LEGO does something good
! (Sets revolving around female scientists sold out in one day
LEGO does something bad
! (Sets with major petro-company branding.) [more inside]
Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins
is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins
has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric
, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black
Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine
" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex
a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental
. [more inside]
Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on
Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market
. But the history
of dolls outside
of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes
. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise
to domestic toy industries?
A long time ago, on a prairie far, far away...
Custom-made Star Wars
action figures, re-cast as Wild West heroes and villains.
blog showcases the toys and games Nintendo created in the period from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s, including:
Nintendo Popeye Trump cards
, Nintendo Love Tester
, Nintendo Ultra Hand
, Nintendo Disney Baseball Board
, Nintendo Companion
, Nintendo Mamaberica baby stroller
, Nintendo Monster Copy
, Nintendo Bee Hive Game
and Nintendo Mister Magician Coin & Stick
. Full list
Ever wonder what was inside
the Pillsbury Dough Boy? Well, now you can find out
Almost 30 years after original sale, some 80's toys are sought after for their less than pleasant odour.
If you can get hold of one today, you'll discover that the He-Man villains Stinkor and Moss Man still cling to their particular [pungent] aroma. [more inside]
Peter's War is the story of an outdoor war game that artist Peter Shulman has been playing for more than sixty years. It has some very unusual aspects to it that make it totally unique. It is in fact a huge installation type work of art. At the present time the war contains over 60,000 hand sculpted soldiers and more than 4,800 scale models, vehicles in 1/35 and 1/32 scale aircraft in 1/48 scale that cover over 30 acres.
The War in Pictures. [more inside]
You probably know of Paul Dini
as the guy who, over the past 20 years brought to television Batman, the beloved DC's animated universe
(with Bruce Timm) and Duck Dodgers (among many other things).
He's now working at Marvel after 20 years with Warner Brothers.
Speaking recently on Kevin Smith's podcast
he claimed that executives are spurning female viewers because they believe girls and women don't buy superhero show related toys
, which may go some way to explaining the Wonder Woman decision (previously
Dini's comments come at a time
when many feel
that the gender segregation
of toys is regaining strength.
Make presents for everyone in the world and save Christmas!
A new iteration of the august tradition of fictional Amazon.com product reviews has arrived: The 2-in-1iPotty Activity Seat for iPad.
(scroll down for reviews)
"The Synth Kit
that just hit the market originated
a year ago, at a TED conference where Bdeir
and comedian/musician Reggie Watts
met backstage after giving talks, and started discussing the idea of littleBits musical instruments."
Welcome to Dinovember.
"Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep."
By Refe Tuma
The National Toy Hall of Fame
has added its two latest inductees: the Rubber Duck
and the game of Chess
While featuring many interesting facts, the site does fail to mention Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck (featured multiple times here
) or Tim Rice's "Chess" (seen here
). [more inside]
"They pay a lot of attention to detail."
A DIY miniature world made out of household scraps.
Come over my house and we'll cook up a tiny Re-Ment dinner
...do you prefer Japanese
cuisine? Maybe something European or Chinese
? Perhaps fresh from the farm
? Save room for Decoration Cake
and Gummy Crepes
for desert. RRcherrypie's
YouTube channel has served up mesmerizing meals to millions. [more inside]
reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
The true secret of Easter
- but are toys
replacing candy (or, more awfully, live animals
) as the traditional Easter gift? And is that a bad thing?
explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of the countless corners of the world; saying, “at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play.” Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized Possessions. (previously)
NEW from VIDEO Magazine, arising out of its popular "Arcade Alley" column, it's ELECTRONIC GAMES Magazine
!(page of PDF links)
Brought to you by editors Frank Laney Jr. and Bill Kunkel
, and filled with all the latest news on programmable home console games, computer games (with special coverage for the new ATARI 800 system), stand-alone electronic devices and arcade gaming. [more inside]
Richard Garriott, perhaps better known as Lord British, has a wonderful collection of wooden automata in his house
, in his Austin, Texas home Britannia Manor II (complete with observatory, and put up for sale in 2011
). Here is an automata museum exhibit
courtesy the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Glasgow. Or perhaps
you would like
to see more
? Perhaps you find this new-fangled stuff insufficiently respectful of the past: would you like a history lesson
(links to the left)? Or might you like to learn how to make your own, out of paper
? If all else fails, how about these anti-war automata
What It Takes to Build a Lego Hobbit [cached version]
- How Lego's An Unexpected Gathering
was designed from the 2,700 pieces of the modern Lego "system of play", which remains compatible with a brick design that goes back to 1958
. Despite worries that the stacking brick system has become less creative
, a persistant series of complaints that have spawned their own bingo card
, it remains hugely popular, in part through quality control and clever licensing
. The Lego Bag-End house also comes in a life size version
, a creative and delightfully disturbing animated advent calendar (some images possibly NSFW). Via.
Move over Barbie
, Goldie Blox
is coming to town. A kickstarter
construction toy + book series targeting at 5 to 9 year-old girls.
Hey Metafilter, you like John Carpenter's The Thing
? Now, see the toys
from the merchandising tie-in! (SLYT, NSFW, possible spoilers)
makes luxury, design-oriented vibrators and other sex toys and accessories. ("Design inspired by Apple, not Hustler.") They'd like to change the way Americans think about them: instead of as 'dirty little secrets,' they're hoping for mainstream acceptance and to usher in an "Age of Great American Sex.
" (Via) [more inside]
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys
brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power
was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
The Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection
, given to Indiana University in 2006, is now online, with images and descriptions of some 24,000 puzzles, from an 18th century Japanese puzzle
to nearly 300 kinds of Rubik's Cubes
. [more inside]
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
sold separately) was one of many rad atomic toys
available for inquisitive young minds living in the US.
"Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products. Now, after four years of research, design, and exhaustive testing, Lego believes it has a breakthrough. On Dec. 26 in the U.K. and Jan. 1 in the U.S., Lego will roll out Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up
"The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot."
From Businessweek (print link, above; via BoingBoing
), an interesting look at Lego's new girl-oriented initiative.