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Are there any developers out there working on childrens game

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HRPuffenstuf
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I'm working on a childrens game and am interested in hearing advice, stories etc about your experience. When I say childrens, I mean in the 5-9 age group.

Thanks,
HR Puffenstuf

gamemaker-KD
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Are there any developers out there working on childrens game

ahoy there HRPuffenstuf, children & family games are my #1 passion. With that age group that your going for, theme is the most important thing, must get their attention first. Game play should be fairly quick, game companies will tell you ages 4 to 8 they want 10 to 12 minutes per round. I like to think you can keep the young ones attention at least 16 minutes per round. But if you come up with a game you think is good, watch your playtest time. And try to stay away from very small game peices. With 4,5 and 6 year olds companies don't want to have to put the choking hazard label on their box. good luck

Chip
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Are there any developers out there working on childrens game

Hello HRPuffenstuf,

I've got a few children's games in the works. Right now I'm concentrating on some party genre games for teens to adults (one of which just hit some local games stores, and another I'm gearing up to manufacture for the first time), but have a few prototypes well developed for four kids games that I will bring out at some point.

One thing I've found is that testing of kids' games is a little trickier than adult games. Sometimes simply organizing test sessions with kids can be difficult. Then there's the issue of feedback. It seems a bit more nuanced. You have to interpret their actions vs. simply relying on what they say - especially with the smallest kids. (Then again, sometimes you have to interpret adults actions too.)

If you have any specific questions or would like to share more about your specific projects, serve it up. Even though many of the people around here likely aren't dabbling much in children's games, I'm sure a few people can throw in some advice. There certainly are similarities across genres. If nothing else, make sure you test, test, test. Don't think because its a kids' game that you can skimp for some reason in this area.

Chip

HRPuffenstuf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
thanks for the feedback

I'm very close in the next month or so to doing the prototype. Since an electronic piece is necessary, I will need to committ money SO I can test. I have the support from my wife which means we will go full speed ahead on everything. Best case scenario is that I will have manufactured games in the May to June time frame. I'm working on business plans as to which large retail stores might be interested in carrying it as well as distributors that can help me reach all the smaller retailers. While I'm going to do my best by testing with my kids (ages 3 and 5) and friends kids, I truly believe that the game will appeal to the target audience. I'm almost ready to sell my organs (or at least do a few timeshares) to make this work. I believe that if the artwork and packaging is kid friendly and professional, that is a large reason that adults buy.

My question I have regarding the large retailers (Wal-Mart, Target etc.) is do you call and ask to speak to the toy buyers? Do they usually want a sample game? What quantities do they expect initially or do they typically do a small trial run for a few areas to see if there's interest and activity ?Is there a thread somewhere that supplies some of these buyers names or ways to reach the right people? I'm extremely level headed on expectations about my game making it into a large retailer (not likely initially): however, I will still try.

Thanks
HR Puffenstuf

Chip
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Are there any developers out there working on childrens game

Eighteen months, maybe 24 months ago or so I had the opportunity to sit down with a toy buyer from Target (a colleague of a friend). I was just getting started with my games, but wanted some info/background on the mass merchant perspective (Walmart, albeit a slightly different animal, is similar in some respects). Here are a few snippets that I took away from my discussion:

1) Although things may have changed in the last year and half (although I wouldn't think so), if Target puts a toy (or toys) on their shelves they'd expect that you'd/they'd move $1 million worth of product (at wholesale) in a given year. They've made a few exceptions here and there over the years, but that's the general rule.

It wasn't altogether straight forward if you had a line of products whether this meant you had to move $1 milllion worth throughout the line or for each individual product. I gathered that if you had a line of products that they'd have some loftier expectations although the exact $ amount wasn't exactly clear. I suspect there isn't an exact formula, just general rules.

For someone like me that only has an individual product on the market at the moment, $1 million at wholesale is beyond belief. You can do your own math for your own product and see what volume you'd have to move yearly.

2) The offshoot of #1 is simply that Target moves product - and which comes first you might ask. Does Target move product because they only stock items that move, or do the items move because Target stocks them. There's a little bit of both going on, but when it comes to brand items like toys (vs. private label stuff like clothes, housewares, etc.) Target stocks what already moves or what has a high probability of moving. If they put it on the shelf, the company that's selling to Target either has demonstrated that the product will sell, or they've demonstrated that they've been able to move similar product in the past. If the product is new, it needs to be "hot", and not "hot" in the "I think this product has potential" hot.

3) I forget the name of the company/division, but for smaller vendors, Target has a small divison/partner company that handles business on behalf of Target with small vendors. It's kind of like a real estate broker that works for both the buyer and seller. The company simultaneously represents the vendor by evaluating and potentially promoting the products to Target buyers while also looking out for the interests of Target. They are sort of the filter you have to go through to play with the actual buyers at Target. For the service they take a fee/percentage of your transaction with the corporation. You can probably dig up some info on the Target corporation website.

That's what I know. Hope it helps.

There are other issuee to consider if you're thinking about Target, Walmart etc. - pricing, brand equity, ability to sell in independent stores. But that's another discussion for another time.

Chip

OrlandoPat
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Joined: 10/16/2008
Does Target do their own buying?

Chip, does Target do their own buying? I thought all their buying was handled by Associated Merchandising Corporation.

- Pat

Chip
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Are there any developers out there working on childrens game

It's my understanding that Associated does primarily "soft" goods, things like clothes, towels and bedding, small furniture, other private label kinds of stuff. Target definitely has their own buyers on staff, not unlike a regular department store like Marshall Field's. These buyers check out toys, specialty food like wine, and I'm assuming electronics, music and books. Associated perhaps gets involved with this stuff too. I'm sure the overall organization and relationahip is continually evolving. I don't know for certain but Assciated may be doing a lot of the vendor qualification work, making sure potential and current vendors comply with corporate regulations and expectations.

Chip

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