Mojo Nation has revealed the winners of this year’s Play Creators Awards, a celebration of the toy and game industry’s design talent that saw Spin Master, Big Potato, and Heayes Designs’ Richard Heayes named among them.
The list of winners were announced last week, bringing Mojo Nation’s highly successful week-long festival of digital and virtual content to its ultimate conclusion. The Play Creators Festival turned digital for the first time this year, rather than its physical two-day event of conferences, panels and a dedicated day of idea pitching to some of the biggest names in the industry.
Spanning ten categories, including this year, the Design Icon accolade which was handed to Heayes Design’s Richard Heayes, the winners of the Play Creators Awards 2020, are:
TOY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by The Toy Association)
Big Monster Toys & Alpha Group’s Eric Dong & Glenn Yu – RC TerraTrax (Alpha Group)
Chantal Drenthe & Paul Martinsen (Fuse London) & Moose Toys – Oh My Gif (Moose Toys)
Fisher-Price & Open 2 Design – Little People Wheelies Raceway (Fisher-Price)
LEGO – LEGO Dots Range (LEGO)
Moose Toys & Character Options – Heroes of Goo Jit Zu (Moose Toys/Character Options)
PlayMonster – Snap Ships (PlayMonster)
WINNER: Seven Towns – Junk Bots (Hexbug)
“Thank you to Mojo Nation for this incredible award, it means so much to us all here at Seven Towns,” said Mike Moody, CEO at Seven Towns. “We also want to say a huge shout out to Innovation First who have been amazing partners bringing Junk Bots to life and delivering a magnificent line.”
GAME DESIGNER OF THE YEAR (KIDS/FAMILY GAME) (Sponsored by Shuffle)
Adam Borton (Creating Unique Toys) & Jeremy Posner (Shenanigans Toys and Games) – Silly Seal (Entertoyment)
Big Monster Toys – Sky Score (Hasbro)
Gary Pyper (Fun-Damental) – Windy Knickers (John Adams)
WINNER: The Fantastic Factory – Trapped (Golden Bear)
Heather Yates (Orchard Toys) – Mammoth Maths (Orchard Toys)
Nextoy – Puglicious (Mattel)
Nir Doron & Gilad Podgor – Slam Cup (Blue Orange Games)
Simon Toms (Spring Loaded Concepts) & Fuse London – Seasick Sam (Drumond/TOMY)
TOMY – Screwball Scramble Level 2 (TOMY)
“The team at The Fantastic Factory and ClueCrypted are delighted to win the Game Designer of the Year (Kids/Family Game) for Trapped at the Play Creators Awards 2020,” said David Snow, owner at The Fantastic Factory.
“Thanks so much to all that voted for Trapped and to all our partners for taking the game to the masses in 2020/21. Our award will now take pride of place next to our swimming badges and Best William Shatner Impression Haven Holiday Parks 1986.”
GAME DESIGNER OF THE YEAR (PARTY GAME) (Sponsored by Cartamundi)
Alex Hague, Justin Vickers & Wolfgang Warsch – Wavelength (Palm Court)
Ceri Price & Natalie Podd – Confident (Confident Games)
Chris Naylor & Rich Walton – Think Fast! (Ridley’s Games)
WINNER: Dan Penn & Rich Coombes – Herd Mentality (Big Potato Games)
Identity Games – Nightmare Horror Adventures: Welcome to Crafton Mansion (Identity Games)
Oleksandr Nevskiy – Detective Club (IGames)
Peggy Brown – Bye Felicia! (Big G Creative)
“Wow! How udderly fantastic to win this award – we’re over the moooon!,” said Dan and Rich. “We can’t wait to tell all our co-workers; I’m sure they’ll give us a pat on the back.”
R&D TEAM OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Wynne-Jones IP)
WINNER: Big Potato Games
“We’re all well chuffed to win this,” said the team at Big Potato. “We don’t often reflect on what we’ve achieved because we’re always working towards the next year. So it’s cool to step back and have a wee celebration. In a way, it feels like a striker getting an award for scoring goals. Big thank you Mojo.”
DESIGN AGENCY/INVENTION STUDIO OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by hasbro)
Big Monster Toys
The Fantastic Factory
Open 2 Design
“It’s pretty awesome to win this award, especially considering that many of the other nominees are studios which we have looked up to for so many years,” said Matt Gouveia, MD at DesignbyTouch.
“We are privileged to work with so many great clients and have the support and genuine friendship of so many other inventors and agencies within our industry. Most of all we are thankful to have a world class team of designers, artists and engineers that make creating cool new toys, games and IPs a real joy. All in all we are very lucky!”
TOY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR (LICENSED PRODUCT)
WINNER: Big Monster Toys – Paw Patrol Split Second 2-in-1 Vehicles (Spin Master)
Denny Wong (Posh Paws) – Love Hearts Plush Range (Posh Paws)
Dominic Yard (This is YARD) – Little People DC Super Friends 2-in-1 Batmobile (Fisher-Price)
Eric Dong & Glenn Yu – Subway Surfers Spray Crew (Alpha Group)
LEGO – LEGO Super Mario Range (LEGO)
Matt Bland & Matthew Jordan (TOMY) – Ricky Zoom Range (TOMY)
Open 2 Design – Peppa Pig Mud Kitchen (Character Options)
Paul Martinsen (Fuse London) – Batman Mega Gear Action Figures (Spin Master)
Gil Zalayet (StudioPlay) & Ryan Kratz (Sound Machine) – Rapid Change Utility Belt Batman (Spin Master)
“WOW! It is amazing to win this award from Mojo Nation and it is an honour to work with Spin Master,” said Big Monster Toys’ Sam Unsicker.
“They are some of the best people in the business with some of the best licences! Thank you so much.”
GAME DESIGNER OF THE YEAR (LICENSED PRODUCT)
Andrea Chiarvesio & Eric Lang – Marvel United (Spin Master/CMON)
WINNER: Adrian Adamescu & Daryl Andrews – Titanic: The Game (Spin Master)
Anthony Boydell – TfL Race the Rails (Gibsons)
Barry McLaughlin & Jason Lautenschleger – Anchorman: The Game (Barry & Jason Games)
James Vaughn (Big Potato Games) – Top of the Pops: The Game (Big Potato Games)
Prospero Hall – Horrified (Ravensburger)
Richard Heayes (Heayes Design) – Disney Race Home & Home Sprint Ranges (Cartamundi)
Sam Roberts (So Sound) – Race to the Triwizard Tournament (Cartamundi)
“We are so honoured to be recognised amongst such prestigious designers we adore and respect,” said Adrian and Daryl.
“We thank Spin Master for believing in us and trusting us with the Titanic license. We will continue to sing praises of the Spin Master Games team. You are amazing to work with and we look forward to making more fun games together. If you think you hear screaming in the distance, it is Adrian & I screaming, ‘I’m King of the World!'”
PLAY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Audrey Tam (Spin Master) – CoolMaker Hollywood Hair (Spin Master)
Brian Whitehead (Briology Ltd) & Fuse London – Easy Knit (Character Options)
Dave Emblin (Moose Toys) – Team Gem (Moose Toys)
Emma Peat (Spin Master) – Go Glam Nail Salon 2.0 (Spin Master)
The Fantastic Factory – Trapped (Golden Bear)
LEGO – LEGO Art Range (LEGO)
Melbot – Melbits POD (Melbot)
Phil Sage, Scott Clarke, Mel Hershey, James Brown, Steve Caterson, Spencer Roberts, Fred Hopke and Colleen Dolan (Hasbro) – D-O Interactive Droid (Hasbro)
TOMY – Rizmo (TOMY)
‘I had such a blast working on Cool Maker Hollywood Hair Extension Maker!,” said Audrey Tam, Design Manager, Spin Master.
“Pace Development brought us the material and we quickly dreamt up a super fun play pattern. We designed an innovative and easy-to-use studio for kids to create customizable hair extensions, with just a push of a button! We are excited and honoured to receive this award and look forward to all the up-and-coming young fashionistas to show off their Hollywood Hair creations!’
Chantal Drenthe – Fuse London
WINNER: Elif Atmaca & Ögeday Uçurum – Toyi
James Vaughn – Big Potato Games
Jacques Priestner – Seven Towns
Jason Loik – Loik Studios
Jessica Livingston – GUND/Spin Master
Ollie Hobbs – So Sound
Ross Monks – Moose Toys UK
Sam Roberts – So Sound
Steve Moore – Tantrum Innovation
“We’re so excited to have the Rising Star Award, as social entrepreneurs scaling our impact and advocating free-play in the toy industry; It’s great to have such recognition,” said Elif Atmaca and Ögeday Uçurum.
WINNER: Richard Heayes – Heayes Design/PlayLenz
“The call I received from Billy to say I’d won the Mojo Design Icon award was – to say the least – a massive surprise,” said Richard Heayes, Founder of Heayes Design.
“To know that it’s because your peers have voted for you is a real honour. When I left Hasbro and set up on my own nearly 7 years ago, I realised I had the same amount of years ahead of me as I had already worked in my life. It was an opportunity to stay in a business I loved but also mix things up a bit.
“I’ve loved connecting with new people in and out of the business and to share my know-how with young designers just starting out. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people over the years and I still count many of them as friends.
“This business is tough. We are competing with thousands of new products every year and margins can be tight. But there is always positive energy to be found. The endless creativity on show I think raises us all to be better at what we do and to realise that to bring fun and happiness to the world we need to live by those principles as a collective.
“Play is being taken more seriously than ever. We know that as a child, it helps shape who you will become, and children who don’t get the time to play suffer as adults. It’s great then to see adults coming back to play as a way to connect with friends through gaming and to find some chill out time with things like puzzles and LEGO.
“The products we create are not utility; they can leave lasting positive impressions and can create bonds between children and adults who can role-play their interest in shared stories. Storytelling has become a critical component in our toolbox, as the platforms for sharing stories have increased far beyond the three TV channels, the weekly comic and the odd movie I had as a child.
“This ‘toy story’ – the one I started 30 years ago – has had lots of characters, some unforeseen plot twists and some great locations from LA to Hong Kong. I’ve just paused and notice I have a good 20 plus years left; better get the snacks in!”