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  • Controversial Lego Friends among worst toys of 2012

    Mike Smith at Unplugged1 yr ago

    Amid much pomp and circumstance, each year the toy industry picks one deserving plaything to receive the Toy of the Year award. Among this year's hotly tipped frontrunners are the newly revamped Furby, Activision's collectible Skylanders: Giants, and the staggeringly popular Monster High dolls.

    But for every friendly toy, there are a handful of hateful ones.

    The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a group that aims to suppress marketing that targets children, has come up with its own take on the whole shebang. Their award is dubbed the TOADY Award, which rather dubiously stands for "Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children." It's bestowed upon the year's most exploitative (and downright worst) toy as determined by public vote.

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  • Peek at the most expensive Lego brick in existence

    CNET at Unplugged1 yr ago

    This ultra-rare Lego brick is actually worth more than its weight in gold.

    By Christopher MacManus, CNET

    These days, Lego sets seem bigger and more expensive than ever, but the most expensive Lego of them all never actually hit store shelves.

    From around 1979 to 1981, select business partners and Lego employees (supposedly two per year) who worked 25 years at the brick-building factory in Hohenwestedt, Germany, received one heck of an anniversary gift: a 14-carat gold Lego brick that weighs 0.8246 troy ounces.

    The rare brick -- a standard 2x4 piece -- somehow came into the possession of BrickEnvy, a small e-store that sells collector-grade Lego sets. The store currently lists the pure gold Lego piece for a whopping $14,450, noting that only a few of these items exist around the world.

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  • Can you spot the fake objects among the real ones?

    Yahoo! Games at Unplugged1 yr ago

    Yahoo! editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2012. It first ran in November, and was one of the most popular Yahoo! Games stories of the year. Users were entertained by this optical illusion, as can be seen by reactions in the comments section: "That is just too cool," "Witchcraft!," and "the rubicks cube finds new ways to make me feel stupid."

    Several nondescript objects sit on a desk.  Couldn't be simpler, right?  Well, as the below video — the latest opus by Youtube illusion extraordinaire Brusspup — demonstrates, looks can be deceiving:

    The technique is called anamorphosis and dates back at least as far as the Renaissance.  The image is distorted and elongated so that it appears natural only from a certain angle.  (It's a style often used on the sidewalk paintings of artists such as Julian Beever and Kurt Wenner.)

    Brusspup heightens the illusion by placing the photo-realistic images alongside regular objects, and then using video to reveal the perspective change in real time. Very cool.

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  • The world’s most expensive Scrabble set costs $30,000…but you can’t buy it (yet)

    Mike Smith at Unplugged1 yr ago

    Got a Scrabble fan on your holiday wish list and a cool $30,000 to spare? The good news is that you can totally afford this gorgeous piece of board-game esoterica. The bad news is that you can't actually buy it.

    Why is this Scrabble set so expensive? Although you might associate the word-building classic with low-tech, old-fashioned family fun, this particular board is anything but basic.

    For starters, each of its 100 tiles hides an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, and both the board and the players' tile racks contain sensors that can tell exactly when and where a tile is played.

    It's also packing LED lighting, a carbon fiber turntable unit, and a custom-made system that can broadcast the game directly to the Internet. In other words, it wouldn't be out of place on "Pimp My Ride" -- which is appropriate, really, because it costs as much as a perfectly good car.

    [Related: The Most Valuable Action Figures]

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  • Eight insane old toy commercials

    Yahoo! Games at Unplugged1 yr ago

    Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, an estimated eleventy trillion shoppers will be tearing through inventory in an effort to fulfill the demands of their kids' Christmas wish lists. Show up to the store an hour too late and you'll walk away empty-handed; get the wrong model and it's tantrum time. It's enough to drive a person crazy.

    The nonstop barrage of toy commercials certainly doesn't help keep you sane, either, though at least contemporary ads usually make more sense than these eight astounding toy commercials from seasons past. Caution: bad ideas at play.

    Baby Laugh A-Lot

    The freakiest plastic toy this side of Talking Tina, Remco's 1971 giggling nightmare doesn't know when to quit. What's so funny, Baby Laugh A-Lot? Why are you laughing so hard? Stop. Please stop. SOMEONE MAKE HER STOP.

    Swing Wing

    "It's a what?!" Even the Swing Wing's narrator is incredulous, and for good reason. Transogram's  1965 oddity looks like a serious pain in the neck.

    Mattel Thunderburp vs. Aliens

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  • Six-year-old schools Hasbro on gender equality

    Chris Morris at Unplugged1 yr ago

    When Jennifer O'Connell's six-year old daughter was playing the Hasbro board game "Guess Who?" with her brothers, she noticed something was a little off.

    The game, which encourages kids to guess which character their opponents have chosen based on facial characteristics, features 19 boys and 5 girls. That, the toddler thought to herself, didn't seem fair, so she decided to hip Hasbro to the issue. And in the end, she proved to be a heck of a lot more cognizant than the corporate automatons she reached out to.

    Her first step was to write a note to Hasbro:

    "My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it's not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won't give little girls much care.

    "Also if girls want to be a girl in Guess Who they'll always lose against a boy, and it will be harder for them to win. I am cross about that and if you don't fix it soon, my mum could throw Guess Who out.

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