Monday, November 10, 2008


Saw this post from Gizmodo this morning regarding an electronic etch-a-sketch.The title for this post captured my sense of nostalgia enough for me to want to read more.

Record your etch-a-sketch art to memory. That's about as interesting as it gets. The question toy manufacturers need to ask themselves after they figure out what the toy does is, "Then what?" Take a step back to your etch-a-sketch days; were you ever able to draw anything of value on it? Maybe some of you, but for most of us our chance of being able to draw something we would actually be proud of enough to save and display to others is slim.

Take a plain old plastic sword. You can try to capture the imagination by adding lights, sounds, popular movie effects, what have you. Rolling it out as a light sabre makes money. Then what? I have three boys. When the novelty of the fact it's a light sabre wears out, whacking each other is still loads of fun whether it's a cool lightsabre or cheap cardboard tube.

Think about the best etch-a-sketch art you've ever seen. Sure, it'll get a "WOW" from you. You may even want to paste some clips to an e-mail to all your friends. But did you ever think it was worth saving past that? I may be wrong but I doubt there are any museums displaying etch-a-sketch art on the walls. If there are any I'm sure they're not in the Pacific Rim; the thought of an earthquake erasing all those masterpieces would definitely affect their insurance premiums.

Maybe that would be the target market for this toy. Novel art frames for hip new coffee shops and cafes where wall art can be pre-loaded with etch-a-sketched art and refreshed every now and then. Not all bad an idea though ... but mostly bad. Still, I bet it reloads faster than Windows.

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