News Column

Hot Holiday Toys Need Juice

December 1, 2013

By Joe Hadsall, The Joplin Globe, Mo.

Hot Holiday Toys

JOPLIN, Mo. -- A look through lists of this year's hot holiday toys indicates that buying stock in battery companies would be a great move in the new year. A lot of these toys are going to take plenty of juice.

And toys will offer plenty of activity for all that power, whether it's barking, flying, learning or hugging. But the biggest, most desired items will take an outlet plugged into a wall and a TV.

Here's what we see getting big buzz this year, and what you might find yourself shopping for this holiday season.

Video game systems

Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 have been released for the holiday season, ushering in the next generation of home console video games.

Both devices can do more than play games, however. They are being marketed as home entertainment machines that can play movies, browse the Internet, run popular apps such as Skype and Netflix, play music, view pictures and more.

Both devices are pricey (about $400 for the PlayStation; about $500 for the Xbox One) and games and peripherals for both systems will cost extra (games for both run about $50 to $60).

While kids may say the new systems are must-haves, the old systems will still be good for a while. Video game consoles usually have a cycle of at least five years, so owners of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will be able to find plenty of new games for at least a year.

Other toys that parents are sure to hear about this year:

Furby Boom

The classic robotic toy of the late '90s has come back even smarter.

Furby Boom adds LCD panels to the eyes, giving each toy myriad new appearances. The latest version of the toy has five new personalities, more than twice as many responses and remembers the name it is given.

Available from Hasbro, it comes in a variety of colors and even can interact with apps on a tablet PC. And, much to parents' relief, they can learn English, eliminating the need to figure out that Furbese language they previously used.

Cost: About $40.

FurReal Friends

Like the Furby, FurReal Friends (also by Hasbro) are robotic puppies, kittens, monkeys and other animals that react to input from kids. While not as complicated as Furby toys, they still give adorable barks and yips when played with, acting like real pets. Younger kids will love them, but we're not so sure about family dogs.

Cost: About $40.

Nerf guns

Nerf has a veritable armory of foam dart guns that range in price and power, from simple pistols to motorized, battery-powered machine guns. Marketed primarily to boys, Hasbro is now going after girls with the Rebelle line. These white guns with pink and purple highlights give girls a chance to get in on the war games.

There are four models in the Rebelle line, from a crossbow that shoots foam arrows to rifles that shoot basic Nerf darts. Rebelle accessories such as protective eyewear are also available.

Of course, if a girl is really into Nerf guns, she may appreciate the regular Nerf line as well.

Cost: About $17 to about $40, depending on size.

Big Hugs Elmo

It wouldn't be the holidays without a new Elmo toy. While not expected to cause the same madness as Tickle-me Elmo, PlayBig Hugs Elmo will give real hugs right back to his preschool friends.

Cost: About $60.


(c)2013 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

Original headline: Hot holiday toys will take some power

Source: Joplin Globe (MO)

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