toys

Hello Barbie.. Barbie gets high tech.

Most girls born after 1960 have probably owned a Barbie and/or a Barbie toy set. It used to look something like this. Today, the Barbie franchise looks a lot different. The iconic toy is getting a 21st century makeover that doesn't include a new career with a coordinating outfit.

Today’s Barbie can literally have a conversation with you. It’s called Hello Barbie. Hello Barbie is expected to appear on store shelves in late 2015. This Barbie uses the child’s voice pattern and Wi-Fi to interact with the child. While this doll is a technological breakthrough, it’s causing intense debate. 

Barbie's been through a lot in the past year — she saw a major decline in sales, caused quite a controversy when she took a role as a computer engineer, and was even re-imagined as "normal."  But watch out world, Barbie is new and improved. 

The new internet-connected doll from Mattel might just be a game changer in the playroom. Not only will she be able to learn and save kids' answers to her questions (such as their favorite colors and foods), but she'll use that information to have future conversations. And thanks to her location feature, she'll be able to chat with her "real-life pal" about where they are in the world.

So how does she do it? Her statement necklace is actually a speaker and microphone developed by speech-recognition company ToyTalk. They also created the programming for her speaking and listening capabilities. Granted, you'll need a Wi-Fi connection to really talk to her, but your kids can still play with her the old-fashioned way when she's offline — you know, with their imaginations.

Hello Barbie, who made her big debut at the New York Toy Fair, will hit shelves sometime this fall, retailing for $74.99.

The Virtual Pet is back...Tamagotchi returns..

It is hard to believe that it was 17 years ago that the Tamagotchi virtual pet was unleashed into the world by Bandai. Don't remember the Tamagotchi? You need to get out more. Described by manufacturer Bandai: "Tamagotchi is a tiny pet from cyberspace who needs your love to survive and grow. If you take good care of your Tamagotchi pet, it will slowly grow bigger, healthier, and more beautiful every day. But if you neglect your little cyber creature, your Tamagotchi may grow up to be mean or ugly. How old will your Tamagotchi be when it returns to its home planet? What kind of virtual caretaker will you be?" 

 

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 The Tamagotchi took the world by storm between 1997-2003, with several version updates and special editions since. By 2010, 76 Million of the egg shaped, virtual alien pets had been sold. And to celebrate the amazing culture the Tamagotchi created and it's birthday, Bandai is updating the line with the Tamagotchi Friends line. Curiously, the line goes on sale December 26th, AFTER everyone has already opened all their presents. Get prepared to feed, play with, love and clean up the virtual poop of your own little adorable space alien again.  This newest edition comes with new characters to raise. Also, when two owners bump their Tamagotchi Friends against each other, their pets can go on play dates, and they can interact in-game. Check them out in EVERY STORE on the planet (almost!), or at their new website HERE!