The life of a serious internet journalist is a tough one. One day we’re blogging about Harry Potter, the next we’re reviewing the latest X-Box game, and you never know when you’ll have to hunker down and do an in depth feature piece on Batman: Year One.
And sometimes, you get to go to the 2012 Hasbro Toy Fair.
If you’re drooling right now, you should be. This toy fair had anything and everything you could ever possibly want in a toy experience. It also had some of the most bizarre ideas for toys and games that I’ve seen in a long time. So, instead of just giving you guys a random laundry list of the items I encountered on the day that shall forever remain in my memory as “Toy Hallelujah Day,” I have divided the plunder into three groups: The Good, The Great, and The Truly Bizarre.
Now, if you’ll follow me, I’d like to show you all what you’re going to be wasting your money on for the next twelve months…
The Good: There may not be a new Transformers movie coming out this year, but you’d never know that from the insane amount of merchandise that’s being thrown into toy stores. One Transformers item that really got my attention is the upcoming Transformers Universe MMO. The gameplay on this looks really fun and pretty fluid, and they’re taking the lead from The Old Republic and letting gamers choose whether they want to be an Autobot or a Decpetacon.
I mean, is there really a choice? I feel bad, ‘cause I don’t know anyone that’s going to want to actually be an Autobot. Come on.
In the Star Wars domain, the guys at Hasbro made a change to their action figures that is so obvious, I can’t believe it’s taken them this long to figure it out. They are releasing a line with lightsabers THAT ACTUALLY LIGHT UP!
Honestly, I came up with this gem when I was five. It’s awesome, but I’m only putting it in the “Good” category because it’s totally slack on their part that it took them till 2012 to come up with this.
And, even though I’m not the world’s biggest G.I. Joe fan, there’s going to be a Cobra Trooper action figure that ties into the new movie that has a working parachute. They even demonstrated it and, I have to say, I’m probably going to buy it. And lose it after I throw it out of my window.
The Great: Even though the Transformers MMO looks super sweet, it pales in comparison with the other Tranformers game being released in the fall of 2012. I am referring to, of course, Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron. This is a first person shooter that takes place on the insane, apocalyptic planet that the Transformers are originally from. It’s essentially a prequel to the first movie and it is SICK!
Oh yeah, and there are Insectacons. You’re welcome.
Now let’s get real serious for a minute. Growing up, I loved playing with the Star Wars ships. I couldn’t help but think, though, that if I had designed the X-Wing, I would have brought the wings farther to the front. Well, now you can do whatever you want. Star Wars AMP’D is a series of toys that give you all of the component parts of the most iconic Star Wars spaceships, and lets you put them together however you want. You can make the TIE Fighter into a land vehicle. You can turn the AT-RT into a boat.
And speaking of amazing Star Wars toys, a massive version of the Trade Federation MTT (as seen in Phantom Menace) is arriving on toy shelves this fall, as well. It not only looks good, but has a motorized deployment hatch that opens and extends at the push of a button. Not to mention the 20 battle droids that are included inside.
The Truly Bizarre: One of the greatest, albeit strangest, reveals of the entire fair was a limited edition figurine that will be released at the San Diego ComiCon of Jar Jar Binks frozen in Carbonite. That’s right, I said frozen in Carbonite. As in, Han Solo circa the end of Empire Strikes Back.
And I hope Lucas keeps him there.
Another very strange toy was a remote controlled Spiderman Wall Crawler. It attaches via suction power and can scale up and down any smooth vertical surface, but it just didn’t look right. Although, I’m sure it would scare the Puppy Chow out of your dog.
There was definitely a tie for the strangest crossover promotion product. The Mr. Potato Head/Star Wars crossover character “Darth Tater” was adorable, but totally weird. And in the just plain pathetic category: Twister Dance featuring Britney Spears.
Don’t ask. Just… don’t ask.
And that brings me to the final category. What’s that? I only told you about three categories? That’s right. I did. Because the last toy is so un-friggin-maze-believa-tastic, that it defies categorization. But I’ll give it one anyway.
Come On! Give Me A Break! This is So Sick It's Dumb! In an Excellent Way!: One word. Laser Tag. Which is actually two words. But the new Laser Tag is going to melt your face off. Here’s how it works:
There’s no more vests. All you get is a gun. A big, awesome gun. And inside that gun you put your iPod Touch or iPhone, which then becomes your viewer screen. Now, you use the viewer screen the same way you would if you were playing Call of Duty, hunting down your enemy, and blasting them to smithereens… only you’re not sitting on your big fat butt, you’re actually chasing them.
When you do land a shot, the viewer screen adds special effects, so it looks like your friend is actually blowing up in front of your very eyes. This is, quite possibly, the greatest thing that ever was a thing. Amen.
So save up those nickels and dimes, kiddies. 2012 is going to be an expensive, and awesome, year of play!
What toys are you excited for? (We're gettting laser tag for the office.)