MATTEL - HARRY POTTER, ROBOWHEELS, YU GI OH
Another high-profile Mattel property is "Harry Potter." Mattel went so far as to make sure that the Harry Potter table-explainer was British. He demonstrated for us several forthcoming Harry Potter games and playsets.
The most inventive and ingenious appears to be the Basilisk, which represents a serpentine character from the second Potter book who has the power to turn any creature it sees into stone. Mattel decided to turn this fierce monster into a candy machine! Kids place a small jellied candy beneath the Basilisk's huge jaws, and press down on his head. Mouth agape, he lunges down and impales the poor candy on his giant fangs, injecting it full of sour-apple flavored "venom". Then kids can roll the candy in a pocket of his coils that is covered with crushed rock-candy crystals, making it look as though their candy has been petrified.
Next from Mattel is "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius." The most impressive piece from this line was Jimmy's robo-walker, which is a remote controlled suit of mechanical armor that can carry either Jimmy or the other figures in the line (though the others don't fit as well, since it's designed for him). The walking cycle on this thing was very impressive--much smoother and more stable than most other walking mechanical toys I'd seen. The presenter said it could even walk backwards in circles in order to get out of corners and navigate obstacles.
Another Mattel property that makes good use of electronic gimmicks is "Max Steel." We were shown a very large Max figure that came with a seemingly endless array of electronic gear and weaponry. Each contained computer chips that would be "read" by the figure, so it could describe and react to all the gear that kids gave it, and ask for the ones that they hadn't put on yet.
Combining a number of successful and popular toy features, Mattel's "Robo-Wheels" transform from HotWheels-sized cars into small warrior robots. The Robo-Wheels racetrack was on display here: it apparently focuses on causing mid-air collisions between between two of the heavily-armed robotic cars, and leaving it up to kids to decide the victor.
Copyright 2002 Altered States Magazine