Back the weekened before Thanksgiving, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTag) rocked the city with a weekend of toys, games, gift ideas, innovation, invention, and creativity. This year was no exception with a bigger feeling to it, and some of the best brands I’ve come to know and enjoy seeing year after year.
Razor, Spin Master Toys (seriously, the Tenkai Knights building sets they brought were amazing innovations in construction sets), Mayfair Games, Bananagrams, and local favorites like Floppets were all on the show floor, bringing the humor for everyone. That being said, here are my galleries from the weekend.
PlayChic – The fashion show for the weekend, that combines a famous fashion designer’s touch with the inspiration of a toy or game at the show. Joan Severance, inventor of the txTylz game, was on hand even to lend her talent to the show.
EDIT: Here’s the demo video, trying to shoot 50′ flat with a variety of darts.
So, I was at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTag)a couple of weeks ago working, and at some point during the show, I was struck by a Dart Tag dart. Now last year, the only shooting toys I had seen were Vapor blasters, so I was a little confused. Normally, ChiTag does not have a lot of shooting toys, instead having lots of board games, remote control cars, and things you can ride or drive. I was a little confused.
Looking around the show floor, I found a vendor called “Bumpa’s Blowguns’ and solved the mystery. They were selling, well, blowguns! Let the pictures commence! I also have a demo video, but while I wait for it to process, here you go :
Size compared to a Nerf Ballzooka and another brand of blowgun I had years ago.
Size comparison vs. a Nerf Nitron and the other blowgun
Simple enough design. It’s a piece of PVC, painted, with an end cap at the muzzle, a mouth piece, and two foam hand grips. Retails for 29.95$+tax for blow gun 5 (velcro) darts, glasses and vest. Comes in pink, and black. (Check their website!) $30 might seem a little steep, but each blowgun is assembled by hand, and the mouthpiece does have a little extra work to it-
The “Dart Stop”
What you see in the pic is a little arm to keep darts from being sucked backward by a user, and to keep a dart from falling out of the barrel in general. The mouth piece is pretty comfy, and the grips are solid. It’s the details like that that show some definite thinking went into this blowgun, for sure. And from what I heard, this was conceptualized by a grandfather looking for something cool to play with his grandkids. And why not?
That being said, if you like blowguns this is not only made in the U.S.A, but it’s a new business that takes an old concept like the blowgun and adds just a little extra touch or two to it. Even if blowguns aren’t your style, you’re getting a solid product with this. There are other products out there for the same $$$ sure, but this you know someone directly took time to assemble and make sure every bit fits together.
Range-wise, you’re going to get typical blowgun ranges. Depending on your lung capacity, body mechanics and angle of aim, you could get upwards of 150′ easily. But to get good Rate of Fire on this takes practice, and you’d have to make sure to keep extra darts handy. Reaching for your pocket can mean the difference between extended play and getting tagged out. As for any dart issues, Nerf Dart Tag darts flew the best out of it, but it would fire pretty much any other dart, except for the yellow buzz bee darts. Possibly because the wider collar on those darts interferes with the dart stop.
But yeah, how can you argue with a company that self-produces their own videos, too?
In any event, yay for small business and the spirit of entrepreneurship!
So, this is pretty much where my journey began, even with Nerf experience and all that, I needed to make a jump to a proper toy industry event to cut my journalistic(heh) teeth. The Chicago Toy and Game Fair – Hasbro was there, Razor, and a whole bunch of other great companies. It is also one of, and I think the only place where toy industry people make themselves available to the public in a focus group/market testing kinda format. You can try before you buy, and meet a whole bunch of great people and game inventors. Seriously, you should check it out.
THAT BEING SAID, this week I’ll give away a FREE family pass to The Chicago Toy and Game Fair! Just shoot me an email: foamfromabove at g m a i l . c o m and I’ll randomly select a winner a week until the event, the weekend of NOVEMBER 19 AND 20.
Come on and check it out, you’ll have fun and be glad you did 🙂