Monday, September 27, 2010

Bop-It! Pull It! Twist It! Spank It! What?

Remember when you were little?

What was your favorite toy?

Was it Simon? A simple electronic game of repetition and memory.

Was it Battleship? A guessing game that revolved around Naval strategy.

How about Connect Four? Pretty sneaky Sis.

Whether it was Light-Bright, Color Forms, Shrinky Dinks or Micronauts, they all hold a special place in our hearts. For whatever reason, they struck a chord. They piqued our interest and kept us coming back for more.

Sometimes when I buy a game for my kids, I think back to those special toys and try to identify the qualities that made them so unique.

Were they colorful?

Were they interesting?

Were they intellectually stimulating?

I believe it's extremely important to pick toys that resonate with our children. They should add educational value, teach them to play fair, and either win gracefully or lose with dignity.

And then there is this toy...

It's hard to put into words exactly how I feel about this thing.

But let me try.

For starters, it's audibly interactive and requires your child to follow the game's commands by reacting quickly in pressure situations. This undoubtedly stimulates brain activity and helps develop your child's reflexes, as well as, sensory perception.

Another plus is the sleek and stylish design. It's interesting to look at, as well as easy to grip and hold.

Lastly, it's challenging but not impossible to grasp; making it hard for kids to master quickly but not too hard for them to become frustrated or discouraged.

All of these are positive qualities for a toy to have.

There is just one thing about it that disturbs me.

It sounds like a bad 70's porn movie.

Maybe I'm being a bit prudish but it makes me uncomfortable when my daughters are are being dominated by a perverted, robotic sexual deviant.

I'm not sure how the marketing folks failed to identify this in the focus groups but I'm calling them out on it.

Imagine playing a game of Simon Says with Ron Jeremy.

The game becomes incredibly awkward for me within the first 5 seconds.
Power on.

Male Robot Voice: "BOP IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "TWIST IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "PULL IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "PULL IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "PULL IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "SHOUT IT!"

Daughter - "UGHHH!"

Male Robot Voice: "TWIST IT!"

Male Robot Voice: "PULL IT!"

Please make it stop.

Family game night should never sound like a raucous gang bang.

The problem is, my kids love it. Now while I realize the game is completely harmless to my daughter, I can't bare to stay in the same room with her while it's on.

On the other hand, when my wife is playing it...

That's a whole different story.

Baum Chica Baum.