I started my journey into the past with my best friend Google…. And my adventure began in Ancient Greece.

Babies born in Ancient Greece had a difficult time surviving. Many died within the first few days of life and those who did survive were considered adults by the age of 12 and expected to marry and start a family of their own. To me, this was a terrifying thought… I am way past the age of 12 and still don’t see myself as an adult!

Although childhood in Ancient Greece was short lived, archeological records show the recovery of toys such as; dolls made of terracotta or wax, bows and arrows and yo-yo’s.

One of the earliest toys ever recorded is a mechanical puzzle, which originated from Ancient Greece in the 3rd Century BC. The game consisted of a square divided into 14 parts and the aim of the game was to create different shapes from these pieces. As you can see from the picture below… this was no easy feat!

Toys from Ancient Greece were made from materials found in nature like stone, wood, clay and grass. Each toy individually made by hand… a vast difference from how toys are made and produced today!

Would you have survived in Ancient Greece as a child with only a stick for a toy?

I live in Montreal and everywhere I turn I see children of all ages playing on mobile phones or tablets… walking down the street, on the bus, on the metro, sat in a bar or restaurant with their parents… even my 3 year old cousin knows how to use an iPad!

According to research conducted by C&R, 22% of children between the ages of 6 and 9, 60% of children between the ages of 10 and 14 and a whopping 84% of teenagers aged 15 to 18 own a mobile phone.

In the 90s, texting was still a novelty! Sending text messages required lots and lots of button pressing, predictive text was a mess (anyone who owned a phone back then knows what I’m talking about), AND you could only communicate by text with those who also happened to own a mobile phone (and have small enough fingers to figure out texting…).

Over the past few years the mobile industry has changed dramatically. Phones are now not only used to place calls and send text messages but also to browse the internet, use apps to find information specific to your needs or desires, and to play games. Everything we once required a computer for we can now do & find on our phones.

What do you use your mobile phone for?

So, what are toys really? Apart from generally being brightly colored objects, which sometimes move and run on batteries?

Toys are tools (not the kind of tools you purchase from a hardware store) educating children and training them for the life they will lead in society. For example: the abacus was invented to assist children with counting and numbers, and colored building blocks were (and still are) used to help enhance cognitive behavior, hand-eye coordination, and to stimulate creativity.

Babies are eager to learn about the world around them, wanting to experience every shape, color, texture, taste and sound. A favorite toy for babies is the rattle, whose sounds and coloring are used to stimulate babies’ senses. Toddlers can play with a wider variety of toys and as children reach pre-school age toys can really start integrating the learning of letters, numbers and language skills.

We understand how toys are used in present day, but what about in the past? Were toys used for the same educational purposes and integration into society?

In today’s society it is seen as “old fashioned” or “behind the times” if someone we know does not own a mobile device.  Mobile devices such as phones and tablets have become an integral part of the way we live and communicate with each other on a daily basis. Even my dad who struggles with technological advancements has an iPhone!

Mobile phones have been present in our lives since 1973, but it wasn’t until the 1990’s when the second generation of mobile phones emerged that their popularity spread across the globe.

I remember when I was a child, we actually had to (gasp!) call people on a landline in order to speak with them.  You had to pray that the person you were calling was actually AT home, because text messaging and voicemail didn’t yet exist!

Mobile phones are now used by people of all ages, including children, to send text messages, check email, browse the internet, and play games. Phones are not that often used to, you know, speak… that primal form of communication seems so passé these days.

Have mobile phones assisted in the extinction of speech communication?

Post your thoughts to our blog or to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WowWee

 

I have fond memories of my childhood… the toys, the games, playing outside until it was too dark to see. I was born and raised in the UK and although we loved playing outside it wasn’t always possible with the wet and windy weather England is world renowned for. We were however, lucky to have, at our disposal, a vast amount of toys, games and gadgets to entertain ourselves with indoors.

Even though we had enough toys and games to fill a small country… we always wanted more. My dad would say, “We didn’t have that when I was young… you should count yourselves lucky”.

We took everything for granted! We really did believe that a man with a white beard and a red suit came down the chimney once a year to deliver us gifts (even though we didn’t actually have a chimney…). I now realize just how lucky we were, and just how hard my parents had to work to buy us things to keep us happy (and quiet).

I’ve always been intrigued by history, and remembering my dad’s words all those years ago prompted not only a trip down memory lane, but a desire to research toys of the past.

Did ancient civilizations have toys? What was the first toy? Where does the term toy even come from?

More to come…

“In the movies they were taught the good guys always win….”

On Thursday 19th July 2012 AppGear released the long awaited augmented reality game; Elite CommandAR.

What is augmented reality? I hear some of you say….  Augmented reality aims to duplicate the environment around you in a computer (or in our case an iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or Android Device). It combines the real scene (as viewed by the user) and a virtual scene generated by a computer.

“Those who survived crawled out of the rubble that was once a house, a city, a country… “

Elite CommandAR turns your world into a digital battlefield.

Playing Elite CommandAR will immerse your physical self into a virtual mission.  You will be using the AR markers included with the game to take out and defeat the alien invaders who are sneaking through the portal from their world into yours. You will need to use your intelligence, wit and cunning to fight for the survival of the planet…. Your family, your friends, everyone you know…

“Using scavenged alien technology, we built a cybernetically enhanced suit to put one fighter on equal footing with the Vorosins.

And that marine is…you”.

Elite Commandar

Do you think you can complete the mission? Save the planet?

Get Elite CommandAR here and let us know what you think!  http://store.wowwee.com/appgear/appgear-elite-commandar.html

 

Comic-Con is a huge event and takes place every year in San Diego. It’s a comic and arts convention, which features comic books (obviously… hence the title of the event!), games, art, movies and special guests. It’s a chance for fans from across the world to congregate under one roof, dress as their favorite comic/movie characters and participate in some celebrity sight seeing for days on end…. And this year AppGear had the chance to participate as a special guest!

Thousands of people flooded through the AppGear games truck, which was parked in Petco Park Parking Lot outside the Comic-Con main entrance.

Dedicated pilots fighting in historic battles, hungry and tired zombies fighting off hordes of angry humans, elite commanders saving the earth from a fierce race of bloodthirsty aliens and everyone trying to stop those pesky little green aliens from escaping! The AppGear team and fans gathered together in extraordinary fashion for an event to remember.

AppGear fans had the chance to try our latest augmented reality app toys as well as have sneak peeks into future releases. Cash prizes were given and battles were won!

It was 4 days of fun-tastic mayhem and the AppGear team loved every minute of it!

Did you see us at Comic-Con? If so, post your stories on our Facebook page and let us know all about your AppGear experiences.

https://www.facebook.com/AppGear

A few WowWee employees were lucky enough to be on the set of LMFAO’s “Sorry for Party Rocking” video earlier this month. Why were they there? Because Foam Fighters, one of the titles in our new AppGear line of app toys, had a small role in the intro. It was a crazy scene, but we managed to snap some photos and take some video of our own during the LMFAO crew’s downtime.

 

[Get more info about Foam Fighters and the rest of the AppGear line on the official site, Facebook or Twitter.]

We’re not sorry that LMFAO are party rocking with Foam Fighters in their new video for “Sorry for Party Rocking.” Check out Shuffle Bot attacking enemy ships around the 1:50 mark.

[Get more info about Foam Fighters and the rest of the AppGear line on the official site, Facebook or Twitter.]

Spring is around the corner and we’re feeling great about it, so why not share the joy!

Cinemin Slice, one of our awesome pico projectors, has been the talk of the town and we’re extending a special offer for $50 OFF one of these sweet gadgets on our Tech Shop.

Simply enter the code ‘50offslice‘ and benefit from taking projection out of boardrooms and movie theaters and into any room.

Slice connects – plug and play – to pretty much any media player. Dock an iPad or iPhone and interact with your games and apps in a whole new way. Or plug in your laptop to supersize its desktop.

Slice has picked up some extensive media coverage, so here’s a taste to help show you how cool this really is:

Engadget: WowWee Cinemin Slice takes the pico out of your pocket

Wired: Pico Projectors for Presentations on the Fly

The Globe and Mail: Cinemin Slice turns iPad into 60-inch screen