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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

UNBOXED + PLAY: Mattel's DC Super Hero Girls Action Dolls!

When I first wrote about DC Super Hero Girls just over a year ago, I knew that the initiative would be something special - a long-overdue chance to fill some gaps in entertainment and play. As parents of two young girls, my wife and I have seen the little ones embrace iconic superheroes like Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl (along with their male counterparts) without really having anything substantial to back it up, quite unlike the multitude of other pop culture interests out there. These characters were underutilized to reach new generations, their stories and adventures scattered through un-unified worlds and mediums. DC Super Hero Girls changed all that, bringing together the female heroes and villains of the DC Universe into a new realm - placing them as High School-aged students learning their paths in life, but in a way relatable to younger kids. With an online animated series, books, toys and more, it's all been given purpose - a mission that DC's Diane Nelson described as "stories of empowerment, inspiration and optimism." First rolled-out exclusively to Target stores this Spring, DC Super Hero Girls toys and products will go out en masse starting in June, with the full collection of poseable action dolls and figures starting to hit the toy aisles of retailers everywhere. The folks at Mattel recently sent us the first wave of six action dolls to check out, and we're presenting them now in this edition of UNBOXED + PLAY!

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Live Unboxing: Splashlings Mermaid Friends (Toys "R" Us Exclusive)

The "micro collectible" trend continues to grow of late with numerous new entries into a realm dominated by Shopkins. One of the latest entrants is Splashlings - "An Ocean Full of Friends" - a new line from Australian toymaker TPF Toys, available in the U.S. as a Toys "R" Us Exclusive. With over 100 seas-dwelling friends to collect, the folks at TPF sent one of their starter packs, along with five blind bags here to Rock Father HQ for review, and The Rock Daughters™ and I took to Facebook Live for a "Live Unboxing" (in this case, an unbagging). Now, despite the fact that our kids - and many friends and readers of this site - love the blind bags, capsules and boxes... I'm "Old Crankypants" since we tend to get so many duplicates. How did this assortment work out? Check out the video below!

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This PopTater is Mighty Strange... DOCTOR STRANGE, that is...

In my recent travels, I discovered that I was a little behind on my PopTaters news... that my friends at PPW Toys had slipped out early details on some new characters to join their ever-growing assortment of pop culture-infused Mr. Potato Head dolls, each crafted under license from Hasbro. With the success of their MARVEL line, which recently added some new members of THE AVENGERS, PPW Toys is unleashing Black Panther (hot off CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR), and the first-ever Benedict Cumberbatch PopTater: DOCTOR STRANGE! Ahead of the November 4 release of the next chapter in the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, this strange addition to the PopTaters collection will hit retail in August. Check it out below, and pre-order now through Entertainment Earth!

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Some Thoughts on the Shutdown of Disney Infinity...

It's a bummer that seemingly came out of nowhere this afternoon, the news that Disney is exiting the video games publishing business and shutting down Disney Infinity following the upcoming release of figures from ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS and FINDING DORY. Shocking as it may seem, I can't say I'm terribly surprised, as the hints of a crash have been coming - the "toys-to-life" gaming category having already peaked, its shelf life already dwindling. We've seen this before, with trends like music gaming dominating retail aisles with massive interactive displays and an ever-growing array of hardware, games and accessories. Eventually, consumer overload takes place, retailers get tired, and interest eventually plummets no matter how good the latest game in the series is. The biggest problem with games and toys and merchandising in general is pretty simple: there's just too much stuff available. We'll swing back to that in a minute, though...

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Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

This year, TOMY is celebrating 70 years of being John Deere licensee - a tradition that began with the first Ertl toy tractors back in 1946. Growing up in the 80s, my cousins and I had a pretty nice assortment of Ertl John Deere farm equipment - the big metal ones - and we played with them hard, in the sandbox... in the mud... in rain or shine. A few years back, our oldest daughter had a little John Deere hat that said "Dirt Makes Me Cuter," a statement that still rings true (though the hat is outgrown), and seeing that little yellow and green logo always made me recall my teen years living in the Quad Cities, not far from the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline. Living in Illinois, and having farmers in our family, in a lot of ways it feels like John Deere may be a part of our DNA, so it's always cool to see our little ones playing with toys that capture some of the same feeling from when I was little... and lately that feeling is back with some new items from the John Deere Preschool collection, sent to Rock Father HQ for review by the folks at TOMY. 

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