Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Real Toy Story: To Affinity & Beyond

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Real Toy Story: To Affinity & Beyond

Article excerpt

www.toy-tma.com

It may be kid stuff, but you can look like an old geezer if you don't know Smash Brothers from Smash Mouth

Want to look like The Compleat Village Idiot?

Then ask a kid if she wants a Bedtime Barbie when everybody knows it's Millennium Princess Barbie, Barbie Baby Krissie, and Barbie Sit 'N' Style that are hot now. Bedtime Barbie was "in," what? Six years ago? That child wasn't even born then!

Or talk to a little guy with "Nintendo thumb" about Mario and completely miss his subtle suggestions that it's the Super Smash Brothers you should be talking about now.

Or dare to venture into the world of Gameboys without knowing the difference between PokEmon Blue, PokEmon Red, and PokEmon Yellow (not to mention PokEmon Pinball, PokEmon Snap ... ). Or not know that Play- Doh is back .

The point is that you can forget all about those edgy, with-it Net sites, alternative magazines, and coffeehouse gurus. The true Keepers of the Cool are the kids, and talking the talk means talking toys. Fortunately, you and your reporters can now cheat, assuming you have time for a little surfing on the ultimate grown-up toy, the Web. For everything about toys -- from the Top 15 in terms of either dollar and unit figures to announcements of new releases to the story behind some of the classic toys of the past -- your one-stop research center online is operated by the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA).

To use the resource, visit the site at http://www.toy-tma.com, where a graphic interface on the introductory page enables you to look up topics related to parents, kids, the industry as a whole, toy safety, and so on. While the graphic is appealing, we found that for people in a hurry -- such as most journalists -- the fast lane is reached by clicking on the "Site Map" link at the bottom of the introductory screen. The subsequent display provides direct links to key subsections in each department.

For instance, the "Industry" area includes data ranging from profiles of TMA members to the text of its Code of Business Practices. Also here are industry statistics, calendars of toy fairs, top sellers, and international data. …

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