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Toy fair: Today's toys lacking in distinction

Everyone remembers their favorite toy and just how exuberant that moment was when you first opened the box, asked mom and dad to put it together and spent years playing with that exact same item without losing much interest or focus on it.
Today's toys don't have that luxury. Sure, kids still have their favorites but the association and attachment that defined toys 20 years ago or longer seems to have disappeared, and a lot of that has to do with the way toys are mass produced to the point that various markets are incredibly watered down with far too many options.
Even notable brands for boys, as an example, like WWE, Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are lagging when it comes to really coming out with anything new, unique or groundbreaking as far as figures are concerned. You could argue that new movies from Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles help inject at least a modicum of life into the toy lines, but the main staples in terms of characters don't change. With that, the toy market gets a bit of a bump but nothing you would consider groundbreaking.
Wrestling figures are especially stagnant for a number of reasons, even though they've tapped into producing toys from a previous generation as far as superstars. No matter how many ways they mark the arms bend or if the action figures are hard, soft or can stretch, there is little distinction on any and all of these products.
Comic book movies and blockbusters like Transformers certainly have helped the toy biz score some more revenue, but another thing that has ultimately hurt toys overall is the arrival of the gadgets, smart phones and a plethora of technology.

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That thinking has helped the rise of toys that are considered "smart" alongside of phones and tablets. Kids begin clamoring for laptops before they can talk, and parents are equally obliged to purchase them thinking that conventional building blocks pale in comparison to the real deal in their eyes: anything that engages kids beyond a Cabbage Patch Doll or stuffed animal.
And thus action figures for boys and girls are rendered obsolete in the traditional sense. That isn't a bad thing per say but the happy medium only exists if kids are given educational toys and not introduced to iPhones and Droid tablets ahead of schedule.
The fine line between toys that are tailor made for education versus ones that really are more distraction renders other toys rather useless in the grand scheme of shopping in the toy department of your local retailer. Your favorite Barbie dolls or G.I. Joe figures still have some life but whatever is left in them is clinging to the hope that the toy business does a complete 180 degree turn.

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