When I was younger I was all about action figures. Then once I started playing with my brother's LEGO kits, which started to take over my life. Finally, we're in the present where video games now rule my life as my dominant hobby. It's partly because I landed a job in this industry and the other part is that I just love them. I always enjoyed games at a young age, but my fascination with their history wouldn't come until college when one of my writing professors suggested I start a blog for some extra credit. That's a longer story, but the point is I owe my nerdy obsession, or curse, to her now.
What does this have to do with video game toys? Well, one of my first event gigs as a journalist was going to a local anime convention. It was there that I was reintroduced to my love of figures, combined with my passion for games. Let's just say I went a little overboard on that trip. There were so many toys from series I didn't even know had merchandise. My favorite find were these mini dioramas of Kingdom Hearts worlds. Look up Kingdom Hearts Formation Arts to see what I'm talking about. Now while there are tons of cool finds, there's also a lot of trash too. Toys, figures, plushies, and so on that have no place in this world other than to make a quick buck. And then there's some in here I just found hilarious.
30 Anything Related To Five Nights At Freddy’s
I have no idea how Five Nights At Freddy’s got so popular. It's a cheap game about artificial jump scares. Yes, the hype that is the lore can surround you, but it has no appeal for me personally. I definitely can't see why merchandise was made for it. Okay I know why stuff was made, but I don't get why people bought it. Are people asking to be surrounded by nightmares, or what? From pencils to pillows, it doesn't make sense to me.
29 Bioshock’s Eve Splicer
The injection needles you can find in the first two BioShock games are iconic. They basically grant you magical powers once injected. That said, selling them as a consumer product isn't as enticing. First of all, let me reassure you these needles are fake. That said I still don't like the idea of fake, giant needles lying around on my shelves. What kind of person has that in their household? It may raise questions to the uninformed and I frankly don't want to deal with that.
28 Creeper Body Pillow
Body pillows come in all shapes and sizes. They began as pretty simple length long pillows, but soon nerdy companies decided to twist the idea and make some money off of nerds. The obvious joke would have been to write about the "waifu" anime pillows, but then I saw this photo. The model they got, for all pictures involved with this Minecraft Creeper pillow, are too hilarious for words. That is to say, he couldn't fake being any less enthusiastic if he tried.
27 Legend Of Zelda Classic Sword
The Legend of Zelda is not the classic it used to be, which is to say it's hard to go back to. It's still an important piece of history though and can still be fun in quick bursts. The one thing I can't imagine being fun, related to this game, is buying a replica sword, pixels and all. The thing that bothers me is the stubby hilt and the aforementioned pixel design. It looks uncomfortable to hold no matter how old you are.
26 Pikachu Coin Bank
Something is a bit off about this Pokémon-themed coin bank. At face value giving coins to Pikachu who then takes them and secretly stashes your hard earned dough away is cute. I'm going to go after this toy from a lore perspective. First of all, Pokéballs are not square. Secondly, Pikachu doesn't go into Pokéballs at least Ash's doesn't and I assume that's who the Pikachu mascot is based. These are very nerdy nitpicks I understand, but am I wrong?
Totaku were quietly announced and released early last year as GameStop exclusives. They were the PlayStation and Xbox answer to Nintendo's Amiibo. On the plus side, they were priced lower and were of higher quality. Well, some of them are at least. The Bloodborne figure is pretty awesome. It's also nice to have some collectibles of games that don't get enough love like Ni no Kuni II. Here are my complaints though. One, GameStop exclusives stink. The customer experience is never great. Two, they don't have any game functionality. They're just statues.
24 Fallout Super Sledgehammer
Here's an instance where a product is inferior to the thing it's trying to emulate. In Fallout, you can get super-powered sledgehammers that inflict some pretty devastating damage. However, this replica is lame in that it's just a replica. In my mind, it looks like a cobbled together tool that looks like it's about to break. You know what is even cooler than this? A real sledgehammer. Not only can it actually do damage, but it's also probably a lot cheaper too.
23 Splatoon Splattershot Ink Blaster
The idea of shooting ink at people like in Splatoon is inherently a fun sounding idea. The closest thing we have is paintball, which is still pretty great albeit a lot more painful. This squirt gun and ink hybrid is a lame attempt to emulate Splatoon's insanity. Couldn't you get the same effect from just dying your water a different color? If you have kids put on white shirts it'll probably work the same and it should be less expensive too.
22 Nintendo Labo
I can remember distinctly what I was doing on the day I found out about Nintendo Labo. I was sitting in my hotel room; browsing through the news on the night I was going to see The Killers in concert. It was a great show by the way. Now the first thing I thought about when I heard the name was the episode of The Simpsons where Gabo got Krusty taken off the air. Word association aside, the thing I don't particularly like is the price. How can a mini-game bundled with cardboard be so expensive?
21 Bob-omb Tissue Holder
I'm not sure who came up with this combo idea, but they must have been high on Nyquil, or something. First of all this plush Bob-omb from the Mario series is not the only example of taking a stuffed toy and creating a tissue dispenser out of it. This was, however, the one video game related product I could track down. I guess a stuffed toy filled with tissues isn't the worst idea if it gets kids to not blow their snot into their shirts, but there's still something not quite right about this either.
20 Super Mario Jump Tower
Feast your eyes on the Super Mario Jump Tower, one of three Japanese exclusive Mario board games I'm going to talk about. First of all, when did Mario ever climb a tower? He climbs castles all the time and I guess they can be respected by tower shapes from time to time. For me though the more iconic climb would trace back to Donkey Kong. Hey toy company, why didn't you make a home version of that for Mario instead?
19 Super Mario 3D Maze
I have no idea what you call these things, but the easiest name would be ball puzzles, or ball mazes. The objective is simple. Guide one, or more tiny, usually silver, balls through a maze to get it through holes at the goal. They were never fun even as free toys from the Dentist, or something. That is to say, they always seemed impossible so I inevitability always quit. This model is a bit more complicated and thus more prone to causing headaches.
18 Kirby Otamatone
Have you ever listened to an Otamatone before? It's like the music of the devil and making it for kids with the adorable face of Kirby seems like a clever ruse to spread evil on this green Earth. Kirby is the perfect mascot for mouth-related products since his mouth has no real shape as he can contort it to unusual sizes. As good of a pick as this is, again, I can’t emphasize enough to stay away from Otamatones.
17 Destiny Ghost Echo
I bought one of these things for two reasons. One, it was price cut to $10. Two, I thought for that price this Amazon Echo was a steal. However, it's not exactly an Amazon Echo. It acts like one, but only for Destiny so that Ghost can talk to you via the device. It was neat in concept, but the irritating thing was setting it up. I literally felt like I should have earned a diploma for my harm. No matter how cheap it is, don't buy one!
16 Pikachu PC Cushion
Aw, how adorable. Every office space should have one of these on the desks. False! I find the idea of scrunching a giant pillow in between my desk and myself more distracting than relaxing. I've tried it before with small pillows and inevitably I just get pushed away at some point making me readjust both my position and the pillows. I'm all for adorable plush Pokémon, but I don't need them on my lap while working thank you.
15 Inhaling Kirby Plush Cushion
This may look weird, but I find it hilarious. It goes to show that Nintendo of Japan has a sense of humor about itself. This can't not be a joke, right? I mean it's a real thing, but I don't think a designer created this draft and thought this was a practical use of the Kirby license. It's really dumb to put your head inside a Kirby, but a part of me still would like to test it out. I wonder what the inside smells like.
14 Nanoblock Pokémon
When I was a kid, nay, up until I was about fourteen I was obsessed with LEGO. It was even more of a passion than video games before that took over. One of my good friends knew this and she also knew I liked Pokémon. For my last birthday, she bought me a Nanoblock kit of Charmander, which was a surprising but wonderful thought. That said, building it was another story. The instructions were incompressible and the dang bricks barely stuck together. Nanoblocks are a cheap rip-off!
13 Life-Size Snorlax Pillow
The Kirby pillow is funny, but this Snorlax life-size plush is even better. Better in the sense that it is worse. If you can't get enough of this sleeping titan in the Pokémon games, then this pillow/bed could be yours for about $500. That's right. For that kind of money, you could probably get a better mattress. The biggest issue here is the size. Where can you even put this thing?
12 Angry Birds Launchers
Angry Birds was the first iPhone game that I got hooked on. The puzzles were short and thus quick, making them super addictive. Then there was a garbage dump of sequels and spinoffs not to mention merchandise and even a movie. Of all the things to make, why recreate the game in toy form? These launchers came with bricks you could build up to them knock pigs over, but the blocks weren't constructed well. That is to say, a feather could knock them over making the whole setup process a waste of time.
11 Okami Noodle Stopper Figures
Are these toys? Ah, who cares? I love Okami so I'm going to talk about these toppers. Yes, while these may look like cool figures, they're also covers for your ramen noodle cups. They're designed to keep the heat in. Why was Okami contracted to be a sponsor when noodles aren't really a thing in that game? I have no idea. So while these are weird as a product tie-in, I do desperately want one. Not all of these entries have to be negative you know.
10 Bloodborne Hunter's Arsenal
When I first found these replicas of the Saw Cleaver and the Hunter Blunderbuss from Bloodborne, I thought they were life-size. That is to say, I thought these were cosplay props. However, I double checked my research and found out these are actually add-ons for an existing Hunter figure. That's right, even toys have DLC now. The discovery of this blew my mind even though I knew dolls get accessories all the time. Somehow this just felt different.
9 Lara Croft Barbie
Speaking of dolls, this is a sponsored collaboration between Barbie and Square Enix. That's right, this Lara Croft doll is a Barbie. Here's the thing. Girls play video games. I get that and it's not a bizarre secret that I try to deny. One of my best friends, a girl, is even better than me. The amount of Platinum Trophies she has is imposing. Anyway, that said I don't know if girl gamers are into Barbies though. So who is this doll is aimed at?
8 Transformers PlayStation
At first, I thought this was a joke. Like it was some kind of fan mod that took parts from an Optimus Prime figure and turned it into this original design. I was wrong in my assumption though as this is an officially licensed product from both companies. Here's my big question. Why did it have to be Optimus Prime and not an original robot? The simple answer is using the main guy probably guarantees more sales as he is most recognizable as the Transformers mascot.
7 Call Of Duty Mega Bloks
I have two giant problems with this product. First of all, on the same level of Nanoblocks, Mega Bloks are also a cheap rip-off of LEGO. I don't care how much money the company gives a license holder; don't go into business with them. Why Activision partnered up with Mega Bloks instead of LEGO I'll never know. Oh right, I can guess why. LEGO is family friendly and knew basing toys off of a mature rated game would be stupid.
6 Sweet Tooth Plushie
This plushie has the same amount of confusing real estate in my mind as does Five Nights at Freddy's. That is to say, I have no idea why anyone would want a plushie of a creepy destroyer like Sweet Tooth. First of all, he's a criminal and one that has admitted to harming children. Secondly, he's a clown. Add those two aspects up and you get one confusing doll. If you see one of these on someone's shelf, you better run!
5 Capture Bowser’s Castle
That title is just a demo of the real deal. The full name for this board game is Super Mario Large Adventure Game Capture a Bowser Castle. Heck of a mouthful right? You can see why I shortened it. Anyway, this Japanese game seems to be a remake of the classic board game, Mouse Trap wherein you build a crazy Rube Goldberg machine in order to catch the mouse. In this case, you're trying to catch Bowser. Is he dumb enough to fall for this?
4 Madden NFL Figures
While I may not love football, either playing it or watching it, I don't condone those that do. Well, in most cases I don't, but like any fandom, there are problematic outliers in the community. That said I'm a little confused by these figures. Madden NFL is the long-running and only officially licensed football video game on the market. To make toys based off of real players is one thing, but why are these branded as a game tie-in? Seems to me like they could just cut out the middleman aka Madden NFL.
3 Pokémon Z-Ring
The Z-Ring is an item in the games, first introduced in Pokémon Y and Pokémon X, which allow your monsters to go Super Saiyan as it were. I don't want to use the word evolve since it's only temporary which is suspiciously like Digimon. Anyway, this real-life version of the Z-ring can be hooked up to your 3DS so that when your Pokémon go full-hog, it vibrates. That's literally it. The thing just vibrates. It's definitely not worth the money.
2 Sonic Boom Racers
Sonic is fast, we all know that. It's like the one thing he does differently from his former platforming rival, Mario. So why then am I looking at a car for Sonic? I love the game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which also has Sonic driving a car, but there it's different. With that game, from a lore perspective, you could say Sonic is powering down so that he can give his rivals a fair fight. I'm not sure what the message is with this car though.
1 Funko Pop
If there were one thing I wish I could strike down from existence besides obvious real-world conflicts like hunger, it would be Funko Pop figures. Not just a single category either. I'm talking about the whole thing. What is with those spooky eyes? Who wants that staring back at them in the middle of the night? The worst part is the giant heads and tiny bodies making it impossible for them to stand up. They're just worthless.