Kickstarter has become less about Oculus Rift and more about Cards Against Humanity. The “games” category on the crowd-funding platform has attracted $495 million since Kickstarter’s inception in 2009, making it the richest segment of the site. The runners up are technology and design.
The games category on Kickstarter does include video games, but these account for a minority of the amount pledged. In 2015, video games attracted about a quarter of all pledges in the category. It’s also worth noting that pledges don’t equate to actual money changing hands for projects, since some efforts never get off the ground. In 2015, there was a gap of about $10 million between the pledged amount for games and the amount that was deployed to successfully funded projects.
The rise of boardgames on Kickstarter coincides with a boom in tabletop gaming generally. The size of the board game market has risen for seven consecutive years to become a billion dollar industry, according to estimates by market research firm ICv2.
Milton Griepp, who runs ICv2, says tabletop games have surged as players have grown jaded with the digital screens they toil over during the work day. “When they get home, they may be less interested in an online game and more interested in face-to-face interaction,” he says. “There’s an underlying change in leisure-time activities driving that.
Kickstarter is helping to drive the board game boom. The amount of money pledged last year, for example, represents almost a fifth of the total hobby games market by retail sales in North America, according to Griepp’s estimates, which currently don’t include Kickstarter projects. In other categories, like technology, the amounts raised on Kickstarter are tiny compared to the size of the market. “For board games, there was a big need for [Kickstarter],” says Thomas Bidaux, who runs video-game market research firm ICO Partners. “The industry was kind of dying.”
Games funded on Kickstarter tend to be for the sophisticated player. Cards Against Humanity, the “party game for horrible people,” got its start by raising $15,000 in 2011. A few days ago, the complex strategy game Dark Souls (itself an adaptation of a hit video-game) raised £3.7 million ($5.4 million). One veteran of the board game scene, Adrien Martinot of the game-maker Days of Wonder, likens the platform to an edgy film festival: “While regular game companies are like Hollywood, you could call Kickstarter the Sundance of board games.”
Board games may be especially well-suited to crowdfunding. Unlike digital gadgets with disastrously complex supply chains, or video-games with unpredictable development schedules, board games have well-defined components and costs. When game-makers pitch the crowd on Kickstarter, they can lay out exactly how the game works. They just need the money to pay for the tokens, boards, and boxes. “You’re funding the production of the game, not the conception,” says Bidaux.
German Artist Jan Vormann Uses Lego to Put Colorful Twist on Urban Design
MAINZ, Germany — An artist is repairing buildings and structures around the world, but he’s using colorful Legos instead of traditional bricks and mortar.
Jan Vormann, a 33-year-old sculptor from Berlin, has invested about six years traveling the planet to fix crumbling walls and buildings with multi-colored plastic toy blocks.
And now the colorful project, called Dispatchwork, has turned into a globe-spanning, voluntary design challenge.
“Dozens of organizations, foundations and strangers have already sent me photos of their repairs, which now have become a wider part of the art installation,” said Vormann, who publishes the images in an interactive map that he wants to turn into a user-run platform.
Vormann carefully chooses the objects for his “repairs,” before embarking on a creative journey.
To date, he has visited nearly 40 cities in Europe, Central America, Asia and the United States. He can use up to 20 pounds of plastic toy bricks on a project.
Many of the locations that he has visited have a historical background or a political meaning. “One idea is to juxtapose the dark history of the architecture with colorful modern elements,” Vormann told NBC News.
But Vormann is not only motivated by an “art project with a link to architecture,” he said — often times it is the interaction with bystanders.
“People go crazy and want interviews on the street with me,” he said. During an installation in Israel, children in the Jaffa district “swirled around” the group of artists, and “kept asking us when they finally can take the toys home.”
Vormann also wants to “be part of the public sphere” and to “embrace the city.” And many of his contemporary art designs are an expression of “transience.” One of his most recent works included soap bubbles.
And sometimes, he said, reactions to the installations are unexpected.
In some places, officials have interpreted Vormann’s “patchwork” as a plea for permanent repairs, according to Vormann.
“Suddenly, a few days later, my colorful toy stones were gone and the object was renovated,” he said.
#Findsam: UK kids launch search for plush dog sent to space
By Serenitie Wang, Reposted from: CNN Fri April 8, 2016 http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/08/world/findsam-plush-dog-space/index.html?sr=twCNN040916findsam-plush-dog-space0105AMStoryLink&linkId=23265148
A GoPro attached to Sam the space dog’s balloon sent home documentation of Sam’s flight.
Sam the stuffed toy dog makes his way to the edge of space
Gear sent up with him is found, but Sam is missing
(CNN)“Have you seen this dog Sam?” “It was last seen flying across Lancashire,” reads a missing dog poster showing a white cuddly toy puppy named Sam taking a selfie against a spectacular view of Earth. People in Lancashire, northwest England, are anxiously awaiting his return.
Sam is not an ordinary stuffed dog. He was enlisted as an astronaut by children at Morecambe Bay Primary School for a science project. Launched attached to a helium balloon, with tracking equipment and documented by GoPro cameras, he was the first toy-dog astronaut sent on a mission to reach the edge of space. But after his mission, Sam was nowhere to be found.”All the children are obviously upset, and my two daughters really want him to be found,” said Emma Lotty Connolley, whose daughters attend Morecambe Bay Primary School.
Sam launches from Morecambe Bay Primary School.
To help find Sam, Connolley started a Facebook page to spread the word. After less than 12 hours, the group had been joined by more than 900 people and the hashtag #findsam went wild on social media.According to flight data, Sam rose at a rate of 20 feet (6 meters) per second, and reached an altitude of over 15 miles (25 kilometers) above the Earth before the balloon popped. Sam has not been seen since, although his equipment was recovered.
The program teaches astronomy and physics.
The space project, in which the school partnered with the Midland Hotel and SentIntoSpace.com, is meant to help children in Morecambe learn astronomy and physics. To support the campaign, the hotel announced on its website that whoever finds Sam will be treated to a free stay. Ben Berry, representative of English Lakes Hotels, told the local Lancashire Telegraph: “This has been an exciting science project for the children. It has put them in charge of their very own edge-of-space mission, and we were more than happy to give Sam the dog the chance to follow in Tim Peake’s recent footsteps.”
Reposted from Nerdist: http://nerdist.com/artist-dissects-toys-to-reveal-their-skeletons-and-guts/?gallery=386790#gallery
My bet is that you have never once asked yourself, “Hey, what does Mickey Mouse look like on the inside? You know, where his guts and everything are?” However, after you see the big-eared mouse’s anatomical make up it is going to be hard not to picture it all the time, like you’ve been cursed with some very specific X-ray vision you didn’t ask for.
In fact, when you see the pretty amazing and one-of-a-kind work of this artist, you’re going to probably start imagining what all of your toys look like under their skin.
These figures are the work of Jason Freeney of Moist Production, who says his “unique” visual style is “influenced by artists such as Robert Williams, MC Escher, Claes Oldenburg, and Andy Warhol.” (And also, we’d imagine, whoever created the Inside-Out Boy character from Nickelodeon in the early ’90s.)
Freeney performs his “dissections” by carving out one half of a figure to reveal its skeleton and organs. While there may be something slightly unsettling about seeing toys the way your high school biology teacher may have imagined them, they are unquestionably cool and the work of a very talented artist.
We have a couple more pictures of his pieces in our gallery below. You can check out even more of Jason’s work, including his non-dissection art, at his website and Facebook pages. You can also purchase pieces of his work for your own collection.
Which fictional character would you like to see him dissect next?
Here are some pretty fancy shoes for your next tea party…
These Alice in Wonderland Costume Shoes Use Alice Figurines as the Heels
Published: Mar 3, 2016 • Reposted from Trend Hunter http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/costume-shoes
Paying tribute to the themes and aesthetic of the magical world of Wonderland are these costume shoes by Irregular Choice. The heels opt for a surrealist design and collage of various patterns, prints and fabrics to create a design that perfectly captures the topsy turvy nature of Wonderland and the characters that live there.
The heels are an amalgamation of a variety of Victorian styles and themes paired together in a haphazardly manner. Prints of ornate blue flowers are paired with metallic gold trim, blue velvet, bows and stills from the Disney film version. Elements of the film are also found in the embroidered flowers along the right side of the shoes that are based off of the singing flowers in the garden. The heels are also creatively made out of a figurine of Alice.
February 4th 2016 at 12:30PM
UPDATED February 5th 2016 at 12:14PM
Billy Langsworthy takes a look at why toy and game inventors don’t get the same limelight as movie directors, pop stars and other creators of mass entertainment.
I saw The Hateful 8 the other night, and as ‘The 8th Film by Quentin Tarantino’ appeared on screen, it got me thinking about how we credit creators in our industry.
Toys and games, along with video games, seem to be the a medium that isn’t too fussy about putting its creators front and centre.
On the toy side of things, I can understand it. The main audience for most toys is young kids and I can’t imagine many little ones sat through Inside Out waiting to see the ‘directed by’ credit. It also explains why most kids films don’t bother sticking a ‘directed by’ credit in its opening sequence, typical example below:
I had a chat with our columnist Richard Heayes on this and he made the point that toys are also closely alligned to consumer goods and in the same way that you don’t look at most things on your desk and ask ‘who designed that?’, that same is true of most people with toys.
On the game front, things are slightly different.
A game like Jenga is just as much embedded in the cultural lexicon as a movie like Pulp Fiction or an album like Abbey Road or even one hit wonders. Everyone knows who directed Pulp Fiction and who recorded Abbey Road and even who Chesney Hawkes is, but I’m not sure many outside of our industry knows the name Leslie Scott, or Charles Darrow, or Rena Nathanson.
There are sensible reasons for this of course. At the likes of the biggest firms, there’s often such a process of collaboration and teamwork on titles that any form of official credit just wouldn’t work. There’s also the issue of a firm’s designer being poached if they were splashed all over a hit game and, perhaps the major reason, there’s no real reason for firms to list designers when most toys and games are sold under the popularity of major brand names.
The truth is that putting a game’s creator on the box won’t do much to shift sales, especially if they’re an unknown name to the public.
However, the situation does change when you get to Eurogames and deeper strategy games.
Pandemic, Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride all list their creator’s on the box, and sometimes even the title’s artist, and it makes sense. The games are closer aligned to literature in detail and the audience for these sorts of games are passionate fans who, and I’m generalising here, are more invested in these titles than casual gamers are for something like Hungry Hungry Hippos.
As the listings on BoardGameGeek can testify, Knowing a bit about the behind the scenes of these games are all part of parcel of the process in the same way that a Tarantino fan might engage with the extras on a Reservoir Dogs Blu-ray.
But should the same ethos apply to more casual titles, a space brimming with indie talent.
Look at Schmovie, a great game made by the Brooklyn-based duo of Sara Farber and Bryan Wilson. While their company name, Galactic Sneeze, makes an appearance in the top right hand corner of the box, you have to travel to the murky depths of the ‘choking hazard’ panel to find a credit for them. The same is true of Stephen Wilson’s first foray into the game space with the wonderfully titled Go F**k Your-Self.
There are exceptions. Office favourite In a Bind carries ‘by Bez’ on the cover of its box, along with a self portrait of the man himself.
In our experience, toy and game inventors have just as much personality as the Quentin Tarantino’s of this world, but with noticably less ego. And that’s perhaps another key reason. While the worlds of music, film and TV are brimming with talent well versed in blowing their own trumpets, the toy and game inventor community seems to be a far more humble beast.
And while these mediums rely on star power to bring in the crowds, in our business, it’s gameplay and play value, rather than ‘starring Brad Pitt’, that draws the crowds.
Still, as champions of this community, we can’t help but hold a candle for the day when a title comes out with ‘The 8th Game By Bez’ on the box.
Lego Iowa – Tracking the Iowa caucus results, brick by brick
As of 8:49 p.m. CT
After a year of campaigning, it’s finally time for the first votes to be cast in the 2016 primary season. And that means it’s finally time for the first results to be recorded … in Lego bricks.
Both Democrats and Republicans are making their preferences known in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night, and we’ll be tracking the outcome here on two #LegoIowa maps. Stay with our live coverage as the results come in.
Note: Bricks are added to the map only after 50% of the precincts in a county report results.
Board games and the Periodic Table seem like unlikely partners in learning, but as writer and mom Karyn Tripp has shown, the two can have more in common than you might think. Tripp, the creator of homeschooling education site Teach Beside Me, paired Battleship with the table of chemical elements. Using the basic format of the classic game, she has turned it into a fun teaching tool that anyone can play.Teach Beside Me features simple instructions for making your own Periodic Table Battleship. To start, print out four copies of the table, laminate them, and secure them to folders with jumbo-sized paper clips. Position two of the Periodic Tables standing upright and lay the others down, with each row labeled alphabetically. Grab some erasable markers and you’re ready to play.The game follows the basic rules of conventional Battleship. Establish your “battleships” by circling rows of two, three, four, or five elements on the lower table. Afterwards, begin calling out coordinates—mark any misses with an “X” and hits with a circle. To learn more about Tripp’s game, check out the post on her website.
Men’s fashion is proving that it’s a force to be reckoned with.The men’s fall 2016 season kicked off this week in London with a nod to the Star Wars phenomenon.Runway looks at Nasir Mazhar were strikingly similar to the Empire’s favorite villain and father, Darth Vader.
Of course no Dark Side would be complete without the commander’s foot soldiers. Mazhar also featured black and white accessories fit for a Storm Trooper’s armor.
Belstaff and Craig Green seemed to channel Luke Skywalker and Rey with a uniform of simple structures and a pale tonal color palette.
Visions of Chewbacca surfaced as models walked Lou Dalton’s and Coach’s runways in textured brown sweatsuits and oversized fur coats.
Two-toned jackets and cross-body bags at Belstaff and Coach mimicked Finn’s look after he abandoned the First Order.
Even show-goers looked the part in home-made, droid inspired Lego masks.
At New York Sports Clubs’ Chelsea branch one recent Tuesday, employees were rushing to remove toy lightsabers from their plastic packaging. Amira Lamb, an exercise instructor, took her place in a brightly lit mirrored studio and explained that instead of her usual cardio-kickboxing class she would be leading a “Star Wars” workout, which she’d designed at the behest of Disney and Lucasfilm. Lamb, who is petite and has dark eyes, had her crinkly hair pulled back with two clips. She has a devoted following and is beloved by her mostly female students for her distinctive playlists and her efficient full-body approach.
Many regulars seemed confused about the new workout, which was called Awaken Your Inner Force. One young woman said that she wasn’t really a “Star Wars” fan.
“It’s still cardio,” Lamb explained. (She had designed a movie-themed workout before, in 2012, for Disney’s animated film “Brave.”)
Lamb made sure the twenty or so exercisers had the right equipment: one yoga mat; two Frisbee-shaped “gliding disks,” for sliding along the floor (these, she said, were “a nod to the ice planet”); one toy lightsaber. A latecomer with a tattoo on his calf ran in. “I need a sword!” he cried.
An electronic dance remix of the “Star Wars” theme started. Imitating Lamb, the class began with wide-legged plié squats, lightsabers held aloft. When they pulled the lightsabers down in front of their faces, the toys unexpectedly lit up and emitted tinkly battle sounds. “Oh!” Lamb said. Smiles spread around the room, in recognition of the universal truth that it’s really fun to wave around a long stick.
The names of the rapid cardio sets, each lasting about sixty or ninety seconds, were written on the mirror in blue and red marker. They included Lightsaber Leaps, Skywalker Press, Jedi Jacks, Padawan Pushups, and “Help Me, Obi-Wan!” A few were variations of Lamb’s usual exercises. (The Chewbacca Chop, in a non-“Star Wars” context, is the Wood Chop.)
“I’m still kind of new to this whole ‘Star Wars’ thing,” Lamb admitted. “I watched all the movies within, like, a week.” She had not yet seen the new film when she designed the workout, but “ran to the theatre” as soon as it came out, she said. “I changed some of the names of the exercises after I saw it.”
Lisa Hufcut, the director of P.R. for the company that owns N.Y.S.C., said that the partnership is ideal, because Disney “is looking for a way to incorporate their brand into the fitness demographic.” She added, “We’re seeing people come in who may not be regular exercisers, but who love ‘Star Wars.’ ”
In the studio, Lamb led the group into Lunge Like Luke. The exercisers assumed the lunge position, lightsabers held high, then brought their back knees forward while lowering their sabers, and reassumed the lunge, lightsabers lifted, as fast as they could. Between exercises, the class did plié squats, guided by breathing. “I think of the Force like Chi,” Lamb told them.
The music transitioned into a remix of “Starships,” by Nicki Minaj. The group dropped the lightsabers on the floor and jump-squatted over them to perform Lightsaber Leaps. For the Skywalker Press, the participants assumed a downward-dog position, moved into a plank, brought the left leg forward, returned to a downward dog, and then repeated the sequence with the right leg.
Lightsabers clattered against each other, and one knocked over a water bottle. Even the regulars had trouble keeping up with Lamb. The playlist was punctuated by sound bites from the “Star Wars” movies, such as R2D2 beeping and Leia calling out, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi!” The class divided into two groups and faced off, in an approximation of the dark and light sides of the Force. Lamb said, “At some point, switching to the dark side is allowed!”
By Saber Push/Combat Burpees, many in the class were breathing heavily. The exercise involved jumping with both arms in the air, rolling along the floor, then standing and jumping again. To motivate the huffing stragglers, Lamb said, “If you feel like you’re dying, just think about the breath. The breath is the Force.”
The class ended with a cool down move called Yoda Flow, which Lamb said was inspired by Tai Chi. Afterward, a regular named Katherine Huala pronounced the new workout much harder than the usual cardio kickboxing. She is a “Star Wars” fan, but doesn’t love the more recent prequels. “Too much C.G.I.,” she said. ♦
From original characters to pieces modeled after existing properties, LEGO mini figures have entertained both kids and adult collectors for nearly four decades. And while opportunities to add to your collection are plentiful (new editions are constantly added through the LEGO Ideas Project), a company on Etsy (not affiliated with LEGO) has also made collecting the toys a little more personal. By using a 3D printing service, funky3Dfaces allows customers to customize the popular toys with photos of human faces.
Funky3DFaces explains the process on its website: Customers upload two photos based on a set of guidelines; the photos are converted into 3D models using facial recognition software; and then the company ships the heads to be applied by the buyer at home. Because of the limitations of the technology, there are only 10 hairstyles to choose from, but the options range from short afros to the “Marilyn,” after Marilyn Monroe’s signature waves.
The service is not limited to LEGO minifigures. Funky3DFaces also offers wedding cake topper specials, greeting cards, and refrigerator magnets. Check out examples of the products below, as well as a promotional video from the company’s Facebook page.
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