The winners of the 2018 Toy and Game Innovation Awards (TAGIE) have been announced at Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG).
The awards were presented at a gala on Navy Pier in Chicago and celebrate innovation and excellence in the toy and game industry.
Australian innovation was recognised in the program, as Michael Nixon – a 15 year-old high school student from Wagga Wagga NSW – was a finalist in the Young Inventor of the Year category for his product, The Amazing Annoyatron. This product also features in the November-December issue of Toy & Hobby Retailer.
Nixon said that he was grateful to ChiTAG for providing opportunities to young inventors.
"I was very excited to have been selected by a panel of judges as one of just three finalists for Young Inventor of The Year in the US Toy and Game Innovation Awards.
"I’m hoping this recognition will open doors to launch my product into retail channels in North America.
"I am very grateful to the organisers of the Chicago Toy and Game week for the opportunities they provide inventors and start-ups to showcase their products to both industry and the wider public," he said.
The winners and finalists were:
GAME INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Don Ullman and Bob Driscoll for Don't Step In It by Hasbro
● Bang Zoom for Chow Crown from Hasbro
● Jeff Foxworthy for Relative Insanity from PlayMonster
● Rob Daviau and Justin D. Jacobson for Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar by Restoration Games
● Seven Towns for Greedy Granny by Goliath Games
TOY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
David Fuhrer, Richard Kimbrough, DiscoNifty for Twisty Petz by Spin Master
● Bang Zoom for Lil’ Gleemerz by Mattel
● Latham Gaines - Power Dough by Canal Toys
● Shoot The Moon for NERF Laser Ops by Hasbro
● Sydney Wiseman for Fingerlings by WowWee
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
Nick Metzler of Spin Master for Hail Hydra
● Adam Borton for Flushin' Frenzy by Mattel
● Art, Joe & Jim Seymour for Circuit Blox, Power Blox and Story Blox by eblox
● Daryl Andrews for The Oregon Trail by Pressman Toy/Goliath Games
● Jeff Lai for Maki Stack by Blue Orange
● Jillian Lakritz for Yoee Baby Original Line: Puppy, Kitty, Fox, Lion, Monkey, Bunny
● Krissa Watry for playPORTAL by Dynepic
● Marissa Louie for Animoodles: Iris Unicorn, Hazel Sloth, Randy Orangutan, Brady Lion, Miguel Frog, Sophie Elephant
INNOVATIVE ARTS & VISUALS OF THE YEAR
Elan Lee and Matt Inman of Exploding Kittens for Bears vs Babies
● Geizi Guevara, Mike Freeth, Patrick Murray, Chris Wickman of Spin Master for The Cat Game
● Jakks Pacific for Fan Heads
● Prospero Hall for Disney Villainous by WonderForge
● Sabrina Miramon (Illustration), Chris D’Angelo, Greg Stata, Kelly Miele (Graphic/Packaging Design) and Kathy Beyerle (Product Design) of ThinkFun for Shadows in the Forest
INNOVATIVE MARKETING TEAM OF THE YEAR
Sydney Wiseman for Fingerlings by WowWee
● JMP Creative's Social Media Team for Orbeez Wow World Campaign with Maya Toys
● PlayMonster 5 Second Rule Marketing Team for 5 Second Rule
● Lee Parkhurst, Jennifer Jens, Sunny Choi, Nicole Younger of Educational Insights for Sculptapalooza's Online Campaign
● Hasbro Marketing and Rhett and Link for their online Influencer video campaign
YOUNG INVENTOR OF THE YEAR
Harper Miller for The Dream Pillow by Architec Brands
● Ethan Klein for House Architecture Set by 3duxdesign
● Michael Nixon for The Amazing Annoyatron by EduKits International