NKT at CES 2011

Howdy from Las Vegas, everyone!  As everyone was gearing up for the New Year and packing up their Christmas decor, I was fielding emails, setting up appointments and mentally preparing myself for the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest technology conference.

What’s a blogger—more specifically, a blogger who focuses on kid stuff—doing at a tech conference?

I’m doing what most other members of the press are doing: checking out and reporting on the latest innovations in technology.  Most importantly, what I’m here for, is to learn about all this new technology and how it intersects with families and kids.

This holiday season, I noticed that more and more handhelds for kids and gadgets lined the shelves of big box electronic stores.  In the age of iPads and smartphones, apps help our kids to read stories, tablets are being harnessed for educational purposes and moms…well, we’re still doing most of the buying decisions, especially when it comes to technology throughout the entire house.  It’s more than evident that technology is embraced by the entire family, with mom and kids influencing a good portion of the techy marketplace, now more than ever.

With CES officially opening today, I be on the look out for a superfluous amount of #CES tweets, my pictures on Flickr, and of course, some blog posts all about the family friendly tech gear that I find on the showroom floor.

Time to Play Announces Holiday Must Haves

It’s October, and fall is officially in full swing.  (How did that happen so quickly?)

Even though the season is just now starting to change, media and bloggers alike have had the holidays in mind for months now.  In fact, I think I went to my first holiday preview back in May?

Nevertheless, I’m excited once again to curate—what I consider—cool new kid gear that would make fun gift for the holidays.  But this week, to get the season started right, I had the chance to attend Time to Play magazines Holiday Showcase here in NYC.

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The pros, Chris Byrne, content director, and Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TimetoPlayMag.com unveiled Time to Play’s Most Wanted list, the 16 toys they predict will be the “must haves” for the upcoming holiday season.  And once again, NKT was onhand to check things out and tweet all about it.

And here they are, TimetoPlayMag.com’s Most Wanted List for the 2010 Holiday Season:

  • AIR HOGS MOTO FRENZY
    (Spin Master/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • DISNEY PRINCESS & ME DOLLS
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
  • HOT WHEELS R/C STEALTH RIDES
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • LEAPSTER EXPLORER
    (LeapFrog/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $69.99)
  • LEGO Games – LEGO Systems
    (LEGO/Ages 7 years & up/Approx. Retail Price $29.99)
  • LOOPZ
    (Mattel/Ages 7 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
  • MONSTER HIGH Dolls
    (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $16.99)
  • NERF N-STRIKE STAMPEDE ECS Blaster
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)
  • PAPER JAMZ
    (WowWee/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • REAL CONSTRUCTION
    (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)
  • SCRABBLE FLASH
    (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)
  • SING-A-MA-JIGS
    (Mattel/Ages 3 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $12.99)
  • SQUINKIES
    (Blip Toys/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $6.99)
  • TONKA CHUCK & FRIENDS CHUCK’S STUNT PARK Playset
    (Hasbro Playskool/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99)
  • V.READER
    (VTech/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99)
  • ZOOBLES
    (Spin Master/Ages 4 years & up/ Approx. Retail Price: $4.99)

They also highlighted three family-friendly video games, which include:

  • Kirby’s epicYarn
  • Epic Mickey
  • Dance Central

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Most of the toys at the showcase were toys that I’ve had the chance to check out at Toy Fair, at media previews or have even been dubbed NKT faves, so some of the “must haves” were no surprise.  They’re all great picks, but I have several more on my radar that I think should’ve made the mark.  I’ll be sure to share those in my holiday gift guide, which is coming soon.

Do you guys see any toys that you think might be the “it” toy this year?

Whatever you think might be hot, put it on your radar NOW.  Time to Play’s sage advice for consumers and industry insiders alike:  “If you see it early, grab it early.”

MobiGo Review and Giveaway: VTech Introduces New Handheld Learning System

 

VTech has introduced  a new handheld learning system to its lineup of electronic learning toys.  I had the chance to get a glimpse of the MobiGo at Toy Fair, but got an even closer look at the unit this week before it officially hits the shelves.

The MobiGo is packed with features, including touch screen technology, sliding screen and is web-enabled via USB.

The MobiGo retails for $59.99, which is comparable to other handheld systems in this category.  In addition to the touch screen technology that mimics that of mom and dad’s iPhones and smartphones, what sets the MobiGo apart is its flip-up screen.  That feature made quite a few heads turn when we were toting the MobiGo around this week.

The MobiGo has a variety of game cartridges (19.99) and a carrying case (14.99).  The system is available in the blue/yellow or a pink/purple option.

Vtech MobiGo at ToyFair Read More

Nintendo 3DS: 3D Gaming Minus the Glasses

From movies, to tvs, and now, gaming systems, it looks like 3D is here to stay.

 

Nintendo announced it will release the 3DS, the successor to the DSi (above).

 

The internet is abuzz today over Nintendo’s announcement that it will launch the next version of its handheld Nintendo 3DS in March 2011.  Nintendo said that with the 3DS, games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses. The 3DS will be compatible with games from the entire Nintendo DS series.

Little details were provided, but various sites have been annalyzing Nintendo’s latest announcement.  Nintendo plans to announce more details at the E3 Show, slated for June 15th in L.A.

In the meantime, checkout what TechCrunch is saying about the innovation behind Nintendo’s next handheld gaming system.

 

2K Sports Releases MLB 2K10

It’s not quite official yet, but Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods, and you know what that means…

It’s time to root, root, root for the home team!

Just in time for Spring Training, 2K Sports has released Major League Baseball 2K10.  For the MLB video game series’ tenth anniversary, this variation showcases perhaps the best graphics yet.  Check out the trailer to see for yourself.

The ongoing battle of pitchers vs. hitters is the highlight of the game, where pitching mechanics and right-stick swing control enhancements convey realistic experiences.  MLB 2K10 also boasts a revamped fielding system, new signature animations, as well as a new star player rating system.  The game is available for XBox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS and PC and is rated E for Everyone.

The kid and I had the chance to preview 2K Sports’ MLB 2K10 the other week, just before it hit the shelves.  During the demo, I was in disbelief how incredible the graphics were; if I didn’t know any better, I could’ve mistaken this new game for a live broadcast of an actual ballgame on tv.  The audio adds to the whole realistic experience as well.  During our demo, we chose to play using our team, the Mets in their homefield, Citi Field. Having visited the new ballpark for the first time last summer, I was in awe of just how realistic the graphics of MLB 2K10 were to the park.  Speaking of Citi, did you know 2K Sports has a cool gaming suite within the Fan Fest area at the ballpark?  It’s a must-see and must-do if you make it out to the park.

For the most part, I watched the demo, rather than played MLB 2K10 myself, but I plan on having a more thorough review of the game as soon as we have the chance.  There’s quite a few other baseball games that are big for sports gamers, but as a non-sports gamer who reviews a host of games for kids, I think MLB 2K10 is certainly one to check out.

Win it!

Two of lucky NKT readers will have the chance to win a copy of 2KSports MLB 2K10!  That’s right, two.

To win a game, let’s make it easy, tell me about your favorite MLB team, players or stadium.

Per usual, share on any social networking site for extra entries.  Comment below for all entries.

 

Check it!

While we’re talking about baseball favorites… together with some fellow bloggers and kids from the NY Boys and Girls Club, our family was invited to participate in Citi Field’s Kid’s Day tomorrow.  As diehard Mets fans, we’re over the moon about this cool experience.

Citi Field

Want to see what we’re up to at the ballpark?  Be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook to get live updates throughout the day!

If you’re in the NYC area tomorrow, Citibank branches in the five boroughs will host baseball themed activities, including kids’ games, food, face painting, balloons, clowns and characters. Former Met Ed Kranepool will visit the Park Slope Citibank branch from 12:00-1:30pm to sign autographs. Baseball themed refreshments will include hot dogs and cracker jacks.

 

 

Racquet Sports Hits Shelves

Tennis, anyone?  Ubisoft has released Racquet Sports, a new Wii video game that includes tennis, ping pong, badminton, squash and beach tennis.

Targeted for the entire family, Racquet Sports can be played with up to four players, bringing the backhands and lightning-fast serves to our living rooms.

The graphics in this game are reminiscent of most Wii based games: colorful, quirky, yet realistic.  The characters aren’t Miis, but the big cartoonish characters are diverse and can be customized.  Racquet Sports can also be played with Ubisoft’s Motion-Tracking camera, which is available separately.

The game that’s familiar with many families, Wii Sports, already has its own arrangement of racquet sports, but I think Ubisoft’s new game adds a even more dimension to these family favorites.  Beach Tennis and squash, in particular, are the racquet sports I like seeing on this new game.  Also, the racquet extension that’s available for the Wii controllers (I’ve seen them at Costco) make this game a little more fun.

 

The other weekend, before the game’s official debut, we had the chance to check out the game being demo’ed by none other than the reigning French Open Champ, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and the reigning US Open champ, Kim Clijsters, in a Match Before the Match at Madison Square Garden.  At the event, the tennis stars debuted Fila’s Spring 2010 Center Court Collection while they battled it out for the title of Racquet Sports champ.  In the fun-spirited match, Kim defeated Svetlana, and added another title to her resume–Wii Racquet Sports champ!

Celebrate Opening Ceremony with Olympic Video Games

In honor of tonight’s Olympic Opening Ceremony that will officially kick off the Winter Games, I thought I’d mention these Olympic inspired video games.

There’s no shortage in video games inspired by major sporting events, and yes, that includes the most revered sports event of all time, The Olympics.  If you couldn’t make it to Vancouver to see the Olympics in person, Sega has a pair of Olympic-branded video games so that everyone can play along.

In case you’re wondering why only Sega?  Well, that’s because Sega is the sole video game publisher of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, through an agreement with International Sports Multimedia (ISM), exclusive licensee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC.)

Two beloved video game characters, Mario and Sonic, are once again taking their rivalry to the snow and ice in another officially licensed Olympic-themed game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.

 

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