A Toy Story

Freshman Wins Young Inventor’s Challenge, Trip to New York


Photo courtesy of Riley Pritzlaff

Getting the gold, sophomore Riley Pritzlaff is presented with a check that he won from the Young Inventors Challenge. “I was super excited, especially after the hard work that went into making it happen,” Pritzlaff said. “It was sort of a confirmation that I had done something really special.”

Jalen Gomez, Reporter

Freshman, basketball player, Student Council member and as of this February, presenter at the Toy of the Year Awards.

Due to his recent work with inventing toys, Riley Pritzlaff won an opportunity of a lifetime this year to present at the famed TOTY Awards on Feb. 15. The TOTY Awards, which are administered by The Toy Association and hosted in New York City this year, is an awards program that supports the philanthropic work of The Toy Foundation, which delivers toys to children in need. Pritzlaff was able to present toys of different categories, such as Plush Toy of the Year, Best Builder Toy of the Year and Best Collectible Toy of the Year.

His invitation was not the result of luck, as Pritzlaff said he has actually been working towards this for a while. Pritzlaff was invited to the TOTY Awards because he had won the Young Inventors Challenge at the ChiTAG this past November after he created and presented a game named “Market On The Move,” a game about the stock market. 

“Throughout the game, players use money they have earned through dividends and selling stocks to buy shares of stocks, whose prices are constantly changing throughout the game,” Pritzlaff said. “At the end of the game the player with the highest portfolio value calculated by the combined value of his or her shares and any on hand cash.”

His inspiration to create this game had been developing for a while. Pritzlaff said that from a young age, he grew up playing all sorts of board games from the classics like Monopoly, to more strategic games such as Axis and Allies.

“I loved to play them as much as possible and am always willing to try a new game,” Pritzlaff said. “So, when I went into developing my game, I was able to draw in a lot of techniques and balancing strategies to make my game fun and enjoyable.”

After playing with toys all of his life, Pritzlaff said that it was time to look at them with a new perspective.

“I just enjoy having fun playing games,” Pritzlaff said. “It’s interesting since it’s more like a business aspect now. Developing games, seeing the market aspects, I enjoy that.”

Pritzlaff said he acquired business cards from multiple big-name companies, such as Hasbro, Lego and Mattel. He said that those cards could lead to a potential summer internship for him, as he looks to enter the toy industry as his career path.

“I am likely to apply for an internship at Hasbro as well as PlayMonster and both companies I would be very excited to be a part of,” Pritzlaff said. “I would love to get an internship at Lego, but they were not offering any opportunities for high school students.”

With the early recognition gained by winning at the ChiTAG Conference, Pritzlaff said it’s important to utilize that in order to gain more opportunities to potentially enter the toy industry.

“I might go into the toy industry,” Pritzlaff said. “I can work on marketing, developing games for a larger toy company. It’s what I enjoy, so it makes sense to me.”

If he does end up entering the toy industry, Pritzlaff said he does have a certain vision and goal for it.

“I would like to see useful topics that can be implemented into a fun game,” Pritzlaff said. “And at the same time, help people of all ages understand the topics that are covered in the game.”