Christmas 2015 - When Kids' Games Got Tasteless? | Mother Distracted

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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Christmas 2015 - When Kids' Games Got Tasteless?

The toy industry is worth millions.  And, you'd think like any industry which rakes in the profits, it must be a magnet for the most creative brains in the land.

Ideas must be bouncing off white-boards.  Focus groups must be throbbing hubs of fun and gales of laughter as educationally and psychologically brilliant toys and games are pitched to parents and offspring just ready for consumers across the land to queue up and fight over.

Og On The Bog - Smyths - £17.99

You'd think.

It seems, though, as though the bank of ideas is running woefully dry and, worse, exploiting that basic child-like (childish?) need we all have to poke fun and titter about the baser aspects of life.

For example, we have "Og On The Bog" - "Stand by for disgusting farts and gruesome grunts! The ogre has retired to his outhouse loo and you must collect three of his loo rolls to win! Trigger a noise and if he farts you lift a loo roll from the gnarled stick outside. If he shouts out, your turn is over. But if the bog explodes you lose all your loo rolls and have to start again!"

The long winter evenings, to quote Blackadder, must just fly by.

Or how about this gem - the "Doggie Doo Game" - "The hilarious Doggie Doo action game! Feed the dog, throw the dice and take turns to pump the lead. If he poops on your turn, scoop the poop and it's the first to three poops wins!"

Doggie Doo Game - Argos - £17.25


Or then there's Gooey Louie - "this gruesome Gooey Louie Game will have you laughing for hours. Take it in turns to stick your finger up poor Louie's nose and pull out many stretch gooeys, eurgh! Be careful if you pull out the wrong gooey then his eyes will bulge and his brain will explode!"

Gooey Louie - Argos - £16
If you told me that these three games were the brain child (and I use the term very loosely) of the Apprentice candidates, I wouldn't be remotely surprised.

Watching the toy adverts on CITV is a sobering experience.  If it's not tasteless games, it's a plethora of kits for temporary tattoos, nail art and plastic jewellery.  That, of course, and the relentless marketing of Star Wars merchandise.

It's no wonder so many parents are turning to tablets and gadgets as Christmas presents.

But I increasingly find myself wondering at the lack of inspiring toys on the market.  There must be many parents currently scratching their heads and wondering which toys to buy that won't be a two minute wonder and won't cost a small fortune for what basically amounts to 40% packaging and a bad tempered hunt for the right batteries.

The games we had as children were fun without being crass - Buckeroo, Operation, Mouse Trap and Kerplunk.  Then there were the educational toys like Mechano, or dolls like Sindy who didn't dress like one of the Kardashians.

Make-up for the under 14's was usually some scented bubble bath and a tinted lipbalm from Avon or those rock solid bath cubes which took about three days to dissolve. Glitter was something that came in plastic tubes and was rationed for Christmas pictures in school.

I think toy manufacturers need to wise up and find a way to make toys as exciting as the online games and apps for kids.  And that also means pricing toys within the means of the average family rather than just churning out yet another robotic cat / dog which costs well over £100.

Of course we parents are in control.  We don't have to let our kids play with tablets or PCs but when these are used in schools these days to teach the main curriculum, in many respects that choice has been taken out of our hands.

We can, however, exercise our choice when it comes to the toys we buy - and games about toilets, snot and poo won't be appearing in this house anytime soon.

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