I was recently in a toy store in Alameda that has a great variety of used and new toys, and I couldn’t help but momentarily lapse into that childlike state of glee as I saw all the stuff that I wish I’d had as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of Ninja Turtles, Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man figures growing up. I was never at a loss, but I’m still in love with toys.
Walk around an animation studio, and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t agree. VFX? Sure… but they’re a different breed. I remember at college being rather jealous of the collections that other people had. Lots of vinyl figures from Japan, that I’m not even familiar with. But I don’t know if I bought any of my own until after I graduated and had a career.
It wasn’t too long after though that I started collecting. I bought some Metal Gear toys off Ebay, and some Final Fantasy toys from the Silver Snail. Stare at our revolving images at the top long enough, and I’m sure you’ll see some of them. Matt’s got some in there too. The last time I visited my folks, I made sure to grab some of my childhood ones to keep me company. There’s more I’d love to have. I’ve seen great Assassin’s Creed, Bionic Commando, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest toys… I’ve even seen some Metroid ones that make me drool. But unfortunately I haven’t the space (or the finances) right now to justify acquiring more.
But it did make me stop and pause as well. Merchandising is big. It’s important. I wish I could find a copy of Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies to link you to, because there was a great feature on the second disc that shows off how big merchandising was for Disney. But if you live in a major city, just walk around and you’ll undoubtedly see a variety of Angry Birds paraphernalia kicking about. Hats, balls, shirts, shoes, you name it.
It made me wonder if the designs I’ve been doing for the game are going to work for other products. I feel like that shouldn’t be a focus. I want an experience that I think will be great, and something that can suck you in for hours when you play it. I’ve had experiences like that with FTL, and Super Hexagon, and Civilizations without those feeling like they were particularly driven towards being marketed at a consumer crowd. So on that side, it feels justifiable to be ignoring the potential for selling toys, and mugs, and shirts. But at the same time, it seems like it’s essential with today’s Kickstarter audience to think about all that extra stuff. And knowing that that’s where a ton of money comes from, it seems like it would be smart to make the designs as mass friendly as possible.
Who knows. Maybe we’ll end up like Capcom, and just release our sound track, about 26 years after the game is released.
I made myself a Super Hematoma neck-tie, at the very least.