Scott’s Toy Box: Toys For All
Toys From Comic Con
This October, I got to fly up to New York City to attend the New York Comic Con. It was a fun—but also tiring—event. I met the cast of the sci-fi show Haven, watched an early showing of the Cartoon Network movie Level Up, and got to hear about what’s coming up in the comics I read. Also, while I was there, I was on the lookout for some great toys, and I think I found something for everyone.
First, for the younger kids, I found Puppet Heap Playthings. Puppet Heap is a company in New Jersey that has made some shortfilms. The Puppet Heap Playthings are puppets from their film I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. The first series of playthings includes Mother Hubbard, a constable, an octopus cab driver, a doctor, a dog named Toby, and a cat named Lucy. Most of the puppets’ hands are operated by the movement of your fingers; the dog puppet uses your hand to operate its mouth. Each puppet also comes with a code that unlocks content. Codes are available at spudbottom.com, where you can also watch the story of Mother Hubbard. You can find the Puppet Heap Playthings on Amazon.com for about $20.
Next, for teenagers, I found Batman: Arkham City. It’s a video game for the Xbox 360 or PS3. This is one of the best video games I’ve ever played. You play as Batman (and sometimes Catwoman) as he fights crime in a part of Gotham City that has been turned into a prison. This game is called a sandbox game because in the video game’s world, you can go anywhere you want; carry out missions that move the story forward; or perform side missions that can be played at any time you want within the story. The game is for teenagers though, because the story is pretty dark and at sometimes scary. It’s more like The Dark Knight, so I’d say if you feel your child is old enough to watch that movie, he is old enough to play this game. You can find it on Amazon.com for about $47. (If that is too pricey, you can get the first game Batman: Arkham Asylum for $20.)
Next, for the adults, I found the Magic Wand Remote Control. This wand really does magic… well, the same kind of magic your TV remote control does. With a flick of your wrist, turn your TV on or off; roll the wand in your hand to adjust the volume; flick it up or down to change channels. You program the remote yourself, so you can choose which of the 13 motions you want to operate your TV. You can also combine it with other remotes to also control your DVD player. This remote can be purchased at Hammacher.com for $90.
Even More Toys!
After Comic Con was over, I found even more great toys, so I decided not to limit this column to the usual number of toys I write about. So consider this a double-stuffed column and check out these awesome toys as well.
If your child wants a dog this Christmas, but he may not be ready for the responsibility, then try Wappydog. Wappydog is an electronic dog game from Activision for the Nintendo DS. That’s right, not only do you get a DS game, but you also get an electronic dog. The game has two modes: home and travel. The home mode allows you to interact with the physical dog. You can play Rock, Paper, Scissors against it, or play other games that you unlock as your friendship grows. In travel mode, you take Wappydog with you, and you can play with it, groom it, and more on your DS screen. Wappydog costs $48 at Amazon.com.
If you’d rather give a gift to your whole family, try Phase 10 Twist. In this card game, players try to get a type of hand that’susually a set (all numbers being the same) or a run (cards in numerical order) or a combination of the two, in 10 different phases (the phases tell you which type of hand you are trying to get). If you get the hand, you move to the next phase; if not, you stay on the phase you are on. The twist here is that there is a game board to move around on. The game board tells you what phase you are on and whether you can move based on if you get your hand or not. There are also twist spaces that allow you to either go for a phase that is next to the twist space or draw a twist card that will give you a different phase. This game may sound complicated, but it is fun, and the instructions lay out the game in an easy-to-understand way. You can find it at Learning Express for $20.
Finally, if your little ones like to play house, get them something for their kitchen like Melissa & Doug’s play food. I got to play with the grill set, which comes with a green pepper and an onion that you can “cut up” (each into three pieces); two pieces of shrimp; two small tomatoes; and three chunks of beef. You also get a knife, tongs, and two skewers (all wooden, like the food), as well as a grill that can be used to store everything. There is also a list of games that can help teach your child counting and colors. You can find this at Learning Express for $19.99, where even more play food is sold, including an ice cream set.
About the Author: M. Scott Anderson lives in Jackson and is on toy overload.