Sunday, February 05, 2006

To Swim To Play, The Absoluteness Must Be Given

Or so several friends and I were humourously informed by the Engrish manual for some really cool little radio controlled cars that Rory's dad brought back from Singapore. And so was the floor of Napier transformed into a series of jumps and obstacle courses for the two small vehicles. We think it means "Don't get your cars wet".

I love toys. Maybe not as much as John Lasseter, but enough that I visit toystores more often than most in my demographic. I had great toys growing up. From Duplo to Lego and Mecchano, Tonka trucks, bears, Transformers and Matchbox cars. Not just injection moulded plastic toys either - my parents were good enough to keep me in an endless supply of paper, white on one side, old ABC TV schedules on the other, and crayons, then textas, then pencils, then pens, then back to the textas (except my taste in textas now is in the $10-$15 pantone range, but hey!) so drawing, designing and creating my own thing was always encouraged.

I also grew up alongside the Microbee Computer (thankfully I outlived it) and PCs back to the heady days of the 286 and I was allowed pretty much free reign over the various machines that inhabited our home.

All these toys, from the paper through the mecchano to the computer were very open ended and encouraged a healthy exercise for the imagination. Imagine my horror, when in late 2004 I am in a toystore with a few good mates, and we are SEARCHING for toys. Just toys. Plain old toys. But could we find them?

Behind the rows of Dreamworks, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney (should that be Dixar? [that is SO January 2006 - ed]) and Warner Brothers branded merchandise we eventually located some Lego that wasn't pre-cut to only form one possible toy (typically some form of AT-AT or Endor Moon Speeder Bike) and settled for that. But there was a conspicuous absense of honest, open-ended, imagination utilising toys.

And so began an Epic Quest, to bring fun toys back to the world... For 14 months, in and out of basements, bedrooms, disused hotel rooms, bars and prison cells, subsisting off tins of tuna and the meanest of lagers, Tim, Rory and I toiled.

In 9 days, Souptoys will be unveiled. We hope you can be with us.

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