2016 TAGIEs Nominations

EXCELLENCE IN DIGITAL TOY OR GAME DESIGN

Osmo

Pramod Sharma is CEO and Co-founder at Osmo. After graduating from Stanford, he spent many years at Google architecting book scanning machines and held senior management roles in Search, Gmail & Distributed Computing. 

Osmo, an educational gaming company, is using its proprietary reflective artificial intelligence, to fuse physical play with digital engagement. It allows any object  - tiles, pen & paper, blocks, toys, you name it, to interact with the iPad. This hands-on play promotes creativity, problem solving and social interaction. Osmo is using the screen to create a new healthy, hands-on learning experience. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. Learn more about Osmo at www.playosmo.com.

Maze by Seedling

Phoebe Hayman is the co-founder and CEO of Seedling USA. Phoebe founded Seedling in 2007 after noticing a lack of children’s products that supported and inspired open-ended play.  While keeping imaginative play at the center of Seedling’s growth, Phoebe is passionate about revolutionizing play for children while enhancing the creative experience for the whole family.  Drawing on her experiences as a mother, entrepreneur, and business owner, Phoebe is the driving force behind the company’s strategic and product design direction. Phoebe has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art and photography, is an avid reader and enjoys painting.

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar

As Principal Designer at Fisher-Price, Don Stucke combines his unabashed creativity with a methodical design approach working on some of the brand’s most complex playthings. Stucke has spent the majority of his 15-year career at Fisher-Price designing toys at the intersection of physical and digital play. He thrives when designing products like the award-winning Think & Learn Code-a-pillar because he loves solving the puzzle of making technology seamless to children.

Edwin the Duck

At pi lab, our vision is to create better thinkers from day one. Our mission is to inspire children to create and explore through innovative technology and lovable characters. Our technology encourages hands-on learning through play for the next generation, developing the whole child cognitively, socially, and physically. A beloved character both on and off the screen, Edwin elicits joy in the exploration and discovery of the world around us. From his soft skin to his amazing cartoon world, Edwin is a soothing new way to learn and play. This is what real connected play is all about.

Simon Air

Dan Klitsner is Founder and creative director of KID Group formed in 1990. With partners Gary Levenberg and Brian Clemens, the San Francisco invention studio specializes in award winning interactive games such as several products in the Bop It line, HyperGames, PC Playsets,  and most recently the 2013 TOTY award winner  Perplexus Epic. Dan graduated with a BS in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design. His design expertise is often put to use judging the IDSA international design competition, the Consumer Electronics Innovation Awards, teaching at California College of the Arts , San Francisco State and the San Francisco Academy of Art.

Team members from KID Group: Dan Klitsner - Original Screen Play, Brian Clemens - Director, Gary Levenberg: -Visual Effects and the Hasbro Team: Vince Marazita-  IndustrialDesign, Justin Pringle - Engineering, Jen Couillez - Marketing 

Randy Klimpert - Producer, Tony Langone - Gaffer

Bloxels

Bloxels is a hands-on building system that enables kids to create their very own video games directly on the physical Bloxels™Gameboard, and then they can activate with the Bloxels™Builder App and a mobile device to play out the game.

Designed with blocks, a universal element of childhood play, Bloxels cultivates imagination while encouraging discovery and experimentation.

The Bloxels app is developed and published by Pixel Press, a company based in St. Louis, and they have recently partnered with Mattel, Inc. to expand the offering of the product through Mattel's marketing, manufacturing and distribution channels.

My Little Pony, Little Pet Shop & Transformers

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EXCELLENCE IN GAME DESIGN

Dr. Seuss Thing Two and Thing One Whirly Fun! and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Forrest-Pruzan Creative began in 1993 as ENTROS, an entertainment company that developed experiential innovative games for events. In 2000, Forrest-Pruzan Creative shifted gears to focus on board games and has been doing so ever since. Forrest-Pruzan Creative is a multi-disciplinary ensemble of folks who love making games. We are a collective of game designers, illustrators, industrial designers, producers and creators. We made most of the early Cranium line and continue making hundreds of games for other publishers. We hang out in Seattle and we drink a lot of coffee.

Escape the Room Series

Rebecca Bleau and Nicholas Cravotta are the heart behind BlueMatter Games.  Together they design games, toys, and puzzles that "Feed the Fun Part of Your Brain”.  Their designs have won numerous awards, most recently Children’s Game of the Year in Sweden for “Where’s Baby Bunny?”  In addition to creating the “Escape the Room” experience for families to play at home, they have designed a wide range of games, including PicWits, Ultimate Showdown, Houdini, Acuity, and Yottsugo.  Creativity is a lifestyle for Rebecca who is also an award-winning fine artist and sculptor.  When he isn’t obsessed with designing his next puzzle, Nicholas writes science fiction novels and children’s books.

Coggy, Brynk, Startos Spheres and more

Posner wields his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan like a knight would use a fiery sword to dispatch dragons in the days of yore.  His quest? Creating imaginative games, toys, and puzzles for people all over the world! In 2016 he has had great success with Coggy (Fat Brain Toys), but also with Jenga Quake (Hasbro), Smackies (Goliath), Brynk (Winning Moves), and StratosSpheres (Thinkfun).  In the months to come he will have even more games hitting the market as well. As time goes on, Posner is excited to keep inventing and ready for any challenge.

Pandemic: Legacy and Seafall

Rob Daviau is an award-winning game designer having designed, developed, or co-designed over 70 games in 18 years. He is the co-designer of Pandemic Legacy, the highest-rated game on boardgamegeek.com. He has written various articles on game design, has guest lectured at MIT, Carnegie-Mellon University, and NYU on game design. He was an adjunct professor of game design at NYU and is currently a visiting professor at Hampshire College. He owns IronWall Games, a design studio, and is a partner at Restoration Games, a company that refurbishes out-of-print games for a modern market.  He lives in Massachusetts with his family.

Cardinal Industries

I began working with Cardinal Industries two weeks before graduating with honors from the FIT Toy Design program. While working for Cardinal, I have had the wonderful opportunity to design hundreds of items for all of the biggest licenses and brands. Some of my favorite titles that I have created games for include The Big Bang Theory, Wikipedia, Finding Dory, Spongebob Squarepants and Star Wars. I love this field of work. It allows the unique opportunity to design a product that can create a special experience or memory. We all remember our favorite toy. I hope that I have had that impact on someone with something I have created.

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EXCELLENCE IN TOY DESIGN

Yo-Motion Yokai Watch

Troy is a 20+ year industry veteran with hundreds of products under his belt while working with Toy Biz, and Marvel Entertainment. In 2007, he established Fishco Innovation, which has turned out mechanical and optical innovations in toy design for A-list clients such as Hasbro. Recently based in New York’s Catskill mountains, his surroundings provide inspiration and fresh outlook that is far removed from anything routine.

The Yokai Watch Model Zero was developed with Rich Mazel of Hasbro’s Global Acquisitions team, and Gary Aigner, who heads up the Yokai Watch product development team. Yo-Motion is a patented optical technology that projects animated Yokai characters on any surface. A simple design relies on lighting individual LED’s that project animation frames from a slide transparency. The result is a stunning audio visual display of motion graphics never before seen in a role play wearable.

Gift'ems

Michael Bernstein is SVP of Marketing, Innovation & Development at JAKKS Pacific, Inc. Bernstein has a true passion for the toy industry and is a second generation toy professional. He is a global marketing strategist, and along with his creative team has had numerous award winning hits such as Fly Wheels, Real Construction, XPV and now Gift ’ems! Bernstein is known for pushing the boundaries of performance and design in his products. His key strengths include flawlessly executing breakthrough innovation across multiple toy categories, as well as writing and producing various entertaining sizzles and memorable toy commercials.

Razor RipSurf

Ali Kermani has been working with Carlton Calvin, President of Razor, since before the company was founded in June 2000. Ali has played an integral role in the development and marketing of numerous Razor products.  He is well known for his passion project of many years, the Crazy Cart, which won Outdoor Toy of the Year award in 2014.  Ali's latest project is very close to his heart, the all new RipSurf.  This project concept was born out of Ali’s love of skateboarding and surfing, and his thoughtful vision guided the concept’s styling, function and marketing from start to finish.

Hatchimals

The magic of Spin Master’s Hatchimals has been made possible due to the unparalleled talent, hard word and innovation of David MacDonald, Vice President, Design/Product Development & Global Advanced Concept Team. David has been a member of the Spin Master family for sixteen years and has watched the company grow exponentially. David started the design team at Spin Master in 2001 as the company’s first Head of Design with a humble team of only two. Today, Spin Master has about 60+ designers throughout the world located in Toronto, LA, Japan and Hong Kong.

Zoomer Chimp

G2 Inventions is a 4 million year old company originally formed on planet Zed located in the far edge of the Andromeda galaxy…. Actually G2 Inventions was formed in 2006 by Nick Grisolia, and Pete Greenley, they are not from space but at times can be kind of spacey. G2 started as A 2 man operation Pete is a veteran mechanism designer and Nick an accomplished electronics designer. Together they exclusively make works like models. Preferably things with motors and electronics, stuff that showcases their combined abilities. “Our recent successes are a tribute to the power of partnership, and just plain luck!”

PomPomWow Decoration Station

Jim McCafferty leads JMP Creative, an award-winning invention and design team. JMP concepts have resulted in more than a billion units of product to reach the marketplace, and its inventions have achieved ‘Toy of the Year’ status in multiple countries. A master in exploring the unexpected and extraordinary, Jim’s success is shaped by his experience as a world-class illusionist and prolific brainstorming talent. He believes the team’s invention and design process is bolstered by the chemistry shared with licensors. For example, JMP collaborated extensively with the Maya Toys team in developing and designing the successful Pom Pom Wow product line.

Mega Tracks

David Yakos designs and invents unique solutions for startups and leading brands as co-owner of Salient Technologies, Inc. He has helped develop hundreds of products including pediatric wheelchairs, a Prototype-of-the-Year by Popular Science and breakthrough cryogenic valve technology for NASA’s planetary spacecraft. Selected in the Top 45 Creatives by Origins Magazine, David works with HATCH and is passionate about STEAM. He invented Circuit Maze and Maker Studio Construction Sets encouraging arts and engineering through the world of play and Mega Tracks, re-imagining track play for 116 year old company Lionel Trains. David lives in a log cabin in Montana where he and his wife raise 4 adventurous children. www.salient-tech.com

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RISING STAR INVENTOR OF THE YEAR