Fun Facts About the 2018 New York Toy Fair
February 16, 2018
This is the big one. The New York Toy Fair is back once again this weekend, and we are thrilled. Billed as the largest toy show in the western hemisphere, this is indeed a huge event.
If you've never heard of the show, think of it like San Diego Comic-Con, only for toys, games, technology, and other related products.
But what makes the Toy Fair so special? Why do people come from all over the world just to attend? If you'd like to learn more, read on!
A Brief History
The Fair started way back in February of 1903. In this first year, it wasn't nearly as big an event as it is today; fewer than 10 toy companies made an appearance. But since then, things have only grown. Just seven years later, the event outgrew its previous home and had to move into a larger site. This year, the Toy Fair will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Just How Big is the Fair?
It's huge! Last year's Toy Fair occupied 443,000 net square feet of exhibit space, which actually broke previous records. It's difficult to be exact with an event this size, but in 2013, there were an estimated 30,000 attendees, including buyers, manufacturers, distributors, consumers, and more.
Hundreds of toy industry retailers and professionals, including Legoland California, Disney Consumer Products, Best Buy, Gamestop, Hobby Lobby, Hot Topic, Kohl's, NBC Universal Orlando, NFL Experience, Sam's Club, the San Diego Zoo, Scholastic, Six Flags Entertainment, and Flipside Gaming.
Yes, that's right. We will be there as well! Come down and see us.
What Are Some of the Hottest Toys at the Fair?
Just like every year, toy manufacturers are going to pull out all the stops at the 2018 Fair. This is the event when companies bring their A-game to really get people excited about their latest and greatest.
Hasbro will unveil their first line of new Star Wars action figures based on the latest film, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Thus far they've released images of three key toys, but attendees will likely get to see the items themselves at the event. Check out the images.
That's newcomer Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Emilia Clarke as a new character named Qi'ra.
3D Printers…for Kids?
3Doodler of Kickstarter fame will also showcase their new 2018 line of products. This is a pretty amazing little tool in that it's an actual 3D printer. That's right—with the 3Doodler, kids can build 3D models of almost anything they can imagine, so long as they have enough plastic to construct it.
And maybe the coolest thing about 3Doodler's booth? They'll have a six foot six inch replica of the Statue of Liberty in attendance, made with their own products. Maybe she'll try out for the Knicks.
Next up, Singing Machine brings their expertise to the Fair with their new line of karaoke-inspired tech, all of it made for kids. Their products have features such as Bluetooth streaming, voice-altering effects, and a keyboard with light-up keys that teach kids to play music. Definitely products to look out for.
Marvel Takes Over
Everyone's favorite manufacturer of plastic bricks will be there to unveil their new line of toys, these ones based on the sure-to-be smash hit superhero film The Avengers: Infinity War. Look for a number of different sets containing numerous bigtime Marvel characters including Tony Stark/Iron Man, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Thor, Rocket, Groot, Star-Lord, Vision, Black Panther, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and, of course, Thanos. These toys might even contain spoilers for the next film!
Speaking of Thanos, these aren't the only Marvel products you'll see at the Fair. Toy giant Hasbro will also be bringing a life-sized Infinity Gauntlet, which actually looks pretty cool. Check it out!
Big enough to be worn on your hand, as you can see, and it's complete with Infinity Stones from the upcoming film. In fact, you could probably reenact some of your favorite scenes from the trailer with this thing. (Might need some purple paint, too.)
And, in fact, there will be even more Marvel products coming to the Toy Fair. Just in time for the teaser trailer of the Sony/Marvel film treatment of Venom, Hasbro has paired both Venom and Carnage into a single package. Okay, before you get too excited, these toys actually don't have anything to do with the new movie—they're based on the comic book designs. Still, these are pretty cool-looking nonetheless. Check them out!
Not to be outdone by their rival comic book studio, DC Collectibles will also be in attendance. In celebration of their 20 year anniversary, the company's pulling out all the stops. Just check out this life-sized bust of The Joker.
Independent Toy Makers to Watch
But the Fair isn't just reserved for big brands. Independent and first-time toy makers will be looking to excite people with their new toys as well. One of my favorite stories is about Jerry Poindexter, a 55 year-old man from Rocky Mount, Virginia. He's bringing his homemade invention to the Fair in the hopes of earning a distribution deal.
It's called the Voomerang, and it's almost what it sounds like. An oddly shaped plastic piece (though not quite shaped like a boomerang), one can throw the toy into the air and watch it come all the way back. Poindexter apparently came up with the toy while in his 20s; he stumbled upon the design while sorting through scrap wood. Just goes to show that this is an event for toys from all over the place!
At an event (mostly) for kids, it would be a shame if kids didn't get to show off their own products. Fortunately, a ten-year-old by the name of Kusa Xiong has us covered. Dubbed "The Kid Inventor" in his Youtube videos, he's bringing his award-winning Aeropong to the Fair. It's a game he created to help his sister Pahnuly, who has autism, improve her hand-eye coordination skills.
The game has a pretty clever design: players stand opposite one another, similar to regular pong. However, the twist is that the ball doesn't bounce on a table. Rather, the ball is attached to a vertical metal frame by a near-invisible line. Players slap the ball back and forth with traditional ping pong paddles. Here's what it looks like:
Great work by that young man!
Can't You Smell That Smell?
These might sound like more or less straightforward toys and products so far. But the New York Toy Fair is nothing if not innovative. There are some weird toys making their presence known as well. Take WoWee's What's That Smell?, for instance.
Yes, this game is exactly as bizarre as it sounds. Remember Scratch and Sniff? It's kind of like that.
When playing What's That Smell?, your objective is simple: smell a card, then guess what the smell is. This game is not for the faint of heart. Because some of the possible smells include garbage, rotten fish, and, yes, even poo. You also get partial credit if you guess a smell that's close to correct but not quite right.
Maybe the funniest part of the entire game is the complimentary app, which comes with a recording featuring called the "Cam Reek-order." Yes, with this nice little device, players share slow motion videos of each other reacting to the awful smells which they've just inhaled. Moving right along…
Youtube Shakes Up the Toy Industry
In an interesting turn of events, a group of famous Youtube personalities and channels will be launching their own toy lines with the help of Pocket.Watch. Pocket.Watch is a relatively new company partnered with the aforementioned Youtubers; they even received funding from Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. Some of their content creators, including Ryan from Ryan ToysReview, will be unveiling new products at the event. Stay tuned.
Hamilton Creator Joins the Fair
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of smash-hit musical Hamilton, will also promote his line of Pin Mates wooden figures. Distributed by TeeRico, Miranda's merchandise imprint, the first two Pin Mates are figurine replicas of Miranda and his dog, Tobi. As far as we know, the Pin Mates cannot sing or dance.
See You There!
Will you be attending this year's New York Toy Fair? If so, come check us out! Flipside Gaming is thrilled to be there, and we'd be thrilled to see you there as well. Should be a great time!
Kyle Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living in upstate New York with his fiancée and their two cats. When he's not writing, you'll find him down at the East Greenbush Flipside store jamming booster drafts. For more of Kyle's work, visit www.kyleamassa.com or follow him on Twitter @mindofkyleam.
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