Category Archives: toys & games
The story of He-Man is well-known to children of the eighties, but author Brian C. Baer is able to dig even deeper into the beloved franchise in his recent book, How He-Man Mastered the Universe. Baer examines every aspect of the Masters of the Universe, from the toys to the cartoon to the movie to the reboots and more recent collectible action figure releases. The author looks at the groundwork laid for the success of He-Man by the marketing behind Star Wars, and the influence He-Man had on many subsequent pop culture franchises such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, and the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What impressed me most about Baer’s book is the attention paid to the big screen adaption of the Eternian hero in 1987. The toys and original cartoon have been widely covered over the years, with little more than a passing mention to the live-action film. A good bulk of Baer’s book, however, is devoted to how He-Man was brought to life by Dolph Lundgren. He breaks down the movie with an in-depth review, discusses the financial woes that hamstrung the ending, and even includes conceptual drawings for He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Skeletor, and She-Ra, who unfortunately was written out of the script.
Baer also discusses the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon that aired in the early 1990s, the 21st century reboot by Mike Young Productions, and the new line of toys that came with that. Baer wraps up How He-Man Mastered the Universe with a look at what many of the film’s actors are doing today, as well as others who were involved with He-Man through the years.
How He-Man Mastered the Universe is a highly enjoyable book; children of the eighties and He-Fans in particular will love it.
Purchase How He-Man Mastered the Universe by Brian C. Baer on Amazon or directly from the publisher at www.mcfarlandpub.com or via the order line at 800-253-2187.
Baseball is the one sport whose history is every bit as important as what is happening on the field. The record books are held in reverence, and the heroes of the past loom over the stars of today. With that in mind, here are some fantastic books that the baseball fanatic in your life will love.
- The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes by Gary Cieradkowski – This is at the top of the list for a reason. If you buy no other book for your baseball fan this holiday season, but this one. From the excellent illustrations to the entertaining articles, baseball fans the world over will absolutely love The League of Outsider Baseball. This is the most important and highest recommended book on this list.
- Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk by Doug Wilson – Wilson has made a name for himself with some fantastic baseball biographies; his work on the life of Carlton Fisk is his most recent. Baseball fans will also enjoy Wilson’s The Bird (biography of Mark Fidrych) and Brooks (biography of Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson).
- 101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out by Josh Pahigian – A good list of baseball meccas to help you plan your summer vacation.
- Baseball Myths: Debating, Debunking, and Disproving Tales from the Diamond by Bill Deane – A fun read with shorter articles that examine several legendary tales from the diamond. Stories about Derek Jeter, Pete Rose, and Babe Ruth are included.
- Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend by Thom Henninger – Tony Oliva is one of the most popular players in Minnesota history, and Henninger’s look at his life shows why.
Not everyone likes to read. I get that. Well, maybe I don’t get that, but I am aware of that fact at least. So here are some other ideas for the baseball fan on your list.
- OYO Sports Figures and Playsets – This LEGO-like toy is a great gift if you know your fan’s favorite player.
- Super Stadium Baseball Game – Kids (and kids at heart) can have hours of fun with this game.
- The Baseball Card Game by TDC Games – Not as involved as Super Stadium, but a fun way to pass the time.
- Classic Board Game – A great trivia game from the early 1990s, including 100 baseball trading cards.
- Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns – Ten DVDs chronicling the history of the national pastime. Originally aired on PBS in 1994; updated in 2010.
Rue Morgue Magazine has partnered with the late horror icon’s estate to release their premiere figure in the Rue Morgue RIPpers Limited Edition Line of Collectible Bobbleheads: legendary horror icon VINCENT PRICE!
This 7-inch-tall figure, designed by Aggronautix, is limited to 1500 numbered units and depicts the legendary star in a classic pose, with a skeleton in hand.
“This Vincent Price bobblehead perfectly captures my dad’s whimsical scariness,” said Victoria Price. “He would have loved it, and so will you!”
Made of space-age polyresin, and sculpted with frightening accuracy right down to the fine facial details, the Vincent Price Rue Morgue RIPper is only $29.95 plus S&H and is expected to go fast.
“We’re thrilled to be teaming up with Victoria Price and the talented team at Aggronautix to create the first in a unique line of quality collectibles,” said Rodrigo Gudiño, President of Rue Morgue.
Aggronautix expects stock before Christmas but can’t guarantee delivery before Christmas due to the fact that customers are worldwide and shipping times will vary from a few days, to a few weeks.
All Aggronautix figures are now available for purchase on www.aggronautix.com and will also be available at independent record stores, comic shops, tattoo parlors, etc via distribution by MVD Entertainment Group.
Pre-order now at www.vincentpricefigure.com
The first boxed expansion for Fluxx, Fluxx Dice adds even more chaotic fun to every turn.
College Park, MD – May 14, 2015 Today Looney Labs announced Fluxx Dice, a new expansion that can be added to any Fluxx deck.
Fluxx Dice takes the place of the traditional “Draw One, Play One” rules in the many versions of FLuxx. Instead of following the basic rules, at each turn players roll the draw and play dice and follow the new rules set by their roll! The expansion set includes two dice and five cards.
“I always say that Fluxx is a different game each time you play, but with Fluxx Dice it’s a different game every turn,” said designer Andy Looney.
There are currently over a dozen versions of Fluxx, including Star Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx and more on the way with Batman Fluxx and Adventure Time Fluxx set to arrive this summer. Fluxx is designed for 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and older and can take 5 minutes to 30 minutes to play. All Fluxx decks include Goal cards, New Rules, Actions and Keepers. Some versions also include Creeper cards, Surprises and Ungoals. No matter the version, Fluxx Dice can be added to any Fluxx card game.
Fluxx Dice is expected to be available from retailers worldwide August 28th at the retail price of $12. For more information, you can visit the Looney Labs website at: www.looneylabs.com/fluxxdice.
About Looney Labs
Looney Labs was founded in 1997 by Kristin & Andrew Looney, a husband and wife team that gave up successful careers as aerospace engineers (they met while working at NASA) to pursue their hobby business full time. They could tell early on the true hit potential their card game Fluxx had, so they took the jump and quit their day jobs so they could dedicate all their energy to making and promoting Andy’s games. With the creation of new and exciting versions of Fluxx, the popularity of the game has spread worldwide and spawned numerous international publications. Andy Looney continues to create Looney Labs games, from those with lighter play, like Fluxx and Just Desserts, to more strategic games like Chrononauts and the Looney Pyramid game system.
I always saw Kickstarter as a way for independent artists to generate excitement for their projects while raising funds to properly create their vision. But recently, a handful of corporate Kickstarter campaigns have popped up. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the above image showed up on my Instagram today, but I can’t help but be disappointed. More than 60 people have contributed to a project which, in my mind, should be fully funded by the creator. Topps is a major company, and does not need pre-project backers like independent creators.
Am I being too hard on Topps? How do you view these major corporations—who have plenty of cash to fund their own products—who go the Kickstarter route?
The above image appeared on The Walking Dead‘s Facebook feed almost immediately after the bullet when through Beth’s brain Sunday night. The image was a major spoiler for everyone who had not yet seen the episode (including everyone on the West Coast who “like” The Walking Dead), because Facebook is so addictive it was impossible to just log off for a few hours until the episode was over.
“Don’t tell me what happens tonight! I didn’t watch it yet!” That’s a frequent status update. I understand that some people have other obligations during the initial airing, but the easy solution to avoid spoilers is to stay away from Facebook (or Twitter or whatever other social media site you use) until you have watched the episode. And if you are unable to do that, knowing that you will see spoilers from friends (and sometimes even the network itself), then you really have no one to blame but yourself.
I decided to put together a little list of things you could have been doing instead of scrolling through Facebook while you were waiting to watch the episode.
- Read a book. Just take the “Face” away from that other thing you were reading. There are tons of books online, or you could go the old-fashioned route and actually get one made out of dead trees.
- Write. Make yourself the author of your own post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world that is ten times better than The Walking Dead. Don’t laugh. Someone will do it someday. Might as well be you.
- Exercise. Get on the treadmill and work up your running speed to escape those faster-than-Romero-zombies zombies. Lift some weights so you can rip their skulls off and use them as weapons, Daryl Dixon-style.
- Watch Netflix or a DVD. If you can’t watch the current episode because you don’t have cable or you live in a different time zone, fire up Netflix or the DVD player (do they still make those things?) and watch your favorite movie.
- Fix a new meal. Find an interesting recipe online, go buy the ingredients and whip it up; or use Supercook to find one using ingredients you already have in the house. You might find a new favorite food for yourself or the minions in your own little universe.
- Write a letter to an old friend. Not an e-mail. Not a Facebook message. An actual letter, with pen and paper. Don’t you love getting something in the mail besides bills? Other people do, too.
- Clean your house. When is the last time you vacuumed?
- Play a game with your kids. Battleship or Operation or Fluxx<img src="https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=thewrisjou0b-20&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" / or Monopoly Deal, or even The Walking Dead board game.
- Play Solitaire. Does’t that still come free on every computer? Or you could even pull out an actual deck of 52 cards and play it the way we played it before every home was infested with eleven personal computers.
- Call your mom. She’d love to sit and chat for a few hours. It’s been forever since you called.
So there you have it. Things you can do instead of getting on Facebook…whether it is to avoid spoilers or just because you are way too addicted.
The makers of CEREAL KILLERS proudly introduce
Kids and adults will love the hilarious parodies
of their favorite super heroes and enjoy
the discovery of ALL NEW ridiculous characters.
Sit & Solve Baseball Crosswords
by David J. Kahn
Puzzlewright Press, 2014
Spring training is underway and the regular season is right around the corner; baseball is on the minds of millions of fans across the country. Crossword puzzles are a great way to exercise one’s mind, and with David J. Kahn’s new series of baseball crossword puzzles, one can exercise his mind while thinking about baseball at the same time!
The forty-two never-before-published puzzles in Sit & Solve Baseball Crosswords range from medium to difficult, with an emphasis on America’s pastime. If you know who the name of the Hall of Famer with the .331 batting average, or the 1988 NL MVP, or the last player to wear uniform #42, then you can take a crack at some of these puzzles. There are general knowledge questions as well, but the baseball historian will surely be able to figure out even the most obscure non-baseball clues by filling in the answers he is sure of.
While the are not all easy, they are all fun. Sit & Solve Baseball Crosswords would make a great gift for any baseball fan, one sure to keep them entertained for hours.
by Looney Labs
Do you prefer to get all of your Christmas shopping done months in advance, or wait until the last minute? That’s not a question in the game Choose One, but it could be. An entertaining game that can be used for a small party or just family time, Choose One challenges how well you know your friends. Everyone is dealt a hand of cards, each card displaying a choice. You reveal one of the cards and secretly make your pick, then everyone else playing has to guess what you would prefer. Dogs or cats? Star Wars or Star Trek? Musical or magic show? A wide variety of topics is covered and the game guarantees some laughs as you try to defend your choices.
The game is recommended for players fourteen and older. Younger players have a tendency to fib a bit in order to move ahead on the board. If you choose to play with those under 14, you may have to institute a “challenge rule” of some sort, as there are no provisions in the official rules for suspected cheating. Other than that, the game is fun and will keep players entertained for several rounds. I know at the end of every game we have played so far, the question is asked, “Do you want to play again?”
Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas: Cincinnati Reds 1000 Piece Panoramic Puzzle by MasterPieces Puzzle Company
Cincinnati Reds 1000 Piece Panoramic Puzzle
by MasterPieces Puzzle Company
Is your teenager looking for a real challenge over Christmas break? Or perhaps you want to keep yourself entertained until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in February. MasterPieces’ Panoramic Puzzles might keep you busy even longer. The 1000 pieces fit together into a 13 x 39 inch photograph featuring a Reds game with Bronson Arroyo on the mound, likely on a Sunday afternoon (they are wearing Red jerseys).
Of course, Cincinnati is not the only team available. Twenty different Major League puzzles can be purchased, as well as a variety of NCAA football stadiums and basketball arenas. A good idea for a last-minute Christmas gift for a sports fanatic.