Thursday 25 September 2008

"Fabulous 15"


The Toy Authority Reveals 36 New Toys Guaranteed to Top Christmas Wish Lists and Selects the "Fabulous 15" Representing the Best of the Season

WAYNE, NJ (September 25, 2008) - With the official start of the holiday shopping season only weeks away, today Toys"R"Us announced its 2008 Hot Toy list, representing the definitive selection of toys that will top kids' wish lists this holiday season. The company's predicted list of the biggest holiday "must-haves" features 36 new toys that are sure to delight and excite kids across the country when they open their Christmas presents. Carefully selected after a comprehensive review process, items on the list are organized by age from "Baby's First Christmas" to "Big Kids" and serve as a starting point to help parents, friends and family find the perfect gift for any child. From the overall list, the "Fabulous 15" were selected to represent the very best toys of the season. All items featured on the list are available at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide and at

"After a thorough evaluation of all new toy introductions throughout the year, and consultations with our global merchandising team in 34 countries, Toys"R"Us has the unique ability to provide our guests with THE ultimate list of items certain to bring big smiles to kids' faces – the Toys"R"Us Hot Toy list," said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "With new toy shipments arriving in our stores daily, customers will have a better chance of finding the hottest toys, in stock, at Toys"R"Us than anywhere else."



Following are the Toys"R"Us "Fabulous 15," representing the best new toys of the holiday season (listed in alphabetical order):

50's Diner™ from Step2®
Bakubelt™ Action Kit from Spin Master™
Circus Ring from Playmobil®
Classic Lights and Sounds Trike from Radio Flyer®
Girl Gourmet™ Cupcake Maker from JAKKS Pacific®
EyeClops® Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles from JAKKS Pacific®
Imaginext™ Spike the Ultra Dinosaur from Fisher-Price®
Laugh & Learn™ Shop & Learn Walker from Fisher-Price®
Little Mommy™ Sweet As Me™ Baby Knows™ Dolls from Mattel®
Pink 8GB iPod® nano from Apple®
Pink Tag™ Reading System from LeapFrog®
Sesame Street® Elmo Live! from Fisher-Price®
Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Twilight from LEGO Systems, Inc.
Wii Fit™ from Nintendo®


From Baby's First Christmas to Big Kids, the Toys"R"Us Hot Toy list represents the top new toys for 2008 in each age group:

Baby's First Christmas
Candy Rock ‘N Bounce Pony from Radio Flyer®
The classic Radio Flyer Rock ‘N Bounce Pony received a makeover and now boasts a flashy design in pastel hues of pink and purple. This Toys"R"Us exclusive features a safety saddle to keep toddlers secure, which can be removed to accommodate an older child. The patented Rubber Bounce Suspension provides a safe, quiet ride, while the soft fabric body can be removed for easy cleaning. Riders can also hold onto the easy-grip for safe, fun riding. No batteries required. Ages 9 months to 3 years.

Crayola Beginnings™ Baby TaDoodles Rainbow Tower from Crayola®
With the TaDoodles Rainbow Tower, available only at Toys"R"Us, children can explore colors, lights and music by stacking and nesting the easy-to-grasp TaDoodles puppy, kitten and mouse characters on the musical base. These friendly faces combine to make new colors and music when one is placed on top of the other in this skill building toy. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 6 months and up.

Laugh & Learn™ Fun with Friends™ Musical Table from Fisher-Price®
Encouraging baby's learning and play, this bilingual activity table offers interactive characters with light-up faces that have unique and expressive personalities. The set features an interactive "First Words" book, counting phone with detachable receiver and piano keys. The table has four modes of play in both English and Spanish that teach letters, numbers, opposites, shapes, colors, greetings, first words, songs and tunes. After baby stops engaging in one activity, another activity will light up to promote continued play. Also, the included laptop opens and closes for realistic role-play, while the legs of the table are detachable for younger-age floor play. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 6 months to 3 years.

Laugh & Learn™ Shop & Learn Walker from Fisher-Price®
This learning walker teaches baby through everyday play and will continue to entertain children even after they master walking through three interactive play modes. As the steady walker is put into motion, music and lights encourage continued movement and sing-along to the "ABCs" and other learning songs. The Shop & Learn Walker includes four grocery shape-and-sort items and three additional grocery items. Once a shape is placed into its corresponding sorter, the cart responds by stating the color and shape of that item, while activating sounds and dancing lights. The three modes of play are Learning, Music and Imagination, which teach baby about colors, shapes, counting, letters, opposites, textures and objects. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

13 months to 2 years
50's Diner™ from Step2®
Children can step back to yesteryear with this retro-themed diner that transports them behind the grill at a local hot spot from the 1950s. This classically styled kitchen features everything needed to prepare an imaginary meal and serve customers – just like a real diner – including an oven, grill, dishes, silverware, cups, spatula, ice cream scoop, sundae dishes, deep fryer, ketchup and mustard bottles, and a sink to clean the dishes. To help kids turn up the heat, the included griddle pan and coffee pot activate electronic sizzling and bubbling sounds when placed on the stove's front burner. Of course, there's ample seating for customers at a retro-style tabletop with a working jukebox that lets kids rock around the clock with three 50's-style tunes. 2 "AA" batteries and 4 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 2 years and up.

Crayola Beginnings™ Scribble & Sing™ Art Station from Crayola®
Designed to captivate and spur toddler creativity, this Scribble & Sing Art Station offers toddlers a chance to experience color and sound, while discovering the joy of making a first mark with their favorite TaDoodles friends. The set comes complete with five TaDoodles markers, including orange bear, blue chipmunk, pink duck, yellow squirrel and green owl, each designed to fit in the palm of a child's hand. When a child places any of the five markers into the center circle, the Art Station recognizes the TaDoodles character color, activating unique songs and activities. Featuring 15 fun activities, kids can scribble to the sounds of music and lights for endless hours of imaginative play. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months and up.

Nick Jr.™ Wonder Pets™ This is Serious Ming-Ming from Fisher-Price®
Straight from Nick Jr.'s hit show, Wonder Pets, everyone's favorite character Ming Ming is here to sing and dance her way into the hearts and homes of kids everywhere. The 13-inch plush pet offers two modes of interactive play and brings all of the signature phrases, songs and dance moves from the show to life. Ming Ming can also answer the "Can Phone" upon hearing the "Can Phone" song, strike that signature pose and dance the "This is Serious" dance, all choreographed to the Wonder Pets' theme song. In the second mode, Ming Ming will take kids through some of her adventures, lead games and teach them how to do the dance. 4 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months and up.

Sesame Street® Elmo Live! from Fisher-Price®
For the first time, Elmo seems to step out of the TV screen and into kids' living rooms with the help of animatronics. This lifelike version of everyone's favorite red monster opens and closes his mouth as he speaks, moves his arms, dances, crosses his legs, sits and stands as he tells stories and jokes. Children can activate their furry friend with a tickle or a squeeze of Elmo's foot, tummy, back or nose. 6 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 18 months and up. Available at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 14.

2–4 years
Barbie® & The Diamond Castle Princess Liana™ and Princess Alexa® Dolls from Mattel®
In the new Barbie & The Diamond Castle movie, Barbie and her pal Teresa star as two best friends, Princess Liana and Princess Alexa, on their journey to discover music, magic and the power of friendship. To bring home the wonder of the theatrical release, kids will have fun reenacting scenes from the film with this Barbie doll, featured as Princess Liana, who sings two songs from the movie and wears a mesmerizing glittery gown that magically transforms with the flip of a switch! Barbie's necklace also lights up when she sings. Pair her with the Teresa doll, featured as Princess Alexa, in a similar glamorous dress, to hear them perform beautiful duets. Each doll sold separately. 3 "LR44" button cell batteries required (included). Ages 3 and up.

Classic Lights and Sounds Trike from Radio Flyer®
A retro-inspired redesign of the classic tricycle, this three-wheeler with pink "mod" flair will have kids clamoring to go for a fun-filled ride. Little fashionistas can take a spin around the neighborhood to show off the trike's flashy design and cool "Ms. Flyer" license plate. Girls will learn to abide by the rules of the road, using the touch-button blinkers to show which direction they're headed next. This Toys"R"Us exclusive even has a working horn and buttons to activate fun tunes. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 18 months to 3 years.

Classic Train Table with Roundhouse from Imaginarium
All aboard for fun with this Toys"R"Us exclusive train table, featuring more than 100 pieces, that lets kids use their imagination as they ride the rails. This real wood table comes with everything needed to create a small city, including more than 23-feet of track, eight train cars, a fueling station, an airport tunnel, a working crane, a roundhouse with five opening doors, people, street signs, street lamps, trees, a truck, a helicopter and more. When any wooden train engine or train car featuring a magnet chugs over one of six different sections of the track, it comes to life with exciting train-themed movements, lights and sounds. The table also features two drawers, making cleanup a snap when playtime is over. 6 button cell batteries required (included) and 5 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 3 and up.

Imaginext™ Spike the Ultra Dinosaur from Fisher-Price®
Stomping out of the prehistoric age, this 27-inch-tall, remote control dinosaur is ready to become a child's new best friend. Spike can walk, move his head, stand on his hind legs, open and close his mouth, blink and eat two boulders or a bone (all included) with a command from the remote control. Each button on the included remote features a symbol, making it easy for kids to use, even before they learn how to read. Spike also roars and growls like a real dinosaur. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included), and one rechargeable "9.6 volt" battery (included). Ages 3 to 10 years.

Little Mommy™ Sweet As Me™ Baby Knows™ Dolls from Mattel®
These three baby dolls really do know! When kids put the doll's hands to its eyes, it will recite the "ABCs" and play games. And, when the doll's hands are placed to its mouth, ears, toes or tummy, it'll name that body part in English and in Spanish. Featuring a choice of three dolls, including a blonde girl, brunette girl and blond boy, these interactive toys provide language development and fine motor skill-building, while kids emulate mom and dad through active role play. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Each doll sold separately. Ages 2 and up.

Natural Wood Alphabet Blocks Wagon from Toys"R"Us
This natural wood alphabet block set, available exclusively at Toys"R"Us, is both fun and forest-friendly. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of certification on the box indicates that wagon and blocks are crafted from replenishable materials that are chemical-free, ensuring safe and environmentally conscious play. This classic set of alphabet blocks, designed with a unique wood-burning technique, fit snugly into the wagon so kids can bring the joy of educational play with them wherever they go. No batteries required. Ages 2 and up.

V.Motion™ Active Learning System from Vtech®
Kids won't be parked in front of the TV any longer. Now, little learners can be put in motion while driving home lessons in math, reading, science, spelling and more! The V.Smile Motion TV Learning System is a kiddie gaming console that combines wireless, motion-activated play, web connectivity and educational gaming into a system that plugs directly into your television. The system gets kids engaged with games that include characters such as Scooby-Doo, Thomas the Tank Engine and Spider-Man, as well as new friends like Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E and Wonder Pets. Kids will love the wireless action-packed play that connects them with animated pals that guide them through age-appropriate skill levels and developmental activities. 3 "AAA" and 4 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 3 to 7 years.

YO GABBA GABBA!™ Dance Time Brobee from Spin Master™
Kids and fans of the Nick Jr. show YO GABBA GABBA! are sure to find this Dance Time Brobee doll tons of fun! Simply press Brobee's foot to get him moving and grooving, and he'll prompt children to dance along. This 13.5-inch tall interactive toy swings his arms around and shuffles his feet while doing the "Go Brobee" dance, a familiar step to fans of the show. Brobee also sings other familiar songs and says fun phrases from the show. 4 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 2 and up.

5-7 years
30" designer series acoustic guitars from First Act Discovery®
Future pop stars can decide how they want to jam with their choice of five Designer Series Acoustic Guitars, available only at Toys"R"Us. These eye-catching instruments are made with natural wood, thin frets and low string action to help musicians achieve the highest quality sound. The guitars also come equipped with exclusive Learn-A-Chord Cards that teach beginners to groove as they strum their way to fame. Kids can choose from the pink Jeweled Rosette guitar bedazzled with style, the Lavender guitar with butterfly stenciling, the Army Stripes guitar with green and black print, the classic black Diamond Plate guitar or the blue Flame Bling guitar, all sure to be a hit with young musicians. No batteries required. Ages 7 and up.

Circus Ring from Playmobil®
Kids can join the circus without leaving home when they put together this deluxe set boasting more than 200 pieces. Featuring a circus ring, an adjustable big top tent, ticket booth, light-up arch, high wire, trapeze artists, ringmaster, popcorn salesman, a family of three and seating for 30, children have everything they need to create the greatest imaginary show ever. 2 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

The most realistic interactive pet to join the FURREAL FRIENDS family, this plush dog will have kids eating out of its paw as soon as they see its range of tricks. Through voice recognition and animatronics, BISCUIT reacts just like a real golden retriever when children command it to "sit," "sit up and beg," "lie down," "give me a paw," "speak" or ask "do you want a treat?" BISCUIT responds by moving its head and ears, blinking its eyes, wagging its tail and barking. BISCUIT even comes with its very own dog treat – a bone it can "chomp." 6 "D" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

Disney® Hannah Montana Malibu Beach House from Play Along®, a division of JAKKS Pacific®
Straight from everyone's favorite Disney Channel program Hannah Montana, this set is an exact replica of Hannah's real house on the show! The House includes iconic accessory pieces that are instantly recognizable, such as Hannah's unique leg table and the swing she sits on to write her music. The playset also features six different Hannah play areas, including a bedroom, kitchen, living room, closet, upstairs balcony and porch, and comes with a doll that is available exclusively at Toys"R"Us. The set includes more than 80 accessories and stickers to decorate and customize the house. No batteries required. Ages 5 to 7 years.

Disney® PIXAR U-COMMAND WALL-E from Thinkway Toys
This realistic 9-inch-tall, infrared-controlled version of WALL-E comes to life with animated motion, voice, sound and light effects as kids maneuver him forward, turn him in reverse or make him dance! They can command the easy-to-use joystick controller on this Toys"R"Us exclusive to choose from a menu of pre-selected actions, voice responses and light effects that enable over 1,000 action combos. It is easy to replicate the quirky characteristics of WALL-E by controlling his eyes and arms, turning his treads and even pressing a button to recreate signature WALL-E movie expressions. 7 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 6 and up.

Pink Tag™ Reading System from LeapFrog®
Little learners can enjoy reading in a whole new way when they use the Pink Tag Reading System. This educational tool, available in pink only at Toys"R"Us, looks like a pen and lets kids hear an entire story, individual words or play learning games when scrolling over the words or pictures in a story. Kids can choose from a 20-volume library that includes "The Little Engine That Could" and "Olivia," as well as a title available only at Toys"R"Us, the popular "Dora the Explorer: Dora Goes to School." Parents can share in their child's learning accomplishments by connecting the Tag Reading System to a computer. 2 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 4 to 8 years.

Star Wars: Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon™ from Hasbro®
The fastest ship in the Star Wars galaxy roars to life in this 2 ½-foot version featuring lights, sounds and even phrases directly from the original Star Wars trilogy. Piloted by the included 3 ¾-inch scale versions of Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon is ready to take kids into light speed with smuggling compartments, pivoting gunner station and room for 16 additional figures. Kids can easily play inside the ship by removing the outer panels, where they can access the medical bay to treat wounded troops or place up to four action figures in the cockpit. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 4 and up.

X-trek PRO™ Track Set from Silverlit® Electronics
Aspiring racecar drivers can test their skills on this 14.5-foot track set, built for speed and maneuverability. Kids can race the two included 1:60 scale cars using the included tri-band remote controls. Just like in a real race, the cars can enter the pit stop area for a quick recharge before getting back into gear. Kids can also remove the cars from the track between races to charge them from the remote. The set, available only at Toys"R"Us, also brings an extra level of control to R/C racing with a unique front wheel steering system. Kids looking to make a bigger and more challenging set can extend the track with any X-trek Pro track piece or set. 2 "1.2 V Ni-MH" batteries required (included) and 8 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

8-11 years
Bakubelt™ Action Kit from Spin Master™
Bakugan Battle Brawlers™ is the latest craze among young boys, bringing a new component to trading card game play by adding plastic marbles (Bakugan Battle Brawlers) that "explode" to reveal mini-figures when they roll onto a metal Gate Card. Now, kids can prepare for Bakugan™ battle with the newest accessory, the Bakubelt Action Kit. This Toys"R"Us exclusive Action Kit features a Bakubelt, a Bakuclip™ that allows kids to reach for their Bakugan Battle Brawlers without ever taking their eyes off the game, two Bakugan Battle Brawlers (including one exclusive Deco Bakugan), two Gate Cards and two Ability Cards. No batteries required. Ages 5 and up.

EyeClops® Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles from JAKKS Pacific®
Powered by real night vision technology, Eye Clops Night Vision goggles allow kids to see up to 50-feet away in absolute darkness. The invisible infrared illumination lets young secret agents stay hidden, while giving them the advantage of seeing their opponents in a pitch-black night. Kids can go on special missions and perform night maneuvers in their own backyards with these goggles, which are fully adjustable and padded for comfort. The spyware comes equipped with a breakaway power cord attached to a counter-weighted battery pack to ensure the high-tech fun is safe for everyone. Requires 5 "AA" batteries (not included). Ages 8 and up.

Girl Gourmet™ Cupcake Maker from JAKKS Pacific®
Now girls can whip up homemade fun as they design their own cupcakes. Children just use the pre-measured spoon to add water to their favorite batter mix, stir, pour the mix into a cupcake cup, seal the creation in the microwaveable cupcake maker and cook for 30 seconds - no baking involved! Once the cupcake cools, kids can place it on the Cupcake Froster and choose from one of four delectable flavors to top their cupcake with bakery-style frosting swirls. The set comes with everything needed to create four batches of cupcakes, including one microwave container; the Cupcake Froster; four cupcake mixes, including Red Velvet, Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate and Yellow Vanilla; four frosting mixes, including Cream Cheese, Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry; sprinkles, mixing bowl, pre-measured spoon, four cupcake cups, cupcake cup holder and two recipe cards. Microwave not included. No batteries required. Ages 8 and up.

Nickelodeon™ iCarly Webcam from Imation™
iCarly, the wildly popular sitcom on Nickelodeon®, inspires tweens everywhere to participate in the first-ever scripted series to include original kid-created content. Carly and friends host regular webcasts, asking viewers to send in their own videos and pictures to air on TV or upload to Now, with the iCarly Webcam, kids can reach for the stars. The iCarly Webcam, which is available only at Toys"R"Us, combines photo and filming to let kids capture images of themselves or create video chats right on a computer screen. The digital accessory comes complete with additional software that will help tech-savvy tweens achieve their 15-minutes of fame, including a special Digital Diary and video- or photo-editing software to help kids create and share their digital designs. Computer not included. No batteries required. Ages 5 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide in October.

Tweens can get the word out with this new version of SCRABBLE, elegantly redesigned in pink hues and available only at Toys"R"Us. Offering the same classic crossword challenge, this new version features a pastel rotating gameboard, pearl-like letter tiles and an embroidered fabric pouch. Whether preparing for a girls' night in or a pink party, SCRABBLE DESIGNER'S EDITION still spells "F-U-N." No batteries required. Ages 8 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide in October.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Twilight from LEGO Systems, Inc.
Flying straight out of the first animated Star Wars adventure and available only at Toys"R"Us, the Twilight is a temperamental but powerful starship piloted by Anakin Skywalker during his adventures in The Clone Wars. This massive LEGO® model, with 862 pieces, features retractable landing gear that is activated by moving the wing, a flick missile, a side-mounted escape pod, moveable laser cannon turrets and four minifigures including Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka, Rotta the Hutt and R2-D2. No batteries required. Ages 9 and up.

U-Dance from Hasbro®
Now, kids and tweens everywhere can show off their dance moves to some of the hottest songs with the unique and innovative U-DANCE gaming system that can be played alone, or with friends, for a challenging arcade-style face off. Completely wireless and dance-mat-free, featuring motion-sensing technology, this system allows players to act as the controller using body movements and real dance moves, such as jumping, sliding, cross-overs and more. Dancers simply plug the console into a TV, attach the wireless Motion Tags to their feet and literally step into the game, using their body as the game controller. Movements are then mirrored by ‘virtual footprints' on the TV screen. To play, dancers follow actual footprint icons as they appear on the TV to the beat of the music. The gaming system features three levels of game play for each song and popular dance music by hit artists, including Run It by Grammy-nominated pop artist Chris Brown, ABC by the Jackson 5 and Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by M.V.P. featuring C + C Music Factory. 4 "AA" batteries (not included). Ages 8 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 18.

Zillions™ Pink Touch Screen ATM from Summit
Kids will enjoy learning how to manage their money with this realistic, pink mini-version of a touch screen ATM, available exclusively in pink at Toys"R"Us. This hip new take on the classic piggy bank is equipped with advanced touch-screen technology that allows kids to access their "accounts" with a personalized pin number. The ATM is programmed to distinguish real money with its bill-reading and coin recognition system, helping young penny-savers track their earnings. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 8 and up.

Big Kids iMod™ from Razor®
This sleek, motorized Eurostyle scooter, available only at Toys"R"Us, comes equipped with two full range speakers and a docking station that is compatible with all current versions of the Apple® iPod®, so kids can cruise around the neighborhood as they listen to their favorite tunes. With its white exterior, the iMod is designed to match the classic, clean look of an iPod®, while boasting 12" tires and over 10 miles of smooth cruising capability at speeds up to 15 mph on a single charge. The iMod also comes with an FM stereo so kids can tune into their favorite stations. Kids can lift the seat to reveal a special storage compartment. 2 rechargeable "12V Lead Acid" batteries required (included) and 4 "AA" batteries required (not included). Apple iPod not included. Weight limit 170 lbs. Ages 12 and up.

Pink 8GB iPod® nano from Apple®
The fourth generation iPod nano, available in pink, lets music lovers carry thousands of songs on the go with a stylish new design featuring a curved aluminum and glass enclosure. Users just plug the iPod nano into a Macintosh or Windows based computer through the USB port, connect to iTunes, load their favorite tunes or movies, and they're ready to rock. The new iPod nano lets users enjoy up to 24 hours of music playback or four hours of video playback in a single charge and is available in a wide variety of colors including pink, blue, silver and black. Users can even lightly shake the iPod nano to automatically shuffle their songs. 1 rechargeable "Lithium Ion" battery required (included). Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 19.

Star Wars®: The Force Unleashed™ from LucasArts™
For the first time, videogame players can wield the full power of the Force! This entirely new chapter in the Star Wars Saga casts players as Darth Vader's "Secret Apprentice" and promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy. Set between the largely unexplored era between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, players will assist Vader in his quest to rid the universe of Jedi – and face decisions that could change the course of their destiny. Using the newest videogame programming technology, environments and characters react exactly as they would in the real world, offering a new level of authenticity to the game play. Players can use the Force when they purchase the game on a variety of videogame consoles including the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. No batteries required. Rated "T" for "Teen."

Wii Fit™ from Nintendo®
The newest addition to the Wii gaming platform, Wii Fit takes fitness and fun to a whole new level. Players can create a dynamic, personalized workout regimen while practicing yoga, training muscles, aerobicizing or playing balance games. Users just step onto the included Wii balance board, where they can set up a personal profile and set goals, test their balance, track their progress and work out with a virtual trainer. With more than 40 fun activities and exercises to choose from, including pushups with side planks, jogging in place, heading soccer balls and swiveling their hips while hula-hooping, players will have fun as they get into shape with this unique system. The Wii Balance Board also works with additional games for added challenges. Wii console not included. 4 AA batteries required (included) Rated "E" for "Everyone."

About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 585 Toys"R"Us stores and 262 Babies"R"Us stores in the U.S., more than 693 international stores in 33 countries, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Sony PlayTV review

Sony's long-awaited Freeview dual-tuner adapter add-on has arrived in the somewhat functional form of the PlayStation-branded PlayTV! Will it transform the PS3 into a credible personal video recorder (PVR)?

The PlayTV pack-in includes a Blu-ray installation disc and mini USB cable! Be warned: PlayTV has no loop-through and there's no aerial splitter, a serious oversight! As my PS3 is conveniently placed near the sky+ box, I connected PlayTV directly into the RF2 output, which proved a useful workaround! I'd recommend using a high quality coaxial cable, to minimise signal loss, such as Profigold's BA-PGV8921!

Installation is a breeze and, following a system reboot, PlayTV is immediately accessible from the PS3's XMB! The GUI is intuitive and responsive with a luxurious 7-day electronic programme guide (EPG) that compares favourably with Apple TV and eclipses current offerings from sky and Virgin!

Scheduling recordings, with either the SIXAXIS controller or, more preferably, Sony Blu-ray remote, is the epitome of simplicity! I'd like to have seen a series link option and the ability to record two channels at once, but Sony assures customers that PlayTV will be continuously updated via PSN (a broadband connection is required)!

Background recordings can be performed whilst watching Blu-ray discs such as Wall-E or playing video games! However, there is a caveat. The quality of recordings maybe adversely affected according to Sony! During gameplay tests (using Devil May Cry 4 and Soul Calibur IV amongst others) I've yet to note any detriment to playback.

The overall quality of recordings is excellent (contingent on compression and signal strength) and is upscaled to 1080p (if your television supports the resolution)! Incidentally, native 1080i support for Freeview HD will be added in the future.

Bear in mind that 1GB of HDD space roughly equates to an hour of recording time and there's no means to adjust the bit rate to trade-off picture quality against recording duration! Therefore the PS3 40GB model won't pass muster if you're going away for weeks at a time and recording every episode of EastEnders and Neighbours.

With disk space at a premium, I'd suggest going for the 80GB model or higher! Sony promises a limited edition 160GB model for the upcoming holiday season!

Going forward, the engineers at Sony Cambridge should consider picture-in-picture (PiP) and conditional access for subscription-based services such as Setanta Sports!

As it currently stands, PlayTV is an absolute "must-have" for anyone with a PS3 and PSP! I cancelled my sky+ subscription and PlayTV trumps it in almost every regard! Look no further for a scalable multimedia PVR that can be accessed (via PSP) from anywhere in the world!

PlayTV crashes with alarming alacrity! Worst of all, it's a hard lock that necessitates a reboot of the PS3, stopping any ongoing recordings until the power's back on. Hopefully Sony will push a PSN patch ASAP!

Monday 15 September 2008

Bring Back Star Wars sans Skywalker

Did you watch Bring Back Star Wars, presented by Justin Lee Collins, which was shown, last night, on Channel 4?

Justin Lee Collins, following his successful A-Team, Dallas and Grange Hill assignments, attempted to reunite the principal cast of the original Star Wars trilogy in his inimitable style!

Carrie Fisher is, as always, interview gold! Princess Leia was my first pin-up and adorned my bedroom wall for almost a decade! And I'm entirely envious that Justin Lee Collins had a guided tour of Carrie Fisher's homestead, despite being terrorised by one of Carrie's canines, that's not a euphemism!

The revelation that Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Anthony Daniels (C3-PO) never got along was a baffling surprise! And what's with Mark Hamill's (Luke Skywalker) self-defeating agenda to distance himself from the Star Wars saga? Collins' was fortunate not to raise the ludicrous $50K, purportedly requested by the actor's agent, to interview the embittered star! Skywalker! More like Starkiller!

Ultimately. I was left yearning for an unspoiled reissue of the original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray! George Lucas you, alone, have the power to bring balance to the force...

Thursday 11 September 2008

Download FIFA 09 demo on PSN

Start practising your skills today with the all new FIFA 09 demo available for download from PLAYSTATION®Network

Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK, 11 September 2008 – FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the new season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), the world’s only official FIFA global football gaming competition. The FIWC is a season-long tournament mirroring the real world of football in which competitors from all around the world can participate playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 on the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™).

This year marks the fifth FIWC season, which will kick off with the launch of FIFA 09 on 3 October. Players will be able to compete at one of 19 physical FIWC 09 Qualifier Events across the globe, kicking off in New Zealand on 25 October and covering countries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Africa and the US[BM1] . Players will also be able to compete for the 13 places available in the final for the best online players via the PLAYSTATION®Network. The 32 finalists will compete to be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year, rewarded with an invitation to the FIFA World Player Gala along with a USD 20,000 cash prize and an all new KIA ‘Soul’. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the runner up will receive USD 5,000, while the player coming third will be awarded USD 1,000.

Hopeful competitors can get a head start and practise their skills for the tournament from today by playing the official FIFA 09 PS3 demo available for download worldwide now via PLAYSTATION®Network. Registration for participating in the online leg of the FIWC 09 tournament will take place directly inside the retail version of FIFA 09 on the PS3 in early October.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup has established itself as a premier gaming tournament, and the only one under the FIFA banner. Over the last years I have witnessed incredible virtual football action which promises thrilling games and excitement at the upcoming interactive season. I am really looking forward to the kick-off of the 5th edition where everyone has the unique chance to become a real FIFA World Cup champion,” said FIFA Executive Member Chuck Blazer, himself an avid gamer.

“Over the last four years, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the gaming competition for football fans and gamers. It’s the only tournament in which competitors can play as their football heroes and have their virtual skills recognised by FIFA, the real life world governing body of football,” said Matt Bilbey, Senior Director, Sports Marketing, EA. “With our partners at FIFA and PlayStation, we’re excited for this year’s season to kick off when FIFA 09 launches in early October. The development team has done an incredible job in making FIFA 09 even more authentic and fun to play, so make sure you get a taste of it now and start practicing with the demo on PLAYSTATION Network.”

”This year is PlayStation’s second season involved in the FIWC and we are very excited to see the tournament grow and evolve to establish itself as the biggest online football tournament in the world,” said Darren Carter, VP for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. “This season players will be able to truly understand the unique experience FIFA 09 on PLAYSTATION 3 and PLAYSTATION Network offers and we look forward to seeing players from around the world go onto the PLAYSTATION Network and get practising immediately.”

During last year’s tournament, players spanning the globe from New Zealand to South Africa, Brazil to Korea to the USA and Italy dribbled and scored their way through the tournament’s 20 live qualifiers, while over 25,000 players competed in the online leg. In the end, it was Alfonso Ramos from Spain who emerged victoriously from the Grand Final in Berlin. He will join his real life football heroes on the 12th of January 2009 at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich to accept his trophy.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 for the PlayStation®3 is now powered with dynamic real-world data and analytics, lifting the game to new heights of authenticity for football fans and gamers connected online. The adidas Live Season* service is based on how real players performed in the most recent real-world matches. Gameplay will change dynamically as the performance of players and football teams in the real world experience the highs and lows during their campaigns. Additionally over 250 gameplay additions and enhancements, Custom Team Tactics, 10v10* Online Team Play and the enhanced Be A Pro: Seasons will offer players a unique football experience that matches the complexity, finesse and beauty of the real-world game. To learn more about FIFA 09 visit

Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.

Footage and photography of the FIWC 08 is accessible on the FIFA Media Channel** now:

* Feature not active in FIWC tournament settings

** Requires registration at

Saturday 6 September 2008

Jar Jar Binks Salad

A side dish from the Dark Side:
Sculpt Jar Jar Binks out of a root vegetable.

It's always great to hear from readers and, in this instance, share the endeavours of a fellow Star Wars fan and blogger!

Kevin's post (I accept no responsibility for the content of any other web site, including any site which may link to or from this site) appeals to my sense of humour and is also most health conscious too!

Monday 1 September 2008

Previewing PlayTV

Sony launches its much delayed and maligned PlayTV Freeview tuner add-on for the PS3 on September 19th!

At the beginning of August I cancelled my sky+ subscription, following unresolvable technical issues, and am in the market for an inexpensive HDD PVR!

PlayTV plugs directly into the PS3 via USB (no additional power supply required) and is a space saving solution: it is no larger than a SIXAXIS controller.

The following key features of PlayTV are yet to be confirmed:

* Record and view your favourite programmes at the same time - PlayTV enables you to record both Standard Definition as well as High Definition

* Personal Video Recorder functionality - watch live TV, pause, fast forward and rewind

* Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) to show what's on, now and next - up to 7 days in advance in certain countries

* Mobile TV functionality - export content easily from PS3 HDD to PSP - watch TV on the go! Thanks to live streaming, you can watch your favourite show whilst abroad

* Channel surf with either your BD remote or your SIXAXIS

PlayTV is available for pre-order from at the very reasonable price of £59.99! I'll be reviewing PlayTV soon!