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.

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.

LEGO and IKEA Collab Will Have People Lined up for Blocks

IKEA and LEGO unite to release BYGGLEK Storage
(Instagram/ikeausa)

Since the creation of the very first LEGO in 1932, people around the world have struggled with the same problem. How do we keep these alarmingly sharp blocks from stabbing us repeatedly in the foot? You might be thinking, “if it’s really that big of an issue, just stop buying LEGOs.” But how can we when they keep making adult-themed ones. Plus, all parents know that childhood isn’t complete without this simple yet brilliant toy.

Fortunately, IKEA is teaming up with LEGO to solve this ever-present problem once and for all. Together, the two brands have created a line called BYGGLEK (wonder who won the coin flip on that naming convention), which combines the classic playfulness of LEGO sets with the storage genius that is IKEA. According to the press release, “reorganizing children’s creative space during playtime not only disrupts their play but also their creative expression and growth.” The statement continues, “Therefore, the IKEA and LEGO brands wanted to create a storage solution that itself offers a fun and playful experience.”

 

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Excitement builds. Available October 2020. #IKEA #BYGGLEK #LEGO #PlayDisplayReplay

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Four products will be available in the BYGGLEK collection. A set of three small boxes, two larger boxes, and a set of classic LEGO bricks compatible with all other LEGO sets. The top and front parts of the storage boxes will have LEGO studs so children can build and store their creations right on the box.

Rasmus Buch Løgstrup, designer at the LEGO Group explained, “BYGGLEK is more than boxes. It is storage and play intertwined. BYGGLEK provides families with a product range that helps create space for more play in their everyday – fuelling creativity and making it.”

LEGO sets prepare kids for the inevitability of one day having to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture – it only makes sense that the two would eventually team-up. You can get your very own BYGGLEK set at IKEA stores throughout Europe and the US starting on October 1, 2020 – until then, watch your step.

New Star Wars LEGO Set Recreates Empire’s Legendary Scene

Bespin Duel Lego Set
(LEGO/Disney)

We can all count the most shocking movie twists of all time on one hand.

He was dead the whole time. He was Keyser Soze the whole time. He was Tyler Durden the whole time.

But for many of us, there is one twist that towers above them all. And not merely because it happened on a space station in the sky. It’s the climactic reveal in The Empire Strikes Back, when the evil Darth Vader tells aspiring Jedi, and last hope of the galaxy, the truth about his father.

There’s a reason The Empire Strikes Back is considered one of the best sequels of all time, and recently topped the pandemic box office.

This indelible scene, preceded by the duo’s first one-on-one encounter and lightsaber battle, was, is, and always will be one of the most shocking and incredible movie moments of all time.

It doesn’t matter if you saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theater on opening night, on VHS in your bedroom, or sitting on the couch while your dad films your reaction.

It will never stop blowing minds. And now you can recreate it yourself, in LEGO form!

LEGO just announced the release of a new LEGO set titled “Bespin Duel,” which “celebrates the moment that changes everything. Marking the Empire Strikes Back’s 40th anniversary this year, the new set will debut on August 27th on Target.com. The $40 set contains 295 pieces recreating the duel on Cloud City, just before Luke loses his hand and plummets down the air shaft.

You’ll have to recreate the dialogue yourself, but something tells me that won’t be too difficult. Just remember, he never actually says, “Luke, I am your father.”

My Playtime Goal: Create A Lifelong Memory

This article is sponsored by Bitty Baby™ from American Girl

When I sit down to play with my daughter, my goal is to create a memory that she’ll keep for the rest of her life. Ambitious, I know! 

But it’s more aspirational than anything. Shoot for the moon and land among the stars; Shoot for a lifelong memory, and have a great time together. Or even just make my daughter laugh a little. It’s a win no matter the outcome.

I hate when people say you can’t be friends with your kids and instead you need to be a disciplinarian. I don’t feel the two things are mutually exclusive. My daughter is one of my favorite people in the world to hang out with; we have such a good time. Nobody makes me laugh harder. I’d consider her certainly to be one of my best friends. The thing is, she respects my discipline even more because of that dynamic. When she makes mistakes or needs guidance -as all kids do- she trusts me because our relationship is rooted in being friends. She knows I’m there for her as much as I’m there to look after her. It’s a great balance for us, really. So when we hang out, we have a blast. And not every time, but many times, I catch myself wondering, “When she’s older, will she think back and remember all the fun times she had with her dad?” I think she will.

She constantly says and does things that take me aback. It’s like looking into a mirror at a tiny female version of myself. We have such a similar sense of humor, for one thing.  Our playtimes are very much rooted in making each other laugh. One of our favorite pastimes is called Bitty Baby Impressions. It sounds like an avant-garde art project, but let me explain. Over the years she has accumulated quite the collection of Bitty Babies, from the people who make the American Girl dolls. She loved them as a little girl, and they still hold a special place for her now. Originally we’d play together and she would give each of her dolls their own character and personality. Normal kid stuff. But as she got older, and developed her own sense of humor, the game has…evolved.

To start, each of us selects one of her Bitty Babies at random. Then we each give our doll a name. Often it’s a ridiculous made-up name. But usually, we name the doll after someone we know. Her favorite thing to do is name her doll after me. What follows can only be described as an improv roast battle with the dolls! 

We voice the dolls and have them talk to each other. Undoubtedly we do ridiculous voices: crazy deep, or an obnoxious falsetto, or of course the classic cartoonish accents. If her doll represents me, she turns it into a caricature of me, exaggerating my mannerisms or things I say all the time. Relentlessly making fun of me. It’s HILARIOUS. To see her imagination come alive, and how that changes over the years is so enlightening into the kind of person she’s becoming. But it also showcases all the lessons she’s learned from me that really stick with it. We may be trying to make each other laugh, but it’s clear she’s learning how to listen, how to understand other people. Essentially: How to care. 

Sounds weird right? But it combines all the best parts of being a kid: toys, imagination, playtime with your dad, and hilariously sick burns. And since being a parent is the best job I’ve ever had, I take a little pride in seeing her emulate my parenting in different ways over the years.  And man, do we laugh and laugh. It’s the best. Last week we laughed so hard my wife came in to check on us to make sure we were okay. 

The laughs are the best, but the most priceless moments are when I catch her emulating my parenting in more sentimental ways. Sometimes, when she thinks I’m not looking, I’ll see her playing the game on her own, pretending to be me or her mom. But instead of making fun, she’s acting caring and empathetic and nurturing. Recreating moments when we bandaged her boo-boo or read to her at night. I’m not going to lie, it catches me off guard! As parents, we often feel we aren’t doing enough or we’re falling short of what we think we should be. But seeing my parenting through the eyes of my own child – seeing her version of me as some kind of dad superhero? Man, that gets me every time. I promise to do my best to not stray too far from that idealistic perception she has of fatherhood. And in doing so, I know she’ll be a great parent herself someday.

So at the end of that day, did I achieve my aspirational goal? Time will tell. But I hope if you ask my daughter when she’s 71 what she remembers about her dad, she’ll say that he gave her the same care and attention I watch her emulate today. And If I’m lucky she may even tell you about that one time 60 years ago when she used her Bitty Baby to make her dad laugh so hard he had tears in his eyes.  

Bitty Baby™ from American Girl helps dads and daughters discover a world of make-believe together while learning the importance of love and kindness.

As You Wish: We May Finally Be Getting a Princess Bride Lego Set

LEGO Princess Bride
(LEGO Ideas/FSLeinad)

A must-have addition to any themed collection is a relevant LEGO set. LEGO has done one heck of a job over the years (88 years, to be precise) of staying up-to-date on the latest trends and keeping fans coming back for more. LEGO and Star Wars have been good friends since 1999 when the first LEGO Star Wars set appeared at an international toy fair – since that fateful day, over 700 additional Star Wars sets have been produced much to the delight of fans around the world. LEGO has also created niche sets based off of some of our favorite movies and TV shows like Home Alone and Seinfeld.

It’s no secret that the LEGO people (the big ones who run the company, not the little guys that come with the sets) love their fans. LEGO users everywhere can submit ideas directly to the LEGO website, where others can see and vote on user-generated content. Recently, a user named FSLeinad submitted an incredible design idea to the people at LEGO, and the LEGO community is all over it. With over 6,000 supporters so far of the 10,000, the design needs to be considered by LEGO, this movie-inspired set is well on its way to becoming a reality.

The Princess Bride LEGO set would contain 1,000 pieces – enough to recreate three classic dual scenes from the 1987 film, and your very own fire swamp. It will also include six figures – Vizzini, Inigo Montoya, Fezzik, The Man in Black, Princess Buttercup, and a rodent of unusual size. FSLeinard explained on his product idea page, “The Princess Bride is loved by many people, including me, and I have always wanted to see it in LEGO. As no set emerged, I took it upon myself to create the best set of it that I could through LEGO IDEAS. After a few months of pondering, I started the actual building process, and have tried my best to do the classic justice.”

LEGO and Princess Bride fans agree this set goes above and beyond. “Super beautiful set! I love everything about it from the details to the colors,” one user commented, “supported a long time ago!” Another said, “I love this project. With the updates, it just keeps getting better.” FSLeinad takes the time to respond to most comments on his project, which is extremely impressive given that there are currently over 2,400. FSLeinad has made modifications to his set based on suggestions from the LEGO community, one of which added a rock for Fezzik to throw (an essential addition, if you ask us).

Paying homage to the movie that inspired him, FSLeinad wrote: “There’s a shortage of perfect sets in the world, It would be a pity if you didn’t support this one.” What are you waiting for? Make the inconceivable conceivable – head over to the LEGO Princess Bride product idea page to show your support.

Knowing Is Half the Battle: G.I. Joe Returns as a Retro Collection

G.I. Joe Retro Collection
(Hasbro)

Like many kids who grew up in the 80s, I loved G.I. Joe.

I loved watching the cartoon and playing with the figures, most of whom were at my best friend’s house next door because his parents bought him every single toy in the world. I remember seething with jealousy when he got the massive G.I. Joe aircraft carrier for one of his birthdays.

Eventually, I grew up and forgot about all of this angst over Eric Pepe’s luck, and my parents’ refusal to go broke buying me action figures, but recently it all came rushing back when I heard the news: Hasbro was bringing their classic GI Joe figures back.

The news actually broke in June, when the toy company announced their G.I. Joe: Classified Series as part of their relaunch of the iconic GI Joe brand.

Their awesome new website has all the details, including the 50-year history of G.I. Joe and a list of all the characters that have been reimagined for this relaunch of 6-inch figures. The first six to be released are Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Destro, and Cobra Commander.

Hasbro

On top of the website and these new versions is Hasbro’s launch of G.I. Joe’s Retro Collection, which means I can go snatch up all action figures my next-door neighbor had in his playroom, complete with old school packaging. (Hasbro did the same thing with their Star Wars vintage line.) The first three being released are Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Baroness.

You’ll be able to snatch them up at Walmart in October, provided Eric Pepe doesn’t get their first!

The 15 Most Popular Toys From the ’90s

Top 15 Most Popular 90s Toys
(Getty / Education Images / Chesnot / John T. Barr)

When someone references something from the ’90s, my brain still categorizes it as something taking place roughly 7 to 10 years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s a defense mechanism preventing me from focusing too hard on my body’s gradual decay and slow march towards death. But let’s not focus on that right now.

Instead, let’s dwell on the special and bizarre decade that was the ’90s itself. The books were weird. The food was awesome. Companies were going nuts with crazy, neon-colored ideas that, as kids, we couldn’t stop pining over. The toys, specifically, held a very special place in our hearts, even if they seem a little absurd in retrospect. The internet was in its infancy so we didn’t have detailed reviews or YouTube unboxing videos. We just had TV commercials that made us salivate at the prospect of getting our grimy hands on the newest popular gadget. It was a sickness and we loved it so damn much.

So here’s a list of some of the most popular toys from the 90s that we ached to have and still can’t seem to forget. And the cool part is a lot of them are still for sale!

Tamagotchi Digital Pet

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Tamagotchi
(Getty / Xavier ROSSI)

Just because we didn’t have smartphones or tablets like kids nowadays doesn’t mean we weren’t completely addicted to other tiny screens. Tamagotchis—every kid’s favorite black & white virtual creature—required constant care from birth to their inevitable death when you forgot to feed it or clean up its pixelated poop. Hmmm, this all seems mighty familiar now that we’re parents.

Fun Fact: Tamagotchis could start their own families. You and a friend could breed a male and female Tamagotchi, after which the female would produce two eggs—one for each parent to care for respectively. No custody battles here!

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Stretch Armstrong Action Figure

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Stretch Armstrong
(Getty / Leon Neal)

Everyone’s favorite gel-filled action figure has actually been around since 1976 but he remained popular and in production until 1997. Stretch could be pulled, twisted, and tied into a near-infinite number of positions up to 5 feet in length. By popular demand, he even made a resurgence in 2016 and can be purchased today!

Fun Fact: As of 2017, Stretch Armstrong stars in his own TV show on Netflix called Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters. Whether it’s actually good is for you to decide.

Buy for $35 on Amazon

Pokemon Cards

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Pokemon Cards
(Getty / picture alliance)

While technically a card game and not a toy in the traditional sense, we can’t talk about ‘90s crazes without talking about Pokemon Cards. This paper-based phenomenon was an instant success when it dropped thanks to the already surging popularity of the Pokemon video games. Just about everyone spent their time playing with or trading their card collection during recess… except for that kid, Kyle, who had a holographic Charizard and made sure EVERYBODY knew.

Fun Fact: Kyle is in prison now (probably).

Buy for $6 on Amazon

Skip-It

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Skip-It
(YouTube / wiifermadness)

The Skip-It was released in the ‘80s but didn’t really hit its stride until the ‘90s. Not exactly an innovative piece of tech, it was literally a rolling ball attached to a string tied to your leg that required you to jump over it as you spin it faster and faster. Of course, the ball only really rolled on hard surfaces, nearly guaranteeing bodily injury when you eventually tripped and fell on the concrete. Oh well, pain builds character.

Fun Fact: The addition of the skip counter in the ‘90s led to sales doubling compared to the late ‘80s. The then-CEO gleefully referred to it as a “Skip-It Renaissance.”

Buy for $16 on Amazon

Furby Robotic Toy

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Furby
(Getty / Matthew Fearn - PA Images)

Odds are pretty good that you were one of the many kids who felt snubbed on December 25, 1998 when your Christmas presents were markedly Furby-less. These little beaked, furballs were a massive commercial success with their moving eyes and unnerving ability to gradually learn English. Of course, the real joy was teaching them swear words and laughing as their batteries died, causing their voices to deepen and slow until they sounded like tiny, possessed demon animals. God, what a treat.

Fun Fact: An English-to-Furbish (the Furby language) dictionary was published in 2005 and included 121 words, including terms like “dog” (“bar-bar”), “joke” (“loo-loo”), and “whassup?” (“doo-oo-tye?”).

Buy for $65 on Amazon

Polly Pocket Dolls and Accessories

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Polly Pocket
(Pinterest / Good Housekeeping)

A doll that could fit in your pocket doesn’t exactly sound revolutionary but ‘90s girls went completely ape shit over Polly Pocket and her teeny accessories. Polly’s pocket-sized dollhouses came in a variety of pretty magical designs, including a wooden ship drifting in the ocean or a bright pink palace with gold accents. Of course, Polly was also the perfect size to be a choking hazard or get sucked up in the vacuum: two slightly less luxurious homes.

Fun Fact: When I turned 6, my older sister borrowed $5 of my birthday money to buy a Polly Pocket and has still never paid me back. Yes, it’s been 25 years. Yes, I still remember, Leslie.

Buy for $11 on Amazon

Nintendo 64 Video Game Console

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Nintendo 64
(Getty / Future Publishing)

Objectively one of the greatest video game systems of all time, the Nintendo 64 sent shockwaves through the gaming community when it dropped in 1996. If you were one of the lucky few to get one early after its release, you instantly gained celeb status in your friend group. Even if you didn’t have one, you begged your parents to take you to Blockbuster so you could get a few precious minutes with that legendary three-pronged controller yourself. The N64 boasted some of the top games of any console.

Fun Fact: The console’s most popular release title, Super Mario 64, is in fact the bestselling game of all time on the Nintendo 64… by a lot. It sold around 12 million copies while the next highest seller, Mario Kart 64, sold a paltry 9.8 million.

Buy for $165 on Amazon

Hit Clips Digital Audio Player

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Hit Clips
(eBay / allynelson123)

Who wanted dumb old CDs with full-length albums when you could have a tiny plastic cartridge that played 1-minute clips of a song? Yes, Hit Clips might have been one of the stupidest concepts when it comes to music consumption but thanks to heavy promotion from McDonald’s, Radio Disney, and Lunchables, late-‘90s kids couldn’t seem to get enough of them. Now, shut up – I’m listening to the chorus and half a verse of “When It’s Over” by Sugar Ray.

Fun Fact: A 1-minute clip of music might not be great but the ultra-lo-fi mono music that Hit Clips provided… ALSO sounded awful. It was like listening to someone play music through a speakerphone that had horrible reception and was also on fire.

Buy for $16 on Amazon

Pogs Cap Game

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Pogs
(Getty / Xavier ROSSI / Gamma-Rapho)

Even though they’d been around for decades, Pogs soared in popularity during the ‘90s. You probably had hundreds, won fair and square during lunch or recess, all thanks to your trusty go-to slammer(s). What was on yours? The Superman logo? Bart Simpson? A holographic skull? It didn’t matter – they were all cool as hell… unless you used one of those metal ones. You, sir or ma’am, are a cheat and have no honor.

Fun Fact: POG stands for passionfruit, orange, and mango. The cardboard discs were actually bottle caps for POG juice bottles made by Haleakala Dairy in Hawaii.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

Beanie Babies Stuffed Animals

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Beanie Babies
(Getty / JOYCE NALTCHAYAN)

No ‘90s toys list would be complete without the worldwide phenomenon that was Beanie Babies. Each creature was filled with plastic beads that made them heavier than your everyday teddy bear and included a TY tag, which revealed the animal’s name and a cutesy poem about them. God forbid you remove that tag, though. These bad boys were collector’s items. Folks dreamt of paying off their mortgage or sending kids to college with the money from their Beanie Baby collections, and while some are definitely worth a pretty penny nowadays, others are basically just adorable stuffed animals that your parents won in a fistfight inside your local McDonald’s.

Fun Fact: The most expensive single Beanie Baby is the purple Princess Bear, made in honor of the late Princess Diana. Its extreme rarity has earned an asking price of around $500,000. Time to go digging in your parents’ attic!

Buy for $7 on Amazon

Super Soakers Water Guns

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Super Soakers
(Getty / Fabian Posselt / ullstein bild)

Water guns were generally pretty lame until Hasbro started pumping out Super Soakers in 1990. These pressurized water weapons put measly squirt pistols to shame as you were finally able to launch powerful streams of water at your friends from an impressive distance. Sure, Super Soakers caught some heat in the media for looking like actual guns, but that just made us want them more. The company has since grown into a billion-dollar brand, and “Super Soaker” has even begun being used generically to refer to any pressurized water gun.

Fun Fact: The Super Soaker CPS 2000 Mark 1 released in 1996 was considered by many to be the most powerful water gun made by a toy company. It could fire an entire liter of water in about one second and provided the shooter with some noticeable recoil. Some of those unlucky enough to be on the receiving end complained about minor injuries; however, a legend arose that some kid’s eye was shot out after catching a blast in the face at close range. The story has never been confirmed but the CPS 2000 Mark 1 was discontinued soon after these rumors spread.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

Talkboy from Home Alone

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Talkboy
(YouTube / Laura Legends)

When a toy is used by a child to thwart violent home invaders, it should be no surprise when it becomes an item wanted by kids everywhere. The Talkboy was released on November 20, 1992, the same day Home Alone 2 debuted and it was an instant hit. Granted, the cassette and recording quality probably weren’t good enough to actually trick anybody, but why waste an opportunity to call someone a filthy animal?

Fun Fact: A pink version was released a little later, dubbed the “Talkgirl,” because gender roles, I guess.

Buy for $229 on Amazon

Bop It Audio Game

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Bop It
(YouTube / classic90sfan)

Just because a game is easy to understand doesn’t mean it can’t be difficult. The original “Bop It” rhythmically spat out instructions to either bop it, twist it, or pull it – commands that required you to engage one of the three parts of the toy. Mess up a command or take to long and you’re out. Oh, and the game gradually increases speed as you play. It’s a fun game to play alone or with friends as long as mild anxiety attacks are your kind of fun.

Fun Fact: The original Bop It model had a limit of 100 points while the second edition released in 2000 allowed a score of up to 200. Reaching the highest score ends the game with a victory song and, hopefully, an intervention from your friends to find a new hobby.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

Easy-Bake Oven

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Easy-Bake Oven
(YouTube / Lane and Lexi’s Funhouse)

For most, the appeal of the Easy-Bake Oven was less about actual baking and more about being able to cook your own junk food whenever you wanted and without parental supervision. Sure, it felt like it took hours for the 40W incandescent bulb to heat a single serving but it was all worth it to be able to cook brownies and riddle your body with sugar all by yourself. Ok, this actually sounds a lot like my diet in adulthood.

Fun Fact: In 2003, an updated version of the Easy-Bake was released, called the Real Meal Oven. The newer model could cook two dishes at once and at higher temperatures because who doesn’t love a good fire hazard?

Buy for $30 on Amazon

Tickle Me Elmo Plush Toy

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Tickle Me Elmo
(Getty / Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times)

I never knew anyone who actually wanted a Tickle Me Elmo but seeing people lined up outside various K-Marts in the December cold, fist-fighting to get their hands on one of the red, giggly muppets was Christmas PR at its finest. Everyone wanted one just to say they had one. Of course, once kids realized that it was just a doll that vibrated and laughed when you poked it, they ditched the thing (likely for another toy on this list). Your dad likely drank a little extra egg nog that day while staring into the fire as a result.

Fun Fact: In 2001, a “Surprise Edition” of Tickle Me Elmo was released. Five of these Elmos were programmed to stop laughing on Jan 9, 2002, indicating that the purchaser had won a prize – the grand prize being $200,000! It was like Willy Wonka but without all the gruesome child deaths.

Buy for $32 on Amazon

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BEHOLD! LEGO NES Building Kits Revealed

Lego NES Set
(LEGO)

Yesterday we got a tantalizing glimpse at LEGO’s exciting new Nintendo set, which is set to work in conjunction with the interactive Super Mario LEGO set we told you about a few months ago.

Well, now we have the official announcement of the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building kit, complete with a collection of photos showing us exactly what we’re in for on August 1, when it hits the market.

The kit includes a game controller and a retro TV set and it looks amazing.

“Super Mario has been a cherished figure in the gaming world for over thirty years now,” said Maarten Simons, Creative Lead on LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System, the LEGO Group, as part of today’s announcement. “Many adults still fondly remember that first time they saw Mario leap across the small screen, even if the graphics were a lot simpler than they are today. With the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System, we’re letting them truly indulge in that nostalgia, recreating one of the most-loved consoles of all time so they can see the Super Mario from their childhoods once again – and even to share the experience of gaming in the 1980s with their own children.”

Check out the video trailer and all the awesome images:

Images:

(LEGO)
(LEGO)
(LEGO)
(LEGO)
(LEGO)

Hasbro Releasing ‘Top Gun’ Transformer Complete With Volleyball

Top Gun Transformer
(Hasbro)

There was a time when toys were just for kids. When studios collaborated with toy companies to promote blockbuster movies with new toys, they revolve around kid’s movies like Disney and Pixar and superheroes.

Nowadays, neither toys nor superheroes are for kids, and adults are better off than ever. A few months ago, Hasbro teamed up with the people behind Back to the Future for a Delorean Transformer named Gigawatt. Now they’ve turned to an upcoming movie. Top Gun: Maverick was supposed to hit theaters this summer, but COVID derailed that. We have yet to see Tom Cruise reprise his role as the daredevil pilot. But we can play with a Transformer based on it!

According to Nerdist, the Transformer turns onto a fighter jet, and comes with a “screen-inspired miniature motorcycle accessory” The toy also features fold-up wings and a helmet designed to look like Maverick’s gear in the new movie. Most importantly though, it’s ready to be your wingman should you find yourself in need of a beach volleyball partner with “two alternate hands that can hold the included volleyball accessory.”

 

Volleyball Top Gun Transformer
(Hasbro)

The box is even on-theme, built to look like an aircraft character.

The Transformer will run you $50 if you can get to it. Hasbro says it’s available for a limited time only!

Better get to it before the pattern is full!

Interactive LEGO NES Console Set Coming In August?

NES Lego Console
(Lego/vjgamer)

When I was a kid and my older brother was about to leave for college, I sold his Nintendo system at a local tag sale. When he found out, he was very upset, because it was his and he wanted to take it to school with him, and also because I only got twenty bucks for it. I was unable to make it up to him at the time, but with some news that just came out, I might be able to soon!

A few months ago, we shared the news of LEGO‘S collaboration with Nintendo for an interactive LEGO Super Mario. Now there’s a full-fledged LEGO Nintendo set that will work with the Super Mario.

LEGO tweeted a video today, with a tantalizing tease.

The reaction to LEGO Super Mario has been incredible,” said Jonathan Bennink, Digital Design Lead on LEGO Super Mario, via ComicBook.com when the full product line was revealed. “Super Mario is such an icon – and fans have been highly anticipating the release of the full details of the product line. Our entire range – from the Starter Course to the Power-Up Packs, through to the Expansion Sets and Character Packs – have been built to bring Super Mario, his friends – and his enemies – to life. We love how creative Nintendo and LEGO fans are, and can’t wait for them to unleash their imaginations in how they interact with Super Mario in the real world.”

Pictures have been leaking of the LEGO set, which will retail for around $250 and include 2,646 pieces. Rumors say both the LEGO Super Mario and the LEGO Nintendo will be available on August 1st.

Just in time for my brother’s birthday!