June 13, 2008
Follow Up on Toppstown
After sleeping off jet lag yesterday, I signed up for Toppstown, like I said I would. And I have to say, it's not bad.
Granted, it's geared towards children, and the sound effects are really loud, and there's no way to turn them down without muting the whole computer system, and it's a little hard to navigate, but the graphics are cool and there seems to be a lot to do.
But perhaps the best thing about it is that it's not tied to reality. My character, er avatar, is Dr. Satchel Taco. He's funny looking, kind of like Ed Kranepool on a bad day. I made the team affiliation 'St. Louis' as an homage to Paige's tenure with the Browns, and I plan on trading in ToppsPoints for the ability to jump teams for more money (if the game will offer such an historically-accurate item).
Other things I like:
• The presentation of the cards. The binder idea is great; I like seeing that there are many cards I don't have, like a visual checklist. It harks back to the Panini sticker book. In fact, I almost wish the visual arrangement mimicked a sticker book. As it is, the black and red scheme is very grown-up and serious; the sticker book visual would bring that down a notch or two.
• The no-pressure trading zone. Back before I didn't give a damn with what I got in a trade, each trade was an opportunity for me to stress out over getting equal value. Trading virtual cards seems like it would be stress-free. I'd have to think that a collector would be able to disassociate him or herself from a virtual card simply because they can't hold it.
• The anonymity. Truthfully, this service isn't about camaraderie with your fellow collectors. It's about building a collection in a no-pressure situation. It's about grooming young collectors into future eTopps buyers.
And it's about a relatively staid company like Topps going electric, I mean, connecting with their core customers (children) in a way that would suggest they know how they think. It's not completely the same promotion that Upper Deck runs with codes on the backs of every card (that lead to cool prizes like actual stickers and cards), but it's a start.