Teen With Autism Becomes a Successful YouTuber Thanks To Her Dad’s Encouragement

Dad's support helps daughter with autism create successful YouTube
(YouTube/ToyQuest101)

Helping kids pursue their passions is a delicate business. We want to be encouraging but not pushy, helpful but not overbearing. It’s thrilling to watch our kids fall in love with their hobbies, whether they’re short-lived or end up lasting a lifetime. Things often become more complicated when our kids internalize stigmas that shake their confidence, but with support and encouragement, every single child can be successful in their own way.

13-Year-old Illiana, as most kids do, loves watching YouTube videos. In 2017, Illiana’s dad, Miguel Figueroa, had a brilliant idea – or so he thought. His daughter lit up when she watched her favorite videos, so why not start her own channel? When he approached Illiana with the idea, he was filled with enthusiasm simply thinking about his daughter pursuing something she loved. Her response, however, turned his enthusiasm to an immense sadness.

“She said, well, I can’t, because I had autism,” he told ABC6 “And it really broke my heart.”

Figueroa was not about to let his daughter give up before she even tried, and more importantly, he wasn’t going to let her believe she couldn’t do something simply because she had autism. The father-daughter duo decorated their basement with their collection of superhero paraphernalia, laid out stacks of comic books, and made the first “Toy Quest 101” video together.

Three years later, Illiana and Miguel’s channel has nearly 120,000 subscribers on YouTube. The adorable duo feature unboxing videos, toy reviews, and even celebrity interviews. The pair bond over their mutual love of superheroes, comic books, sci-fi, and most importantly, spending time together.

Their YouTube channel explains, “Our mission is to transform the lives of children with autism and special needs worldwide and inspire the lives of children and families through our videos and our story. Our vision is to bring awareness and promote a culture of acceptance where all kids with autism and special needs can be empowered to do what they set their mind to and not feel that their disability is a road block to accomplishing their dreams and or wishes.”

American Girl Doll of the Year Is an Animal-Loving, Wildfire Fighting Badass

Kira Bailey
(American Girl)

American Girl just unveiled their Girl of the Year for 2021. Her name is Kira Bailey and she’s an inquisitive 10-year-old passionate about animals who goes on an adventure to the Australian Outback. When she visits her aunt’s wildlife sanctuary she must protect her family and the animals she loves from a raging wildfire. Kind of a lot for a 10-year-old to deal with!

Admittedly, American Girl dolls were not my thing growing up (I didn’t have any sisters, so not really on my radar). But as a dad with three daughters, you gotta be flexible and learn to roll with what they are into. And the American Girl company has helped push the envelope for inclusiveness, featuring the first doll with hearing loss and the first child catalogue model with Down syndrome.

And as the dad of a nature slash animal obsessed daughter, she’s gonna be into it. The company is partnering with the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education service by supporting the organization’s mission to preserve Australian Wildlife by matching customer donations. The company said the wildfires in Australia and the U.S. earlier this year played a major part in dictating the story of their Girl of the Year doll.

“Kira joins our lineup of diverse and purposeful characters who star in stories that reflect the realities of the times,” said a spokesman from American Girl. “Through Kira, we hope our fans will learn we all have a part to play in taking positive action for our planet.”

The doll comes with a host of outback-themed accessories, but also the typical book accompaniment when it comes to rounding out her story and who she is. It’s all about the 10-year-old excited to leave Michigan for the summer (who wouldn’t be psyched to leave Michigan?) and care for animals at her aunt’s Wildlife Sanctuary and vet clinic in Australia. The company will also have a series of videos inspired by Kira on their YouTube page.

She does learn a lesson that should resonate with young kids (and really, all of us after 2020) everywhere: “you can’t let the fear of the worst keep you from living your best.”

UK Mom of Two Makes Inclusive Dolls So All Kids Can Feel Represented

Mom makes inclusive dolls
(Facebook/BrightEarsUK)

Seeing your child feel left out is always challenging. But while being left out at school can be fairly easily remedied with a few phone calls, being left out in other ways are far more difficult to address.

When kids are born with disabilities or medical conditions that change their appearance, over time they may begin to feel isolated because they look different from their friends. As if that isn’t difficult enough, kids who look different from their peers rarely see themselves represented anywhere. Not in their favorite movies or TV shows, not in their favorite bedtime stories, and not in the toy aisle at their local Target.

After her daughter was fitted for hearing aids, one UK mom named Clare Tawell set out to address the glaring gap in representation created by toy companies. Kids with altered appearances were previously unable to find dolls that looked like them, which was heartbreaking for parents and kids alike. But by modifying dolls, Tawell did much more than creating unique toys – she helped kids feel included.

Posted by Bright Ears UK on Friday, June 12, 2020

Tawell started an Etsy shop in 2017 to sell her inclusive dolls and went on to found a nonprofit called Bright Ears UK. Through her nonprofit, Tawell aims to create dolls that empower kids by helping them feel represented.

“I’m not doing it to make money,” she told BBC. “This is just fulfilling the need that isn’t being met.”

After seeing how great of an impact a doll with a hearing aid had on her own daughter, Tawell wanted to give as many kids as possible the same sense of belonging. Though Tawell is a one-woman operation at the moment, she expresses hope that major toy companies will follow her lead and create lines of inclusive dolls. Feedback from parents who have purchased Tawell’s incredible dolls have expressed a similar sense of awe – in just three years, Bright Ears has helped kids around the world feel seen.

“I know first-hand how special and empowering these dolls can be to children,” she said.

‘Jeans Guy’ Is The Mandalorian’s New Breakout Character

Jeans Guy
(Twitter/SubCity_Comics)

Baby Yoda was the breakout star of season 1 of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. He took over pop culture, becoming a cocktail and even a cereal, in addition to being a crazily in-demand toy. And now, season 2 of “The Mandalorian” has given us another breakout star: Jeans Guy.

Who is Jeans Guy? Where did he come from? These are stories we don’t have yet, that hopefully the rest of season 2 will fill in. The mysterious new character made his debut in episode 4 of season 2 and was spotted in the background of a shot of our heroes (the titular Mandalorian and his bounty hunting pals) shooting up an old Empire base. The crew member (or mysterious new character???) was spotted in the background of a shot and is clearly something that was missed in editing.

But the internet is having fun with it, as we should. Sub-city comics already turned the character into an action figure, which would probably be the hit of the Christmas season:

It quickly had fans reminiscing about perhaps the most famous editing snafu, the Starbucks cup that made it into an episode of Game of Thrones.

If you’re not an action figure collector, perhaps the Jeans Guy Lego set is more up your alley.

Jeans Guy quickly went viral, and as season 1, The Mandalorian would be served best by embracing it. They are currently working on the production of season 3, so hopefully, they are carving out a much larger role for mysterious Jeans Guy from the weird Empire base lab.

Also, having denim as official Star Wars canon opens up a ton of costume possibilities in future seasons.

And since we can’t see the face of Jeans Guy, it’s a possibility that it’s actually a character we’ve seen before in the Star Wars Universe.

With half of season 2 still ahead, we hoped to learn much more about Jeans Guy and how he fits into the Star Wars Universe. Sadly, it was recently announced that he was edited out of the episode.

RIP Jeans Guy, yet another casualty of 2020.

NASA Astronauts Bring Baby Yoda To Outer Space on Historic SpaceX Flight

Baby Yoda In Space
(YouTube/NASATV)

‘Baby Yoda’ was the breakout hit as a cultural icon from season 1 of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ and now ‘The Child’ has reached new heights, literally. A Baby Yoda toy was brought on board the SpaceX flight by NASA astronauts and the little guy hitched a ride to outer space over the weekend.

We’ve seen Baby Yoda as a LEGO creation, and as a hit in Build-A-Bear, but this is the first time we’ve seen a version of him where he’s seen most; inside of a spaceship. SpaceX launched four NASA astronauts on a taxi flight to the International Space Station. It’s a landmark first for SpaceX and of course, so who wouldn’t want to bring Baby Yoda to space to celebrate?

The Child actually was tucked along for the adventure in the Crew Dragon spaceship for an important role, the plush toy was the crew’s zero-gravity indicator. Once the ship is officially ‘out of this world’ the toy begins to float. The NASA crew kept it under tight wraps who their “fifth” passenger was until they were en route to the ISS.

It was left as a surprise to those watching the Livestream, and one of the astronauts told SpaceX mission control “Baby Yoda says you guys can come back on board,” informing mission control they could turn the cameras back on once the astronauts got situated for the journey.

“We’ve got Baby Yoda on board trying to take a seat right now,” one of the NASA people said on the live stream. You can then see the little guy floating around the Crew Dragon, and you can easily picture him in another episode of ‘The Mandalorian’, although this time he’s jet-setting around a galaxy much closer to home.

YouTuber 3D-Prints Giant LEGO Pieces and Builds Fully-Functional 30 MPH Go-Kart

YouTuber builds giant fully-functional LEGO go-kart
(YouTube/Matt Denton)

Since the dawn of toys, LEGOs have been a staple in toy boxes and bottoms of feet around the world. The LEGO brand has done an incredible job both keeping up with the latest trends and partnering with other companies to bring us every LEGO-y thing we could dream of. Well, almost everything. LEGO fans have gone to impressive lengths to create something brand new out of the world’s greatest stackable toys, and YouTuber Matt Denton is the latest LEGO innovator to throw his miniature plastic hat in the ring.

Denton is no stranger to using technology creatively. He explains in his YouTube bio, “I’ve spent 25 years in the UK Film and T.V. industry specializing in Animatronic Control systems. I was one of the creators and operators of the Star Wars droid BB-8. I created the two tonne walking hexapod Mantis Robot. I use my 3D printers to create giant versions of my favorite Lego Technic kits! My interests are Hexapod walking robots, robotics, electronics, hacking, coding, engineering, and 3D printing.”

This 3D-printing master has created giant versions of LEGO classics like the tractor, bulldozer, and forklift, but his latest project is next-level. Most of Denton’s projects are cool as heck aesthetically, but his new LEGO go-kart is fully-functional. He used his enormous 3D-printed LEGOs to make a go-kart big enough for him to ride and installed an electric motor for the full go-kart experience. Fortunately, he really thought this through – the LEGOs are attached with metal pins so the whole thing doesn’t fall apart as soon as he hits a bump.

Denton’s videos show the build process in-depth, from crafting an enormous bucket seat to the assembly of the frame itself to speed trials after the first build. In his first speed trial, Denton was able to get this LEGO racer to hit 30 MPH – but he’s not done. A couple of months after releasing the video of the go-kart’s speed test, Denton released a video showing his first rebuild.

This tech-savvy YouTuber’s attempts to constantly one-up himself are both entertaining and educational. Building on his previous designs literally and figuratively to create increasingly amazing things is something most of us don’t have the time or 3D printers to do, so going along for the ride is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Keep an eye on Denton’s channel for the latest XXL LEGO news.

Why Doll Play is Better Than Screen Time for Kid Development and Parent Sanity

©2020 Mattel
Post written in partnership with Barbie®

Let’s face it: It’s really hard to limit our kids’ screen time these days. From remote learning, apps, and an endless stream of new TV shows, kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens. While some screen use is certainly necessary from an educational and entertainment standpoint, taking play offline, specifically playing with dolls, like Barbie®, has been shown to have scientific benefits for childhood development that you can’t get from looking at a screen. Barbie and neuroscientists from Cardiff University have collaborated on a new study that shows how doll play activates brain regions that allow kids to develop social skills like empathy, indicating that doll play enables children to rehearse, use and perform these skills. Additionally, the findings also show that doll play allows children to develop empathy and social processing skills more so than solo tablet play, even when playing by themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why doll play beats the screen when it comes to your child’s development. Oh, and you know, keeping your own sanity because that’s important too.

Doll Play Helps Develop Conflict Resolution Skills

You may have noticed that with everyone home all the time, things can sometimes get a bit testy. Shows and games can provide a welcome distraction, but in most cases, they don’t teach us much. However, by playing with dolls like Barbie, kids can develop empathy that serves them not only in these uncertain times, but also helps to set them up for future success as they grow and develop in life. For example, if your child isn’t getting along with one of their siblings, they can use dolls to role-play and figure out a fun, playful way to work out their problems. So when Mom and Dad don’t have the bandwidth to settle another dispute, see if Barbie dolls can help your kids come to an agreement through the power of play!

Dolls Help Kids Feel Connected

Recess and playdates have certainly taken on a different form in 2020 and for kids that can be a major bummer. When your kid is feeling isolated, the whole family feels the strain. Barbie dolls can be a great tool to replicate real-world play patterns when the option of doing it in-person isn’t always on the table. According to Dr. Sarah Gerson, the neuroscientist who led the study at Cardiff University, “This play allows them to think about how their friend could be feeling (perhaps sad they can’t see each other) and how they might react (comforting that friend).” In the age of social distancing, Barbie dolls can help kids develop key skills they could be missing out on.

Dolls Can Give Parents A Welcome Break Too!

Who said kids should have all the fun? Parenting is a constant juggling act these days, and sometimes you just need to feel like a kid again. When you’re sick of virtual meetings and tired of having your work face on all day, take a play break with your little one. Get down on the floor, get creative, and let your imagination run free! Doll play is an especially fun way for parents and kids to bond because so much of it is created by the two of you in the moment: You and your kid can steer the session towards the interests and inside jokes that are most important to the two of you.

Did Somebody Say No Buttons and Passwords?

Even with parental controls, there’s no surefire way to make sure your screens are totally kid-proof. Doll play, however, is totally offline and carries no risk of your child ordering 100 packs of crayons with the click of a button. Your credit score will certainly be happy. Seriously though, by playing with Barbie dolls, young ones can unplug and let their inner kid run wild as they activate the regions in their developing minds that develop empathy.

Dolls Give Us A Look Inside Our Child’s Mind

The brain region related to empathy development is even activated when kids play with dolls by themselves, so encourage kids to play solo too! When kids play by themselves, they often voice different characters in role-play scenarios. We’re not saying you should spy on your kids, but listen in a little bit and see what kinds of things they like (or dislike) when their mind roams free with Barbie dolls. Staring at a screen is a passive activity, but doll play is the opposite. It can give parents valuable insight into the minds of their kids.

Whether it’s working on more serious matters like conflict resolution or just taking a play break yourself, doll play carries numerous benefits that you can’t get when the screen is shining bright in your kid’s face. By playing with Barbie dolls, kids can become even more empathetic than previous generations and that might just be the biggest benefit of all.

You can check out more findings from the Cardiff University and Barbie study here.

Study was commissioned by Barbie (2020). Study was conducted with 42 children (20 boys and 22 girls) ages 4-8 years old with full data captured from 33 children.

This post was sponsored by:
Barbie®

Grill King, Lord of the Lawn, and Dad Sneakers: Adult Scented Play-Doh Is Coming

Dad Scented Play-Doh
(Amazon)

Believe it or not, the holiday season is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of the whole gift-giving deal being a totally kid-centered effort. Reconciling the list of things your kids have asked for over the past few months with the list of things they’re unlikely to cause significant structural damage to your house with is no easy feat. This year though, the geniuses at Play-Doh finally have a little something for the adults.

To give grown-ups something to look forward to when it’s time to rip the way-too-shiny paper off those mystery-filled bad boys, Play-Doh is giving us a leveled-up version of what they make best. Yeah, it’s more Play-Doh. But it’s grown up Play-Doh.

No, it can’t fix whatever it is that’s wrong with your back and it doesn’t contain any alcohol, but grown-up Play-Doh comes in a pack of six different scents that are guaranteed to remind you of all the best parts of adulthood. According to the Amazon page, those scents are Grill King (smoked meats), Dad Sneakers (rubber), Lord of the Lawn (fresh cut grass). Moms will be sure to enjoy: Spa Day (floral), Overpriced Latte (coffee), and Mom Jeans (clean denim).

Ah yes, combining the smells of adulthood with the child-like urge to eat the goo you just pulled from a tub. An incredible crossover that leaves us asking “is it still non-toxic, or is this some kind of test?”

Amazon explains, “It won’t solve your first world problems, but it’s a great gift for men or women, fun white elephant gifts, stocking stuffers, fidget desk toys, gag gifts, etc. This variety pack of funny themes can also be funny anniversary gifts for mom and dad, a fun touch to your groomsman or bridesmaid gifts, and more,” because nothing says romance like a pot o’ mush, and of course, the 7th anniversary is the Play-Doh anniversary.

Since toy ads and seasonal aisles at every big-box store may as well be marked “12 and Under,” it’s important to take full advantage when grown-up gifts present themselves. As of now, Amazon is sold out – but add your name to the waiting list, and you’ll be rolling in Doh in no time.

In the meantime, you might be interested in our scented candles for dads: New Dad Shoe, Fire up the Grill, and Early Morning Mow.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

LEGO Celebrates The Mandalorian Season 2 With Life-Size 14,000 Piece Baby Yoda

LEGO Baby Yoda Big Build
(YouTube/LEGO)

LEGO has given us a huge array of Star Wars sets over the years, ranging from simple to over-the-top elaborate. The LEGO Star Wars partnership began in 1999, but due to the massive success of the iconic collaboration, LEGO has extended the partnership with Lucasfilm multiple times. Fortunately, we get to enjoy the sweet fruits of this match made in Alderaan until at least 2022.

The people at LEGO are extremely good at keeping up with the latest trends, releasing multiple sets based on The Mandalorian in under a year since the hugely successful series’ premiere. However, the first LEGO Mandalorian set was missing one very important character – Baby Yoda.

Baby Yoda quickly became the adorable, scrunchy little face of the Disney+ series, so its absence from the set was noticeable. LEGO remedied the situation by giving Baby Yoda its very own set. Though Baby Yoda isn’t actually the younger version of the wise old Yoda we know and love, Mandalorian fans quickly took a liking to The Child – maybe because whatever species these little green guys are, they’re freaking cute.

Over 1,000 pieces to build your very own LEGO Baby Yoda is a pretty sweet tribute – but how does 14,000 LEGO bricks sound? Big, it sounds big. And it is – in fact, LEGO celebrated the release of The Mandalorian season 2 by building a life-size version of The Child (a little over 22 inches tall). If you’re going to bring another Baby Yoda into the world, it’s important to make sure the little guy’s comfortable. Aside from building The Child himself, the LEGO masters built him his very own floating pod.

“Patience you must have,” real Yoda reminded us – and we’re pretty sure he was talking about this. Three master LEGO builders put this set together as a team, and it took a whopping total of 119 hours.

LEGO posted a video of the build on YouTube, but fortunately, they condensed 119 hours down to 55 seconds. The caption read, “‘The Child’ is back in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Watch this video of our master builders creating a scale LEGO model of the galaxy’s cutest co-pilot.”

“Why did we build the cutest co-pilot in the galaxy?” LEGO’s video asked, which is truly an excellent question.

“Because this is the way!” An extremely on-brand answer that’s The Mandalorian equivalent of “because I said so.”

Regardless of the real reason, big Baby Yoda is cool as heck. Don’t forget to watch the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian on October 30 on Disney+, and if you’re planning on attempting your very own Big Build, may the force be with you.

Mandalorian Monopoly Focuses on Protecting Baby Yoda

Mandalorian Monopoly
(Amazon)

During the pandemic, families have been forced to spend a lot of time together. Activities that might previously have previously occurred once in a while suddenly became commonplace, as everyone was stuck inside during quarantine. I don’t know about you, but my kids and I have taken in a lot of Netflix and Disney+ over the past few months. And we’ve played a lot of board games.

Now, just in time for the upcoming holiday season, someone had the brilliant idea to combine those two things. And we’re not even talking about the Elf themed monopoly (you can pre-order now!) or the countless other amazing TV and Movie themed monopoly editions.

Monopoly has released a brand new edition, and this one is sure to appeal to Star Wars fanatics. Especially those who are eagerly anticipating the return of The Mandalorian next month.

Mandalorian Monopoly
(Amazon)

Monopoly’s new Mandalorian edition, inspired by Disney+’s popular show, is available on Amazon as we speak for $30, and it’s pretty cool looking. It even tweaks the original game with a slightly different mission.

Here’s the description: “Imagine traveling around a dangerous galaxy where Imperial enemies threaten the safety of The Child, the character fans call “Baby Yoda”. In the Monopoly: Star Wars The Mandalorian edition board game, players can play as The Mandalorian, Cara Dune, IG-11, or Kuiil. Getting The Child token lets players enhance their character’s special ability and use The Child’s unique ability. Buy hideouts, win battles, and earn Imperial credits. The player with the most Imperial credits wins, but be vigilant! If an Imperial enemy gets The Child, the game’s over for everyone!”

It’s sort of a genius move to prevent players from using Baby Yoda as their token and instead make his protection the purpose of the game – as opposed to buying up land and erecting hotels and angering your siblings.

You can still buy places of course, and in this version, they are called “hideouts,”
and like any good Monopoly game, they allow you to charge rent.

There are also enemy tokens that cause complications, including Moff Gideon, the bearer of the legendary Darksaber. Encountering those enemies changes gameplay and leads to battles, all in the name of keeping Baby Yoda out of Imperial clutches.

Mandalorian Monopoly Unboxed
(Amazon)

Monopoly has a long history of creating themed versions of their games, but this one also tweaks the rules and changes the stakes, which should make for a more exciting family game night than normal.

And, with Baby Yoda involved, a much cuter one!

But it on Amazon for $30.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Adidas Teams up With Lego and Star Wars for Two New Legendary Sneakers

Adidas Collabs
(Adidas)

Adidas gets it. Shoes should be one of two things; enormously comfortable with little regard for appearance, or they should be plain fun. The brand has been making news in the last few weeks with two new collabs that are deeply entrenched in nostalgia. First, they teamed with Pixar and Damian Lillard for some Buzz Lightyear sneakers. Now, they’ve beyond, beyond infinity by joining forces with the folks at Star Wars and LEGO.

Adidas is known for some big swings, like the “Game of Thrones” inspired shoes that came out shortly before the final season. And LEGO itself is always game for a collab that makes sense, such as teaming up with IKEA. The Adidas Original ZX8000 will sell out, there’s no question there. It’s going to go down in the pantheon of collectible shoes. Not only does the shoe colors remind you of the iconic toy, but there’s literally a Lego brick on the laces. Interchangeable lace options and brick add-ons basically let you customize them however you want, which just makes them more fun.

The shoe became available on the Adidas website on Friday, September 25th.

Maybe Legos aren’t your thing. Maybe you don’t want to protect your feet from stepping on a Lego by wearing Lego, I get it. But you still have options, if you want a shoe to remind you of your youth. Adidas is also releasing a Star Wars shoe, this one dedicated to everyone’s favorite elderly Wookiee.

Chewbacca is an iconic and underappreciated legend in the Star Wars universe. He’s been in more Star Wars movies than nearly every other living character (droids don’t count). You can embrace your inner Wookie with the ‘Adidas Rivalry Hi Chewbacca’ which is a high-top covered in fur. The laces feature Star Wars and Chewie is on the soles. They even added his trademark bandolier to the tongue of the shoe. They’ll be available on the Adidas website on October 21st, just in time to get you hyped for the start of Season 2 of The Mandalorian (the only good new Star Wars content we have).

Super Mario Bros. Celebrates 35th Anniversary With Revamped Game & Watch Handheld

Nintendo Game & Watch
(YouTube/Nintendo)

Super Mario is having one heck of a 35th-anniversary celebration, and since Nintendo says the celebration will continue until March of 2021, things are just heating up. So far, brands like Hasbro and Puma have joined the party, bringing us Mario-themed board games and some bright as heck Super Mario sneakers. Finally, Nintendo has stepped up with an anniversary offering of their own – they’ve decided to release an updated (but still completely retro-looking) version of the OG, the Game & Watch handheld.

The Game & Watch series was a line of handheld devices sold by Nintendo from 1980-1991, aptly named for the device’s two functions – playing games and telling time. Each device featured a single game and a small digital clock display in the corner of the screen. During a Nintendo Direct Showcase, Nintendo announced that the Game & Watch was making a comeback in honor of Super Mario’s 35th.

Unlike the original, the upgraded Game & Watch has a color display, and more than 12 pixels. For the ultimate hit of nostalgia, Super Mario Bros will come pre-loaded on the handheld system, along with Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, and the classic Game & Watch Ball (though this version will feature Mario instead of the handheld system’s mascot, Mr. Game & Watch).

In the 40 years since the gaming system was originally released, Nintendo also made some improvements on the “watch” portion of the Game & Watch by adding a Mario-themed clock and a fully-functional alarm (which, to be fair, was present in some of the handheld device’s later versions). The 2020 Game & Watch has the same classic look and gameplay as the original – ah, the simplicity of the “+” control pad.

In another fun Mario-themed twist, the handheld also has a screensaver with a variety of animations – 35 of them, to be exact, one for each year we have known and loved the Super Mario Bros franchise.

Keep your eyes open and your Google alerts refreshed, the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Game & Watch goes on sale on November 13th for $49.99.

You Decide Who Shot First With LEGO’s 3000+ Piece Mos Eisley Cantina Set

LEGO Mos Eisley Cantina Set
(Lucasfilm/Disney, LEGO.com)

Few pieces of cinematic history are as hotly debated as the iconic shootout between Han Solo and Greedo the bounty hunter in George Lucas’s 1977 classic, “A New Hope.” In case you need a refresher, it was a typical day at the Mos Eisley Cantina when a confrontation occurred between the two. Greedo forces Solo to sit down at a corner table at gunpoint, demanding that he pay back the money he owes. During the interaction, Solo quietly readies his gun under the table as Greedo says that he’s been “waiting a long time” to capture him. Cooly, Solo replies “Yes, I’ll bet you have.”

Here’s where things get sticky. In the original 1977 version of Episode IV, the camera zooms in on Greedo’s face as we hear a blast – the shot then cuts to the slumped-over Greedo, never having fired. Purists hold this series of events as the real version, claiming that ”Han shot first”. The semi-rogue hero didn’t think twice before shooting the bounty hunter, solidifying him as the ruthless badass we both admired and feared.

20 years later, Lucas released a special edition of the trilogy with a key difference. In the updated Cantina scene, Greedo and Solo fire at the same time, with the bounty hunter somehow missing from just a few feet away. Because Solo’s shot was now self-defense, he lost a bit of his rebel street cred and a lot of his badass allure.

Now, the scene is in your hands thanks to LEGO. Whether you’re a “Han shot first” purist or you’re willing to accept the (somewhat less cool, sorry) self-defense story, you can make it a reality with LEGO’s most intricate Mos Eisley Cantina set to date. The set contains 3,187 pieces, enough to give this classic scene the detail it deserves. It comes with 21 mini-figures including Han Solo and Greedo, along with several alien patrons of Tatooine’s most popular watering hole.

LEGO Mos Eisley Cantina
(LEGO)

The set also contains a speeder and dewback so your characters can GTFO when things start to get messy. LEGO’s new Mos Eisley Cantina set isn’t the toy giant’s first take on the scene, but it’s by far the most expansive.

The set’s design director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen spoke to StarWars.com about his vision. He explained, “It should be possible to recreate all the scenes from the movie with it! That wasn’t enough, though. We wanted the model to look accurate and very detailed on the outside, also.” He continued, “We believe we succeeded there by adding the Dewback, the Jawa junk shop, and all the other smaller details. All this was included to give the LEGO model the very special atmosphere in and around the Mos Eisley cantina as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.”

LEGO Mos Eisley Cantina
(LEGO)

The research the design team put into creating this set is extensive. Not only did they watch the scene countless times, but they collected photos from books, pulled anything they could find from Lucasfilm Licensing – they explored every possible avenue to ensure they were able to create the full picture.

There is, however, one small surprise in store for those who purchase the LEGO set. Frederiksen explained, “The model includes an ejector seat so a minifigure can pop out of the seat when hit by the opponent’s blaster. We have included the function in both Greedo and Han Solo’s seat, so the decision is yours!”

LEGO’s most elaborate Mos Eisley Cantina set ever will be available to LEGO VIP members on September 16 at LEGO retail stores, or online to anyone interested on October (who shot) 1st.