As an adult, I travel down toy aisles frequently. Sometimes to find something for my daughter, but mostly to make snipe at the lack of quality in today’s toys. That is except for Lego blocks, which just keep getting cooler as time passes. I love(d) toys and there was no better toy than a Christmas toy.
By this time of the year, every kid has compiled a Christmas wishlist for Santa Claus. It was no different for me (well kinda different) and thanks to school; we all learned the fine skill of presenting those lists in the only way we knew how – in the art styling of collage. See, there were no Powerpoint presentations, no Amazon.com, no email and no smart phones in my primitive times. Thanks to Sears, Child World and Service Merchandise, dozens of seasonal mail catalogs were sacrificed so children could effectively communicate to Santa what dreams should come. Many times multiple copies were needed to complete a list, as stores rudely placed favorite toys back to back and it was impossible to choose between the Thundercats Lair and G.I. Joe HQ.
I was a crafty child and my skill with a glue stick and X-acto knife is one of legend, so it was safe to say my montage of boyhood dreams was elegant and extravagant. I don’t know if I ever got everything on the list much less anything, but I do know that if I I didn’t get it, it was not for lack of a picture glued down on the wishlist.
These days, toys either don’t have enough consistent quality in their manufacture or have spent way too much time in the detail department. Compare the Todd McFarlane toys to say the latest Marvel action figure, and then acquire a good old fashioned He-Man or Lion-O. You get a half dozen Lion-Os from then and compare to a six current Lion-Os, you’ll start to notice that it’s quantity over quality.
Beside that, the toys of my youth seemed to have more variety. I leave that to the fact that there were more toy companies back then. LJN, Tonka and Kenner are sadly missed, as it seems the competition between Hasbro and Mattel seems to have plateaued in creativity. Well, unless you consider that creative relaunch of a toy line they own.
The one thing I’m glad to see each year the evolution of Lego. Nothing puts me in awe like the latest line of Lego building sets. Each wave gets more intriguing and inventive. Now, that they have the licensing to the two major comic books markets, I am giddy to see what the results will be. So far, it’s been hinting at some cool new characters in the minifigure universe. Also, there is no more consistent quality control group than Lego. All the parts are there (plus a couple extra from time to time) and even if there was a missing or faulty piece, they will replace them with urgent priority.
Ah, toys are grand. Guess I should go and make my Amazon Wishlist now. Happy Holidays.