Archive for March, 2011

Toy Tazer is Not What it Seemed.

shock tazer stun gun toy
The Shock Tazer Toy on my desk

In my previous post about the shock toy Tazer, I made a point that I thought a toy that you could go around shocking people with was inaproppriate. It seemed from the description on Gozmodo and other sites that you pressed it against someone and they received a shock.

Well, I decided to order the Shock Tazer and it arrived yesterday.

I was in for a shock. Literally.

The shock toy tazer does not shock people at the tips of the toy as a real Tazer does. Instead it’s a trick. The person that pushes the button is the one that gets the shock. Just like dozens of other shock toys on the market.

Yes, I found this out the hard way. I opened it up and my first though was "I wonder if there are batteries in it already". There were. I pressed the button thinking I might tap the contacts to see if I got a quick shock. But pressing the button is what gives you the shock. I got zapped.

Last evening I left the Shock Tazer toy on the kitchen table and my 18 year old son apparently tried it too. He didn’t tell me about it until much later.

Now, the next question I have about the shocking toy tazer is "How on earth do they sell this thing for $3.50, ship it free from China, and even include batteries?"

Incidentally, Tazers don’t work this way. They shoot out darts with wire leads on them. The better term would be "stun gun".

The shock toy is available at Focalprice for $3.40 with free shipping.

Oldest known Monopoly Board sells for $146,000.00

original monopoly board
The only known suviving original Monopoly board

Earlier this year (or possibly late December, 2010, I’m not really sure) the oldest known Monopoly board sold at a Sotheby’s auction for £90,000, which converts to about $146,000. The Strong National Museum of Play was the high bidder for the board and it will go on display at the museum in Rochester, New York.

This board is the only known surviving example of around 5,000 that were hand-crafted by the games "inventor", Charles Darrow. It is circular rather than the familiar square board and it’s hand-drawn on oilcloth. Darrow drew the properties and his wife and son colored in the spaces.

There is some controversy over the origins of the game. It is certainly known that the game is based on a game created by Elizabeth Magie in 1903 called The Landlord’s Game which was more of a political statement rather than a game. She wanted to draw attention to the way in which rents enriched property owners and impoverished tenants. At least one version of The Landlord’s game is known to exist, which would pre-date the Monopoly board that just sold.

After Lizzie Magie invented the game it was used by various professors for instructional purposes and became popular with Quakers (who eliminated the auction rule because they didn’t believe in it). The streets were mostly around the city of Chicago at that time.

monopoly board
A closeup view of the original board

In the 1920’s the game was apparently popular in Reading Pennsylvania, mostly through fraternities at Williams College.

Ruth Hoskins became aware of the game in Indianapolis and took it back to Atlantic city, where it took on the Atlantic City street names. This version was taught to Charles Todd, who taught Esther Darrow, the wife of Charles Darrow who then began to distribute the game as "Monopoly" with the hand-drawn boards which were reportedly the exact size of his dining room table. (Whew!)

marven gardens
Sign at the real Marven Gardens

You may know that the streets on the Monopoly Board are all in Atlantic City, but did you know that one of them, Marvin Gardens, is both not actually in Atlantic City and is misspelled? The actual location, Marven Gardens, is a housing area in Margate City New Jersey and is said to be a combination of Margate City and Ventnor City due to it’s location between them. Charles Darrow made the original mistake of misspelling it on his circular boards and it has never been corrected.

The history of Monopoly is as complicated as the game itself. The issues surrounding the origination of the game led to various law suits which were not finally settled until 1985 a change in the trademark laws, lobbied by Parker Brothers, allowed them to again claim ownership of the trademark name "Monopoly".

Cool Toy of the Day: Crawling Zombie

I must have this toy!

The Crawling Zombie is a battery operated toy that has no legs and crawls across the table by pulling himself along with his arms. His eyes glow red (why to their eyes always glow red?) and he growls and says things like "I can’t feel my legs" He’s also sound-activated, for even more fun. He’s about 4.5 inches high and made of soft rubber complete with a mesh "shroud" to complete the effect.

He would be a little better if he moved more slowly, but he’s still great.

Unfortunately, the one place I found him for sale (in England), he’s no longer available. I’ll have to just keep searching. Scroll down for video of the Crawling Zombie toy in action!

Lawn Zombie

I did find a cool zombie lawn ornament. This one is excellent, but a bit expensive at $72. It’s a resin lawn zombie that looks like he’s crawling up out of the ground. He’d be great for Halloween, but for those of us who are a bit off-beat, he’d be great for any time of year. Even in the snow. The Lawn Zombie is by one of my favorite companies, Design Toscano and was sculpted by Alan Dickinson. He’s hand-pained, comes packed in three pieces, and requires assembly.

Un-Cool Toy of the Day: Scary Doll

Every year we go to Toy Fair in New York City. And every year we see dolls at Toy Fair. We don’t sell dolls at Dave’s Cool Toys for a couple of reasons. For one, there are just too many choices. Two, you can buy dolls anywhere. Three, I find most of them a bit creepy.

But none have come close to the one I found in a video the other day. The video I saw doesn’t show much of the doll and it seems like she has no bottom-half. But the second video of a very similar doll shows that she’ is lying on her stomach and kicking her feet behind her.

She wouldn’t be quite so creepy if she didn’t scream as if she was being murdered.

Creepy. Check her out.

Toy Tazer: Not a cool toy

toy tazer
Toy Tazer

My first thought when I saw this is "could this possibly be a real toy?" The answer is still a bit unclear.

The "Police Electric Baton Shock/Tricky Toy with Flashlight" is certainly being offered for sale and once I finally tracked down the site where it is for sale they do say that it is an adult toy and not for children or elders, although they do call it a "toy". It delivers 3.6V per shot by touching the baton to your victim’s skin and pressing the shock button at the same time. It also has a built in flashlight which you activate with a different button which is "safe to use if you don’t touch the shock button".

Just because a toy is labeled for adults only doesn’t mean that children won’t purchase or play with them. So if children play with a toy Tazer is this a problem? There are certainly plenty of toys on the market that deliver a shock. My kids had the Lightning Reaction game which shocks the players that are too slow on the draw. When I was a child, I had a shocking lighter
that I tricked friends with all the time. It was eventually stolen by a workman who picked it up and thought it was a real lighter and was made fun of by his friends.

And all these "shocking" games have a lineage that goes back to the original “Surprise Hand Buzzer” which didn’t actually deliver a shock, but which most kids probably wished that it did. Surprisingly it doesn’t seem as if anyone has actually created a true shocking hand buzzer yet.

But there’s a difference between tricking friends to pick up a shocking lighter or pen or playing a game that you know might deliver a shock and "Tazing" someone deliberately. There’s also an issue with the similarity between this toy and a real Tazer that blurs the lines for children a bit too much. But the argument could be made that it’s certainly not as bad as children having toy guns.

My opinion is that it’s just a bit too distasteful and doesnt’ feel right to jokingly taze people, even for adults. Maybe especially for adults.

The Police Electric Baton is available at Focalprice for only $3.40 with free shipping, which seems awfully cheap. Focalprice seems to be a dropshipper located in China and not really meant for consumers, although they do sell one item at a time and still offer free shipping. They mostly sell cell phone accessories and novelties.

Via Gizmodo

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