Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Board In New York City

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

Toy Fair 2011, the largest annual toy and game fair in the world, hits New York this year for four days beginning February 13. Each year there are some innovative if not simply interesting new toys and games to talk about. As part of this year’s American International Toy Fair, the Toy Industry Association (owners and managers of the event) has launched a special game called PLAY HAPPENS. It’s a virtual and social board game just for Toy Fair participants. It’s being billed as the perfect marriage of the online and offline activity of the show.

From a recent TIA release – “PLAY HAPPENS provides an interactive opportunity for players to explore the sights, neighborhoods, events, restaurants and entertainment experiences that make New York the city that never sleeps and the prize is one of a kind. The person who earns the most points will win a New Year’s Eve weekend for two complete with airfare, accommodations at the world-famous Marriott Marquis Hotel in the heart of Times Square, 2 tickets to the Marriott’s exclusive New Year’s Eve Gala, police escort into Times Square for the dry-run countdown (with photo opportunities”) and Ball Level viewing of the drop at midnight!”

I wanted to share the PLAY HAPPENS info not because I think many of you will have the opportunity to participate, but rather because it reminded me of the recent NikeGrid game in London (which I wrote about a couple months ago in a post entitled “Innovation Is Afoot”). My prediction from September 2007 continues to manifest itself. Not sure whether PLAY HAPPENS will be the hit NikeGrid was. Not sure tradeshow-goers are going to go out of their way to participate even though the prize is pretty good. Gotta give the TIA credit for putting this together though. For more information on PLAY HAPPENS…

At some point I imagine these location-based games which utilize vast spaces (like entire cities) and a FourSquare or Facebook Places app may become a bit blasé. The novelty hasn’t worn thin yet though and I think it’s pretty cool that more people/organizations are jumping into the fray. At some point, if it hasn’t already happened somewhere, organization will begin making their own company-specific games to be played on corporate campuses. Could be a giant shared corporate bonding experience.

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