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Disney's Puppy Dog Pals first hit the scene last month, quickly gaining young fans eager for more adventure with pug brothers Bingo and Rolly. As with most new shows that are fresh-out-of-the-gate, there's often the question of "where's the toys?," and with Puppy Dog Pals I can give you the answer: they're coming this Fall! Previewed at New York Toy Fair a few months back, my friends at Just Play have shared with The Rock Father™ a first-look at their Puppy Dog Pals Doghouse Playset! No doubt the pinnacle of their collection (more toys will be revealed soon),  I'm already anticipating this to be a hot item for the 2017 holiday season. After all, Just Play has a track record, with awesome kid-coveted toys from PJ Masks, Mickey and The Roadster Racers, The Lion Guard, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First in their lineup. Check this out...

Space-based play is a big deal here at Rock Father HQ, a fact that I've often mentioned both here and in my column over at The Toy Insider. Two Christmases ago, our youngest daughter had just one request for Santa Claus: "A Space Station." While he delivered on that wish, this year an even bigger orbiting craft arrived here at HQ, and it's something that our girls can actually climb inside of. The folks at Pacific Play Tents recently sent us their Space Station Tent and Tunnel Combo, and it's become a regular base for out-of-this-world adventure. When paired with the "Get Real Gear" Astronaut Suits and Jr. Astronaut Helmets from our friends at Aeromax Toys (based right here in Illinois!), they've got the perfect accessories for endless imaginative play! Take a look at the video below. Will SpaceX be sending kids into space?

Without a doubt, Hatchimals were the hottest holiday toy of last year. Now, Spin Master is expanding that world with Hatchimals Colleggtibles - a new series of micro-collectible figures and accessories, born from the magical world of Hatchtopia. Arriving at retailers this spring, these collectible figures bring the magic of Hatchimals to small-scale, still requiring the love of a child to hatch. Available in single blind bags, 2-packs (with nest) and 4-packs (with bonus), kids can rub the heart on each speckled egg to help their new friends hatch. When the heart changes from purple to pink, it's time to crack the egg (by pressing on it) to see who's waiting inside. My friends at Spin Master sent us a small assortment for review in The Toy Testing Facility here at Rock Father HQ, and this is what we got. Check out the video below!

Updated with the Official Announcement and game details....

As teased last week, the Call of Duty franchise is returning to its roots this November with the release of CALL OF DUTY: WWII. At today's Worldwide Reveal Livestream (still happening as of this writing), Activision has unleashed the official reveal trailer for Sledgehammer Games' highly-detailed step back into the era of World War II. The team did extensive research for a war that they note still touches families (my own Grandfather served in the 82nd Airborne), and our first taste of that labor can be seen below. Check this out...

It seems that every day is [INSERT NAME HERE] DAY, and today is a day that I can get behind... #AlienDay! Indeed, today is a global celebration of the franchise launched with the 1979 release of Ridley Scott's Alien, and continuing on May 19 with the release of his latest film, Alien: Covenant. Now comes some news from my friends at PPW Toys that they're bringing the famed Xenomorph into an all-new form... that of Mr. Potato Head. But the Alien won't be alone, as Predator (or is that, Pred-tater?) will be in the PopTater mix as well, allowing toy fans of all ages to have a mighty Alien vs. Predator battle to see who ends up fried. Additionally, Ripley and the crew are also getting a set of Wooden Nesting Dolls as well! Check these out...

PJ Masks AmbassadorAs of this writing, National Superhero Day (April 28, 2017) is fast-approaching, and that makes for a great time to have a SUPER party. Parties don't need to be reserved just for birthdays, and sometimes it's fun to get the little ones and their friends together for an unexpected gathering. In fact, sometimes we even have parties here at Rock Father HQ that are family-only, but still a fun way to turn an ordinary day or night into something extraordinary... or super. One of our favorite themes here is PJ Masks, and after being requested by parents for over a year, official PJ Masks party supplies are now available at Party City! Paired with PJ Masks free printables from the official site and toys from Just Play, you can easily create a memorable PJ Masks Party for National Superhero Day, birthdays or any day!

The "toys-to-life" category has seen some ups-and-downs over the past few years, but the reality is that it's still an evolving thing - and probably always will be. Until now, it's been dominated by a mix of console video games paired with real-life figures, with Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions and the late Disney Infinity being the biggest players in the realm. This year, there's starting to be a shift toward mobile, with titles like TOMY's Lightseekers ramping up, but then out-of-nowhere comes Hasbro with a totally different spin on things. The Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio bridges traditional, hands-on imaginative and creative play with the digital world, allowing kids to craft real Play-Doh creations, and then scan them into the accompanying app. The folks at Hasbro (via Family Video Network) recently sent us one for review here in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, and you can see our hands-on video below...

It's been rumored for a little while, and today it's official - Call of Duty will return to its World War II roots this fall with Call of Duty: WWII, developed by Sledgehammer Games. Little is known about the game right now, but more intel will be coming during the game’s Worldwide Reveal livestream on Wednesday, April 26 featuring Sledgehammer Games co-studio heads and founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield.  Fans will be able to tune in to get a first look at Call of Duty: WWII and get intel on the studio’s vision for the game. Personally, I'm two years behind on my Call of Duty playing, but since I finally have an Xbox One, I'm really looking forward to a return to "Call of Duty Season!"

Autobot or Decepticon? For years my wife and I have had both sitting in our driveway - each of our cars displaying separate factions of Cybertronian allegiance. Which faction would you choose? That's what Hasbro wants to know, as that've just announced “REVEAL YOUR SHIELD,” a TRANSFORMERS celebration that will offer fans five days of TRANSFORMERS content and product reveals, beginning on April 24th with the release of Hasbro’s first wave of toys and consumer products inspired by the TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT film. Throughout the week fans will be encouraged to “reveal their shield,” using social media, TRANSFORMERS.COM or the official TRANSFORMERS mobile app to declare their allegiance to the Autobots or Decepticons.

The late 80s and early 90s were a fun time for Disney television animation, and as the forthcoming Disney XD reboot of DuckTales should indicate, audiences are ready for a throwback. At the same time those classic cartoons were delighting kids after school, the age of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming was hitting hard, and titles based on the television series were being released on a regular basis. Now, those looking for a new burst of retro gaming goodness can delve into Capcom's The Disney Afternoon Collection - a value-priced bundle of six classic games, perfect for parents like me to introduce a new generation to some NES classics via PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.  Check out a preview below...

After some early details leaked a few days ago, those attending EA has officially dropped the curtain on Star Wars Battlefront II, making the reveal at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. Personally, I just started playing the first Battlefront last month (late to the Xbox One party), but after seeing what's coming down the road, I can't wait to get my hands on Battlefront II. Not only does the game pack a ton of action from "all eras of Star Wars," but there's a new story to be told, with a new type of trooper at the center of it - the Inferno Squadron Pilot. Hasbro will release a Star Wars The Black Series Inferno Squadron Pilot as a Gamestop Exclusive along with the release of the game for Xbox One and Playstation 4. See details on everything below!

Being a massive fan of Star Wars, it's been a real privilege to have deepened my personal connection to it over the years, something that has been an unexpected benefit of running this website. I've been able to work on some projects spun from various licenses; had my own home movies used in Target's promotional commercials leading up to the release of The Force Awakens; and I was able to take part in the Global Media Event for that very film - the first-ever Star Wars film to be released under Disney's ownership of Lucasfilm. That said, there is one big connection that I do not have, and one that I've been asked about more times than I can remember - and it's gone back to the early 1990s. No, I am not related to Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn. In fact, we'd never actually met until he made an appearance at Count-I-Con in Lake County, Illinois last year. To make it completely official, he signed a copy of his Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition hardcover to our entire family with "no relation" tacked on the end. So why bring this up now? At Star Wars Celebration Orlando, there was a whole lot of Grand Admiral Thrawn action happening, and you're going to be seeing a lot more of the blue-faced Imperial in the months ahead. 

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