New Dis­ney toys put to­gether high-tech gad­gets and tra­di­tional old-school play

The China Post - - ARTS - BY RYAN NAKASHIMA

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

Science

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

Tech­nol­ogy

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.

AP

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.

AP

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.