I’m still recovering from an exhausting two days at the Toy Fair 2011 in New York City — one of the biggest toy fairs in the world with over 100,000 toys. And while we were scouring for the very best toys of the year, we stumbled on some, well, questionable toys. Toys that made us say, Really?
So without further ado, I give you the 5 Worst Toys of 2011:
1. CUPONK: Le Flush Royale Edition
Oh where to start. How about the basics: Kids are challenged to throw ping-pong balls into cups. (Wonder where they came up with that concept?) In fact, these CUPONK balls will most likely be swiped by an older brother for beer pong — let’s be honest. But apparently it’s a skill worth practicing. And what’s the reward for making a shot into the cup? The cup makes flushing, farting and other typical “boy” noises.
Cool. Gotta establish those gender lines.
2. Monopoly LIVE
So you know how you would sit down with your family, dish out some colorful money (dibs on Banker!) and then proceed to cheat your way through Monopoly? Oh nothing too blatant — just “miscounting” your spaces every now and then, slipping a 50 underneath the board to fake out your opponents. Little indiscretions.
Well no more, my friends.
The new Monopoly LIVE has attempted to “modernize” the iconic board game, but in the process? Destroyed it. There’s no dice (players hold their hand over the playing piece until the Giant Tower bellows out a command and calls you out for cheating), no money (charge it, kids!) and virtually no thinking involved. Oh and this is cute: Every so often the Giant Tower will take bets on horses, for which you swipe your credit card, naturally. Yes, they added gambling to good old Family Game Night.
So for only $50, you can buy a souped up version of a game that will be totally shot with one computer glitch. Or you can just play the version that everyone already has.
3. Motorized Tredmill
Just go outside already.
4. WWE Rumblers for little one
Oh thank goodness, now my toddler can pretend to slam and punch other entertainment wrestlers just like the older kids. Sweet.
5. 2011 Little Mommy Doll: The Creepiest Doll Ever
Ah, the classic gender stereotypes. The toy industry wouldn’t be the same without them. We were taken aback quite a few times — like by a Chutes and Ladders game where the princess climbs up a ladder into her prince’s arms or slides down a chute to be caught by her prince — but Mattel’s “Little Mommy” gets awarded the biggest eye roll. (Rebecca has more about that here.)
But it’s not the gender issue that bothered us, it’s the chills-up-our-spine, creeped-out factor. This isn’t the first Little Mommy that’s been on the market; it’s just the weirdest. The 2011 robotic doll accurately responds to touch and motion sensors — seeming to know more than a doll should know — and continuously asks questions and respond to your answers. If you’re even slightly creeped out by talking dolls, this doll will terrify you. (See a video at Gizmodo.)
See our 10 favorite toys here.