay away is hypes
and gimmicks such as hiring a celebrity posting photo shots....
With limited time, I mainly focused on the Games section. I started on Thursday (Feb 12) at the Toy Town. I collected all the free magazines but I have not read them yet.
I just do not want to be unduly influenced by the commercial ads etc. I did discover several great products in the games category. For example, University Games has a show room
in Toy town which allowed me to have an early view of some of its new (good)
products. The exhibits at Javits began on Sunday. A number of companies in the aisle
100- 600's and 5000-6000's have
introduced some very attractive products. (Unfortunately, the aisles are far apart in Javits center, a lot of walking back and forth is necessary if you want to make
a thorough comparative observation)
If you were going to visit the Fair, You should first stroll through the 6000's.
I have strolled from aisles of 6000's to 100's and back and forth to absorb
whatever interests me .....
Please stay tuned for more detailed reports on games & toys right after the Fair.......... Dr. Chang from NYC Javits Center, 2/18/04
PS1, you are welcome to send Dr. Chang an email to ask me your burning question, he will do the best to answer you. write to firstname.lastname@example.org
PS2, Dr. Chang has taken some photos at the Toy Fair. These photos are put up in the GIFTED private web site.
|Toys and Games Featured (2004 Am Intl
ITOP - an old popular toy exploiting digital technology
This is a toy for all ages. It adopts the digital technology making a spinning top more fun and quite addictive. The imbedded electronic chip and display can show the spinning speed and the ultimate revolutions you make keep your scores against previous players scores. Hence you can play competitive games with iTop. You can compete in spinning speed, longest or most revolutions or match a preset score. I have played at the Toy Fair in New York and played at home with my kids. It is a fun toy for the family. Many consumers have given great reviews to this toy. I will quote a few here:
"Beware: This is hugely addictive, and whether you're playing it with your kids or in the office, it is guaranteed to suck everyone else in too. The concept is incredibly simple -- you spin it and whoever gets the most revolutions wins. But what it plays on is that latent competitive streak that gets even the most even tempered player fired up! This first, simple game is so addictive that we haven't yet got onto the five other games .... superb fun and well worth the money. Also, great to take on holidays for long plane or train journeys as you can pass literally hours trying to beat the previous high score."
"What makes the i-Top special is that it doesn't just spin--it plays games. These are all based on how long or how fast you can spin the top, with scores magically displayed on its surface as it spins, using the lights mentioned above. A clever folding spindle transforms the product into a slim disc, perfect for slipping into a pocket and making this a game that kids can amuse themselves with wherever they go."
Word Games at 2004 Toy Fair and WTHRA
There are a number of new word games at the Toy Fair. Since I have created the Scrammble Word game, naturally, I have paid some attention to the new word games. I must say that every game has a twist of its own. Therefore, it is better and fair to list them here so word game lovers can easily compare them:
A to Z - Covering letters of A to Z by shouting out words in specific categories.
Anangramania - Board game for solving clues whose answers anagrams of one or more words in each clue.
Buy Word - Pay cash to buy letters and form words to sell at a profit - if you can.
Fast Word - Create and swap words based on the throw of the die.
Scrammble Word, Scrammble Poker and Scrammble Majong - These games were not exhibited at Am Intl Toy Fair nor at the WTHRA but they were introduced to a number of game inventors and game companies at these shows. Very positive comments were received.
Sentence Cube - using 21 word cubes to make as many grammatically correct sentences in a crossword pattern as possible.
Sentence Says - Beat the timer to make a sentence with each word starting with an alphabet that is part of the alphabet cards dealt to you.
Word Rummy - Players make words of 3 letters and up with 7 letters dealt into your hand then replenish hand with new letter cards. Stealing opponent's words are permissible by adding one or more letters. (Similar to 7-card Scrammble Poker, one of several games in Scrammble. For Word Poker, there is also a Palabra which has been exhibited at the WTHRA in Pomona, California March 7-10, 2004)
Word Thief - A game uses specially designed cards for making words and scoring points. Competitors can snatch away other player's letters to use.
Observations at WTHRA
The Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association has a long history being a significant Toy and Hobby show on the west coast. This year is its 43rd annual show. The author was urged by a number of people at the American International Toy Fair to attend WTHRA to discover good new toy and games. I must say after the February show in New York, the WTHRA is a disappointment. It is obvious that the economy on the West Coast has not recovered fully to give WTHRA a boost. The show is rather small, the attendance is sparse and there is not much vibrant transactions going on. Other than finding a few exhibits I have missed at the New York Show there was no new toys or games introduced at the WTHRA. I suspect, a few things could be improved regardless of the attendance. For one thing, to find representatives to talk to regarding selling your products, there is no comfortable setting for inventors and sales reps to sit down and talk at the show place. The organizer should have provided a row of small booths for that purpose. Secondly, I am not sure how much PR and promotion WTHRA has done for its annual show. It is obviously not enough. The Fairplex is very large which has several events going on simultaneously. The display at the site is not adequate. (Having a banner viewable only from one side, not viewable from the streets and the parking lots, is a mistake) The event atmosphere is quite layback. Two days in a roll, I was too early (at 8:30 -8:45 AM) for the public parking attendants to show up to sell parking ticket and direct the parking. The seminar starts at 8AM and the show opens at 9AM for the public (probably opens earlier for the exhibitors) but there is no parking attendant till 9AM.
My mood might have been influenced by the cancellation of my flight from LaGuardia to LA due to foggy weather (wasting nearly 18 hours at the airport) which did make me missing the first day of the show. The only consolation of this trip was meeting a few game inventors whom I have missed in New York. (see Photo Gallery on the GIFTED Web Site) and seeing my brother and his family. The following web sites may be of interest to you:
To Home Page Of Scrammble.com