Marvin Gardens wakes up just before 7:00 a.m. ready for an exciting day at work. Before leaving his modest home on Baltic Avenue, he feeds his toy poodle and has breakfast, carefully emptying his box of cereal to remove the toy inside (temporary tattoos!). After breakfast, Marvin gets into his Toyota for the short drive to his workshop on Park Place.
Today is a big day. Marvin has been working on a new toy design, and today he will be adding the finishing touches to his sketches and presentation. This afternoon, he has an appointment with a major toy and game manufacturer, ToySplosion, to present his new design with the hope that they will produce and market his toy to the world.
Marvin arrives at his workshop and takes a minute to soak in the fact that he is actually able to earn money by being a big kid and designing toys. Playing 60 hours a week of World of Warcraft actually paid off. So take that, Dad. The shop is filled with his inspirations: thousands of action figures line the walls, from old-school He-man and GI Joes to more recent (and irritatingly pale and fragile) teenage vampire figurines. From these come Marvin’s new ideas.
He moves to the only clear surface in the room – his desk – on which sits a computer loaded with the latest Computer Aided Design software. On top of the monitor ride an assortment of troll dolls and toy soldiers. You have to allow for a bit of fun because all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
“OK,” Marvin says to himself, “Let’s get this presentation finished up.”
Marvin works furiously, taking periodic breaks to wind up cars that he sends zooming across the floor, make Silly Putty impressions of various body parts (he works alone), and tip rows of dominos clacking over in chain reactions.
Finally, his presentation and sketches are complete, and it is time to travel by train – the Short Line railroad – to Baltic Avenue with a quick stop at Go To Bank to collect $200 for the weekend.
Marvin arrives at ToySplosion and is ushered into the conference room where a panel of executive toy manufacturers and marketing specialists sits, waiting for the next big idea. Marvin hopes that his idea is it.
He begins his presentation.
“Ladies and gentlemen, when I was just a wee little lad, my father homeward came one day and gave to me this toy.”
“A wonder to behold this is” said ToySplosion’s Head of Marketing, “with many colors bright.”
The minute they laid their eyes on it, it became their hearts’ delight. The toy went “zip” when it moved, “bop” when it stopped, and “whirr” when it stood still. They can’t tell just what it is, and they probably never will. But the truth is - they love it.
“We see huge potential in this toy, Marvin. The possibilities are endless, and we can’t believe no one has thought of this before. It is simply marvelous. We are talking movie spin-offs, a Saturday morning cartoon possibility, and even the potential for including a miniaturized version in fast food kid’s meals. Well done.”
Marketing speaks up again. “Let’s run a test panel in a selection of cities across the nation to see how kids respond to it.”
Marvin is ecstatic. He thanks each of the executives profusely, and packs up his materials to return to his workshop. He sits surrounded by toys, picking up a Flash Gordon and a Smurfette and briefly considering what their spawn would look like, wondering if his new toy will go down in history as the next big thing.
The phone rings.
“Hello, Marvin? Ventnor here. Ventnor St. James from ToySplosion. Listen, we’ve crunched the numbers and run the test groups in the cities of Sheboygan, Bald Knob and Turkey Scratch. Seems the kids don’t like it. The zipping and the whirring gets on their nerves, and the bopping the parents can’t stand. We also think the production costs of this thing are going to be through the roof. We’d have to charge a hundred bucks for it to make a profit, and that’s if we outsource the materials and labor. Plus, one kid put the toy in the microwave and the whole family turned orange.”
“We’re sorry, Marvin, we just can’t produce your marvelous toy.”
Marvin hangs up the phone, his battleship sunk. The Toy Design business is like a yo-yo, one day children the world over love you, the next day your toys are in the attic awaiting the summer garage sale.
Marvin, saddened but not defeated, returns home, ready to dream up the next big toy.