There was a preview of Christmas future in February when the Toy Fair made its annual appearance in New York.
Many long-time popular toys were given makeovers, including Mattel’s Barbie. The company held an online voting contest to allow fans of the doll to pick her next career and the winning job was announced at the fair. The top career among girl voters was News Anchor Barbie, which will feature a pink suit and black high-heeled shoes. It should be available in the fall of 2010. The winning overall career was Computer Engineer Barbie, which will sport a smart phone, Bluetooth headset and a laptop travel bag. Mattel worked with the Society of Women Engineers and National Academy of Engineering to design a doll that would represent a female computer engineer. The doll will be available in winter of 2010.
Another, far more disturbing, version of the Barbie doll unveiled at the Toy Fair is the Barbie Video Girl. The doll has a small hole in her upper chest that contains a small video camera capable of recording YouTube quality videos. The idea seems to be for girls to shoot videos from Barbie’s point of view.
“Star Wars” toys have been a part of the play market since “A New Hope” debuted in the late 1970s. While the last three movies in the series from George Lucas were not as well received, toys from the franchise continue to dominate the market. Now Lego has released a set based on the Han Solo character being turned into frozen-carbonite in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Disney’s “Toy Story 3” is being highly anticipated and toys from characters based on the movie made quite a splash. There were old favorites like Buzz Lightyear and Woody, but a new character from “Toy Story 3,” Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear was also featured. There are also various play sets themed around scenes from the “Toy Story” movies.
Thirty years ago the Rubik’s Cube was introduced at the Toy Fair and from then on it confounded a generation, except for those somehow endowed with mystical powers that enable them to solve the riddle of getting all the colored blocks to line up. To this day I have not been able to solve the puzzle, and as if rubbing my nose into it, Techno Source has released the Rubik’s Slide. This electronic toy has squares that light up in a certain pattern. The player then has to twist the gadget to recreate that pattern. Despite its small size for easy transport, there are 10,000 puzzles locked inside the device. This is set for release in the fall of 2010.
Marvel’s “Iron Man 2” by director Jon Favreau will be released in May of 2010 and, just like “Star Wars” 30 years ago, that means an onslaught of movie-themed toys. Hasbro is releasing the “Iron Man 2” remote controlled walking figure which can be controlled with a handheld remote, has electronic lights and sounds and has projectiles it shoots out of its shoulders. It will be released in the fall of 2010. Mega Brands will offer its “Iron Man 2” Tri-Armor Suitcase that allows kids to pretend to be Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. in the movies. The suitcase contains three different types of “Iron Man” armor, including the Mark II, Mark III and War Machine designs.
One of the most unusual gadgets is Puppy Tweets from Mattel, which allows a person’s dog to communicate through a Twitter account. The device is a dog tag that can be attached to the family pet which detects the dog’s level of activity, amount of barking and other signals and sends a message to a Twitter account set up by the owner for the canine. Sounds implausible, but wasn’t the Pet Rock the biggest selling toy for at least one year?
These and other toys and gadgets unveiled at the 2010 Toy Fair are likely to make appearances on wish lists around the country later in the year.