Are Today's Action Figures Imagination Killers?

Cynthia Dermody
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Imaginext Bigfoot

Imaginext Bigfoot by Fisher-Price; $100

There's a big Toy Fair going on in New York City. That's where the toy makers unveil all the playthings our kids will be asking for next Christmas. It's like in the fashion world -- sweaters and boots in the middle of summer.

But I'm not going. My goal when I leave the house is to go someplace that doesn't look like the current state of my living room.

Plus, I'm sad at the direction many toys are going these days, in a word: robots. Toys that do everything so our kids can do nothing.

Like my daughter's Zhu Zhu pets or her Fur Real Kitty. Just turn them on, sit back, and watch the show. How is that all that different from watching television?

When I was little, I played for hours upon hours with my model Breyer Horses. They did not talk, or jump, or gallop. I had to do that for them using my imagination. I'm very proud that I can still mimic a real horse whinny perfectly.

There is one toy I will miss seeing in person at the toy fair: Bigfoot by Fisher-Price. I don't know why, but I've always had a "thing" for Bigfoot.

I watched the famous Patterson footage over and over. (I watched it again just now in zoom on YouTube -- wow.) And I even saw the documentary movie Sasquatch (yes there actually was a movie) several times. Anytime the Discovery channel has a new special, which is essentially the same dated footage recycled with different edits, I have to watch.

The toy Bigfoot will be available in June for $100. Whoa, steep. But he's a remote-controlled robot, does over 80 actions and spoken phrases, including walking forward or backward and eliciting happy or angry emotions.

I wish they would come out with a second, non-robotic version of this Bigfoot figure for all those little boys and girls who do not imagine the legendary Sasquatch being able to throw a ball or perform somersaults.

What do you think of the robot trend? Are they taking the imagination out of playtime?

 

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