Friday, June 11, 2010

Toys that talk SUCK.

by Shaggy

This is something that's botherd me for a while now. It really started way back when my younger sister was a MUCH younger sister, and she was all into Cardcaptor Sakura.

When a kid is into something, you get them the toys so they can play that something themselves, right?

A cool toy was the Cardcaptor Wand staff and clow cards deck. Pretty much picture perfect from the show. You got the cards, you got the wand. YOU ARE SAKURA.

...wait, no, you're not. For you see, if you wanted to USE the magic of the wand (have it light up and make sounds) THIS happened:

THE DAMN THING TALKED FOR YOU! Wouldn't the kids want to say the magic words them selves, and then cast the wand spell?

The interesting thing is, the wand sounds could also be activated by motion, so when you swung it at a clowcard, it would trigger the lights and sound, but if you as the kid said "RELEASE THE POWER" then trigger the wand, it also says (in a horribly compressed voice) "RELEASE THE POWER", taking you out of the moment.

Simular to toys with pre-recorded sounds is toys with a very specific emotion or expression. Maybe if the intent is to leave them on your shelf for display, sure, some well posed and emoting figurene works just dandy, but when they're meant for kids to play with, I would think too much expression would be limiting.

Some action figures have such extrem emotions, they leave little room to expand on a character. For instand, an angry looking guy will always be an angry looking guy, no matter what the story is. In contrast to this, the somewhat vacant expressions of Barbies can lend them to being more of a blank slate, cappable of a lot more emotions through acting of a kid.

That being said though, I'm not sure kids actually care much about this 4th wall of toy design I'm running up against. They can take any inanimate object and make it talk and emote if they want to, regardless what it looks or sounds like.

I could end this article with a thought provoking "altho as far as I'm concerned" punch-line, but I don't got one. Just stating my observations.

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