What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a simulation game in which players will create and sell toys. The steps are simple and suitable for the younger child, but because the gameplay is so easy, it provides quick rewards. Once the toy shop is set up, the inventory fills automatically, so you may find that kids are more drawn into playing the mini-game of building toys than running the business. Even so, this game does a good job of teaching supply and demand to young kids.
What's it about?
In the simulation game TOY SHOP, Mark and Mel's grandfather has left them a historic toy store in his will, with the condition that they make the store profitable in three years. You join the grandchildren to help them to build toys, set prices, design a layout for the Toy Store, and generally manage the business of selling toys.
The game begins with a blank Toy Shop containing a display case, shelf, and cash register. You start with a small amount of cash and several simple blueprints by which to build toys. You have to place toys on the shelves where they refill automatically from inventory when you build more toys. The task of toy-building is a mini-game unto itself where Mark thinks of a tool he needs, and you help by manipulating the D-pad in the direction of the tool. Plus you need to remember to explore the town and \"speak\" to the townsfolk (in scripted speech, from drop-down menus) because the townsfolk provide advice and are your customers. Some toy blueprints are also provided by the townsfolk – if they like you enough. And while the game suggests toy-pricing based on the original cost of toy production, the player will need to experiment with price.
Is it any good?
Toy Shop is a great way to introduce kids to a business simulation game. From deciding on placement on the shelves to decorations on the toys, coupled with exploring inventory and pricing strategies, kids will learn by trial and error. Plus, they will explore how to market a store by meeting and speaking with their neighbors in town. Because kids can save up to four games at a time, they can experiment with different pricing strategies. Setting toy prices low may well drive sales, but it will force you to race against the clock to build toys to keep the inventory filled; and you may not be profitable enough to keep the store open when failures are factored in. Kids will learn to check the store's profitability frequently. In all, this is an engaging, easy simulation covering a business kids will be interested in running.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how kids decide to set prices within this game. What was your strategy to run a profitable toy business? Did you try different strategies with this game? Did you notice how at first, when building toys, simply pressing the correct buttons asked for in the minigame could result in failure? Does that track how, in real life, practice and experience improve your skills at doing a job?