The Force continues to be strong at Hasbro with their Star Wars line. The toy that will receive the most amount of buzz will certainly be FurBacca. This mashup of a toy brings back Furby (remember him?) to a whole new generation of kids that won’t think the technology is all that cutting-edge but will enjoy the Star Wars theme of this fun novelty furball.
Now what always gets my attention in the Star Wars section at the Hasbro Toy Fair showroom are the lightsabers. I never think they can out do the version from the year before, but I was really wrong. Imagine the biggest, baddest lightsaber you can think of– and that’s what’s coming for 2015. I need one.
Specifically, I want to play with the Bladebuilder Lightsaber where you can add several sabers to build your own super lightsaber. (I think they would have gone with Build a Blade if it wasn’t so close to Build a Bear). Anyway…it has all the great authentic lightsaber sound and it looks super cool.
New for the even younger Star Wars fans….there’s also Star Wars Mr. Potato Head (he’s been around before) and the new Star Wars Play Doh. Now I wouldn’t share the movies with a three year old, but Hasbro is counting on the trickle down from the cartoon series STAR WARS REBELS that older brothers and sisters are watching as well as sentimental buying from Star Wars fans that can’t wait to share the series with their kids.
Some toys feel like they’ve been around for ever. Test your knowledge of these classics. (The answers at the very bottom.)
Harrison Ford or Mr. Potato Head?
Cabbage Patch Kids or Britney Spears?
President Obama or Operation?
Miley Cyrus or Furby?
Answers: Harrison Ford (b. 1942) is older than Mr. Potato Head (1952 -1st US distribution); Britney Spears (b. 1981) beats Cabbage Patch Kids out by a year (1982); President Obama (1961) beats out Operation (1965) and Miley Cyrus (1992) is six years older than the original Furby (1998).
Zhu Zhu pets were so hot last holiday season, that getting them for national television gigs took more negotiations than you can imagine. Having watched many a hot toy come and go, it’s always interesting to see how toy companies try to keep the craze going. Cabbage Patch dolls, Furby, Elmo- they’ve all been there with varying degrees of success. So this year, the sweet and furry Zhu Zhu pets have gone into battle, literally. The new Kung Zhu Battle Arena is the latest in their line. Here the pets are now ready to enter the battle arena (sold separately) in varying levels of battle armor (sold separately). Interesting most of our testers that were in on the Zhu Zhu pet craze last year really enjoyed making their own settings for their pets. Battle toys are a recurring theme in toyland again (there are a whole host of tops and bugs that battle it out) – so we’ll have to see how the Zhu Zhu pets in their current aggressive form stack up.
If this toy is on your child’s list, know that the battle arena does not come with a pet. This seems unfortunate to us. Also if you want the armor to cover the pets that is different from the tanks that goes over the armor. In other words, there are many layers of defense that you will need to purchase if you’re going into this battle.
Perhaps one of the upsides to our collective focus on toy safety this year–the absence of a hot toy. With the news cycles focusing on the latest recalls, there really hasn’t been room for soft and fuzzier stories about the hot toy. As much as Elmo tried, he couldn’t giggle his way to center stage this season.
While we often have some hot toys on our list, most know that featuring the heavily promoted toy of the season isn’t our function. The reality is that a hot toy is not necessarily a great toy and certainly not a toy for everyone. A few years ago when Furby took off (in large part to a pre-market article in Wired Magazine) we were struck by the number of people trying to hunt Furby down for their kids–even though Furby’s gremlin like character would be frightening to most younger kids. Even though no child had played with the Furby when the article put the creature on the map. Quickly we learned that “hot” often has more to do with adult collectors on Ebay than a truly kid-driven craze. It can happen (Beanie babies, Cabbage Patch, the original Tickle Me Elmo!)– but they are few and far between (as most toy makers will tell you).
Now we’re left to wonder as we look around our homes—not whether we have the hot toy–but whether we have safe toys.