Toys

Imaginext Toys – A Love Story

After the countless totes of Legos, the next most populous toy in my house is any figure, set, or blaster from Imaginext Toys. Imaginext is a very versatile brand that you can find anywhere from Walmart, to the remaining Toys R Us stores currently on life-support, Amazon, etc; they’re constantly changing in style and collections, for various playing ages, and prices.

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I wouldn’t be able to talk enough about the different styles and sets they offer. At home, we have Batman variations, Egyptian mummy sets, Teen Titans GO! sets, dinosaur sets, Transformers, and tons of other superheroes that come in both individual packaging or in action sets. I find, when your child finds a series or brand of toy they really enjoy, the physical size of the set is an important component of purchase decision, at least, it is in my part. I’ve got a small, two-bedroom apartment, and if he wants to get an entire collection of just ONE variation, he would have run out of room long ago. For this reason, we tend to get a few pieces from each line, as opposed to trying to collect them all; but, Imaginext has found a convenient size pattern for their toy sets, they’re a very medium, low-impact size, or the toys themselves break down to clean up easier. These toys were so easy to collect, we keep one of the uber-popular rolling, plastic drawer sets designated strictly for Imaginext toys and blasters.
The Youtube videos for Imaginext Toys is comparable to those of the fanatics of toys already previously discussed; there are millions of internet videos pertaining to Imaginext, opening the packages they come in, to actual acted and scripted episodes made by moms and dads that have been viewed trillions of times. Literally. And children are like moths to a light to their toy videos. My five-year-old, Joshua, watches an hour or two of videos then walks around zombified repeating full, seven-minute-long videos verbatim. Is it disturbing or brilliant? I know I’m impressed. Impressed my child can monologue like a national treasure, but also how Youtube has completely taken everything we know about marketing and business and just, taken everything into a socially controlled direction. Maybe I’m fifteen years late on that.
I like that there are Imaginext packs that can have 4 or 5 figures that belong to the same collections. It makes collecting a lot easier, faster, and if you are on a budget you’re simply getting more quality toys in one purchase. In many of the packs, the figures may come with one or several accessories that go along with the character. Josh’s favorite Imaginext accessory is the blaster. It’s a variation of that character’s shooting weapon, that comes with a spring-loaded plastic missile (or 3). It’s his favorite because he has so many- and all missiles but 2 are lost.

superfriendsIn our sampling, I’ve also been able to tell the difference with the age of sets we own due to the design or the way the toys have been put together have evolved. I’ve paid close attention to any chipping or fading of paint or color, which I’ve never seen happen with these toys. The color on the figures, and range of motion for the limbs seem to be kept in good working condition, even after time and playful use by a sticky, 3-and-half-foot monster. Unlike his relationship with Mash’Ems, he has never brought me a broken Imaginext Toy crying there was an accident, he’s never had to throw any of these guys away because it wouldn’t work or because he snapped an arm off. I like to think I’m a veteran mom when it comes to my kids’ toys, and Imaginext is definitely a brand I’ll rebuy over and over and buy for other people’s children the next time I have to pretend to be nice.
Score 4/5

Toys

Mash ’em and Trash ’em, a toy review

DC Comics MashemsWith the never-ending influx of new toys, new sets, new upgraded versions of what we already love, has come a gross and smelly, uninvited guest: The Mash ‘Em. Wouldn’t you love to experience the horror of stepping on the booger-esque figure of a popular tv character, a favorite super hero or comic book legend, or perhaps a beloved Pixar character whilst tip-toeing late at night? Mash ‘Ems come in a huge assortment of every family’s favorite stars, packaged in a small Donkey-Kong type barrel, which if you’re anything like me, you will likely mysteriously lose the top half of said barrel within the first few minutes of opening. The figure itself is essentially a small, sticky stress ball that is advertised that you can “twist, squish, and mash”, but also has the super power to pick up every piece of lint in your carpet.

While children and adults are both inclined to enjoy watching your favorite character’s face expand and contrast with the power of their own mighty hand, I have a couple of reservations about this toy. Issue number one, the composition of the figure is not as durable as I would hope it would be. You would expect a toy that is meant to be squeezed and abused would be thicker or stronger than what I’ve experienced. The recommended age for play is four years old and above, and my son is five. He has ripped or popped a hole in every Mash ‘Em he’s ever gotten, which certainly may just vary from savage child to savage child, I don’t know, but in our experiments, the variable becomes the constant.

Which leads me to my next problem, they have an odd smell. It’s not a rubber Paw Patrol Mashemssmell, and it’s not a cleaning product smell, but it’s somewhere in the middle and lingers on your hands. Thankfully, none of the liquid has ever gotten into anyone’s eyes here at home, but it doesn’t smell like a safe product to get onto skin. If you’re a complete and total weirdo, you can view on Youtube trillions of videos of psychos spending time and money cutting into Mash ‘Ems (and the female variation, Fash ‘Ems) with box cutter blades and knives. I’m told that it is therapeutic and calming for some people to watch soft objects getting sliced open, but in my house “ain’t nobody got time fo that.”

Which snowballs into my third and final issue with the product:
The videos. The videos are possibly the worst and most annoying crazes I’ve seen in my lifetime thus far. The amount of Mash ‘Em and Fash ‘Em videos available, in combination with the amount of views these videos are getting are astounding. My son can memorize verbatim full-length videos of people who are simply opening the packages and giving them a squeeze, and the kids go wild. It’s confusing how impressed I am by how effective the marketing is, and by how much they annoy me. They are moderately priced, at Wal-Mart they are around four dollars, but on places like Amazon they can go for much more. Four dollars is not exactly enough for me to refuse the purchase if my son asks for one, but it is perhaps just enough to be sulking about later, after my second glass of wine and second ripped Thor body on my table, but I digress.

I may just be a bit cranky and under-rested, but I would skip this purchase all together. We’ve all experienced the gummy ball, the stress ball, the sticky-window-guy, and we all know how quickly they become unattractive. Within a few minutes they’re fuzzy, you’ve lost the packaging, and there’s residue on your hand somehow. Children undoubtedly love them; they’re graphic, super simple, and come in packaging that makes finding out the character a blind-choice surprise. I get the appeal, but I would find another toy with your character’s face on it and keep your four bucks.

Score 2/5