They call it "the Oscars of the toy industry," and today the finalists have been revealed for the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, presented by The Toy Association. Announced at Play Fair in NYC, the 122 finalists can be voted on by consumers between now and January 5 as their favorite picks in each of the 17 categories will compete for the top slot. As someone who writes about toys regularly both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and at The Toy Insider, I have some pretty strong opinions about these toys... and it's gonna be a tough race - there's some fantastic toys going up against each other! Check out all the finalists below, along with my "Rock Father Pick" for select categories, along with some "Rock Father Approved" items that we just like a lot...
My love of Playmobil runs deep - a toy line that I didn't personally have as a child, but one that I've long-admired as among the best toy brands in history. In the course of more than four decades of success, one thing Playmobil never really did until recently is enter the world of pop culture licensing. Launching into those waters among their hit Ghostbusters collection is one based on the world of DreamWorks DRAGONS - the hit Netflix Original Series spawned from the popular How to Train Your Dragon films. An Official Selection in my 2017 Holiday Wish Guide™, Playmobil DreamWorks DRAGONS Hiccup and Toothless brings the famous duo together in a classic style!
There's certainly people who don't want to admit it, but the holiday season is upon us! Whether you choose to celebrate a holiday during the end of the year or not, my friends at ThinkGeek have an incredible selection of fantastic gifts for anyone on your list - even if that person is you! And maybe... just maybe, you're such a scrooge a lovable prankster that you wish to spread some mischievous joy among your family and co-workers? Or perhaps you'd like to carry the monstrous fun of Halloween throughout the rest of the festive season? No matter what you're into, ThinkGeek has some fun stuff, and they've teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to offer-up a Holiday Wish Guide™ Giveaway! One (1) lucky reader will take home a $25 ThinkGeek Gift Card, plus an Annoy-A-Tron Prankster Pack and more!
The Rock Father™ is a MEGA™Ambassador and Beyonder
When the Halloween season rolls around, families always start thinking about their costumes. In a lot of ways, the spirited season manages to unlock creativity that stays otherwise locked-up throughout the year. For many, there’s a hero just waiting to break out - but there’s no need to keep those characters bottled-up throughout the year! We often combine cosplay (what was called “dress-up” back in the day) with regular play, allowing our kids to inhabit their favorite characters as they engage in imaginative play and world-building here at home. With MEGA Construx™, families can build new worlds based around some of their favorite character from popular franchises like Despicable Me®, Halo®, Pokémon™® and Saban’s Power Rangers™… coincidentally, ones that have become staples of Halloween.
The theatrical release of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is fast-approaching, and of all the new characters and creatures that have been revealed, I don't think there's another with more buzz than the porgs. These little birdlike creatures are inhabitants of Ahch-To, the island where Luke Skywalker has been hanging out for a bit, and what we know of them so far is that Chewbacca seems to bond with the creatures. Already spawning some adorable merchandise and an upcoming book, Chewie and the Porgs, now comes news that they'll get the 6" action figure treatment from Hasbro this spring. The crew over at Hasbro just sent over an official photo of the porgs, announced this weekend at the MCM London Comic-Con.
In 1984, the world was first introduced to two teams of heroes, both based out of New York City, and each comprised of four members with a distinct set of talents. Operating in two different dimensions (and under different rights holders), the odds of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES working alongside the GHOSTBUSTERS seemed unlikely. Defying the odds, that's exactly what happened back in 2014, when IDW Publishing brought the whole crew together for an interdimensional adventure in comic book form, released as a 30th anniversary celebration for the two franchises. Now, in 2017, they've come back together for a comic book sequel, and for the first time ever... toys. From Playmates Toys comes NINJA GHOSTBUSTERS, a collection action figures that features the Turtles as their Ghostbusters counterparts! Sent to us for review, NINJA GHOSTBUSTERS land not only in my annual Halloween countdown, but also on the 2017 Holiday Wish Guide™!
Updated 10/30/2017: Disney Store TOYBOX Action Figures are a new line of toys that include characters from STAR WARS, MARVEL and PIXAR. Each figure features 14-points of articulation, with the launch coming on November 3. The figures will retail for $12.95 US/$15.95 CAN. More updates follow the original article below!
Earlier this morning, visitors to the ShopDisney website (an affiliate) started seeing an advertisement for something interesting on the "New" page. Disney Store's TOYBOX action figures are touted as making their debut in-store and online on Friday, November 3, 2017. "Get ready to interact with PIXAR, Star Wars and Marvel characters like never before," it says. With no formal announcement yet, what's particularly notable is that the two figures featured are of Rey and a First Order Stormtrooper from Star Wars: The Last Jedi... but that they're styled almost exactly like their video game counterparts where in the long-shuttered Disney Infinity. Here at our house, the figures from that game are still in-use, and just yesterday our youngest daughter was playing with the Star Wars ones. There's a huge appeal in those designs.
As the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have evolved over the past few decades, they've had a habit of stepping into their own version of the "monster mash" on more than a few occasions. Mikey, Leo, Donnie and Raph have not only battled all manor of supernatural beast, but they've also become them at times. In a tale that finds a quartet of reptiles mutated into humanoid form, few things are off-limits as the story sometimes becomes multi-dimensional. Have they really become monsters, or are they simply wearing costumes? Depends on the time, but years ago Playmates Toys issued some crossover figures in which The Universal Monsters were mashed-up with the Turtles themselves. Now, that general spirit is back with TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MONSTERS + MUTANTS, a recent four-episode arc of the hit Nickelodeon series (now in its final season), and with that comes some fantastic new action figures from the folks at Playmates!
Retro pop culture continues to be hot, and with that the folks at Funko are continuing their series of Pop! Vinyl figures that a crafted in pixel art. Presented in the style of the 8-Bit games of the 1980s, the next round of 8-Bit Pops are from the horror collection, with A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees and a Xenomorph from Ridley Scott's Alien - all available for pre-order via my affiliates at Entertainment Earth.
In the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron mentions that The Resistance has "a spark that will light the fire that will burn The First Order down." But thematically, what if the players on the other side feel the same way? Back it up around 30 years, and you're in the timeline just following the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi, and that's right where EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II lies. To avenge the death of The Emperor, they follow his instructions to "ignite the inferno" - making reference to The Inferno Squad, in an effort to burn The Rebellion down. See the new single-player trailer for the game below, and look for it on November 14, 2017. Exclusive pre-order deals available via my affiliate, GameStop.
The Rock Daughters™ are Nintendo Kid Reviewers. Product provided for review by Nintendo of America.
When I first played Splatoon 2 at a Nintendo Switch launch event earlier this year, I immediately pegged it as a game that my girls were gonna love. I jumped-in to a test run of local multiplayer against a full field of players, the interesting aspect being that I was the one player in the mix who hadn't played the original Splatoon. On the surface, I thought it was a simple paintball game - a shooter in which kids could splatter their digital world and have a fine time doing it. Thing is, it's actually so much more, with a world of "Inkling" shapeshifters who move between humanoid and squid forms, swimming in ink to refill their weapons as they navigate a well-thought world with real missions. After receiving a copy of the game for review from our friends at Nintendo this summer, I've had a chance to play it myself, but I've also had the opportunity to see just how much the kids like it - but also how the digital world of Inkopolis has come to life in the real world via new toys from JAKKS Pacific.
1997 was a pretty good year. It was the year I met (and was soon engaged to) the girl who would eventually become my wife, and it was also a big year for toys. I was actually working for Walmart at the time, and I remember the original Tamagotchi craze like it was yesterday. It came in an era when Tickle Me Elmo and Pokemon were also possible subjects to the infamous "Do you have _____?" that retail workers were getting slammed with on a daily basis. Now, in an era where toys like Hatchimals encourage kids to nurture electronic pets, the return of 1997's digital pet looms, with the 20th Anniversary Edition of the original Tamagotchi set for release on November 5, 2017 in limited quantities via Bandai America. But, like other recent retro comebacks (NES Classic and such), this Tamagotchi is a miniature version of the original device.