Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Guide to the Best and Worst Toys of 2016

Buyer’s rejoice

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 10:16 AM

Ah. The holidays. The time of year when you try just a little bit harder not to disappoint everyone you know. As the numbing kiss of winter stings your cheek and seasonal depression gives way to buyer’s remorse, there’s no better moment to cozy up in front of your computer for some last-minute shopping. Since online shopping is usually a race to fill your cart before your Ambien kicks in, we thought it might be helpful to provide a brief guide to this year’s best, worst, and most lethal gifts for the youngsters in your life.

Holiday Dangers

Each year, parental watchdog groups such as World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) release their countdown of the most dangerous playthings on the market. While those of us who are older may remember a freer time when kids played Lawn Darts and that game where you try to stab the knife in between your fingers as fast as possible, today’s youth require much more care and consideration. Here are just a few of the toys deemed “unsafe” by modern standards.

Warcraft Doomhammer
click to enlarge There's no way this can go wrong - WATCH
  • WATCH
  • There's no way this can go wrong
Yes, surprisingly the Doomhammer did not live up to WATCH’s safety standards. It’s difficult to know what managerial or creative process went into developing such a toy, but here’s our best guess:

Jakks Pacific CEO: Alright Jenkins, we have the exclusive license to create an entire line of Warcraft products. This is a fantastical world of impossible creatures and magic where the only limits are those of imagination. What’ve you got for me?

Jenkins: A hammer.

CEO: Like a mythical hammer with an imposing name rich in intricate lore such a Thor’s Mjolnir?

Jenkins: I just thought we’d call it the Doomhammer.

CEO: And it’s just a large, heavy hammer made from rigid molded plastic to be sold to six-year-olds?

Jenkins: There’s also a choking hazard.

CEO: Clear out your desk, Jenkins. And move your things into the corner office, you beautiful bastard! You did it again!


Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers
click to enlarge Teach your children to hurl their bodies at one another from the safety of your home - WATCH
  • WATCH
  • Teach your children to hurl their bodies at one another from the safety of your home
As we mentioned earlier, children these days receive much more coddling than previous generations. Sadly, long gone are the days when you could simply drop off your kids at the nearest rail yard to spend time with the newest crop of boxcar jumpers, learning the finer points of swearing, soup-making, and love. Fortunately, thanks to the Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers your little snowflakes can still relive the age-old tradition of competitive child fighting while protected by a thin layer of inflatable padding.

SELFIE Mic Music Set
click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided
While some dangers are merely physical, other gifts pose the risk of stoking the flames of your child’s complete and total narcissism. By creating a device that combines a selfie stick with a microphone, the SELFIE Mic tells your kids they are the absolute center of the known universe. Only humility and modesty will be able to escape the gravitational pull of the blackhole that is your child’s personality after they receive this holiday treat.

This Year’s Top Toys

Nothing makes up for an entire year of neglect like bringing home this year’s hottest toys for the child in your life. And while the emotional scars of youth will long outlast the much-sought-after prize a little one unwraps during the holiday season, at least you can rest assured that your offspring will have one less thing to mention during therapy years later.

Hatchimals
click to enlarge It's an egg, then it's not - LEARNING RESOURCES/TNS
  • Learning Resources/TNS
  • It's an egg, then it's not
This is perhaps the top toy of the year. Following in the footsteps of Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, and Beanie Babies, Hatchimals offer kids the opportunity to hatch their very own bird-like pal before quickly losing interest. After 20 to 25 minutes of playtime, your Hatchimal will be ready to burst forth from the egg in which it was gestating. The hatching process can take up to 30 minutes, but once that’s done the fun can really start. Requiring constant attention, feeding, and burping, each Hatchimal undergoes several stages of maturation. From baby to toddler to kid, Hatchimals join the long line of products that teach kids the burden of interspecies parenting.

Speak Out
click to enlarge HASBRO
  • Hasbro
Labelled as the “Ridiculous mouthpiece challenge game,” Speak Out is being hailed by many as the board game of the year. And it’s easy to see why. Huddled around a table with plastic mouthguards distorting the smiles of your family, your goal is simply to communicate. Perhaps no toy this year better displays the fear and angst of adolescence, the everyday misunderstandings that you experience with your teen, and the dire need for plenty of antiseptic rinse.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Nostalgia, that sweet ache of what was lost to time. Loaded with 30 games, this smaller version of the classic console will give you the chance to relive the hours of joy you spent button mashing as a youth. You may have bought this as a gift for a kid, but the truth is that you’ll still be playing long after he or she has lost interest after realizing that video games are much better now. Well beyond the time when a parent or unfinished homework would have interfered with your completing a game, you’ll while away the late-night hours in search of princesses to save and bubbles to bobble. For those brief twilight hours, you’ll feel free again. Free from the mortgage, the bills, and the other responsibilities of adulthood, you’ll recall a time when the answer to all your problems could be solved with one easy answer: Up, up, down, down, left, right left, right, B, A. “If only the rest of life were so simple,” you’ll say to yourself as you sit alone in a dark living room as your family sleeps. If only being an adult were more Kirby’s Adventure and less Ghosts ’N Goblins.

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