What old-school toys are due for a comeback?
Since January there have been articles predicting what toys would make a comeback for the 2012 holiday shopping season. More recently, lists of the top 10 toys from the '90s making a comeback have been making the rounds. (Like it or not, the '90s happened long enough ago that we can examine them as a discrete decade. Does that make you feel old, or what?)
So we're not going to give you another list. Instead, we want to know:
An updated Furby (now with creepy LCD eyes!) and a redesigned series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures are among those getting the most attention. My Little Pony has been back for a while now with a new companion cartoon show.
Who could forget the huge favor Disney's Toy Story (1995) did for Hasbro's Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. (A shame it didn't have the same effect for the Slinky Dog — though it may be for the best: Nothing takes the fun out of Christmas quite like untangling a Slinky on Dec. 26.)
Transformers have been huge with the franchise reboot that hit theaters in 2007 — almost more cartoonish than the '80s cartoons. I don't recognize Michael Bay's monstrous, acrobatic, deadly robots, but the new toys sure look cool and just as unaffordable as when I was a kid. At least Peter Cullen is still around to voice Optimus Prime.
There is a rumor that Cabbage Patch Kids are back, but I don't believe it. They don't have touch screens. They don't recognize voice commands. And there is no action-packed movie tie-in. Huh?
The ghosts of toy stores past seem to revisit us every year. As long as parents are buying presents for their kids (or advising them in their letters to Santa), nostalgia will inform at least some portion of Christmas lists heading northward.
Plus there are always hipsters around to make things cool again — witness razor scooters and sock monkeys.
But even the classics have to adhere to modern standards. Some toys are growing up with us, like the Easy Bake Oven, which no longer uses that terrible inefficient high-watt light bulb to bake your little tyke's treats. And a new version of Monopoly now comes with a faux credit card scanner. (Can't remember the last time I bought a house with a credit card.)
Even wacky old Furby has an accompanying iPad game that you can play with him. There's some magic in that combination of old and new. And really it's that sense of wonder and imagination and possiblity we're trying to inspire in our kids, and re-inspire in ourselves, isn't it?