Kids toys get geeky: Crave at the London Toy Fair 2011
We've heard that growing up means putting away childish things, but we never were that good at taking advice. So here we are at the annual London Toy Fair, checking out the latest cool toys from Angry Birds to Doctor Who, with a side-helping of Thundercats and iPhone guns.
We got justificably excited about Doctor Who Lego-style building sets and other Whovian playthings. But there are plenty of other gadget'n'geeky treats in store for this year -- starting with real-life Angry Birds.
The irritated avians and perplexed pigs come in all shapes and sizes of plush toy, pictured above. There's even a catapult to recreate the smash hit mobile game in your living room.
Spoil your inner child
We weren't allowed to take pictures of toys based on a new, Manga-styled version of Thundercats, but we can tell you this: they're not as big as the ones we had when we were kids. Then we saw the MotionZone games console, which recreates the Microsoft Xbox Kinect motion-gaming experience on a budget. It's not a Kinect hack, but a console and camera in one unit with 25 games built-in, for around £50.
Then there's the Hexbug, tiny battery-powered robotic insect creepy-crawlies of different shapes and sizes that skitter about at an alarming rate of knots. Kids can collect and swap the Hexbug Nano, a tiny multi-legged minibeast that will inevitably shoot under the sofa at the first opportunity, probably reappearing just as a jittery elderly relative wanders past.
They do make 'em like they used to
The old favourites were here too, with a new tech spin on the nostalgic toys of yesteryear. We pedalled hard for a London 2012 cycling-themed Scalextric. Meccano showed off Mechatars, Robot Wars-style battling robots. Lego also showed off its latest additions, including Ninjago, pitching yellow-headed shinobi minifigs into stealthy studded combat.
Toys for grown-ups
No showcase of cool new stuff is complete without everyone's favourite toy for grown-ups, the iPhone. The AppToyz dongle plugs into your iPhone so you can steer remote-control cars, while App-Player is a board game in which your phone replaces the cards. Our favourite, however, was the App Gun, a plastic blaster which slots your iPhone into the sight for augmented-reality shootouts.