In 2005, Webkinz took the virtual world by storm, quickly becoming one of the most popular, coveted toys on the market. They’d better not get too cocky, though. Here comes ROBOTGALAXY, a new interactive toy and online game. Unlike Webkinz, kids can customize their own robot online using parts of different robot personalities from the ROBOTGALAXY comic books. (There are over a thousand robot combinations!)
After connecting their robot to their computer, the robot will move and talk to them (he’ll even say their name) as they go on quests and battle other explorers in an online world. Imagine a Build-a-Bear and a Webkinz have a child ... who looks nothing like his parents and is a lot more into intergalactic domination than playing and making friends. As kids train and battle online, they can download new applications, sound effects, and voices, so this toy won’t get tossed on the shelf in boredom anytime soon.
I was invited to visit the new ROBOTGALAXY lab at the Toys “R” Us in Times Square. There, kids walk through with a cafeteria tray and pick and choose the parts of their robots. (See the "appendage shelf" for robot arms below.) When the robot is made, they place the robot in the SUPERSONIC Fuel Cell, complete with smoke, lights, and robot-like sounds that will “activate” their robot. The lights and smoke might only have been for show, but I must confess: when my robot (whom I affectionately named Tuffy, after my cat), was in the SUPERSONIC Fuel Cell, I was pretty wowed, and I think kids would be, too. If you’re still scratching your head thinking of a holiday gift for those hard-to-shop for boys (or girls!), I think this is something to check out. They even host ROBOTGALAXY birthday parties.
As a side note, I was told that kids usually come into the ROBOTGALAXY lab and want to mix and match robot pieces from different robots, creating a messy hybrid of their own. The parents, on the other hand, often encourage the kids to pick pieces from the same robot, so they have one that looks exactly like the robots in the comic books. What’s up with that? If your kid want to be a little silly, don’t stifle his creativity, let him go nuts! Am I right? (Although, I was told that parents usually want all the pieces to match so they can find them easily when they are disassembled and scattered over a messy playroom floor. Touché.)
Robots range in price from $19.99 to $75.00. Check them out at www.robotgalaxy.com