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Game Industry

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 mwsearch@mwsearch.com. More details on 

  • Selection Criteria and Forms for Submission and Registration of GIFTED (Good Inventions For Toys and EDucation)
  • Submission Procedure and Deadline (Timeline: Correspondence to participate, Feb-Apr/04, Collection of Content and Info, deadline June 1/04, Design iteration July-Aug/04, Production Aug/04, Distribution September/04)  
  • Interactive CD Design and Production Requirements and Schedule
  • Content Outline of GIFTED CD - A persistent constantly updated information medium just for good toys and games
  • Obligations of Participating Game & Toy Inventors and Companies (Web link available, No Advertising Fee, Standard Sales Commission and Commitment of Distributing interactive CD (server-backed GIFTED Mi-Cards) to clients at an extremely low cost, GIFTED will distribute a minimum number of CDs at toy tradeshow(s) to make splashes in PR and marketing)
  • Photogalleries of 2004 Am Intl Toy Fair and 43rd Annual Show of Western Toy & Hobby Reps Assoc  

can be found on the GIFTED Web Site.

The following are interesting and relevant web sites for Toy and Game Business: 

DiscoverGames.com
DiscoverGames sponsors Toy Fair and Help independent game and toy inventors to market their products. See press report by James Miller of The Games Journal Sponsor of Chicago Toy Fair in September, 2004

Some inventors' and entrepreneurs' web sites:

HotVsNot.Com Web Directory - Comprehensive Database of Web Resources that includes Card Games

www.altoresearch.com

www.buffalogames.com

www.bigetoys.com

www.chucklegames.com

www.dominoes.com

www.fabygames.com

www.fameproducts.com

www.finditgames.com

www.flashbackgames.com

www.gnugames.com

www.hotflash.com

www.karmelgames.com

www.liveoakgames.com

www.mcwiz.com

www.mentalogy.com

www.morningstargames.com

www.nonviolenttoys.com

www.nygamefactory.com

www.patriotchallenge.com

www.pechnidi.com

www.playnosweat.com

www.rnrgames.com

www.scrammble.com

www.sentencesays.com

www.smirkanddaggergames.com

www.stockrush.com

www.taurustoy.com

www.typath.com

www.vidagames.com 

www.winegame.com

Other related web sites:

Canadian Game Companies
Welcome to Canadian Game Companies, the longest list of game development and game industry-related companies located in Canada

Introducing the Gaming Industry Department of LWM (LinuxWorld)
In this issue, our gaming industry coverage begins with a look at two companies using Linux in the gaming sphere.

Open Directory for the Game Industry

Game Manufacturers Association
Our contact information is GAMA & Origins 80 Garden Center #16 Broomfield, CO 80020 Phone: 303-635-2223 Fax: 303-469-2878 custserv@gama.org.

Toy Experts Game Experts Board Game Manufacturing Prototyping Toy ...
Rehtmeyer Inc., Toy and Game Licensors, Toy and Game Manufacturers, Toy and Game Designers, Toy and Game Packaging, Design, and Development.

Hasbro.com -- Toys, Games and Puzzles
Hasbro - a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, with brands like Playskool, Tonka, Milton Bradley..

Mattel
Information on the world's premier toy company, including information about Mattel, contact information, consumer support information, brands list, careers at Mattel Click the link.

Educational Insights
This company focuses on education and school markets offering educational materials and supplies including educational games. For invention submission contact Pat Sarka

University Games
University Games produces and markets its own brands of games. Bob Moog, the company's co-founder has tremendous energy and enthusiasm in the game business. Many of the company's products have won industry awards  

Ravensburger
This German company has a great reputation as a toy and game manufacturer. It devotes significant amount of resources in product development. Contact Lothar Hemme about Ravenburg products.  

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 mwsearch@mwsearch.com

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 Toys Fair)

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:

www.battlez.com

www.briarpatch.com

www.enginuity.com

www.fundexgames.com

www.howlingmonkeys.net

www.knucklestrutz.com

www.onionhead.com

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