Toys and Games

It is all too easy to be critical of cultural changes that are contrary to the norms with which we were raised. One of those norms is that some things are for kids. And those things are what kids are supposed to grow out of as they mature into adulthood. Trix is for kids. Special K is for adults. That’s why it was funny when we saw Seinfeld: a thirty-something man, always had a bunch of kid’s cereals in his cabinet despite the fact that he had no kids.

The whole show was about grownups who never really matured in a number of key areas. It was funny, but also tragic. People in a state of arrested development are no laughing matter.

But now, things are changing. There is no such thing as kid’s cereal. Cartoons are made for adults. And there is nothing unusual about grown men shopping for themselves at toy stores. This may be something new with Millennials. Or it may reach back to Gen X and even into the Baby Boomers.

But it hardly matters. This is the way things are right now. And we can scorn it or embrace it. I have no advice for those who stand aloof with righteous indignation. But for those who wish to dive in and embrace the trend, here are a few of the hottest toys for adults:

Drones

There is no question that drones are workhorses full of utility for many types of professionals. Everyone from journalists to rescue workers has made drones an indispensable part of what they do. But make no mistake about it: Drones are also some of the most fun toys for grown-ups.

Take these popular Protocol drone helicopters, they are among the best examples of toys that appeal to grown-ups. While there are many drones that are affordably priced for every budget, the high end of the spectrum is not the sort of thing that will fit within a kid’s allowance.

Classic Arcade Games

Kids today are not pining for the full-sized Ms. Pac Man and Asteroids arcade cabinets of yesteryear. That is because those are not the games of their youth. Their games are played at home on giant flat screens with far better graphics. While there are still arcades, the arcade experience of gaming belongs to the generation of people who are well past their childhood.

It is not just arcade games. There are other games for the adult basement that harken back to an earlier and less digital time. When today’s adults were yesterday’s kids, they dreamed of owning their own arcade game, pinball machine, and pool table. Now, those dreams are becoming realities.

Video Games

Call of Duty WWII made a half-billion dollars in its first weekend of release in November 2017. That didn’t happen because of the flood of 10-year-olds standing in line with $60 in hand. It happened because their fathers were jonesing for the adrenaline rush of being the first ones to play the hottest video game of the year.

Sure, kids still pester parents for the latest and greatest consoles on which to play these games that cost more to make than blockbuster summer movies. But dad is an easy sell as he wanted one anyway, and is probably buying an extra one for the den.

Beyond video games is the world of comics… Excuse me… graphic novels. Those are stories told mostly by pictures. Anime is a Japanese animated art form driven mostly by adults. Superheroes are also the domain of grown-ups. Hollywood can’t crank out Marvel and DC superhero movies and TV shows fast enough. Some of them are even appropriate for kids. But they are no longer the target audience.

No, toys and games are not just for kids anymore. And that may be a very good thing. Drones, analog and console gaming are much healthier pursuits that much of what adults have traditionally called entertainment. There is a case to be made for developing mature versions of the things we enjoyed as kids. To my knowledge, no one has ever made a good case for why we should ever grow out of having fun.