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The Dirty Dozen
12 Toys To Avoid

For the 1998-1999 holiday season

Toy companies that produce the Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen Categories
Toy Guns
    Action Figures    Wrestling Figures
Hand-Held Games    Computer Games

Toy Guns

Nerf Pulsator
Kenner (Hasbro), $20
Recommended age: 6+

Description: A double-barrel "blaster" that fires up to six hard foam "ballistic" balls.
Why we chose it: The Nerf line offers children a whole arsenal of ever-faster and more powerful toy guns. "Pulsating barrels blast a 6-ball assault!" the box says. Each Nerf package carries ads for even more guns, with names such as the "Lock n Load," "Rip Cord Blaster" and "Expand-A-Blast." The "Max Force 2112" box refers to the darts as "ammo."

Laser Challenge V2
Toymax, $25
Recommended age: 8+

Description: A "silent mode" gun that fires over 350 feet, and a vest equipped with lights and sounds.
Why we chose it: In order to play with the Laser Challenge line of guns, children shoot each other in the chest using a beam of light. The V2s "rapid fire gives you 25 continuous blasts for extreme attacks," and its silent mode "allows sneak attacks without letting your opponent know where the blasts come from." The Ultrawide Laser Blaster "fires a beam up to 50 feet wide, allowing you to blast an entire team of opponents with one shot." The new ELS Game System helps children keep better score by electronically recording their "shots" and "hits."

Action Figures

Small Soldiers, Chip Hazard
Kenner (Hasbro), $10
Recommended age: 4+

Description: Chip Hazard is an action figure that comes equipped with "blow-apart legs," a submachine gun and a disc launcher.
Why we chose it: The Small Soldiers toys, based on the movie by the same name, were "created to be relentless war machines" who "do not understand the meaning of the word quit or mercy." According to the box description, "destruction, carnage, havocits all in a days work for the Commando Elite." Brick Bazooka, another character in this line, "shoots first and asks questions later."

Duke Nukem
ReSaurus Company, $10
Recommended age: 10, 12 or 13+, depending on packaging*

Description: A Duke Nukem action figure that comes complete with three machine guns and a bloodied knife. "Duke can hold ALL his weapons at one time!" the packaging notes, "Duke has 13 points of awesome alien butt-kicking articulation!"
Why we chose it: This action figure is marketed to young children but is based on a violent video and computer game that is rated for players ages 17 and up. Three other game characters are marketed on the same box, including the Octa Brain who "splatters real well."
* After scrutinizing the package for several minutes, we found a recommended age of 13+ -- right under the seam where the plastic bubble is glued to the cardboard backing. On a different package, the recommended age is listed as 10+. Meanwhile, the ReSaurus web page lists the recommended age as 12.

Dr. Frankenstein Playset
McFarlane Toys, $20
Recommended age: 3+

Description: A "playset" complete with a blood-splattered Dr. Frankenstein, blood-splattered axe and saw, and a heart-like organ thats been removed from the monsters body.
Why we chose it: The blood-splattered items in this set as well as the organ placed on the operating table are exceptionally graphic, especially for very young children.

Power Rangers in Space
Ban Dai, $30
Recommended age: 4+

Description: Six action figures, each with its own color-coordinated "powerful action weapon." All six weapons combine to become "a super weapon."
Why we chose it: The only thing children can do with these action figures is fight and shoot. Each figures weapon can be shot at an imaginary enemy, "the most frightening villain of all times."

Wrestling Figures

Bashin Brawlers
Toy Biz, $25
Recommended age: 4+

Description: A series of 21-inch stuffed figures based on real World Championship Wrestling personalities. These figures are programmed with over 30 "wrestling sound effects," such as "Im gonna rip you apart!" and "Aaahh! You smashed my head!"
Why we chose it: This toy is marketed to young children, whose grasp on reality and their own emotions is still developing. The packaging urges children to punch the figure in sensitive areas in order to hear it holler. "Punch them in the gut, pile drive them and grab their noses. Youll have hours of fun replicating all of your wrestling moves," the packaging suggests.

Hand-Held Games

Giga Fighters
Tiger Electronics, $17
Recommended age: 5+

Description: A take-off on last years virtual pets, this electronic "virtual fighter" game fits on a key chain. From the packaging: "7-Fighters-in-1-game! Realistic Voice & Sound Effects!"
Why we chose it: This game is small and convenient enough to fit in childrens pockets, and encourages children to engage in "real time head-to-head combat!" by connecting to another Giga Fighter or the internet. The Giga Fighters website,, features an image of dripping blood on several of its pages.

Grip Games/ Duke Nukem 3D
Tiger Electronics, $20
Recommended age: 5+

Description: A "grip" hand game with LCD display featuring a Duke Nukem fighting game.
Why we chose it: The video and computer game versions of Duke Nukem are rated for players ages 17 and older, yet this hand-held version is marketed to young children. "Clean up the streets of futuristic Los Angeles," the packaging urges beneath a picture of Duke firing a machine gun. The game promises "multiple firing weapons" and "realistic sound effects," as well as this note: "Mmm & a grenade launcher Dukes best friend! Lets rock!"

Computer Games

Worms 2
Micro Prose, $30
Recommended age: E, Everyone

Description: A cartoon-style computer game where "cute" and "pink" earthworm creatures "wreak havoc on their rivals in an addictive game of revenge and mean-minded cruelty," according to the package.
Why we chose it: This game is marketed to children six and up, urging them to "leave slimy trails on the corpses of your enemies" and to "remember, world domination is just a cluster bomb away!" The packaging also features photos of bullet-like holes, reminiscent of the packaging of the gory game Postal. Children are urged to take on other players on the internet and to master the uses of a large arsenal of virtual weapons, from Bazookas to Uzis. A sampling from the web page: "Can you do battle with the Bazooka? Think youve mastered the art of the Mine? Reckon you can cut it with the Cluster Bomb? Well read on."

Blaze/Innovation, $35

Description: A light gun used with PlayStations and Saturn video games, in silver and gold metallic colors.
Why we chose it: According to the catalog description, this gun is "So real, you might get arrested." This toy gun "fits in the palm of your hand" and features "Real Force Feedback and Bullet Clip. Auto Reload and Auto Fire." A review in Electronic Gaming Monthly noted, "We asked a cop about how realistic this gun was, and he said if he saw someone with it, hed shoot him."

Urban Assault
Microsoft, $30
Recommended age: E, Everyone

Description: A computer game that is "optimized for destruction," where children must destroy an urban environment in order to "repel the hordes of alien invaders and renegade human forces that have descended upon the planets corpse," according to the packaging.
Why we chose it: This game places young children in a fantasy zone where they can "control a fully-loaded army over a wasteland of vehicular genocide." The game offers "open battlefields for the most incendiary combat conditions. In the chaos of war, every building is destructible!" The packaging also states: "You are the war machine. This is the end."

If you have any suggestions for toys for our next list,
please contact us here at The Lion and Lamb Project via any of the methods listed
at the top of the screen - or use our easy online Toy Recommendation Form!

If you send us a toy recommendation, please include all the relevant details
of the toy, including those seen above.

If we pick your recommendation to be included in one of our lists,
you'll receive a free Parent Action Kit!

List Compiled in Collaboration with
TRUCE (Teachers for Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment)
P.O. Box 441261
West Somerville, MA 02144

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