Monday, April 30, 2007

Still Trying To Catch Them All

After a week of fully immersing myself in Pokémon Pearl and Pokémon Diamond, I've left the Sinnoh region long enough to review these two new Nintendo games. Pearl and Diamond, the first Pokémon titles for the Nintendo DS, introduce some new elements and pocket monsters to the Pokémon world while sticking with the formula that has made Pokémon one of the most successful game franchises on the market.

Check out the review now at

-J. McKinney

Barbie 2.0

Mattel's iconic Barbie doll has a new home and it's not in Malibu. You will find her and her friends at, just one piece of a new brand puzzle for the Barbie line. At the site, kids can create their own virtual character, design their own "room," shop at the mall, play games, hang out and chat live with other members.

In July, Barbie Girls will go from 2D to 3D with a new doll-inspired MP3 player. The Barbie Girl device (pictured) will feature a real MP3 player with a range of customizable fashions and accessories, plus an impressive 512 MB of memory to hold up to 120 MP3 or 240 WMA-file songs. The player will also possess an expandable miniSD slot that holds a memory card up to 2 GB (sold separately) and will play any non-DRM-encrypted MP3 or WMA files.

The Barbie Girl device will be available at major retailers across the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand for an average retail price of $59.99. Included with each device are a belt clip, adjustable-sized earbuds and durable storage case. Accessory Packs will be sold separately for $9.99 and include various fashions, accessories and pets. All devices and accessories will also act as a "key" to unlock additional new pets, games, hangout spots, fashions, furniture and more on
-J. McKinney

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lucas And Hamill To Spoof Star Wars

George Lucas and Mark Hamill will reunite for an upcoming episode of Robot Chicken. The episode, Robot Chicken: Star Wars, is a 30-minute stop-motion animation special for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late-night programming block.

Robot Chicken: Star Wars spoofs popular scenes and characters from the "Star Wars" movies and was done in collaboration with Lucas' production company Lucasfilm. Lucas, the creator of the "Star Wars" universe, will voice a cartoon version of himself, and Hamill will resurrect the character of Luke Skywalker.

The special, set to premiere at 10 p.m. on June 17, comes from "Robot Chicken" creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, with Green directing. The voice cast also includes Conan O'Brien, Seth MacFarlane, Robert Smigel, Malcolm McDowell, Hulk Hogan, James Van Der Beek, Donald Faison, Abraham Benrubi, Breckin Meyer and Joey Fatone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Everyone's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

The reviews are in and aside from a few exceptions, Spider-Man 3 is the toast of the town. Amid the clamor and praise for the third film of this Spider-Man franchise, in theatres next Friday (May 4), arrived an interesting tidbit regarding a fourth film. So far the Spider-Man 4 rumor appears to have evolved from a comment Kirsten Dunst gave to reporters at the London premier of Spider-Man 3, stating that she would return as long as Toby Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Sam Raimi (Director) did as well.

-J. McKinney

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Video Games Due This Week

The big news in new game releases this week is Pokemon! Two new titles fro the DS hit the stores Sunday and we've got them in our hot little DS. Check later this week for the review. Another new game making headlines this week is the hotly anticipated, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar for PC. This is the first and only massively-multiplayer online game based on the Books of J.R.R. Tolkien. In development for over four years, the game opens up the mystical world of Middle-earth and creates the opportunity for endless adventure.

Ancient Wars: Sparta/PC
Bionicle Heroes /Wi
Classic Action: Devilish/DS
Cube /PSP
Eureka Seven Vol. 2/PS2
The Fast and the Furious/PSP
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar/PC
Made Man/PC
Pokemon Diamond/DS
Pokemon Pearl/DS
Rayman Raving Rabbids/Xbox 360
The Red Star/PS2
UFO: Extraterrestrials/PC

Monday, April 23, 2007

Edward Norton To Star In "The Incredible Hulk"

Despite the relatively lackluster box office performance and less than enthusiastic reception by audience members, a sequel to 2003's "Hulk" is in the works.

According to, Edward Norton has signed on to play the gamma-gorged Bruce Banner in "The Incredible Hulk." Distributed by Universal Pictures, "The Incredible Hulk" is to be directed by Louis Leterrier with an opening set for June 13, 2008. The film will attempt to return to a style that is more in keeping with the comic series and TV show as compared to the Ang Lee-directed "Hulk", which took many liberties and departures from previous versions. Since first taking on the role as director, Leterrier has referred to the movie as more of a "reboot" rather than sequel.

Stay tuned for more casting announcements in the coming months.

-J. McKinney

Friday, April 20, 2007

Get The Party Started

The latest word from Nintendo regarding the release of Mario Party 8, the first in this series for the Wii, has the game slated for a late May premier. But why wait when you can get the party started now by inviting these Mario Party figures to your fiesta de casa. These miniature, PVC figures of iconic Nintendo party animals, such as Donkey Kong, as well as the slightly more obscure fungi like Toad, are part of a limited run and available now for $3.95 at Kidrobot.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mega Brands Recalls Magnetix Magnetic Building Set

Mega Brands America, Inc. (“Mega Brands”) (the owner of Rose Art Industries, Inc.) announced an expanded recall of Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets.

The recall includes all sets, except newer Magnetix sets sold since March 31, 2006, that are age-labeled 6+ and sets that contain the following caution label:

“CAUTION: Do not ingest or inhale magnets.
Attraction of magnets in the body may cause
serious injury and require immediate medical care.”

These older sets, which were manufactured in China, contain up to 250 plastic building pieces and 1/2-inch diameter steel balls. The building pieces include 1 1/2-inch squares, 1-inch triangles, cylinder rods, flexors, connectors, x-tenders, and curves and come in an assortment of colors such as metallic, primary, translucent, and glow in the dark.

Mass merchants and other toy and arts and crafts stores sold the sets nationwide for between $20 and $60, depending on the size of the set.

Consumers should stop using the recalled magnetic sets immediately and contact Mega Brands for a comparable replacement toy. If consumers are uncertain as to whether their product is being recalled, they can contact Mega Brands at (800) 779-7122 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oeuf Recalls Infant Bouncer Seats

Oeuf LLC, of Brooklyn, N.Y, announced a voluntary recall of the Infant Bouncer Seats.

This recall involves Oeuf infant bouncer seats with padded canvas supported by a tubular steel frame. The canvas seat is brown with white, blue or pink stripes. A three-point safety belt is attached to the canvas. Model number 2005 is printed on the label. The Bouncer Seats were sold at Juvenile specialty stores and Web retailers nationwide from September 2006 through March 2007 for about $100.

Consumers should stop using the infant seat immediately and contact Oeuf LLC to receive a repair kit. For additional information, contact Oeuf at (800) 691-8810 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Just In!

It's official! Guitar Hero III is coming to Wii!

In an interview with GameSpot, Kai Huang,
founder and president of RedOctane, confirmed that the next volume in the Guitar Hero line will be released on all platforms, including Wii.

Guitar Hero III, due at the end of this year, is the follow up to the current hit and incredibly fun, Guitar Hero II. In addition to the Wii news, Huang also mentioned the third installment will include much more online components including the ability to download new songs.

-J. McKinney

New Video Games Due This Week

The big news in new games this week is Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl both due in stores on Sunday (April 22). Check for a special early review on Friday. Wii owners also have cause to celebrate as everyone's favorite bubble-busting game, Bust-A-Move, makes it's Wii premier with Bust-A-Move Bash!

3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures/Xbox360
Bust-A-Move Bash!/Wii
Legend of the Dragon/PS2
Classic Action: Devilish/DS
Eureka Seven Vol. 2: The New Vision/PS2
Made Man/PC
Pocket Pool/PSP
Pokemon Diamond/DS
Pokemon Pearl/DS
Raiden III/PS2
Th3 Plan/PS2
UFO: Extraterrestrials/PC
Valhalla Knights/PSP
Super Rub-A-Dub/PS3
Theater of War/PC

Friday, April 13, 2007

Playful Perspectives: Summer Secrets

Playful Perspectives is a new feature where we join forces with Ty's Toy Box to talk about things that are important to encouraging healthy play for your kids. The Toy Box Mommy and I share our views on specific topics, giving you twice the food for play-full thought. Today, we've been talking about summer toys.

When I was a kid, my mother had one response when my brothers and I said, "We're bored."

It was a simple, "No, you're not."

When we would try to argue, she would say, "You have a room full of books and toys, there's all of outdoors. You'll think of something."

We always did, and it didn't always involve blowing things up, though that was a favorite pastime. More importantly, what it involved was getting up and moving, and once we did that, the imagination started to flow. We had a puppet theater that we had fashioned in the basement where we acted out Tales from Shakespeare , created our own music and invited the neighborhood kids in. Or we would play games, read under a tree, or that classic of all time that we talked about previously, "riding bikes."

Even though down here in the mountains of Georgia today we're bracing for a Nor'Easter and have been without power since last night till just a bit ago, it's starting to look like summer. Even when the flurries are dancing around on the mountain, the light is saying, "Get out and play."

It can't get warm soon enough for the people who sell toys, as the warm days are a great time to inspire open-ended play, creative play social play. While we love our video games, this is a time of year to save those for a rainy day and get out and play.

One of the most remarkable things about play is that while the props may change from generation to generation, the essential play patterns don't. Today's kids still love drawing on the driveway with chalk, and the more recent innovation, Sidewalk Paint. They have all kinds of cool things to do it with. When we were kids it was rare to have colored chalk, and most of what we had were ends of chalk my parents brought home from the school where they taught. In 2007, Crayola's chalk line is diverse, full of new ways to inspire creativity and really satisfying to use.

Water battles are another part of the summer excitement. I can remember being taken to the emergency room because my foot got caught in the sprinkler that, at least with the melodrama of childhood memory, was like a rotating blade. No such worries today. Sprinklers for playtime are more advanced than ever before, nice soft plastic and even featuring favorite characters. And the Super Soaker, a miraculous invention when I was a kid, are now a full-fledged line of ingenious stuff that we love. (We probably have one of the only offices where tyring out water guns inside is considered work.)

Speaking of water toys, one of the biggest innovations of the past few years have been the inflatable water parks that go in the backyard. The Banzai line from Toy Quest is about as good as it gets. Now these can be on the pricey side, but you'll get years of use out of them, and we've found that families in a neighborhood will pitch in to buy one of these.

A couple of things to remember about water toys: It's axiomatic that the smaller the kid the larger the water gun they want. Remember, water is heavy. ("A pint's a pound, the world around.") and some of those Super Soakers can hold a lot. Also, you'll want to make sure that any time kids are playing with water or there's a hose on, there's an adult supervising.

These are just a few ideas, but no matter what you choose, it's really important for kids to have control of their time, within your guidelines. For instance, you might set rules about TV or video game watching, but beyond that, let kids choose what they want to do. Free time is so important to kids and in such short supply. Try not to overbook summer with activities, and, as several parents we know do, plan time to be open-ended.

And remember something my mother knew only too well. Being bored isn't a tragedy, and it wasn't her responsibility to solve it. Instead, she trusted our creativity and imaginations to come up with things that would engage us and fill the time--and that we would be all the more invovled because it was our idea. For instance, my mother never thought that reading us Tales from Shakespeare as a bedtime story would inspire our puppet shows, (No Goodnight Moon for mom, she thought it was "inane.") but she was glad the did, even if our adaptations were long on battles and short on poetry.

We were always supervised and always safe, but our imaginations were encouraged, and that's a gift you can give your kids.

I expect that we would have had a little less encouragement regarding the time we showed up with kittens, but she came to love them about the most.

Keep a weather eye for warmer days, and enjoy the spring!

And don't forget to read what the Toy Box Mommy has to say on this subject!

Small World Toys Recalls Children’s Wooden Sound Puzzles

Small World Toys, of Culver City, CA, has voluntarily recalled “Sounds on the Farm” Puzzle and “Sounds on the Go” Puzzle.

The recall involves two separate wooden-knobbed puzzles that make sounds. “Sounds on the Farm” and “Sounds on the Go” puzzles were sold under the Puzzibilities and Ryan’s Room brands. The wooden puzzles have four pieces in farm animal or vehicle shapes that make animal or motor sounds when the pieces are lifted by their knobs from the puzzle boards. “Sounds on the Farm” or “Sounds on the Go” is printed on the top left of the puzzle boards. “2003 Small World Toys” and the number 24101 or 24102 are printed at the bottom of the puzzles boards.

Consumers should immediately take this toy away from children and contact Small World Toys to obtain a free replacement toy. For additional information, contact Small World Toys at (800) 421-4153 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, visit, or email the firm at

Thursday, April 12, 2007

You Go, Girls!!

What does your car say about you?

That was one of the topics at the New York Auto Show last week as all kinds of people speculated about what cars said about their owners. Even sexuality was up for grabs as the New York Times reported this morning. Though, that truly has to be in the eyes of the beholder.

But that's true with any branding effort. Things say about us what we think they say and the only hope we've got is that other people know what we're talking about. (In the wonderful new musical Grey Gardens, the character Edith Bouvier Beale says of Westhampton, "It's a mean, nasty Republican town. Did you know they can get you for wearing red shoes on Thursdsays? They can, you know. Did you know that?) We didn't know that, but we laughed anyway.

Sometimes self-branding can be only slightly less clear than semaphore . But I digress.

But one thing that's more than clear is that girls love cars. They do. We've observed countless homes and play times when Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars became integral to the play. We've even seen Polly Pocket dolls shoved into traditionally boys' cars.

Now here's a big surprise: Mattel, which makes all these brands, saw that too.

So, they have introduced a new line of cars called Polly Wheels.

These are the first die-cast cars that have been made for girls, and they've done a lot more than paint them pink. They invested more than two years in researching how girls interact with cars, gender differences with play patterns and have come up with a line that's much more than Hot Wheels painted pink. They've developed more than 50 different cars, a jewel-inspired color palette and enough room so Polly can go riding. The line is beautiful, and with tongue-in-cheek, Mattel officially unveiled it at the Auto Show.

All indications are that this is going to be one of the big hits of the season, and the excitement expressed by the Polly Team at Mattel in Hong Kong and New York seems more than justified. (You've got to love these guys. They are so into this!

We've been handing them out to girls we encounter in our travels, and the response has been that all-too-recognizable wide-eyed stare and looks of joyous disbelief. Score one for Mattel.

And Polly shows no signs of diminishing. I was recently talking to a little girl on a flight from New York to Atlanta. She was in the seat in front of me and popped up to engage me in conversation. She asked me what I do, and I said, "I work with toys."

She disappeared for a moment. Then a Webkinz appeared at the top of the seat, followed by a little head. "Do you know what this is?" she asked.

"It's your Webkinz," I responded. Which was all I needed to say. I got a long story about her toy, and her friend who had 20 of them. This went on till her mother pulled her back down in the seat.

The ride was quiet for a while until my new friend appeared over the top of the seat again. She had that scowling look of "never trust a grown-up" on her face. She looked straight at me and said, as accusingly as she could muster, "Do you know who Polly Pocket is?"

"Yes, I said, and she's got a whole line of new cars. I've got one I can give you if it's okay with your mom."

There are very few times in life one gets to feel like a rock star.

- C. Byrne

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hasbro’s Celebration Exclusive Figure Announced

Hasbro has announced that this year's Star Wars Celebration exclusive figure will be the Ralph McQuarrie Signature Series Luke Skywalker with venue-exclusive collector coin!

"McQuarrie’s early illustration of Darth Vader battling a Rebel hero – a figure who would ultimately evolve into the character of Luke Skywalker -- remains a powerful image that many fans count among McQuarrie’s best. In commemoration of Star Wars’ 30th anniversary, and to acknowledge the vision and talent of one of the saga’s most influential architects, Hasbro will be offering this figure at two events that Star Wars fans won’t want to miss this summer – Celebration IV and Celebration Europe!"

Star Wars fans will have their first opportunity to buy this figure at the Hasbro Toy Shop booth at Celebration IV, May 24 -- 28, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This figure will be packaged with an exclusive commemorative coin featuring the Celebration IV logo. An additional version will be available at Celebration Europe with it's own unique coin. These figures are produced in a limited number and only made available at the two Star Wars Celebration events.

Star Wars Celebration is the annual official gathering of fans, which also brings cast and crew of the movies together, for a giant celebration like the one at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'.

-J. McKinney

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Video Games Due This Week

It looks like another great week for video game variety. Two games that have already received a lot of chatter include Super Paper Mario entering the Wii market and Cake Mania for the DS. Sudoku fans will love Sudokuro for the DS, which features an unlimited number of auto generated puzzles plus 1,500 unique hand crafted puzzles.

Title, Platform

Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer, PS2
Cake Mania, DS
Calling All Cars!, PS3
Eureka Seven Vol. 2: The New Vision, PS2
Fairy Godmother Tycoon, PC
Frontline: Fields of Thunder, PC
Hot Dog King A Fast Food Empire, PC
Nancy Drew: Double Dare 4, PC
Pocket Pool, PSP
ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007, PSP
Raiden III, PS2
Rapala Tournament Fishing, Xbox360
Red Star, PS2
Sudokuro, DS
Super Paper Mario, Wii
Tokyo Xtreme Racer DRIFT 2, PS2
Valhalla Knights, PSP
Voyage Century Online, PC

Sticks and Stones...

During the family Easter dinner, the conversation turned to bad language. And how it was never permitted in our home. The memory of the taste of Fels Naptha soap one time was enough to scare some people into a life of proper speaking. (For those who observed the literal mouth cleansing, the threat alone was enough.) Given that the holiday was celebrated with the Georgia branch of the family, there were many more memories of saying "Yes, sir." and "Yes, ma'am," than our Yankee side experienced--though "sir" and "ma'am" were preferred forms of address to be sure.

Bad language, disrespectful language and certainly anything racist was met with swift and memorable punishment. Bad words (mostly referring to bodily functions) were just that, bad words. Hoarded and whispered among children, the risk of saying them within earshot of an adult--any adult--were just too great. It wasn't just the words, there was--actually in my lifetime--a time when certain subjects were still taboo, largely because they were disrespectful, unkind or hateful.

Now, it's wonderful that we are a more open culture. There was a time when things like cancer were taboo subjects because people were scared of them, out of ignorance of course. We should talk openly and honestly about the things that we care about and that are important to us. Children should be encouraged not to keep secrets but rather to have open dialogue with the parents and caregivers in their lives.

Yet, when something like the current Don Imus fiasco happens, in which he used racial epithets to talk about the Rutgers basketball team, we are reminded of how hurtful and destructive speech can be. Imus a very wealthy man who has made his money pandering to the hatreds of his audience, finally went too far. But given that his comments were only a more extreme example of his daily screed, what does it say about our culture that there is a segment of the population--a large and profitable one--that confuses hostility and anger with humor.

More importantly, and most relevant for this particular blog, what does it model for our kids? If we as a culture value wealth and fame and are willing to condone any means to get it, then are we not complicit in teaching this kind of behavior? If companies like CBS, MSNBC and Westwood One who distribute this program only pull the plug (with a mild two-week suspension that won't have a signfiicant impact on revenue) when the public outrage is too great, are they not also supporting this behavior? Of course they are. It largely makes them a great deal of money, and companies only change when they are forced to. Controversy sells, and so we are teaching our children to be controversial irregardless of substance. Is that what we really want?

So I ask, again, what about the kids? The clear lesson they are learning is that you get away with what you can get away with until you can't get away with it any more. You get a slap on the wrist and then go right back to doing what you did before. Al Sharpton comes in voices his special brand of outrage, makes a lot of noise and makes quasi-entertaining media, gets a great deal of bonus attention and will likely stage an event with a newly chastened Imus--and then it will be business as usual. There is nothing you can do about that other than turn it all off.

I realize that this sounds somewhat cynical, but we've seen it play out too often in our culture. Mel Gibson and Jason Wahler are just two celebrities whose anger and frustration have been expressed in hate speech, for which they get more attention--including, unfortunately, here, and for which there are no real long-term consequences. As a culture we have become so desensitized from the anger and hurtful speech that we collectively shrug our (metaphoric) shoulders and go on.

Nonetheless, this is the reality of our culture. And as parents and caregivers we may have smaller spheres of influence, but they are the important ones for the kids in our lives. We can't change the culture, but we can demand that the kids in our lives be respectful and avoid both using and listening to this kind of behavior. Since we can't change what's out there, it is our obligation to provide a context for it and communicate our values. And there need to be consequences for actions that are deemed inappropriate. Enforced ingestion on laundry soap may not be an option today, but the deterrents need to be as memorable and effective for changing behavior. Would it be so bad if 30 years from now kids were talking about how they learned to be positive forces in the culture--and, as we did, have a sense of humor about that and the ways in which we learned in no uncertain terms what was acceptable behavior?

This need not all be dire and bleak, either. The wonderful musical, Avenue Q pokes fun at our natural tendencies to indulge in stereotypes. The song Everyone's a Little Bit Racist is perhaps one of the most honest evocations of our all-too-human proclivities, and they get away with it because it's puppets doing the singing. However, the song also asks us to examine the damage that we can potentially do if we indulge these negative impulses. Because it asks us to poke fun at ourselves and overcome our own negative behaviors, that is funny.

Kids can be really awful to one another, particularly with name calling. Many kids subjected to this painful experience were told to counter with, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." That's a neat response and a way to show the name caller their words don't have the power they think they do. Think about it, though: when you were called names, did that phrase ever really work? It might have been a Band-Aid, but the hurt was real. In all the conversations I've had with kids and parents over the years about this, it does hurt. And the hurt lingers for years.

So as you may be tempted laugh at (or, worse, ignore) people who are getting richer by the day making a career out of schoolyard name-calling, ask yourself: What in the world is really fun about that and why on earth would I subject my children to that or encourage them to think that willfully and consciously hurting other people is entertainment?

- C. Byrne

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg from Avenue Q

Friday, April 06, 2007

Spider-Man Week in NYC

Celebrate the release of Spider-Man 3 NYC-style, April 30-May 6

The City of New York and Columbia Pictures announced today that the week of April 30 through May 6 will be "Spider-Man Week In NYC." A variety of festivities are planned for all five boroughs, involving New York City landmarks such as the Central Park and Bronx Zoos, the American Museum of Natural History and the Apollo Theater. A highlight of the week will be the Tribeca Film Festival's premiere of Spider- Man 3 in Queens, Peter Parker's hometown, with additional screenings in all boroughs.

"Movies like Spider-Man 3 generate a lot of interest and excitement in the city, and events like Spider-Man Week are a great way to give all New Yorkers and visitors a chance to join in the festivities," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. "Cultural, charitable and educational events in every borough will also be a lot of fun for fans of all ages. Just as important, it provides our shops, restaurants and cultural organizations the opportunity to benefit from a weeklong celebration which is sure to attract residents and tourists alike."

New York City's very own Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) will return home later this month after a seven-city international tour that launches in Japan on April 16. Keeping with the spirit of his comic book origins, Spider-Man Week in NYC includes themed events, talent appearances and giveaways in all five boroughs. Details of the Tribeca Film Festival premiere and screenings of Spider-Man 3 will be announced on Wednesday. Spider-Man 3 opens worldwide on May 4.

"Because New York City is Spider-Man's hometown, we wanted to find a way to make the launch of the summer movie-going season and Spider-Man 3 really special for the city and its people," said Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The studio's Columbia Pictures is releasing Spider-Man 3 in theaters worldwide on May 4. "We're so excited about the range of events that celebrate so much of what this city has to offer. We want residents, businesses and visitors in every borough to enjoy Spider-Man's homecoming in a very special way."

Spider-Man Week in NYC is the result of a partnership between Columbia Pictures and NYC & Company, the City's tourism, marketing and events organization. The week kicks off Monday, April 30, with a cast appearance and street festival in the Today plaza in Rockefeller Center. The week continues with Spider-Man-themed programs offered through partnerships with the Tribeca Film Festival, and dozens of the city's cultural institutions and tourist attractions, including a special volunteer day for children through the Little Apple Heroes program (, "spidery" tales for kids at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, "Spidey Chats" at the Central Park and Bronx Zoos, Green Goblin mask-making at the Children's Museum of Manhattan and a spider exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Original Spider-Man comic books will be on display at the New York Public Library, and the Apollo Theater in Harlem will host the closing day celebration with performances of Spider-Man inspired raps.

Spider-Man Week in NYC is one of the first integrated, citywide initiatives spearheaded by NYC & Company, the official marketing and tourism arm of the City of New York. "We are pleased to join forces with Columbia Pictures to coordinate and promote this large-scale event, which will benefit families, businesses and everyone who participates. We are also thrilled to be working on the U.S. premiere with the Tribeca Film Festival, which contributes so much to the cultural and economic life of our great city," said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. "This is the kind of creative alliance we hope to do more of in the future."

For a complete Spider-Man Week in NYC calendar of events, go to

The Early Show and Webkinz

This morning on CBS's The Early Show, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen, reported on the latest must-have, super-hot toy craze - Webkinz.

Webkinz are plush pets that come with unique Secret Codes. Kids can use the codes online at Webkinz World, where they answer trivia, earn KinzCash, and play games while caring for the virtual pet versions of their plush dolls.

Our own Chris Byrne was interviewed for the segment right here at ToyGuy HQ. Don't worry if you missed the show this morning, you can watch it online now at CBS

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Gemmy Recalls Disney Plush Easter Baskets

Gemmy Industries Corp., of Coppell, Texas, has voluntarily recalled Disney Princesses Easter Baskets sold at Wal-Mart stores nationwide from February 2007 through March 2007 for about $10.

The recalled baskets are pink and purple plush Easter baskets decorated with silver beads and ribbons. “Disney Princesses” is written on top of the basket. Pictures of the princesses are on the front of the basket. The basket measures about 10-inches high by 8-inches wide.

Consumers should take the Easter basket away from young children immediately and remove the beads and ribbons to prevent the choking hazard. Consumers also can return the item to the nearest Wal-Mart store for a full refund. For additional information, please contact Gemmy Industries at (800) 231-6879 between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, visit the firm’s Web site at

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hello Ridiculous

Looking for something a little flashier than the standard Hello Kitty eraser and pencil set? Well how about a Hello Kitty Pave Diamond Ring?

This 18-karat yellow gold Pavé diamond Hello Kitty ring includes pink pavé sapphire bow, yellow citrine nose and onyx eyes. The 1.0 total carat weight ring can be yours for just $4,250.00. What a bargain!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Free Comic Book Day 2007

On May 5, 2007, nearly 2,000 comic book stores around the world are taking part in Free Comic Book day. Millions of comic books will be given out absolutely free of charge to customers of all ages.

Many of the retailers participating in Free Comic Book Day will make it an even bigger event by holding complimentary events in their stores, including signings by many of comics’ top writers and artists that allow readers to meet the talents behind some of the medium’s most popular titles.

For more information, including a list of the free comic books and where to find a participating store in your area, visit the official website for the event at

-J. McKinney

New Video Games Due This Week

There is something for everyone this week. From consoles to handhelds, last generation to latest there is a game to be played.
Bionicle makes it's Wii debut with Heroes and Aspiring bakers can find out if they have what it takes to run a bakery with Cake Mania.

Title (Platform)
Bionicle Heroes (Wii)
Cake Mania (DS)
Enchanted Arms (PS3)
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (DS)
Guitar Hero II (Xbox360)
Made Man (PS2)
Pimp My Ride (PSP)
Prince of Persia Rival Swords (Wii, PSP)
Rapala Trophies (Xbox360)
The Sims 2: Celebration Stuff (PC)
SingStar Pop (PS2)
Th3 Plan (PS2)

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Transformers Movie Trailer Online

If you've been following along with theToyGuy blog, you've probably picked up on the fact that some of us here are very excited about the upcoming Transformers movie.

Here is some interesting info for you fellow fans - the new movie trailer is now online. The latest trailer features new footage including some of Optimus Prime transforming. You can view the trailer at IGN by clicking here.
-J. McKinney