PLANTERA: Weeding Out One Very Cool Clicker

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Let’s get this out of the way: I am NOT a big fan of clicker/tapper games, mobile-based or not. There’s a huge and happy market for them, sure. But my attention span tends to wander elsewhere once my brain realizes it’s been trapped into what amounts to Lucy and Ethel wrapping chocolates on a too-fast moving assembly line. Yep, that’s hilarious to watch, but DOING it? Madness, on a cosmic horror scale. Ninth level of hell meets Sisyphus cloned by Caligula, but with roller skates, a greasy hill and square boulders. Nope, not for me.

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Of course, I then get a random code for VaragtP‘s super-cute endless clicker PLANTERA in my inbox and well… foo. Yeah, it got me sucked in for a while, grinning like a kid as soon as it started up until I forced myself to shut it down, STILL smiling. My reputation as a curmudgeon, shattered by a planting game? Great. grrr. Ah well, one more bias kicked in the teeth, right? For the record, I plant and grow peppers on a windowsill here, so yeah. The game had me at PLANTERA.

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Dimension: You’ll Never Be “Board” With Kosmos’ Challenging Brain Game

Kosmos Dimension Box
 

Two things you’ll absolutely require when playing Kosmos Games’ Dimension would be an absolutely flat level table and friends not prone to elbowing you in the body anywhere while you’re racing to stack colored balls while reading cards that tell you how to stack them. Once you have those all sorted out it’s all fun and games and no one is getting hurt. Dimension is a really interesting hybrid of spatial puzzle and fast-paced ball placement for 1-4 players that will test even the most skilled minds with following a handful of simple rules. All you need to do is stack 15 colored balls as you can while paying close attention to the precise instructions set forth by the rule cards laid out for each session.

Blue can’t touch orange, you can only have two black balls on your tray, none of those colors can touch a white ball and so forth and so on. All of this while a timer is ticking away and someone is probably trying to pull off a cheat that won’t work under any sort of scrutiny because they’re LAME! Yeah, I’m talking about you, you know who. Anyway, Dimension is simple to set up and you can get playing in about five or so minutes. However if you buy this game specifically to play with younger kids, make sure you or some other adult does the assembling. If you just whip out the box on your jaded brood the kids will probably end up just rolling the balls under the couch with the cat chasing after them and call it a day. I say dazzle those kids with some freshly baked cookies or other treats while you put the game together in another room before surprising them with their soon to be new obsession.

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Toy Fair 2015: SnooZzoo – Bedtime Perfected

snoozoo logoLet me tell you, folks; if I had a SnooZzoo as a kid, I’d probably be a lot less tired these days. Cameron Jones and his excellent child sized sleepover bag/huge stuffed animal hybrid caught my eye at Toy Fair and I had to immediately smile because it’s one of those products that fills a niche and is ready to rocket to the top of every parent’s list for all the right reasons. Continue reading

Some Sunday Toy Fair Musings…

Let’s see now:

Jurassic World  Stuff
 

Expect to see a LOT of Jurassic World merchandise coming for the upcoming film. Yes, Universal ran the same old trailer fans have already seen, but there’s a nice amount of new toys on the way that were unseen until the event earlier today. Dinosaurs everywhere would be a problem in real life for sure. But it looks like the licensing agreements on this film will bring kids (and adults) into those walking future fossil fuel sources will get plenty of folks into the stores before and after they hit the theaters.

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As for those Minions, well, my bad poetry databank has been reactivated, so expect to read some ear curling stuff about that toy line shortly. That long trailer was pretty funny and it looks as if the third go-round with the little yellow guys may be the best yet. As for the merchandise, some items are returning from Despicable Me 2, but in updated form, there are new items that will make the kids (and parents) crack up, and yes, expect your disposable income to become a lot more disposable once the film hits.

Minions Stuff
 

More on both toy lines shortly. I’ve a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks and two more days at the show in this stupidly lousy cold weather we’ve been socked with. It’s worth it, though…

Toy Fair Ultra Mini Report, Day One

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Well, then. Toy Fair is pretty brilliant this year, although I barely made it through the first day’s zipping back and forth. Pictures to come from some of the booths I visited earlier today, but not until tomorrow at the earliest. Par for the course, some of the smaller booths had the more interesting new items, but you’ll have to hold out to see what they are. Let’s just say that if you have kids ages 4-10 who have always give you trouble around bedtime, there’s the most awesome solution that’s guaranteed to get them wanting to hit the hay every night. And it doesn’t involve any trickery or pharmaceuticals, either.

Also, R2-D2 makes a phenomenal bubble machine, courtesy of Imperial Toys. Seriously. You’ll see. Zombies are still “in” this year and in some mighty creative ways thanks to McFarlane Toys, Factory Entertainment and others. Collectible fans will see way too many things to fill their shelves from Funko, Entertainment Earth, Mezco Toyz, The Coop, and too many more to list here.

Anyway, I’m wiped out and need to sleep, as I have to pop up early in the morning to go see some dinosaurs and very funny little yellow guys before hitting the show floor again. Good night!

SCIENCE! Nintendo Helps Learn You a Lesson To-day…

Nintendo World Water 004 (Large) And now, a tiny little science lesson for all you boys and girls out there. Now, now. Don’t run away! This is an easy lesson. Those pics above are the results of me storing a couple of water bottles from the Nintendo World Store grand opening at room temperature for nine years. *Boo!*  But also *yay!*  Oh, why am I so conflicted, ladies and gents? Because it’s SCIENCE in action, folks! Okay, well… I would have stored them in the fridge here, but let’s see now… I had a few more of those bottles and DID store them in the fridge here only to find out a bit more about how people work.

Nintendo World Water 001 (Large) Nintendo World Water 002 (Large)

You see, boys and girls, some people tend to come by to visit for a spell, look in your fridge and take stuff out to drink if you let them do so. For some of these people, small and unimportant looking bottles of water seem to be a magnet. I’d gather that some of those people didn’t want to seem greedy or imposing, so they went for the smallest thing they saw. An odd thing indeed, as I’m a pretty damn generous guy who doesn’t care what you take out of the fridge. Well, provided it’s not a bottle of water that’s hard to replace.

So, yeah… that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had in terms of a storage solution and Plan B didn’t work out so well either. Oh well. science is fun, though, isn’t it?

Show & Tell: On Ray Harryhausen’s Fairy Tales

Red StareIn regards to every well-worn fairy tale, “It’s not the tale, but how it’s told” is the order of the day. Parents and other creative adults well-versed in story time voices and acting have this mantra branded on their brain cells and know how to make any yarn they spin keep kids at rapt attention. Still, for many of his longtime fans, Ray Harryhausen’s incredible stop-motion versions of Mother Goose stories and five classic fairy tales are some of the most memorable versions ever created.

Save for The Tortoise and the Hare (which was incomplete until its 2002 premiere), I can recall some of these films along with his earlier Mother Goose shorts being shown during assembly hall sessions or in the occasional class where a regular teacher was out sick and the substitute called in hadn’t time to whip up a proper lesson plan. While most of these 16mm shorts were part of my childhood, I’d imagine plenty of today’s little (and more tech savvy) whippersnappers haven’t a clue who Harryhausen was or what made (and still makes him) him great and such a huge inspiration of countless filmmakers and visual effects artists to this day.

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National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees: Three Times the Fun!

Toy Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees

Image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York.

Before you even ask, yes, there is a National Toy Hall of Fame. It’s part of the National Museum of Play up in Rochester, NY and I’d say it’s a bucket list trip for anyone with even the slightest interest in any sort of toy or game from their childhood. Today the Museum inducted a trio of all-time classics into the Toy Hall of Fame and some of you are already grinning at that photo above. This year’s inductees made me laugh out loud because as soon as I heard the news this morning, I was hoping to heck that someone at the Museum would have made a cool diorama with a few squads of Army Men on some alien or other landscape (maybe Washington D.C.?) fighting off an “invasion” by a giant Rubik’s Cube with Bubbles floating in the shot to give it the look of some low-budget sci-fi flick.

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Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

Hey, Mario Bava would have done it up right, I bet. That said, the Museum’s presentation was certainly creative and entertaining. Dancers from the Rochester City Ballet appeared in life-size Army Men outfits, there was a gigantic Rubik’s Cube mosaic (made up of 200 pounds of Rubik’s Cubes), and the Bubble Man himself, Doug Rougeux doing his amazing thing at the event. Okay, all that was MORE creative than my crummy diorama idea maybe two people would have gotten the joke about. What can I say other that I like obscure references only a handful of people would understand…

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Cena Makes a Scene-a in His Big Toy Debut…

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Yikes. If I had monsters under my bed, they’d all be leaping out the window right about now. I’d almost forgotten I’d be getting a big box from Wicked Cool Toys, makers of a ton of fun licensed toys in plenty of popular brands (Marvel, DC, Disney, TMNT, and more). Anwyay, while at Toy Fair earlier this year, I got an invite to see what was coming in terms of WWE goodies in their Ringside Collectibles line and at the end of the tour, the bunch of us who attended were told by Jan Van Tine (the hyper-perky lady with the computer memory you should meet one of these days because she’ll remember your name even if you’re in a group of about 50 people) we’d be getting a big surprise in the post.

Well, color me surprised (and how!). It seems that only 100 of these were made, the outer carton says it’s #75 of 100, but that seems to refer to the carton, as the figure says it’s #1 of 100. Oh, I’ll work through all that numbering in a bit. Right now, I need to figure out where to put Mr. C before he starts stomping around and eating whatever is left in the fridge. Hmmm. I wonder what over-sized plastic wrestlers eat, anyway? I think I have one or two Crashlings left over from Toy Fair here, so perhaps I’ll drop those in the carton and see what happens. Wait. If he eats them all, I’ll need MORE Crashlings! A-ha. THAT’S how they get you sucked in to buying all that stuff, folks! The secret is OUT.

I’m Going Out To Play Today (It’s For Work. Really!)…

(thanks, Movieclips!)

Sweet Suite 2014Well, today is all about play, folks. I’ve a Toy Fair event to attend this afternoon into the evening, so this will limit my post count to-day. This will be my first Sweet Suite, so I’m expecting to be run over by fellow bloggers who’ve already been to a few of these and know who to hit up first. Okay, that most likely won’t happen, but I did see that the time slot I booked filled up first, meaning there will be a nice crunch of folks there who probably aren’t staying for the full event. Eh, we’ll see what happens in an hour and a half or so. If I return before pumpkin hour and haven’t gotten a sugar high headache or feel ready to keel over from too much tipsy juice, I shall post a report of sorts. If anything, I’ll be updating my contact list with some new people I’ve met today.

Back in a bit…