It's the holiday season, and that can only mean one thing: You need to buy toys.
Even if you don't know any children, it's a fair bet to say that you've at least been tempted to spend some money on an action figure or two, even for yourself. Whatever the reason, we're saying that it's definitely the time of year for toys for all girls and boys - and here are some picks that we hope you find in your stocking on the day.
Star Wars - The Ultimate Lightsaber Kit: Yeah, yeah; you could play that Wii lightsaber game and have a lot of fun, but those of us with the bigger midichlorians know that building your own lightsaber is where it's at. This kit lets you do that very thing, providing all the pieces that you need to become your own padawan. Just try not to slice your own hand off in some Joseph Campbell-esque maneuver whether by accident or in a misguided attempt to emulate your childhood idols.
Star Trek Phaser And Communicator Set: Along the same lines, these replica phasers and communicators from the original Star Trek series would let you get your William Shatner and/or Leonard Nimoy on, like the gentlemen in the picture. Insignia-ed t-shirts not included. Alternatively, the Dueling Kirk And Spock From "Amok Time" figures have the uniforms and sexy tears in shirts to influence hot slash action.
Anything From LEGO's Mars Mission Range: When I was a kid, LEGO's space sets consisted of a moon base and a few dull grey repurposed planes. Now, the rebranded LEGO Mars Mission sets are multicolored blocks of imagination, accompanied by aliens and heroes with stubbles and smirks. Ignore LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Batman; these are the blocks you're looking for.
Twilight Action Figures: They may not be released until mid-2009 - way to miss the boat, toymakers - but they are available for pre-order right now; it'll be just like the Star Wars Early Bird Offer all over again! You know that you want to see the face of your favorite emo relative almost display an emotion when they open the IOU envelope for this baby on Christmas (or whatever day you deem appropriate) morning.
Risk Transformers Cybertron Edition: Update the depressing game of strategy from your youth by adding in the wildcard of robots in disguise, and their home planet - filled with countries that you have no idea about. Let the youngsters in your life experience the same hours of frustration and disappointment when they, too, realize that the game may be coherent and technically accurate but also endless and much less fun than playing with an actual Transformer, no matter how many times you tell them that the cardboard box transforms into an educational experience.
The Superhero Action Figure Of Your Choice: You can't go wrong by giving a small plastic representation of your loved ones' favorite defenders of truth and justice. Me, I'm rather partial to the original Firestorm, complete with puffy sleeves, but that may be my nostalgia overpowering my taste (Although, you know, if you really want to buy it for me, that's perfectly alright). Alternatively, you could go for a prop replica of something to do with your favorite Marvel superhero. You may scoff, but I don't know anyone who doesn't secretly want to put on Iron Man's helmet and pretend to be Tony Stark.
Alien Kubricks: Yes, there are Kubricks for almost everything, but our favorites are the ones based on Ridley Scott's 1970s classic SF horror movie. Surely, we're not the only people who find the sight of an overgrown LEGO dude with an alien bursting out of his chest to be the perfect representation of Scott's intentions with the original film. And the Kubrick Ripley's hair perfectly captures the hair of the previous Sigourney Weaver. See? Now you understand.
Pleo, Robotic Lifelike Dinosaur: Yes, we could take exception to the description of this overly cute robot as "lifelike," but we'd rather point out that anyone who really wants a lifelike dinosaur in their house - especially as educational tools for their children, as Pleo is supposed to be - is fucking insane. It would eat your child! And then you! Seriously, this Disney-esque version is a much, much better idea; and much safer, as well. For those less brave and/or rich, I'd like to suggest the (much cooler, let's face it) Miniature Godzilla that you can get from Giant Robot because, well, why not?
Deathbot Lederhosen Edition: Call me old fashioned, but the holiday season always makes me want to strap on a pair of lederhosen and dream of snowier climes. With this festive limited edition killer robot from Tim Biskup's Gama-Go, that gets that much easier. Get high on a hill with this murderous goatherd after triming the tree.