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The Dirty Dozen
12 Toys To Avoid

For 1999 - 2000


Star Wars Battle Droid Blaster Rifle, Hasbro, $15
Recommended age: 5+
: A child-sized rifle with sound effects.
Why we chose it
: This realistic-looking rifle is marketed to children who are still in kindergarten. It rewards children who pull the trigger with sound effects and lights. "Try It!" says the box. "Pull Trigger to Activate!"

Lazer Tag Blast, Tiger (Hasbro), $80
Recommended age: 8+
Description: Three large black rifles in one: "Bazooka Mode, Rifle Mode, Mortar Mode." This laser gun has "realistic firing recoil, hit vibrations, incredible sound effects" and a 350-foot range, according to the package descriptions.
Why we chose it: This laser tag rifle is marketed for its "realistic" features. The box features a photo of a smiling teenager shooting the large rifle. When the rifle is in Mortar Mode, the directions explain, "it is perfect for (taking) out your opponents in an ambush."

Laser Challenge Team Force 2000, Toymax, $30
Recommended age: 8+
Description: A set including two guns and two vests to be used in "the ultimate electronic game of tag": the vests "register hits with computer accuracy!"
Why we chose it: This set encourages children ages eight and up to shoot at their playmates: "blast your opponents from up to 150' away." According to the directions "Ten hits and players are eliminated!"


The Impaled Mummy, Toy Island, $7
Recommended age: 4+
Description: An "impaled mummy" marketed to pre-schoolers but based on a PG-13 movie.
Why we chose it: From the packaging: "Impale the Mummy! Watch as his intestines fall out of his chest!" This is one of several action figures based on the movie. Another figure, called the "Severed Mummy," urges children to "Slice the Mummy! Witness him split open!"

NightStrike Duke, ReSaurus, $8
Recommended age: 10+
Description: From the package: "NightStrike Duke Nukem wears all black combat clothes and comes with a stocking cap and a ball cap. He carries a specially-modified MP-5 Submachine Gun with a silencer and rifle stock, a regular MP-5 Submachine Gun, a Knife, and a rope!" Blood is splattered on Dukes hand, chest and knife.
Why we chose it: This action figure is being heavily marketed to children, but is based on an adult-rated video game set in smut shops and strip bars. "If it moves, shoot it," reads one web review of the video game. "If it doesnt move, shoot it. Anything and everything can be destroyed." Another action figure in this series is called "Pigcop."

Resident Evil 2, Capcom/Toy Biz, $10
Recommended age: 8+
Description: These figures with "authentic video game actions!" are also based on a violent adult-rated game. The female action figure has "aim and shoot action" and "Zombie Cop" has "exploding action." The "cop" is shown with his intestines exposed and his brains removed.
Why we chose it: This is another example of adult content marketed to children with no information on the packaging alerting parents to this fact.

Curse of the Spawn, McFarlane, $10
Recommended age: 5+
Description: A set of several action figures based on an adult comic book, including Hatchet a dead "zombie" action figure with "dripping entrails." Hatchet comes complete with blood-splattered weapons.
Why we chose it: The heavily-armed figures are rated as appropriate for kindergartners, yet are exceedingly violent. McFarlane officials claim that their action figures are "adult collectibles," yet they are sold in toy stores.

Wrestling Figures

Brawl 4-All Steel City, Jakks Pacific, $18
Recommended age: 4+
Description: A plastic replica of a wrestling ring complete with four WWF wrestling figures, a "body slammin chain-link fence" and a "pulverizing push broom."
Why we chose it: This set encourages young children to "bash and dump opponents senseless with an array of street-fighting accessories" and "slam opponents against (a) bloodied chain-link fence."

Ring Masters, Toy Biz (Marvel Enterprises), $8
Recommended age: 4+
Description: This line includes four wrestling figures "Collect Them All!" including Bret, "the Hitman" Hart.
Why we chose it: Bret, a WCW figure, comes complete with a gatling gun, a rifle, and a pistol. "Load missiles into front of gatling gun," children are instructed, "Turn knob in rear of gun for rapid fire action." This figure combines two types of violence in one.

Video Games

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (for Game Boy), Acclaim, $30
Recommended age: Everyone (ESRB rating), 6+
Description: A hand-held game marketed to children but based on a violent, adult-rated video game. The number "2" in the title is written in blood.
Why we chose it: This is one of several hand-held games used to market adult material to children. Some of the weapons children use while playing this game include: a knife ("down and dirty for those times when the heavy artillery is low on ammo"); a semi-automatic pistol (with "extra ammo"); a shotgun ("best at short range"); and a grenade launcher ("the entry level in mass destruction").

Super Smash Bros., Nintendo, $50
Recommended age: Everyone (ESRB rating), 6+
: "Get ready for the fight of the century!" suggest the directions to this game. Children play as popular Nintendo characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong and Yoshi and try to "knock off" their "opponents."
Why we chose it: Nintendo has brought the fighting style of adult games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat to a childrens audience, using popular childrens video game characters. "Attack your enemy to build up his Damage Meter, then deliver the finishing blow!" the directions suggest. First-graders can choose "clobbering items" such as hammers and bats to "smash your opponent silly!"

Mortal Kombat 4 (Game Boy), Midway, $30
Recommended age: Teen (ESRB rating), 13+
Description: This is a hand-held version of one of the most violent adult fighting games. Includes eight of the most popular fighters from the arcade version.
Why we chose it: To win this fighting game, teens are required to kill their opponents. The copy on the back of the box reads, "Watch as brand new and classic fatalities take on a completely different meaning in full-motion video on your Game Boy!"

If you believe that violence is not child's play, and would like to make your feelings known, please visit our listing of the toy companies who produce the Dirty Dozen.

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!

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