Star Wars. It’s the film series that I grew up with and like most of the modern world, I grew to love the archetypes of Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Han Solo, and the rest of the Star Wars universe. I even stuck with it through the dark years with The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, gritting my teeth while watching the hated Jar-Jar Binks or listening to Anakin Skywalker (an awful Hayden Christensen) whinge to Padmé (Natalie Portman) how unfair the world is. Yikes.
The Star Wars franchise was notable for another reason, though: It was the film series that really launched the whole concept of licensed merchandise, and boy did it ever succeed. From lunch boxes to t-shirts, stickers to books, underwear to appliances, if there was a way to adapt something to feature an iconic Star Wars character, someone, somewhere tried to sell it.
With the imminent release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, the first new film in the series for a very long time, Star Wars merchandise has exploded and when Hasbro sent me a selection of its licensed merchandise, I was quite curious. I’m glad to report that they’ve done a really good job and that all three of the toys they sent have proven great hits in my family!
I’ll start with the toy that was a bit too young for my rather precocious 11yo and her friends: Star Wars Loopin’ Chewie game. It’s a “zany, fun-flying” action game: Players must help Chewie co-pilot the Millennium Falcon, swinging straight into their opponents stormtroopers.
The box makes me laugh every time I see it:
When actor Peter Mayhew was donning the heavy Chewbacca costume, I’m confident that he never envisioned that he’d someday become so darn happy. Look at the box picture and try to avoid grinning!
The game itself is for two or three players and involves the Millennium Falcon circling around (thanks to a battery-powered base) and each player trying to time their lever push so that it’ll bounce over their own ship and crash into their opponents base, thereby dislodging a stormtrooper “coin”:
As I said, outside of the sheer amusement factor of the artwork, this seemed a game more aimed for a 5-6 year old child or two, and at that age I can definitely see them having hours of entertainment. Smartly, Hasbro also designed this so that the stormtrooper coins can be replaced with regular coins after they (inevitably) get lost in the house.
The other two games Hasbro sent were much more our speed, Bop It! Star Wars R2-D2 Edition and Electronic Catch Phrase: Star Wars Edition.
Bop It! is a big hit for Hasbro, a kinesthetic game that’s a riff on the old electronic Simon game. Instead of having to remember color sequences, however, the game requires you to repeat physical gestures as quickly and accurately as possible, all spoken by the toy itself. And it’s R2. How cute is that?
Bop It! Star Wars R2-D2 edition is actually a sufficiently big hit with my 11yo daughter that she’s been taking it to school in her backpack to play with her friends during recess. That’s a success in my book!
The only thing that surprised us with the R2-D2 Bop It! is that it’s pretty small when compared to the regular Bop It! units from Hasbro. Then again, that does make it a lot more portable, so perhaps it depends on how you look at things. For children, small is good.
The third toy you can see in the photo above, it’s the Millennium Falcon, outfitted for the popular charades-like game Catch Phrase. Here’s a view from above so you can read all the labels and see the screen:
The idea is that your group is broken into two teams and that one person is handed the Catch Phrase device. They tap “Next” and a word or phrase shows up — in this case Return of the Jedi — and they can say or do anything they want other than say any of the words in the phrase. First person to guess correctly gets the score for their team and the Falcon is handed on to the next person. Simple. Fun.
Of the three, I think Catch Phrase is the most fun for more adult audiences and it’s a splendid party game (who doesn’t love Star Wars?), while Bop It! is terrific for tweens and teens. Younger kids? They’ll be having all sorts of fun with Loopin’ Chewie in the other room.
Now, here’s the fun news: Influence Central is hosting a Hasbro Star Wars Prize Package giveaway and is going to randomly select five winners from all program entries. That might mean you! They’ll also be handling fulfillment of the winning prizes, btw, but if you win, you’ll be happy to figure that all out, I’m sure!
FYI, the contest starts Monday, November 2, 2015 and closes Monday, November 23, 2015.
Good luck. And may the force be with you!