FAIL! 5 Toys/Games that need improvement

We don't spoil our 2 ½ year old, but he has collected his fair share of toys and games, especially over the last year or so. Here are four that hold a special place in our hearts (read: make us laugh every time we hear them).

1. The O Sole Mio Dog

By the sound of it, you probably think our batteries need replacing. But guess what? This is what the dog sounds like whether the batteries are fresh or not! And, no, we did not buy this for him... a kookie relative did, who'll remain anonymous. The jury is still out on which version is the most lackluster: the Italian or the Ragtime (wait for it!)

2. Matchman

Our son LOVES my iPhone. In fact, more than 50% of the apps on my six pages are his games. Most of them are really good and he's already learned how to spell, which is better than I could do at 2 ½. But this Matchman game is lacking, big-time, especially in the sound-effects department. Listen to the guy they got to record the colors, for instance. He sounds like he's asleep, or possibly stoned. Plus, dig the severe hiss each time he speaks, as if the sounds were recorded on a cassette tape and then transferred to mp3. It's unreal!

3. Tozzle

So Tozzle is actually an amazing app. Our son mastered the many puzzles that come with it long ago, yet they're still entertaining him"¦ which is hard to do. But the girl they got to record the names of the letters in the alphabet puzzle isn't a native English speaker, and you can't tell many of them apart, especially the R, Y and I. When he's playing this one, my son likes to say, "The phone is making a mistake, Daddy." He couldn't be more correct!

And here's our son Jack, telling us about it:

4. The Phillie Phanatic Musical Doll

When you squeeze the hands on the Phanatic, he plays different tunes. The right hand tune, the trumpet/"charge!" works perfectly fine. But the left-hand tune, ""Take Me Out to the Ball Game," has serious note/rhythm issues. Have a listen.

5. Spirograph (the new one)

When I was growing up, one of the best parts about being sick was my mom getting out the special "home-from-school" toys from the closet. My favorite of the bunch was Kenner's Spirograph, as seen in the below commercial:

Long discontinued, Hasbro now makes a couple versions that pale by comparison. They only give you circles (no cool shaped gears) and they're flimsy ones, at that, almost so cheaply made you can't even use them.

But rather than just complain, I'm trying to do something about it! Join me and more than 100 other people as we try to bring back the original Spirograph! That's right, if you're on Facebook, you can Fan our BringBackSpirograph page and help us make a statement.

How about you all? Own a toy or game that makes you shudder? Tell us about it!

LEGO Is Rolling Out Its First Sustainable, Plant-Based Blocks

LEGO produces roughly 19 billion elements each year [PDF], and until recently, most of those bricks, minifigures, and accessories were made using oil. Now, the toy company has announced that it's experimenting with more sustainable production methods for certain items. As Mashable reports, the company will start selling 'botanical' pieces made from real plants this year.

To craft the new type of material, LEGO is sourcing sugarcane from Brazil. The crops are grown on agricultural land rather than former rainforests, and the sourcing has received the stamp of approval from the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, an organization that encourages corporations to make sustainable, plant-based plastics.

Making LEGO parts from sugarcane results in a softer plastic, so the new method will only be used to make plant pieces like leaves, bushes, and trees for now. The bioplastic botanicals will start appearing in LEGO boxes this year and become standard by the end of 2018.

“The LEGO Group’s decision to pursue sustainably sourced bio-based plastics represents an incredible opportunity to reduce dependence on finite resources," Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at the World Wildlife Fund, said in a release from LEGO.

Though the switch will reduce the company's carbon footprint, the bioplastic botanicals still only make up of a small fraction of their total product line. LEGO says the change represents one step in its mission to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030.

[h/t Mashable]

Creative Beasts
These Scientifically Accurate Dinosaur Toys Are Ready to Rule Your Desk
Creative Beasts
Creative Beasts

In May 2016, we told you about Beasts of the Mesozoic, a line of Kickstarter-backed dinosaur toys that would reflect the feathery truth about the mighty beasts and provide an alternative to the Hollywood-enhanced glamour of the Jurassic Park franchise.

Then, absolutely nothing happened. Having being fully funded on the crowd-sourced platform, Beasts seemed to be mired in production issues. Now, nearly two years after designer David Silva announced the project, the toys are finally ready to hit shelves.

A Beasts of the Mesozoic action figure in retail packaging
Creative Beasts

The Beasts line will initially consist of 11 figures due to ship this month, with six more expected to arrive in May. Included in the first wave are Velociraptor mongoliensis, Atrociraptor marshalli, Balaur bondoc, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Zhenyuanlong suni, Pyroraptor olympus, Linheraptor exquisitus, Velociraptor osmolskae (red), FC (Fan’s Choice) Dromaeosaurus albertensis, FC Pyroraptor olympus, and FC Zhenyuanlong suni.

In his updates, Silva said the delay was due in large part to how quickly the scope of the line grew. At the time the campaign started, he was planning on just three figures that would ship by May 2017. By the end, he had 25 items, including accessory packs.

You can pre-order the first wave ($35 to $40 each) at BackerKit.


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