The year is wrapping up, but there is still just enough time for you to get out and grab gifts for everyone on your list. It’s tough to create a list of the top toys of 2009 without repeating myself quite a bit, plus everyone else has the list somewhere. But you come here to read my witty banter and clever remarks (or because you’ve already read everything else on the internet).
So here we go, hold on tight, and please no food or drinks while the article is in motion.
I’ve seen Bananagrams every time I go into a classic toy store, but I was never quite sure what to make of it. Obviously I’ve discovered that the thing I had never heard of outside my own random noticings is a super successful game that people have been buying like it’s a source of real potassium. The game has you rearranging letter tiles to spell out words faster than your opponents can, so think Scrabble but then don’t, if that makes sense. Better yet, just pick up the game for a loved-one and have them teach you how to play.
9. Qwirkle Board Game:
I’m going to go ahead and just say that board games are back with a vengeance. You’ll be seeing more board games here on this list (and a whole lot more in my typical articles), possibly because people enjoy playing with each other again. My theory is that they’ve all forgiven each other for the sins of Monopolies past and moved on to creating new hateful memories with different games. Qwirkle is one of those games. I could explain the rules, but I can’t exactly decipher them enough myself, so you’re best just taking my word for it that Qwirkle is a good choice for a simple game with a lot of replay value to it, and really, those are probably the best.
8. Melissa & Doug See & Spell:
Hey, now here’s a toy we’ve covered way back in the long long-ago (July). The See & Spell is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a collection of pictures with words spelled out on them. This one’s for the younger kids as a means to teach spelling and the like, but be warned that there are small pieces, so choking is probably a huge concern (heck, even as an adult choking is a huge concern).
7. LEGO Ultimate Building Set – 405 Pieces:
Good, LEGO is getting some face time here. And ever better, it’s for a completely ambiguous set that requires the child to use his or her imagination and design something without instructions (a skill most men end up attempting anyway later in life). This is a great gift for the young builders in the family, but remember that LEGO bricks are small and can be severe choking hazards, so, you know, no newborns, please.
6. Bop It:
What this “It” is that we’re bopping I have no idea, but it sure is fun. I still remember Bop It from when I was a kid and my sister got a Bop It game. It’s been redesigned slightly and the color got changed to white instead of black, but it’s the same simple game. Computer tells you to either “Bop It,” “Twist It,” or “Pull It,” and you must do that as fast as possible before it freaks out. Think Simon Says but on speed.
5. Ucreate Music:
If I told you that the Ucreate Music mixer allowed you to mix your own music, would you be shocked? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That’s what this is, no more and no less. Your kids can see what it’s like to be a music editor without some supremely expensive high-technical device that they’ll get frustrated with immediately and never touch again. No, this is the good option for the music-inclined kids that haven’t got all that instrument playing mastered quite yet and don’t have Garage Band on a Mac.
4. Blokus Classics Game:
Blokus is sort of like Tetris but more in-your-face, if that’s at all possible (it is). It’s won all sorts of awards as a game due to its enjoyment factor and apparent learning qualities. Yeah, don’t tell your kids they’re learning anything. Just tell them the game is popular and they’ll be cooler if they have the game. They’ll love it, just like everything else on this list.
3. Wild Planet Hyper Dash:
I wish I could explain exactly what this thing is, but I’m at a loss. I must be getting old or something. What I do know is that Wild Planet Hyper Dash is a fast-faced game based on reflexes where you listen to whatever the bell-shaped thing tells you to do. If it tells you it wants the red disc, you darn well better do something with the red disc. It has a few different difficulty settings, so there are all sorts of chances to be yelled at by an electronic device.
2. Scrabble Slam Cards:
Whoa, another thing that we covered this year. Funny trend there. Anyway, Scrabble slam is a game that mixes the word spelling of Scrabble with the raw hatred contained in a fast-paced card game. It’s a good game alright, but it’s one of those games that’ll cause your friends to evaporate and your family relationship deteriorate the moment someone decides to throw down and get serious about this whole family game night thing.
1. Scene It? Twilight Deluxe Edition:
I’m disappointed. No, I really am. *sigh* Okay, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be so judgmental (doctor’s orders). I mean, something doesn’t just magically become the top selling toy-related item by being something everyone hates. Naturally, Twilight has a bad reputation because it’s so darn successful, and at this point in history you either love it or hate it. At least Scene It? is getting played and that’s good enough for me at the moment so kudos to that. I’d just prefer they made a TMNT edition just for me.