New Disney toys put together high-tech gadgets and traditional old-school play
Disney is launching a line of toys that combines high-tech wearable gadgets and old-school superhero role-playing to keep kids moving while engrossing them in sub-plots from “The Avengers,” “Star Wars” and “Frozen.”
It’s Disney’s most ambitious game concept meshing real objects and virtual worlds since August 2013, when the family entertainment giant released its Disney Infinity video game that featured figurines and digital characters from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Toy Story” and other franchises.
The new line, called “Disney’s Playmation,” hits stores in October with the release of a forearm attachment called a “repulsor” that puts kids in the role of Marvel superhero Iron Man.
The Associated Press was given an early look at the product line being unveiled Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The onboard voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. — Iron Man’s computing system — guides children aged 6 and older through the first series of 25 missions, where they must use their imaginations to navigate different terrains, then use the repulsor to fire missiles, shoot beams and raise shields. Kids must physically jump or hide to dodge incoming attacks in order to progress and earn points.
Two sensor-laden base stations called “power activators” serve as stands for figurines, which pop off when they’ve sustained enough damage. The first socalled “smart figures” are miniature versions of Captain America and villain Iron Skull.
Infrared and other sensors inside the armband and base stations help determine whether shots hit the target and if players dodged or hid successfully. If players fail to dodge well, a buzz inside the armband represents getting hit. For now, up to two players can go on missions together or play against each other. Adding further players to the system is being planned for the future.
The suggested retail price for the initial package is US$120. Another package going on sale in November features Hulk hands — where the action focuses on air-punching and throwing imaginary objects. “Star Wars” themed packages will roll out in 2016, after “Star Wars: Episode 7 — The Force Awakens” debuts in December. “Frozen” packages will go on sale in 2017.
Walt Disney Co. worked on the game over several years and tapped staff from numerous divisions, including storytellers from Marvel Studios, theme park Imagineers, video game programmers from Disney Interactive and elsewhere. Toymaker Hasbro Inc. manufactured the physical pieces.
The challenge in creating a new toy concept was to engage kids who expect toys to have an online component, while nevertheless keeping them active and not just staring at a computer or tablet screen, said Kareem Daniel, senior vice president of strategy and business development for Disney’s consumer products division.
“The way that kids are playing is evolving,” he said. “We wanted to make active physical play more exciting.”
Jim Silver, the CEO and editor of toy review website TTPM.com who also got an early look, said the product was a “breakthrough” because of the way it integrated technology and classic play patterns. He said there was nothing like it, noting that wearables typically have focused just on fitness.
“Kids are aspirational, they want to become the heroes,” he said. “Parents will love that it’s classic play.”
“Connectivity is really something that even little kids now expect,” said Marc Rosenberg, a toy consultant and CEO of SkyBluePinkConcepts LLC, who had the new product line described to him by a reporter. He also said there weren’t many wearable products for kids, though he cited the Nex band, a young-adultfocused wearable meant to have modular add-on elements that link wearers with games and social networks.
“The surface is just being scratched for wearables,” he said.
Silver said the price of the initial package, even with add-on figurines for US$15, was reasonable given the amount of play and that further missions could be downloaded in the future. “Parents don’t mind spending US$100 or US$200 if they see it’s going to be played with over and over and it’s the type of play they want.”
To examine whether a city is truly developed, evaluating its education policies for environmental protection is the key. Taichung, which is already considered one of the best cities to live in in Taiwan, has many venues that offer comprehensive information. Visit the followings sites and learn more about nature and how you can protect the planet.
Taichung Metropolitan Park
The Taichung Metropolitan Park is not only a recreational space, but also an environmental conservation center featuring a classroom for environmental education. It offers local residents a prime spot for leisure activities amid green landscapes, while providing a nature strip for the city and a refuge in case of natural disaster.
Basianshan Nature Center
The Basianshan Nature Center sits at 2,366 meters above sea level. A dense forest with a moderate temperature covers the area along with the Shihwen Creek (石文溪) and Jiabao Creek (佳保溪). Basianshan boasts abundant natural resources and was one of the three largest logging facilities during the Japanese Colonial period, making it a great educational place for environmental learning with its history and natural ambience.
Dongshi Forest Garden
Dongshi Forest Garden offers accom- modation in wooden cabins, a physical training area, barbecue area, meeting rooms and a path for the perfect forest walk. Different scenery is to be found there in each season: plum blossoms and sakuras compete in a beauty contest in spring, while Tung flowers gracefully dress up the summertime; maple trees are also a star during fall and winter.
National Museum of Natural
The National Museum of Natural Science offers a diversified environmental education content, which covers ecosystem, bio diversity, issues concerning extraterrestrial species, energy and climate change, waste and recycling, species preservation, water resources, maritime system and more.
A highlight of the museum is its emphasis on the core value of learning, such as inquiry-based learning, situational teaching that incorporates multi-sensory learning, drama and more.
Chaoyang University of
The university has a “greening rate” of up to 94.4 percent. It offers courses on topics such as water resources, the natural environment and disaster prevention, campus ecology and energy- and water-saving green architecture. To encourage environmental education, all the related activities are free of charge with free parking offered.
Baozhilin Furniture Recycling Center provides six major services: a furniture check-up and recycling center as well as a market center; a recycled art exhibition; a DIY recycling class; a visitors center to promote environmental protection and environmental educational; an eco-friendly recreational park; and lastly, second-hand goods for sale and a home appliance clinic.
Taichung Wenshan Recycling Park
for Environmental Education
The park consists of Wenshan Refuse Incineration Plant as well as a recreational area for educational use. The former is the largest incineration plant certified with ISO14001 by its environmental management system in the world, the latter is the country’s first area that is purely dedicated to the Recycling Education Hall (資源回收教育展示館), which is eco-friendly while providing a beautiful landscape, a recreational area and environmental promotion.
AU Optronics, Taichung Plant
AUO Taichung plant is LEED certified; the plant is the first factory in the manufacturing industry that has been approved as an environmental education facility in Taiwan. It dedicates itself to creating a green factory that is both eco-friendly and cultural; it also balances promoting industry highlights and preserving cultural heritage. In addition, courses related to energy issues are also offered.
In this Friday, May 29 photo, actress Evangeline Lindes demonstrates a Playmation “repulsor,” a wearable forearm attachment that puts kids in the role of Marvel superhero Iron Man and connects via sensors with a base station called a “power activator,” left, at the Disney Consumer Products offices in Glendale, California.
In this Friday, May 29 photo, Disney’s new “Playmation” toys, including the “repulsor,” center, are displayed at the Disney Consumer Products offices in Glendale, California.