11 high-tech toys that are just too good for kids
8th May 2008 | 16:33
No wonder today's ankle biters are spoiled - just look at the stuff they get!
If you think youth is wasted on the young, then you should look at the toys they get to play with - everyone of these is a stone-cold classic, from tiny tanks to radical robots. The worst thing about any of these high-tech treats is prising them away from the young ones in the first place. Don’t be a cheapskate, buy your own.
When the tiny get tough, the tough get tiny - £50 gets you a pair of micro tanks (a US Abrams and a German Leopard 2) which can battle against each other using infra-red beams. Fire at your opponent using either the main gun or machine gun and you’ll see your tank recoil. Score a direct hit on your rival and it’ll send his/her tank insane. Genius.
Love ‘em or hate 'em, over 70 million Tamagotchi virtual pets have been sold since this genius creation launched in 1997 - and its popularity shows little sign of waning. New for 2008 is this ‘family’ version, which enables you to care for three on-screen characters. The best bit is that you can also share your pets with friends via Tamagotchi Familitchi’s infra-red port, the pets can even get married and have babies of their own. Already being punted extensively to kids worldwide, Tamagotchi Familitchi can be yours for around £13.
The perfect sport for little people - just look at the jockeys. Horse Racing Derby enables you to have a flutter on the gee-gees without traisping across a muddy field or mixing with the hoi polloi. To play, simply bet on one of five horses at the starting gate and then choose whether they’re going to run from one to three laps. Days of bridled entertainment (sic) is yours for just £30 and a course of gambling therapy for you and the kid - you’re going to get seriously addicted.
Anyone who’s watched Battle Of Britain or Reach For The Sky on a wet Sunday afternoon will instantly see the appeal of these remote control flying classics. Priced at £139 and £129 respectively, both the Spitfire and Mustang are aimed at kids who’re 12-years plus, which puts you, us and almost everyone else in the target age group. Both planes come with all the gear you need to earn your wings including batteries, remote controls. Both fighters also have two flying modes - one for novices; and another for loop-de-looper flying ace types. Chocks away!
Little Timmy’s caught you rifling through his collection of Playboys again - and you’re at a loss as how to explain why. This could be the answer. This $130 (£60) remote control tank enables the tyke to spy on you from up to 75 feet away, with video and audio relayed back to a headset. Thank heavens he can’t post the results on YouTube. Sadly the tank’s only available in the US right now, but it’s sure to be on many a Brit brat’s hit-list this Christmas. Wild Planet tells us that the Spy Video ATV-360 be available from Argos in the autumn, priced around £80.
Like Sony’s Aibo, the Pleo is a serious plaything with that’s been designed by its creator Ugobe to mimic a real life one-week old baby Camarasaurus sauropod. By way of proof, Ugobe has incorporated 14 servo joints and 40 different sensors into the Pleo’s robot body and then given it a 32-bit processor for a brain. As you’d expect for £249, Pleo is able to fully interact with his environment, and can express a wide array of emotions. You can even program him yourself. Pleo is available from Amazon UK, Firebox and iWoot and other good hi-tech toy sellers.
This is as close to god-like genius as hi-tech toys ever get. In a nutshell, it's a never-ending bubble wrap on a keychain. Bliss. Press the bubbles for squidgy, popping satisfaction, and then be surprised by Puchi Puchi’s ability to hit you with other random sounds. Puchi Puchi (the Japanese phrase for the sound of bubbles popping) is available in clear, blue or pink. Prices start at around £6.
Who needs an air guitar when you can have one of these? The Guitar RockStar comprises a guitar headstock with eight infra-red strings you strum, while playing along to one of eight built-in songs - or you can go totally freestyle and play your own power chords instead. We’ve seen the YouTube video of the Guitar RockStar in action and, frankly, it rocks. It can be yours for just £15 this summer.
Now this is what we call a sport - seeing two large, semi-naked Japanese people wrestling in a ring. Only this time we get to control their every move thanks to two remote controls which are able to spin the little plastic characters around the mat until one flies out and you win... or lose. We can’t think of many things that are this much fun for £13, unless you count that time round the back of Asda. Moving swiftly on...
Akin to repeatedly sticking forks in your eyes... and then loving every minute of it. Bop-It is as addictive as it is irritating as you twist, spin, flick and pull a series of dials and buttons in a maddening game that takes place over 15 different levels. What’s different about this version from its predecessors is that you can now download a whole new range of sounds and actions from your USB to its PC port. Best / worst of all, you can even use its built-in microphone to record your own sounds or plug it into your hi-fi. You and everyone else around you will love it / hate it in equal measure. And it’s just £15.
Yup it’s another robot, but this one’s actually pretty good. Incredibly it stands just 16cm high and weighs just 300g, but that’s enough to pack in sensors, servos and brain cells galore - enough in fact for it to scoop a Guinness World Record. The i-Sobot comes with four different games modes, is brilliant at kung-fu and gymnastics and even responds to voice commands. i-Sobot finally launches in the UK in July and can be yours for £200.