Monday, December 25, 2023

[YouTube] Sparking Santa Spinner

This is a spinner toy with a Christmas theme as it has what I believe is a sticker of Santa Claus on the center. It's made of metal and plastic, and requires users to press a plunger rapidly that pushes against a gear to spin the device, eventually causing sparks. I'm not sure when I received this toy but my best guess is late 1970s. The only markings I see on it are Kurt S. Adler Inc., New York and, much to my surprise, it turns out this company, which began in 1946, is still in business today and specializes in holiday products. While it's not the highest quality toy, it does still work, more or less, despite likely being 40+ years old. Trying to use one hand to spin it and the other to take photos of it in action was a bit challenging, and I opted to crop out my blurry hand so you only see the top piece in those pics. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

[YouTube] LEGO Bullseye Dog (2010)

This post is of a product that's newer than I would usually cover but I like LEGO toys and thought it was worth a look during the holidays. It is a 31-piece LEGO set featuring Bullseye the dog from Target store advertisements that was sold around Christmas in 2010. The set was packaged in a plastic case that doubled as a Target gift card.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Gaming Ads: Backfilling #17

Last video games ads post was September 2022  so it has been a while but I do have more and will hopefully continue getting them from time-to-time. One is fitting for the holidays as it's a Christmas-themed Game Boy ad from Nintendo. Two of them are retail ads from Target (Game Boy) and Walmart (Konami handhelds), and the last is a PC controller from Microsoft.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments (White's Guide to Collecting Figures - July 1997)

I've posted about ornaments on the blog more than I ever thought I would. However, Hallmark does make detailed ornaments based on numerous fandoms and other subjects, from comic books and toys to sports and Coca-Cola so I think they're worth taking a look at. Previous ornament posts include Star Wars original trilogy and prequel trilogy, Star Trek, and then a few ornaments appear in Superman and Batman articles. For this post I've scanned a 4-page article titled "It's Christmas in July" from the July 1997 issue of White's Guide to Collecting Figures which obviously covered more than just action figures. Below that I'll highlight some of Hallmark's 2023  Keepsake ornaments as they're still going strong and they've got some very nice video game selections this year. 

Although the magazine is about collecting and I do mention the value of things from time to time, the article rightly states, "It doesn't matter if they go up in value or not because they will bring you pleasure every year when you put them on your Christmas tree." That being said, it does often pay to wait as the cost can drop below the MSRP when the store discounts the unsold stock or they show up on the secondary market a few years down the road. I've found when selling some of my 25-year-old ornaments that they commonly go for less than what was originally paid, especially the athletes. There are too many 2023 ornaments that are based on Star Wars, video games, toys, Disney, Star Trek, and other things that relate to the blog to list here so check out this link if you want to see more: Hallmark Keepsake. Hallmark is even selling a Star Wars tree skirt that lights up (it's $119.99!). 

Nothing says Christmas like Han being frozen in carbonite! Of course, most of these licensed ornaments have very little to nothing to do with Christmas but that's okay and you really don't need to use them as ornaments. Many also look great sitting on a shelf and being displayed year round. My personal favorites are these light-and-sound Sega and Nintendo game consoles. Unfortunately, they are only sold online and three of them are currently out of stock so these might actually end up being difficult to get.


Sunday, December 3, 2023

1993 Electronics Boutique December Catalog

Electronic Boutique's (EB) 72-page December 1993 catalog is eight pages larger than the 1992 holiday catalog and more than double the 1991 issue. The 16-bit gaming era was going strong at this time and there were more than Nintendo and Sega systems to cover. Surprisingly, the very first page is dedicated to the CD-i, complete with listings of the two non-Nintendo Zelda games. Fourteen pages are then dedicated to the Super NES followed by ten for the Sega Genesis, four of the Sega CD, and two for 3DO. Unfortunately for the Turbo Duo, it has to share a page with a handful of LCD handheld games. Of course, the Nintendo Entertainment System was still hanging around too and that got two pages, then four for Sega's Game Gear, and three for Nintendo's Game Boy. On page 42 the catalog moves to computer games which were quite popular as well. There are ten pages primarily covering PC games and then a variety of family, educational, and productivity software, plus some hardware. As is often the case, the last page and back cover are missing a portion because I cut a coupon off of it. 

In the past I've commented on the prices in these catalogs, such as comparing the highest prices then to today, though I've also read comments elsewhere stating EB was overpriced. I don't recall if it was or wasn't but it was a mall store so it likely did charge more than a Toys "R" Us would. Comparing EB to my mall's other two similar stores, I do remember Babbage's often having better deals and Software Etc. being the most expensive.