Toys today kind of suck. I was recently browsing through the Toys R Us website. The toys marketed to boys seem to lack in originality. I don’t see any innovative or new action figures today. I only see the same recycled, but now barely-recognizable characters from my childhood. Stuff like the Transformers—except souped up and on steroids.
The girls’ toys though, really strike me. In the 1970s and 1980s, girls’ toys focused on homemaking and mothering—think the Easybake Oven or Baby Alive. Yes, these toys reinforced traditional gender roles, but at the very least, they also encouraged imagination, and let’s admit it—boys secretly wanted to play with them, too. But today’s toys for girls seem to encourage a brand or lifestyle. I see a lot of pink cell phones, matching t-shirts, and purses. They’ve moved out of the kitchen and into the shopping mall.
I also think it’s rare to find a good-looking toy on the shelves these days. DIY and indie toy makers are doing some neat stuff, but as far as the toys that reach the stores today, they’re just kind of ugly. You don’t see interesting artwork/design in the packaging or toys anymore. It’s a lot of convoluted, clunky, dull-looking computer-generated crap. They don’t even look fun to play with. So the other day while I was in Target, I was pretty excited when I found a new toy that was cool and blog-worthy.
Meet my prehistoric pet Snaptor.
Get a load of this. He likes cookies. So do I. He has a major sweet tooth. So do I! His hobbies are cracking walnuts and clipping toenails. OMG. ME TOO. Well, I like pistachios. And I do need to clip my toenails more. We’re gonna BFF it up. I can tell already.
What is a Snaptor? It’s a toy that bites you. Prehistoric Pets is the line of toys made by Mattel. They have several different type of dinosaur figures under this brand. The Snaptors are unique in that the jaw snaps shut and “bites” fingers. They also make some cooing and growling dinosaur noises. For ten bucks, you can’t go wrong.
There are three other Snaptor types. One of them looks more like a Spielberg-ian Raptor, while the other two resemble dragons:
I love love love how he has feathers. In fact, that’s why I chose him, in line with the fossil discovery in 2007 that suggested Raptors were almost identical to modern-day birds. Though I’m honestly torn. In my mind, Raptors will always look the way Spielberg envisioned them in Jurassic Park. I still want to believe that Raptors were as smart as dolphins, whales, and chimps, and that they could open doors. But the truth is they probably had bird brains. Literally.
Right now, it appears as though the Snaptors are available in a limited test run, because the toy doesn’t appear for sale online anywhere. Here’s my thought on that—it’s a toy with a mechanical jaw that clamps down. Kids, it’s like playing with a bear trap, and these things are going to be recalled fast. I think Snaptors may fall by the way of the Snacktime Cabbage Patch kid. That was the doll whose eyes lit up red when children turned it on, right before it ate their hair and scalped them.
I can’t see how this thing would possibly survive the scrutiny of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you put your finger in his mouth perfectly lined up where it’s supposed to sit, it doesn’t hurt. Of course, why are you going to put your finger in there correctly?
If one of the teeth lands on your finger, let me be the first to tell you: this bitch hurts. This also means it’s fun as hell to play with, even if you’re an adult. Especially if you’re an adult. Go out to Target and get one immediately.
Even the girlfriend noticed the inherent fun almost immediately. At first she saw only a dinosaur toy and asked, “why did you buy that?”
“Because it bites you,” I explained.
“Let me try,” she said, placing her finger hesitantly in the mouth. But then she pulled it back quickly, nervously. “I can’t, I’m scared.”
Nervous hesitation. Coyness. I had danced the dance, too, in the store.
“Does it hurt?” she asked.
“Nope,” I said smiling, and in a way that she knew I meant yes. This of course, only made her want to try it more.
She pressed the tongue. SNAP. It clamped down. “OUCH,” she screamed.
Here’s a video of the snapping in action:
Besides pain and torture, I’ve come up with a few other potential uses for the Snaptor. For instance, a pen holder:
Or how about a key holder:
Here’s an idea. A string cheese holder:
HELL YEAH STRING CHEESE HOLDER. I’m a genius. For serious.
But there’s no need to get all fancy. Bottom line is, if you’re not the type of person who could imagine spending an evening on the couch with their significant other attempting to break a finger joint or terrorizing the dog, we probably shouldn’t be friends.