TDmonthly's Top 10 Most Wanted Interactive Games
The future of toys is now, as today's interactive playthings incorporate components like invisible data streams, voice activation and color recognition technology. Interactive products have become user-friendly, insisting children participate with the toy instead of simply playing with it in a one-sided fashion. Tom Conley of the Charleston Post and Courier estimates that 70% of the products showcased at Toy Fair 2004 had some type of microchip. As manufacturers try to implement twenty-first century toys, new technological advancements have made that lofty objective less elusive than it’s ever been.
Educational toys have been the driving force within this movement. “Learning is derived through play,” explains Laurie Oravec of Fisher-Price about the company’s under-$40 InteracTV platform, a TV- and DVD-based learning system aimed at toddlers. The diminishing cost of technology has allowed the company, and others, to raise the bar. This year, interactive technology has gone mainstream, showing up in everything from tween play sets to boys’ action figures. Mattel´s Batwave line utilizes VEIL (Video Encoded Invisible Light) to coordinate products with the new Kids WB! animated series, “The Batman.” Bandai´s Tamagotchi Connection is another hit, allowing the digital pets to communicate with one another through infrared technology. Mattel is looking to use VEIL in other products for 2005, possibly extending it past the Batman-focused line.
Here’s a look at the cream of the interactive crop:
-KidsWB! is the number one ranked network in tweens aged 9-14.
2.) Serafina (Approx $39.99, 3+) by Mattel
-Serafina acts as if she is actually watching the latest Barbie DVD, “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper,” (included).
3.) InteracTV ($39.99, 3+) by Fisher-Price
-The curriculum is based on numbers, colors, counting, critical thinking, and problem solving.
4.) Strawberry Shortcake Singing Surprise ($39.99, 4+) by Bandai
-The doll employs color-recognition technology—so that when passing Strawberry’s pencil over a color in the included Rememberin’ book, a song plays.
5.) Tamagotchi Connection ($14.99, 8+) by Bandai
-A single digi-pet can have up to fifty friends, linked by infrared technology, to visit or play games.
6.) T*Neez Groove Mall ($39.99, 4+) by Bandai
-Realistic soundscapes abound in this play set: for instance, by visiting the counter at the movie theater, popcorn can be heard popping.
7.) Pixter Digital Camera for Pixter Color ($24.99, 4+) by Fisher-Price
-Children take pictures and alter them using special effects and colors.
8.) V-Smile ($59.99, 3+) by V-Tech
-It plugs into the TV and interacts at a slower pace for the younger children.
9.) Dancing E-L-M-O ($29.99, 18months+) by Fisher-Price
-He spells out the letters in his name using arms and legs,
10.) One to watch…Wheel of Fortune ($29.99) by Hasbro
-It allows players to participate with the television show in real time.
The key sources for this list were online retailers, manufacturing contacts and published materials. TDmonthly staff compared the data of 13 articles pertaining to the subject of “interactive toys” to current announcements such as the ToyDirectory.com Updates. In addition, staff contacted six manufacturers, and the writer visited at least five online retailing sites as well.
Click on the links below for more TDmonthly Magazine’s Top 10 Most Wanted lists.
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