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Toys

The Toy Fair's Top 10 Strangest Products 173

Posted by michael
from the log-log-it's-heavy-it's-solid-it's-wood dept.
FloggingMollyrox writes "UGO looks at the recent 2004 Toy Fair's Top 10 Strangest Products. Forget about Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man, the real stuff was an art farm that grows vegetables, a pogo stick that shoots you over the moon, 'real' shrunken heads, and an educational plush toy based on an alien invasion."
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The Toy Fair's Top 10 Strangest Products

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  • Huh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mephie (582671) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:27PM (#8377310) Homepage
    I'm not sure if the Baboochi story is a really cute tale about pacifism (proper spelling optional), or if it's a really screwed up tale of what happens when you try to be nice to people who don't appreciate it...

    Either way.. I suppose it's an interesting concept... and they are kind of cute...

    • Re:Huh... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Gubbe (705219) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:04PM (#8378493)
      Now if only somebody combined the Baboochi with the super pogo-stick and the move-around AI of that hedgehog...
      It would be the ultimate, most satisfying shooting range target ever invented.
    • Re:Huh... (Score:5, Informative)

      by glk572 (599902) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:35PM (#8379686) Homepage Journal
      The Baboochi is an attempt to indoctronate children in the cult of scientology. Do a little research about Laura C. Byrnes the creator, just a second on google and you can see how screwed up this really is.

      http://home.scientologist.org/laurab/

      I for one do not like the idea of children playing with a toy created by a long time cult member, especially when it includes a pamphlet to introduce them to the relegion.
      • +1 Informative would be ideal. Thanks ever so much.
      • Re:Huh... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fenix down (206580) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:54PM (#8380593)
        You catch this from the summary in the article too? Just from the awkward names and the space refugees I was thinking it sounded a lot like an L. Ron story. That and the way they had a booth guy willing to pump out a 10 minute spiel about blue aliens to everybody who walks by. Only Scientologists command that kind of attention span.
      • Baboochi(TM) will help teach your children to brush their teeth, clean their room, share with others, and many more important lessons that parents want their kids to learn.

        I can't wait for the second edition.

        Baboochi(TM) will also help purge you of pernicious body thetans, and raise you on the tone scale!

        Seriously though, I'm surprised it's been so long for a Scientology toy to emerge. I mean what about e-meters? You can bang those things together for the price of two soup cans and a galvanometer.

  • I'm sure... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fjordboy (169716) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:27PM (#8377319) Homepage
    I'm sure all linux sysadmins would love the "Root-Vue Farm."
    The "Root-Vue Farm" is a good example -- envision something that looks like an ant farm, but instead of bugs and sand, it's filled with soil and half-grown vegetables.
    The only downside...now root is viewable by anyone! And the ID labels make it even clearer!
  • by NeoTheOne (673445) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:27PM (#8377324)
    and was too normal or poor to get
    • by chadjg (615827) <{chadgessele2000} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:56PM (#8377625) Journal
      My parents would have laughted their heads off if I had asked for this stuff. Back in my day, the toy store was up hill both ways, and we liked it, damn it!

      No seriously, this stuff is a joke! My first toy was a set of wood sticks notched so I could make log cabins & stuff. That and a piece of cheap astroturf & I had a farm! Naturallyt he farm required animals so my father swiped a couple of drones from the bee hive. If you pull their wings off they make perfectly acceptable "cows," "horses," or "mules."

      My next toy was a little broken down wagon my dad got from the dump. A little sledgehammer action on the axle & some paint and it was good to go. Of course it took about 30 seconds for us to go to the nearest hilla nd go for a ride. My devil worshiping brother helped me go a bit faster than I liked, usually. I've been thrown at speed and straddled a small tree at speed when rides went wrong, which could account for my present baldness.

      Surely somebody else bombarded Destro & Snake from "space" with pellet guns & firecrackers?

      Kids these days are getting the shaft. Childhood was a lot more fun before safety and responsible parenting were necessities. The fake vomit from Ned might get a few screams from mothers still. I want that now.
      • by jefe7777 (411081) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:03PM (#8377688) Journal
        >>My first toy was a set of wood sticks notched

        you should be so lucky...our parents told us to play with dirt.
        • by DjMd (541962) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:12PM (#8377794) Journal
          >>My first toy was a set of wood sticks notched
          >you should be so lucky...our parents told us to play with dirt.

          Luxury. I had to get up at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down at the mill and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our mother and father would kill us and dance on our graves singing Halleluja!
          Aye, and you try telling young people of today that. And they won't believe you.
          Aye, they won't!
          • Oh yeah? Well, all my Dad bought me was a SCO licence. No actual software, just phantom, vaporous "IP".

            Damn his eyes.

            --
            Evan "In reality, those old metal Tonka trucks left many a scar on my friends and I"

          • --Which reminds me of this Weird Al Yankovic song:

            [[ Dad would whoop us every night till a quarter after twelve
            Then he'd get too tired and he'd make us whoop ourselves
            Then he'd chop me into pieces and play frisbee with my brain
            And let me tell ya, Junior, you never heard me complain

            When I was your age.
            ]]

            clicky [sing365.com]
        • >>you should be so lucky...our parents told us to play with dirt. You are lucky. Back in the age of Big Bang, we only had hydrogen and helium to play with as heavier elements had yet to form.
      • Hey, come on, doesn't the sledgehammer count as a toy?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:28PM (#8377326)
    They hoped to make a killing selling Simpsons-branded "Ralph Wiggum Nose Goblins". Then they found out that all the kids could easily make these themselves.
  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:29PM (#8377340) Journal
    A few hours browsing at souvenir shops or department stores in the Akihabara district will teach you the meaning of 'strange'. These toys are soothingly ordinary in comparison.

    And don't get me started to the Tokyo fish market *shudders*
  • "BABOOCHI" (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:29PM (#8377345) Homepage
    Baboochi left their planet because they were invaded by the evil Zartans and came to Earth to find a new home in the arms of children.

    Baboochi(TM) will help teach your children to brush their teeth, clean their room, share with others, and many more important lessons that parents want their kids to learn.


    Holy shit WTF. I must own one of these.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:35PM (#8377419)
      Great, interstellar refugees, that's all we need.

      So, Baboochi, since you're so into 'sharing,' howzabout making with the interstellar-capable spacecraft? C'mon, sharing is good!
    • Nah, just get them a plush Cthulhu [toyvault.com] and tell them that R'lyeh will rise from the depths of the ocean and they'll be devoured by tentacled horrors from the stars if they don't clean their room.

      Give your kids a cute toy and mental blocks, what more can a parent ask for?

      Of course you may end up with a bunch of mini Cthulhu cultists on your hands, so be careful...
  • Having just read this [groklaw.net] Groklaw article, I must admit - I fear poor SnowMold Industries (See toy#2) could be in for a lawsuit!
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:30PM (#8377352) Journal
    It's Log!
    It's Log!
    It's big, it's heavy, it's wood!

    It's Log!
    It's Log!
    It's better than bad, it's good!
  • by NeoTheOne (673445) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:30PM (#8377359)
    hang on The Cheat...we're takin this baby TO THE MOOOOON!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:30PM (#8377362)
    Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such toy-fair debut documentary films as "Tickle-Me Elmo - the NC-17 Version" and "Coleco Adam: Miracle in Silicon".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Tellmi's illuminated quills are made of soft rubber and viciously vibrate when he's turned on. I'm not going to examine the double uses for such an item, but at the very least, I could see some necks being massaged.

    Yes. Necks. That is the only thing this will be used for, i promise. Cartman's mom is on the other line wanting to order one....gotta go!
  • by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:33PM (#8377396) Homepage
    The earliest/weirdest toy I ever got was a drawer full of these weird plastic canadian locking blocks.

    My parents, coming out of their hippy-ness, got them for me to "expand my mind and creativity". Being 7, what did I make with them? guns/firearms/rocket launchers/etc.

    *sigh* good times.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8377398)
    The SCO-MOLD squeezes your somewhat generic *nix operating system into a form that SCO can demand a license and sue you for.
  • You know, for a minute, when I saw the last item, I thought somebody had come out with a plushy version of these little bouncy guys [weebls-stuff.com]. Ah, well.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8377405)
    Tellmi's illuminated quills are made of soft rubber and viciously vibrate when he's turned on. I'm not going to examine the double uses for such an item, but at the very least, I could see some necks being massaged.

    I've read that toy companies target adult buyers via product design, with products for young children- teddy bears for example, have proportions similar to babies, which supposedly triggers a [mat/pat]ernal instinct in parents.

    Tellmi's figured out a much better instinct to trigger in the parents, it sounds like :-)

    "Mommy, stop borrowing Mr. Quills! Every time you do his batteries are dead!"

    I see this as a great strategy. A second one gets bought shortly after the first, for sure. The second one is in part responsible for the purchase of the third, anywhere from 9-36 months later...perfect! What's their stock symbol?

    • by fireduck (197000) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:03PM (#8377693)
      I actually owned a hedgehog for a while, an African pygmy hedgehog (Mr. Pembleton didn't like Connecticut, unfortunately, and passed away a few months back). While the glowing aspect is not quite accurate, the vibrating very much is. Hedgehogs are rather nervous little guys, and whenever he was startled (i.e., whenever anyone looked at him), he would ball up and vibrate. If he didn't have quills of death it would have been rather cute. As it was, he became a vibrating death cactus.

      and the whole "internal sensor that'll keep 'em from idiotically walking into stuff, much like real hedgehogs" this is just wrong, either that or Mr. Pembleton's sensor was quite broken. He would repeatedly walk into the same object (apparently under the mistaken belief that every object was my hand, and I'd surely move it after being stabbed for the fifth time).
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just for a little random off-topicness, a fact that not too many people know:

        Baby hedgehog poop is bright green. No joke.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        actually owned a hedgehog for a while, an African pygmy hedgehog (Mr. Pembleton didn't like Connecticut, unfortunately, and passed away a few months back). While the glowing aspect is not quite accurate, the vibrating very much is. Hedgehogs are rather nervous little guys, and whenever he was startled (i.e., whenever anyone looked at him), he would ball up and vibrate. If he didn't have quills of death it would have been rather cute. As it was, he became a vibrating death cactus.

        I also had a hedgehog for

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8377407)
    Check out "Orgasmic the Hedgehog", that blue sex toy thingy shown on the first page.
  • by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:34PM (#8377412) Journal
    Looks like someone [andymacdonald.com] already got their hands on a Flybar. With video!
    • Aw. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Atario (673917) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:42PM (#8377490) Homepage
      Well. That was...disappointing. Here I was, waiting for him to go to the stratosphere, but he just went...about how high you would expect. Feh.

      (Still, you deserve +1 Informative for posting the link.)
    • if the photo on the flybar's website is realistic, i cant imagine what would happen to the user if he lost his balance...

      i mean, the footprint of that thing is not enough to make the flybar usable on grass, which means it's going to be used mostly on asphalt and concrete.

      then again, i fancy myself racing with a buddy on a local bikepath, doing 5 foot high leaps... enough to scare the crap out of the rollerbladers, who incidentally already pissoff the bicycle riders to no end...
      • the footprint of that thing is not enough to make the flybar usable on grass

        Shouldn't be that hard to add a bigger foot, like say, a snowshoe. Then you could use it on snow if it was packed hard enough (still probably better than grass).

        Or...a ski! You could really get some freestyle air that way!

    • I decided to check, and found some details at uspto.gov under patent number 6,558,265. Pretty cool stuff. Uses rubber bands, and it's quite adjustable. Might have to get me one someday. There's also a scissor lift kind of rubber band based design also included in the patent, which might be equally cool if they start making it.

      Now if only I could find a cheap/easy way to make me some stilts

  • [ugo.com]
    This sure reminds me of my favortie Christmas present of 1979, this [ebay.com], although the modern one is so big it must include an expansion set.
  • by deliciousmonster (712224) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:35PM (#8377416)
    Flat Eric [punchbaby.com]. Not that the Baboochi isn't a good start, it seems that toys that grown-ups can laugh at through one marketing channel and kids can appreciate on their own level will always endear themselves more effectively than simple flat blue animals.

    Not unlike the Buddy Lee campaign... which succeeded both as doll-based jingle silliness for TV people and as more mature viral webmercials for the internet set...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:36PM (#8377426)
    Tellmi's illuminated quills are made of soft rubber and viciously vibrate when he's turned on.

    So do mine.
  • by ForestGrump (644805) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:36PM (#8377429) Homepage Journal
    I may be a fat bastard, but having...a pogo stick that shoots you over the moon...doesn't make me a cow! -Grump
  • toys (Score:5, Funny)

    by Enze6997 (741393) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:37PM (#8377432)
    Oh damn... they left out "Bag O' Glass" again!
  • Ned's Head (Score:5, Funny)

    by krusadr (679804) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:37PM (#8377434)
    it's a plush head containing fake vomit, bugs, moldy cheese, rats and worms. -- you just never know which disgusting, vile thing will pop out of his mouth, ears or nostrils next!

    Watch out for the lawyers. This is a direct infringement of SCO's business strategy.
  • Overview (Score:5, Informative)

    by de la mettrie (27199) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:37PM (#8377438)
    In case of Slashdotting:

    #1 - TELLMI (Digitspace): interactive hedgehog with blinking lights and moving limbs

    #2 - THE SNOMOLD (SnoMold Industries): plastic bag filled with snow makes instant snowman

    #3 - BLADE RACERS (Dynatech Action): "High velocity infrared racing system"

    #4 - VOOT-VUE FARM (HSP Nature Toys): plexiglass box to see vegetables grow

    #5 - MARVEL MYSTERY BAGS (Visionary Concepts): Plastic Marvel figures hidden in water-dissolvable bags

    #6 - THE REAL SHRUNKEN HEAD (Witch Doctors?): "extremely lifelike", or deathlike, as it were, plastic shrunken human heads

    #7 - THE FLYBAR (Flybar Inc.): Pogo stick.

    #8 - WHAT'S IN NED'S HEAD (Fundex Games): Plush head containing fake vomit, bugs, moldy cheese, rats and worms

    #9 - TKO FIT KIDS (TKO Sports Group): Inflatable child-size wrestlers

    #10 - BABOOCHI (Baboochi World): Anthropomorphic blue furry M&M-shaped doll

  • by StuWho (748218) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:37PM (#8377441) Journal
    " "The Real Shrunken Head" collection consists of six different novelty heads, each based on real life artifacts."

    Can you nominate heads? What about Bill Gates, George Bush, the CEO of SCO, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Eminem?

  • The Flybar (Score:5, Funny)

    by stripmarkup (629598) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:42PM (#8377481) Homepage
    even on the second bounce, one of the demonstrators had to have himself at least five or six feet above ground

    Sounds really cool. I wonder if it comes with a padded helmet for indoor use.
  • Just Great (Score:1, Funny)

    by qw(name) (718245)

    I try to follow the link from work and our firewall has it blocked. If I'm real stupid, I can try the link three or four more times so that IT can start an investigation into my web viewing habits. Wahoo!
    • by swv3752 (187722)
      What? You surf the web from your own workstation? Silly bunny, surf from your bosses station and as a bonus get free Porn.
  • by SphericalCrusher (739397) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:44PM (#8377509) Homepage Journal
    I say they should design real-life action figures of characters like Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds, and Steve Jobs! Maybe we can even bundle them in two-packs. I think a Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds would look nice together.

    What if we throw a CEO for Motorola and Kevin Mitnick in one pack? You know people would dish out the cash for this.
  • by huha (755976) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:54PM (#8377603)
    I really wonder why the blade racers are called a high-velocity infrared racing system...
    Even if they could be steered by infrared remote controls this would be utterly senseless since they'd loose contact to the remote control when doing some loops etc. -huha
    • Not necessarily - the track is clear tubing, and if there are sensors all over the "cars", it should be able to pick up the commands regardless of position or orientation.
      • Well, we'll never find out from their lame-ass web page [dynatechaction.com], which is a collection of Flash that beeps a little, but otherwise provides no useful information.

        But we can speculate, can't we?

        To be honest, I'm not sure how fun this would be. Real slot-cars are enjoyably hard to drive fast: too much juice, and they fly off the track. That's where the fun is: racing without wiping out.

        But if they're in a tube... then there's no reason not to go 100 percent all the time. Or even interact with it at all.

        F

        • Admittedly I haven't seen this tube racing in action, but it seems possible to wind up driving your car in a circle, and not actually make forward progress. Seems kinda like Tube Slider or Fzero.
  • Jumping (Score:5, Funny)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:57PM (#8377639) Homepage Journal
    That FlyBar reminds me of a toy we saw a few years ago... The Death Wish Shoes [superdairyboy.com]. :D
    • Re:Jumping (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogie (31020)
      I can't possibly see that company not being sued out of existence. Looking at their home page flybar.com shows someone like 6 feet in the air. No way you could use that toy and not break an bone every time you used it. I'm usually of the opinion to just let everyone do what they hell the want bodily harm or not, but I just do think something like this should be sold. At least with a gun once its pointed away from you at a non-human object chances are you'll be O.K.. With this thing its almost like injury fo
  • There are stranger.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Channard (693317) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:06PM (#8377710) Journal
    These may be wierd in a 'oo! It's japanese and odd' way, but for my money, the wierdest toys ever can be found at Disturbing Auctions [disturbingauctions.com]. Just look at the emotionally scarring toys and weep. Half of those are home made and beat hands down anything Japan could come up with.
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:06PM (#8377724)
    I mean, if some kid combined that with his Habitrail he could put a powerful hurt on his pet hamster...

    [I'll get back to work now.....]

  • I'm sure many of the ideas on this [reemco.com] site really are available in Japan...
  • Flybar (Score:3, Informative)

    by Capital_Z (682911) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#8377734)
    I've got to say, that Flybar teaser photo is pretty effective [flybar.com]
  • Notice!?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CaptScarlet22 (585291)
    Did anybody notice that none of the "Major" toy brands made the list??

    It just goes to show how much a company will go to, just to attract consumers!!


    I always though that the slinky was the strangest toy!!

    Hmm

  • by i4u (234028) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:45PM (#8378231) Homepage
  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:56PM (#8378372)
    Root view?!? This toy looks about as much fun as watching grass grow...wait a tick...I AM WATCHING GRASS GROW!
  • by jpetts (208163)
    Bart: Hey Lis', check it out, Pogo Stilts. These were banned in all 50 states

    [they fly off his feet and hit Homer]

    Homer: Oooow!! Ow! What happened!?
  • Giant Microbes? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by De Lemming (227104) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:16PM (#8378667) Homepage
    No mention of Giant Microbes [giantmicrobes.com]? They now include such cute cuddly toys as the Black Death [giantmicrobes.com] and Ebola [giantmicrobes.com]!
  • X-Entertainment (Score:2, Informative)

    by stealie72 (246899)
    The guy who wrote this piece for UGO has an excellent toy/nostalgia/toy nostalgia site. [x-entertainment.com] Check it out.

  • ... he treated us to a ten-minute tale about an alien race of happy blue monsters who fled their home planet after a naughty race of "Zartans" messed things up and tried to eat them ...

    An obvious cover story, it's the invasion of the body snatchers I tell you!

    They're here already! You're next!

  • A simple game for simple kids, Ned's Head is sure to bring frowns to at least a few parents, but come on....name any six-year-old who isn't fascinated with things like vomit and old cheese.

    Uh, girls? The other 50 percent, remember?

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