The Fisher-Price Linkimals are toys that can interact with each other when played with together, delivering unique and rich developmental benefits. The line took home the prestigious Toy of the Year award in 2020 and continues to develop more friends to play together and sing together. One of the most notable character in this line of toys is the Sloth, which features a very different voice when you compare it to other toys on the shelf. You may be wondering, who is the voice of the Fisher-Price Linkimals Sloth? Well, I am pleased and joyed to say, it was me! I spent a little more than five years working at Fisher-Price in East Aurora, NY and have created music and sounds for dozens of toys, games, commercials and other Fisher-Price media. One of the last toys I worked on was the Fisher-Price Linkimals Sloth and it has a warm place in my heart because I voiced the character as well as created all the sounds and music in it!
The Fisher-Price team has a lot of talented musicians and sound designers on the roster, and the entire line was a very large group effort of sound professionals. Each product’s audio was developed by a different sound designer, and my focus was the Sloth. We worked very closely together to make sure that when these little friends sync up and sing together, it would A, work, and B, sound awesome! I’ll say, the development of this line of toys was of the most involved and challenging projects that I have the pleasure of being a part of.
First we had to find a way to make each of these guys automatically recognize that there was another in the room, and then get them synced up! Next was the challenge of finding a way to keep them synchronized. When you make literally hundreds of thousands of toy products, you end up getting a slight variance in the clock speed of each micro processor that embedded in each toy. Just 5% variance, and you find your music drifting off by about 5% in speed and/or pitch. What we ended up doing to counter this was to re-sync every few beats. This was a trial and error process that took some time because each song was different and sounded better or worse with these variances. So we learned from that and continued to produce music that boded best with a little bit of drift. Sometimes that can actually be really cool!
Making these products was deeply enriching and incredibly fun! One of the coolest reassurances that we did this right, is when I heard them play and sing together in the store. Next time you are in Walmart or Target, go press any one of the Linkimals characters. You’ll quickly see why it’s so cool. The entire shelf with light up and all the characters in the Linkimals line will begin to play and sing together! And of course you will notice the star of the show, the Sloth, slowly clapping his hands and singing songs about being up the in the trees and shooting the breeze! 🙂
- Fisher-Price Linkimals are really cool toys that sing, light up and move together!
- I, The Chris Alan, am the voice of the Fisher-Price Linkimals Sloth!
- Get the Sloth here!