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New versions of classic toys hit store shelves in time for holiday season

Posted at 1:21 PM, Oct 31, 2023

Holiday shoppers perusing the toy aisles in the next couple of months can expect to see a lot of new takes on the old classics.

The Toy Insider highlighted toys and games that have fresh spins on some of '80s and '90s favorites including Monopoly Giant Edition, Care Bear Cheer Bear (limited edition sequin version), Rainbow Brite 3-Inch Collectible Figures, the newly updated Furby, and Risk The 1980's Edition.

Some throwback toys are enjoying their moment in the spotlight thanks to movies that came out this year including Barbie, Super Mario Brothers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with new releases inspired by the films like the Ninja Turtles' Pizza Fire Van or the remote-controlled Mario Kart Racer.

James Zahn, Senior Editor of The Toy Insider says the last couple of years, the toy industry put a name to these retro toys which is "kidult."

The definition is "an adult with childish taste."

"Really kids of the '70s and '80s were the first kids that never had to fully grow up, they now can re-experience this stuff, revisit it, have fun, and introduce it to the kids in their lives. And it really just brings people together," said Zahn.

Independent toy store owner, Matthew Poulson of Ruckus & Glee in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin sees a lot of grandparents visiting his shop interested in more nostalgic gifts. He carries everything from kazoos, to slide whistles, to paddle balls, to various renditions of The Rubik's Cube.

"There's so many choices they can make and sometimes the most comfortable choice to make is one you've made before or one you're familiar with," said Poulson.

Toy experts say a lot of these classics have something in common which is storytelling.

"There were stories and characters, and there was a lot of wholesomeness of being good to people that sort of goes through all of them, even where it's good versus evil. At the end of the day, it was really leaning into the good and the positivity," said Zahn.

"I think that, that idea of comfort, that emotional attachment to toys, especially in times that are stressful are really important," said Poulson.