Tag Archives: Toys

Toy Fair 2010 is Coming – And GeekDad Will Be There

Promotional Image by TIA

Promotional Image by TIA

I’m excited to go to the NYC Toy Fair again this year and an thankful that I have more time to plan for it. Rumor is that one or two other GeekDad contributors will be there so a meet-up is hopeful.

The fair is growing this year with over 1200 exhibitors and a reported 7000 never before seen products. I’m skeptical of that last number, but it does promise to be a fun time.

I’ve already got appointments with LEGO, Bandai America, and Playmobile, and probably won’t book too many more. I’d like to keep my schedule open and spend more time cruising around in the cheap booth talking to startups and smaller toy and game companies. I missed the 20% of the floor last year that included most of the independent game houses and startups. This year I’ll start on that end so I can talk with the creators and owners of the companies and hopefully sniff out some cool new games for you all.

If any of you are going and would like to meet a GeekDad or two, ping me on twitter @AntonOlsen and we can coordinate when and where. Or just keep your eye out for the GeekDad shirt. I’ll be wearing one of the new ones from ThinkGeek.

Is there anything special you’d like to me to look at, or seek out?

Retro Japanese Toy Posters Show Us What We Were Missing

Image by Hobbymedia.it.

Image by Hobbymedia.it.

When I was a kid, I remember visiting Japantown in San Francisco and drooling over all the cool toys in the shops there. Well, our friend Frankie just posted a great set of scans of classic Japanese toy posters that brought that feeling back again, including the wicked cool-looking videogame above (hey, it has English words on it - did it sell here in the U.S.?) or the neat LEGO posted included after the break. If you want more, see the post on Frankie’s blog.

Image by Hobbymedia.it

Image by Hobbymedia.it

Cool Timeline of Consumer Tech is a Scrapbook for Geeks

Image from Permuto.

Image from Permuto.

Online ad company Permuto put up this nifty graphic on their company blog, showing a timeline of consumer technology from Pong forwards. Obviously we GeekDad could have added a few dozen suggestions to the list, but how many of the devices played a part in your formative years? And what will the devices that fill the same places for our kids? You can read the blog post here.

Marble Raceways Are a Perfect Gift, but Which One is Right for Your Geeklet?

Marble raceways are a near perfect Geeklet toy — lots of physics and engineering lessons to be learned, no batteries, etc… Yet, sometimes the frustration factor is just too high. We’ve got a magnetic one that sticks to the dishwasher, for example, that loves to deposit marbles under said dishwasher.

The key is finding the right type of railway that’s going to challenge and entertain your Geeklets without driving them or you crazy.

Rather than discussing brand names of marble railways, let’s look at the different kinds and figure out which is best for your Geeklet. Some kids like the racing, some like the building. Some want instant fun, others are content to spend hours setting up the perfect marble run. Luckily, there’s a wide spectrum of raceway sets out there…



On one end you have a raceway like I had as a kid. Prebuilt. Unchangeable. You miss the fun of building your own, but it is always ready, doesn’t fall apart and can handle a huge load of marbles.

Wired: No waiting.

Tired: No building.


Next you have snap-together raceways like the on on the left, above. Quick to assemble and very sturdy. The fun starts right away and there’s a certain amount of creativity possible in setting up different courses, diverging tracks, jumps, etc.

Wired: Almost no waiting. Exciting races.

Tired: Not much challenge.


Next come the architectural kits as seen in the center photo. These are the most challenging of all, with limitless options tempered by the limitations of gravity and balance.

The set in the photo is basically just a set of blocks with grooves and holes for the marbles. The lack of any sort of connection gives you design freedom, but also makes them easy to knock over or jostle out of alignment.

Another architectural type is the roller coaster set, with all its little tubes and struts and supports. Again, these can be a lot of fun both to build and to play with, but they won’t give a kid an instant action fix.

Wired: Brain power needed. Options endless.

Tired: Requires patience. Falls over.


At the far end of the spectrum, you have the 100% home-made raceways. Built on the spot from cereal boxes, tubes or anything else that’s lying around. These take more fiddling and tweaking than the Falcon, which your Geeklet may find fun or frustating depending upon their patience level. Oddly, these aren’t as challenging as the blocks. With enough carboard and tape you can do almost anything. (Note: by disallowing tape or glue, the challenge returns.)

The one on the right, above, was inspired by paperrollercoasters.com.

Wired: Cheap. Options endless.

Tired: Set-up time may be too long for some kids.