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DesignTO 2019 – Design To Play

On Sunday evening I had the pleasure of visiting Spin Master Toys’ office for their Design To Play event. It was one of many exhibits and talks part of the DesignTO; a  festival that showcases design in Toronto. In it’s ten years of running, this was my first time attended on of their events.

I’ve know about Spin Master years ago when I worked in retail for HBC / Zellers. I would have to help stock and set up displays for the toy section and Spin Master at the time was showcasing their first series of toys called Air Hogs. Since then many toy brands have been created by Spin Master. It was a great night of trying out some of newest toys and games for kids and adults. My favorite ones were Perplexed and Upwords. Perplexed is a combination of 3D puzzle meets pinball. Years ago my friends and I use to design pinball machines out of cereal boxes. It was elaborate layered mazes. One was called Mickey’s Madhouse; a twisted take on Disneyworld. Another one I created revolved around Back To The Future. Another game I enjoyed that was being demostrated was Upwords. A uniquie take on the classic Scramble, where you build your words upward by layering your letters. 

It was interesting to interact with the toys in a casual networking event and with children also particpating as well. Each gaming area was moderated by a Spin Master employee to get the game rolling and explaining how it all worked. Of all the toys I got to play with Perplexed was the one I gravitated to the most. It’s interesting to watch how others interacted with the game. You can see the change in emotion from a eureka moment to absolute digust and fustration. I was surprisingly quiet and deep in thought. It was an interesting environment to just watch people in general play with toys and engaging how people felt.

I love Spin Master’s office of incorporating a timeline exhibit showcasing the history of Spin Master’s creations. There is some level of interaction where you see original marketing material, to toy commercials of old products created. When I told my younger cousin that I was going to see the creators of Hatchimals, she was very jealous and said that I was lucky. I also learned more about the phenomon known as Paw Patrol. It feels great to see a Canadian entertainment / product succeed on the global scale.

-JD