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Tuesday, June 20 2017 13:01

Mattel Gives Ken a Much-Needed Makeover...

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While I'm still waiting for Mattel to finally create a "Rock Father - Friend of Barbie" doll (and keep in mind, Mattel & Step2 did make "The Rock Daughter Edition Hot Wheels Bed" for our youngest), Ken has finally gotten a bit of a makeover. Expanding upon last year's update to the Barbie Fashionistas line, 15 new and diverse Ken dolls, featuring three body types – slim, broad and original – and a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles and modern fashion looks. One of them has my camo shorts (Yes! Take that wife who hates them!) which I totally approve of, but can we all agree that the "man bun" is a bad thing unless you're a wrestler?

When I think of the toys of my childhood, there's a few that have pretty legendary status. There was a time when some of the best playsets were made of little more than cardboard, and because of that, not many of them survived. One such playset was one of my favorites - the G.I. Joe Cobra Missle Command Headquarters. Originally offered as a Sears exclusive back in 1982, this was one of the first G.I. Joe playsets that I had, and I played with it until it fell apart. While I still have the figures that came with it, the set is a memory (I might have some Super 8mm film of it), but now it's all coming back. Next month, Hasbro will issue a reproduction of that playset as an SDCC exclusive, complete with modern figures. Check this out...

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) play is hot right now, and looking ahead it's a category that will only continue to grow. For some toys placed in that category of hands-on learning, not all are necessarily "new," but sometimes new spins on some old classics. Marble play is pretty timeless, and I even had a Marbleworks set some 30-40 years ago, one that I believe my mom might still have. Likewise, my wife and I have played with some similar things with our own kids, and one recent offering is the Techno Gears Marble Mania Catapult set, sent to us for review by The Learning Journey, along with their new Techno Gears Bionic Bug.

Angry Birds has evolved... and you might even say that it just got weird. Rovio, the creator of the legendary Angry Birds, has just launched Angry Birds Evolution - a completely new spin on the game. Along with eastern-style RPG mechanics and promising "console quality graphics" on mobile, the birds are completely reimagined and redesigned to collect, train, and evolve... you could even say that "these birds are not to be flocked with." Rovio, in co-operation with Chimera Entertainment, have created over 100 new birds with multiple evolution states (some look suspiciously familiar to certain 80s action legends and comic book heroes). The dastardly pigs in never ending fauna swine conflict are led by the evil(ish) Don Bacon, who plans to turn the idyllic Bird Island into a hotel chain. Check out the launch trailer and a character featurette that looks quite PREDATOR...

It's go time! With Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3 racing into theaters this weekend, the folks at Disney Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have officially released Cars 3: Driven to Win for the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch™ and Wii U™.  Developed by Avalanche Software, Cars 3: Driven to Win "provides an entirely new interactive experience that is thrilling to play alone or with friends and family." Players can race as Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez, Jackson Storm and other beloved characters while mastering the tricks, skills and combat techniques needed to become the Ultimate Champion. Check out the launch trailer and full game details below!

On June 30, 2017, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy brings the marsupial back the the Playstation 4 with remastered HD versions of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped. They say that some things look better with age, and these remastered games certainly do. Check out the gameplay trailer, just revealed at Activision's E3 pre-show...

I never realized it until I was an adult, but if I were to create my own "Rock Father Toy Hall of Fame," PLAYMOBIL would be guaranteed a spot as one of the greatest toy lines of all time. Providing countless hours of imaginative play for kids since 1974, PLAYMOBIL has surprisingly steered clear of the licensing market (with few exceptions, like sports), but for 2017 they've jumped into that realm with Ghostbusters and How to Train Your Dragon - a couple of lines that are both unexpected, and ripe for some fantastic toys. For the former, PLAYMOBIL has created a new collection with cross-generational appeal, bringing Ghostbusters back into toy departments where kids of all ages can strap on their Proton Packs for some serious supernatural fun. PLAYMOBIL recently had their new Ecto-1 action vehicle sent to us for review in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™, and it's everything we'd hoped it would be... and more. Check out the timelapse build and hands-on action in the video below!

Last week, The Star Wars Show gave the world its first-look at the upcoming 40th Anniversary Star Wars Pinball Machines from Stern Pinball. Today, the folks at Stern (based right here in Illinois!) hit Rock Father HQ with the full details on what they've got coming. Star Wars pinball machines will be available in Pro, Premium and Limited Edition models, each immersing players in a dynamic and challenging Star Wars pinball environment as they battle to restore justice to the Galaxy.

The Pokémon world just continues to grow, and during the latest Pokémon Direct presentation this morning, Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company was joined by Junichi Masuda, Director of GAME FREAK, to announce multiple upcoming Pokémon titles for Nintendo consoles. Pokkén Tournament DX is the one we're most interested in here at Rock Father HQ, as it brings the franchise to the Nintendo Switch, while Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon will be hitting the 3DS. Those looking for some classic Pokémon action on current platforms will also have something to check out. Details and trailer below! 

This weekend, Warner Bros. will finally bring DC Comics' Wonder Woman to the big screen for her first feature-length solo film. To celebrate this momentous occasion, my friends at Sideshow Collectibles are giving readers a shot at winning their Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure. This incredible piece retails for $449.99, and is limited to just 6,000 pieces. Click here to enter, but hurry - this ends at 12:00pm PDT on June 8, 2017!

When it comes to Star Trek, I've always been partial to Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of that series, but you don't have to travel to the 24th century to get your own Galaxy-class, fifth Federation starship! Thanks to Bif Bang Pow!, you can own the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, available at San Diego Comic-Con International as an all-new Monitor Mate™ - and I've got your first-look courtesy of Entertainment Earth!

May 25, 2017 marked the official 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, and the folks at Funko marked the occasion by making their latest Smuggler's Bounty Box a themed affair to celebrate the big birthday. Since launching alongside The Force Awakens, each box (shipped on alternating months) has borrowed a theme based on a particular film (like the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), location (Jabba's Palace) or show (Star Wars Rebels). Over the past year and a half, the contents of the boxes has been a bit of a mixed bag, with certain months being fantastic, and others feeling sorta empty. It's unfortunate, but the 40th Anniversary Box hits on the latter note for us, which I will explain. First, check out our unboxing video...

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