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I was just browsing the toy department of my local Meijer store the other night when I came across Hasbro's new collection of BLACK PANTHER toys in the wild for the first time. As with most of their Marvel-based collections, this one has the usual action figures and vehicles paired with an assortment of cool role play items. What's interesting this time around is that the "Black Panther Vibranium Hero Gear" just received its own commercial, and aside from a few Star Wars items, we usually don't see too many proper commercials for the role play gear. Check the new spot out below via Hasbro's YouTube Channel, and look for these toys and more in stores everywhere!

According to Nintendo, the Switch has become the fastest-selling game console in U.S. history. I can't say I'm surprised, as we absolutely love our Switch. That said, the one thing I don't love about it is the price of official accessories, and I was completely upfront with Nintendo about that when The Rock Daughters™ and I paid a visit to Nintendo of America's Headquarters in Redmond, Washington this past November. I think $80 for a pair of Joy-Cons for a $299 console skews toward the unusually high-priced, but if that's all that's available, consumers will no doubt pay it. I do love the color combinations available, and while I was at Nintendo HQ, I picked up a Splatoon 2 themed version of their Pro Controller, but until now, matching Joy-Cons were only available as part of a Splatoon 2 Bundle Pack, or sold on sites like Amazon by third-party sellers bringing them in as a Japanese Import. Now they're getting an official release, and my friends at GameStop have already got them up on pre-order with an anticipated release date of January 15! Check out the Neon Green and Neon Pink Joy-Cons...

I've generally stayed away from posting "leaks" of any kind here on The Rock Father™ Magazine, but as we approach the release of what will be the fourth Star Wars film of the new era, it's time to say something about how the merchandising is being handled for my favorite franchise. Starting with the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star Wars merchandise has been unleashed during a promotional blitz that's been a street-dated affair. Force Friday was followed by Rogue Friday for the 2016 release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was followed by Force Friday II ahead of 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now, we're staring down the May 2018 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and all signs are pointing toward a spring launch event for the tie-in gear. Now comes the first problem with this strategy...

If you've played video games at any point within the last three decades or so, there's a solid chance that you've owned a Mad Catz product. The longtime maker of gaming controllers and accessories was a fixture for years, but the last few were anything but kind for them. Following an expensive gamble on Rock Band 4, for which they served as co-publisher in addition to the hardware and accessory maker, the U.S.-based company went under, filing for bankruptcy in the spring of 2017. Now, the brand is back, now known as Mad Catz Global Limited, announcing what they've called "a surprise return to the international gaming scene... under new management, with new ideas, new attitude and most importantly, an entire range of new, high-quality gaming products." Check out a teaser below...

If you're a console gamer like I am, this won't apply to you, but if PC gaming is your thing and you're currently playing EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II, this might be up your alley. Mods are a big deal to a lot of PC gamers, and Battlefront already has its share, but one in particular that came across my twitter feed this morning is pretty fantastic. I've mentioned it before, but SNL's Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base sketch still holds up as being a delightful piece of Star Wars comedy - one that has a lot of re-watch potential. Many became fans of Matt the Radar Technician (Kylo Ren in disguise), and now you can play as Matt in Battlefront II is mods are your thing. Check out the video below!

For the past few years, Spin Master has absolutely been killing it on all fronts - becoming a powerhouse not just in toys, but also as an entertainment company with some truly stellar IP. At the front of that, PAW Patrol is no doubt their flagship brand, and it's one we're very familiar with here at Rock Father™ HQ. Last year, two items from that line landed on my annual Holiday Wish Guide™, with the My Size Lookout and Sea Patroller ranking among 2017's best toys. For those interested in how a property can become a hit on all levels, there's a must-read article from Canada's The Globe and Mail that chronicles the development of PAW Patrol from 2010 to its debut in 2013 and where it's headed in 2018. Had things developed differently, instead of Ryder and the PAW Patrol, we could've wound up with "Raffi and The Rescue Dogs."

Paramount Pictures is currently in-production on AMUSEMENT PARK, a 3D computer animated adventure comedy film set to be released on March 15, 2019. Produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Ilion Animation Studios, there hasn't been a ton of information released about the project since it's original announcement a few years back, sans the casting of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver, all of whom will lend their voice talents to the film under the direction of Dylan Brown. Today comes news that Paramount is confident that AMUSEMENT PARK will be a big hit, with the announcement of a full line of toys to support both the film, and its already-in-production spinoff television series that's headed for Nickelodeon.

This morning I woke up to an email from Mattel with news that I knew would be just around the corner - the reveal of American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year. What I didn't expect was that 2018's GOTY, Luciana Vega, would be perhaps the most perfect doll ever... at least in our house. As our girls often look to and reach for the stars, Luciana becomes a new example for them - the latest in American Girl's long line of inspiring characters that encourage girls to think about who they want to be and how they want to make their mark in the world—no matter the challenges they may face. Vega is described as "a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step." This sounds very, very familiar...

Netflix #StreamTeamDreamWorks Trollhunters Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix, and not long ago I was out at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California to get an early look at the new season, along with a sneak-preview of what's on the horizon as the Tales of Arcadia expands. Fans of the series have been looking for more ways to enjoy it, and that brings us to the merchandise, which the folks at Funko (an affiliate) have been rolling out over the past few months. In addition to some fantastic 3.75" action figures, characters from Trollhunters have made their way into Funko's signature POP! Vinyl line under POP! Television. Available now through Funko Shop, Target and coming soon to Entertainment Earth, the team at DreamWorks sent over an assortment for review here at Rock Father HQ. Let's take a look...

Monday, December 18 2017 13:13

Review: Playmates Toys' MYSTICONS Action Figures

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There's been a massive shift in just the past few years, and had I not been the father of daughters, I don't know if I would've noticed. As our girls (5 & 8) started developing their interests, we quickly discovered a long-standing wall when it came to play categories, and we ran into it just as the debate about gender-based play was really starting to heat-up. Action figures and toy cars "for girls" was a shocking thing for some people, and we thought that was ridiculous. Kids should be able to play with whatever they'd like, and that's just the way it's always been here at our house. Then things started to change rapidly, and in just two years we've seen a category shakeup that's brought forth IAmElemental action figures, DC Super Hero Girls, Star Wars Forces of Destiny and most recently, MYSTICONS -- a fresh, transmedia property that features a hit series on Nickelodeon, books, trading cards, and yes - toys! 

This last-minute Holiday Wish Guide™ feature is brought to you by GameStop in collaboration with The Rock Father™

The last-minute holiday rush is on, and if you want to get a Nintendo Switch in time for Christmas, you better get it now! It's no secret that the hottest gifts of the holiday season are usually hard to come by when the home stretch rolls around, and for 2017 the Nintendo Switch has become one of the most wished-for items for kids and grownups alike. It's a truly special system that can bring the entire family together both at home and on-the-go, and my friends at GameStop are doing their best to help families find one in time for the big day. Visit the Nintendo Switch locator to find a Switch in-stock at a GameStop store near you! They want to help you find a Switch, but we're also teaming-up to give you a chance to W-I-N Super Mario Odyssey - not just one of 2017's hottest games, but one being hailed as quite possibly one of the greatest video games of all-time! Get details and enter to win below!

The Rock Father™ is a MEGA™Ambassador and Beyonder

The holiday rush is on, and as an extension to my annual Holiday Wish Guide, it's time to take a look at some great gift ideas for the whole family from MEGA™.  Their ever-expanding line of MEGA Construx™ building sets can bring families together for open-ended play, much of which now features iconic characters. From developing builders to kids ages 4+, from tweens to adult collectors, MEGA™ has something for everyone, and there’s no better time than the holidays to spend some time with the family, getting together to “Build Beyond.” Below are just a few Rock Father Picks for the season, but the MEGA™ Shop is your go-to for the full assortment, including some brand-new toys

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