Toy Story Mania

James Batchelor

Toy Story Mania

More than ten years on, the original Toy Story stands up as a timeless family film that still delights filmgoers of all ages today. The series’ iconic characters are still recognisable and adorn toy shelves throughout the world. Now Disney brings this classic franchise back to video games in an exclusive outing for Wii.

Rather than being based on the films, Toy Story Mania is actually based on an attraction of the same name at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Sporting a carnival theme, holidaymakers jump into cars mounted with imitation cannons and are taken through a virtual shooting gallery, firing at targets projected on screen in 3D.

Disney Interactive Studios now brings this experience to living rooms everywhere, with the Wii title recreating the antics of both the ride and the mini-game attractions surrounding it in video game form.

Players are challenged to master ten fast-paced shooting galleries. Some are adapted from those found in the theme park versions, while others have been developed specifically for the game, and all are in keeping with the Toy Story universe. One minute gamers will be hitting targets held up by Jessie and Woody in a makeshift Wild West town, the next they’ll be popping clouds, balloons and apples in Bo Peep’s field.

When they want to take a break from shooting, there are plenty of other mini-games to enjoy, all of which make use of the Wii Remote’s motion sensitive capabilities.

Following the carnival theme, gamers are invited to test their strength with the traditional hammer-and-bell setup, enter lassoing competitions, bowling and throwing hoops over toy aliens and plastic rockets.

All of these games can be played with up to four players, making it an ideal family game for the upcoming Christmas season. Success unlocks prizes and new challenges, as well as bonus levels that can be played with the 3D glasses included in the game’s box.

Disney deems Toy Story Mania to be a massive release, and will be marketing it as part of its Christmas line-up. As a result, the game will have a huge presence in-store, on TV and across other media.

On TV, the Disney range will be sponsoring key family entertainment programmes on housewife and children’s channels such as Living and G.O.L.D, with ads running from October 5th to December 23rd. The publisher estimates the campaign will engage a third of this audience throughout the UK.

Online activity will include interactive videos on AOL, YouTube and GMTV. This will be supported by seeding campaigns, social networking and key online blogging activity aimed at mums and families. Disney is also arranging launch events and celebrity endorsement that will boost this campaign.

The game’s release date ensures it will rack up sales before the busy season, but new developments in the Toy Story franchise should boost its performance further.
Disney expects to see a rise in sales when the original Toy Story is re-released on DVD in 3D this October, as well as an additional sales spike when Toy Story 3 hits the silver screen in 2010.

“We’re very excited about our DIS UK Christmas 2009 campaign and the quality of strong and innovative family games we have this year,” says Disney’s head of marketing for UK and Ireland Keely Breener.

“We are completely focused on our target audience, which is families and seasonal gift purchasers; our TV advertising campaign will reach a third of all UK housewives and kids, which is the biggest reach we’ve ever had for a DIS campaign.

“The rest of our media buy and PR mirrors and enforces the family message through to point of purchase.”


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