Remember when you were a child and you dreamt about practically every single toy that was advertised on TV? Each new advert became something of an addiction and was more than enough to get you salivating in some bizarre Pavlovian response at the mere prospect of one day owning a 6ft Barbie or Megazord. Well just be glad your parents never took you to a Toy Fair. Because after spending a whole day there I’m a day dreamer all over again….
Yes this is a place where all your wildest toy dreams can come true. Where you can watch people getting excited by a talking parrot, watch mascots walking around like people and where you can even play a quick game of steal the dogs bone with the manager of a toy company. Really they should rename the fair Dream Factory 2007 and inject all the toy memories directly in to your brain instead.
It doesn’t help the dream response that many of the toys on offer won’t be on store shelves until this Summer or Winter, especially those based on forthcoming movies. Toys for Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Transformers, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four 2 and Disney Fairies all cleaned up the show and also offered tantalising glimpses in to the movies themselves. Spiderman 3 however was the overall king of the movies and thanks to the toys on offer I now know three major locations from the movie including some tidbits on the final battle.
Children’s TV favourites also took to the stands with Spongebob continuing his uncanny ability to look funny on any product be it a baseball bat or soccer ball. Aside from Mr. Squarepants, Dr Who clearly was the overall king and it seemed nearly every toy company at the fair had something to offer for the BBC cash cow. Bet they must be kicking themselves that Torchwood isn’t fit for kids…
In amongst the new toys were some surprisingly innovative variations of old classics. Monopoly for example will return in a number of new forms including “My first Monopoly” (a 20 minute long children’s version), a Simpson’s Monopoly with credit cards instead of cash and strangest of all “Monopoly Tropical Tycoon” (which uses a board and DVD to create new chance cards and events such as typhoons blowing away all your hotels!). Other new variants included Super Scrabble, a Game of Life where you can choose to backpack around Europe or a version of Operation with ailments such as “texting thumb”.
Another old favourite to return from the dead is Eternity II which is ready to take fill the hole Perplex City is soon to leave in our lives. Essentially a jigsaw puzzle which is notoriously difficult to do, it also has the added benefit of a $2 million prize for the first person to complete it. Don’t expect a genius to crack it in a day either as Eternity I was solved by a student in a mere 18 months for a cool £1 million (which is probably more than the current prize if today’s exchange rate is anything to go by…)
Aside from the shelves press releases revealed more interesting news such as the availability of a new Star Wars video game in September 2007 and the news that the Ghost Rider movie isn’t far away from our cinema screens. Elsewhere there was news of more Evel Knevel toys including a new figure and bike, which will once again remain faithful to the classic moulds and figures. And there’s also a variety of new arts and crafts toys to look out for from the teams at Flair, Tomy and Mega with even a few themed at getting boys involved too.
My toy of show would have to be the above Legend of Zelda figure which was so finely crafted it caught my attention the second I entered the show and will stay in my memories for weeks to come. As for my prediction of Christmas number one it has to go to the Transformers figure I saw which transformed from the Death Star in to an Optimus Prime styled Darth Vader! Clearly there will be some sweet dreams in store for the kids of the world soon…
Check back next week for my opinions on some of my freebies from the show and more reviews of products you won't see anywhere else.