THE TWELFTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STUBBS THE ZOMBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, everyone loves zombies – just look how many movies and TV shows feature the creatures. In this particular video game, the really cool part was that it turned the whole horror genre around by letting the player become the brain-munching monster, roaming the city, hunting humans. Stubbs was also one of the first horror games to use humor as part of the action – leading to what the game’s creator called “funny results.”

WHY IT WAS BAD: According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, Stubbs was encouraging cannibalism in kids! “It’s something we’ve never seen before,” NIMF told a crowd at their 2005 press conference to announce their annual “Games to Avoid” that year. Stubbs supposedly send “the worst kind of message to kids” and was “dangerous to your children’s health.” While the organization never had the power to actually ban a video game, for 15 years NIMF would post the list a few weeks before Christmas, hoping to scare parents away from purchasing them as gifts for their kids.Over a hundred video games made NIMF’s “Games to Avoid” over the years, some of which were super popular, including Doom, Grand Theft Auto and Halo. All these games mentioned so far were rated M for Mature. Which means they’re for 17-year-olds and not kids – so what exactly was NIMF so worked up about? By the way, the group dis-banned in 2009. Ho-Ho-Ho.

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And now that you know how dangerous toys can be…

 

HAVE A VERY WARY CHRISTMAS!

THE ELEVENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: EA SPORTS MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a brutal fighting game where players can pretend to punch, stomp, kick, knee-slam, elbow and karate chop the heck out of their opponents! But unlike the real cage matches the game is based on, if you get pounded by another player in this virtual world, it only pain you feel is your hurt pride.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Think it was banned because of its violence? Wrong. In Denmark, the marketing of energy drinks is prohibited, which just so happens to be the product heavily promoted throughout the game. But Venezuela did become the first country to ban all violent video games. Then-president Hugo Chavez called Nintendo DS and PlayStation “poison” (a different kind of toxic toy). PlayStation is also illegal in China. The Communist country believes its a waste of time (wonder what they think of Hula-hoops and Pokeman?).

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THE TENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: POKÉMON TRADING CARD GAME

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY THEY WERE FUN: There are now over 718 “revealed” species of the title “pocket monsters” franchise – which can also be divided up into “generations” of games. Think about it, the variations are almost endless. And yet, somehow, if a kid gets obsessed with them, they’ve got to try to complete the set – or in Pokemon parlance, they “gotta catch ’em all.” It becomes an all-consuming goal for a kid. It’s…addicting.

WHY THEY WERE BAD: Same reason. According to Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, which issued the edict banning Pokemon games in 2001, they “possessed the minds” of young folks, causing them to “spend all their money to buy the cards and compete with each other to win more.” Well, duh – that’s the point!

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THE EIGHTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: HOMER SIMPSON DOLL

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: It’s The Simpsons.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Because, as everyone knows, Homer Simpson is the ultimate promoter of “Western culture” – which is a terrible thing if you live in Iran (at least according to the country’s Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults). Barbie dolls are also banned for the same crime of promoting “Western culture.” Iran does allow Superman and Spider-Man toys into their country because superheroes help the “oppressed” (so, that part of Western Culture is OK).

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THE SIXTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STEVE THE TRAMP

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, how can you beat a movie-toy tie-in? And in 1990, Dick Tracy was one of the big action movie releases that year. Based on the old comic strip detective, the movie was crowded with weird-looking criminals – many made-up to appear like real-life cartoons.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Descriptions on Steve’s display package promised that this action figure had “low I.Q.” and would “use and abuse any young helpless prey he comes across.” What parent is going to read that and think, “What a perfect gift for my child”? On the plus side, you could never lose the toy; since Steve was a tramp, “you’ll smell him before you see him” (another quote off the box). These descriptions earned Steve the dubious honor of most “Warped Toy for Christmas” that year. When homeless activists protested the insensitivity of the toy, Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby, a chain of 1,200 stores, pulled the controversial figure from its shelves. Also ranking high on the “Warped Toy” list: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ “Flushomatic High-tech Toilet Torture Trap.”

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THE FIFTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: TELETUBBY PO

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Two and 3-year-olds loved Teletubbies. The colorful creatures looked like life-size Plush toys, soft and cuddly from top to bottom; they also had a little extra something in the middle: a TV embedded in their gut! Po, the Teletubby sporting a circle on her antenna, was turned into a 14″ doll back in 1998. Even though the doll’s TV didn’t work, when kids squeezed Po’s belly-screen, she would talk. Sounds like a good idea.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Except for the sounds coming out of Po. Shocked parents feared some of the words the doll said could create a new generation of foul-mouthed toddlers! The upset moms and dads thought they heard Po telling their kids to “Bite My Butt!” Actually, Po (the only bi-lingual Teletubby) was really speaking words that were quite innocent…only she was speaking them in her second language: Chinese!

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THE FOURTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: OREO FUN BARBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: When Nabisco and Mattel decided to combine forces the result was a tasty version of Barbie sporting head-to-toe gear inspired by the famous cookie (for instance, Barbie’s bag looked just like the black and white treat). Another reason the doll was fun: well, it had “fun” right there the title. And who doesn’t like an Oreo?

WHY IT WAS BAD: It depends how you use “Oreo”; the word can also be a derogatory way to describe someone of African-American descent (as in,“black on the outside and white on the inside”). Since Barbies are produced with different skin tones, the racially insensitive “cookies” crumbled not long after they debuted in 1997. 

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THE THIRD NAY OF CHRISTMAS: PREGNANT MIDGE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: In 2002, Barbie’s oldest pal got a makeover, and returned to toy shelves with a bulging belly; curious kids could open Midge up and pull out the baby inside. Pretty cool. Then after playing dress-up with the newborn, they could stick it back inside Midge for easy storage. Even cooler. So how could that be dangerous?

 WHY IT WAS BAD: Some parents worried little girls would be programmed into becoming single teen moms. “There’s enough teenagers getting pregnant as it is,” one (older) mother complained to USA Today. “I think they’re glamorizing it, and it’s horrible.” But Midge was part of a “Happy Family,” sold alongside boy-doll Alan (he and Midge wed in 1991) and their child-doll Ryan. Nikki was the name of the fetus/baby. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, feeling the pressure from protesting parents, pulled the baby – as well as the rest of the “Happy Family” – from their shelves two weeks before Christmas.

THE SECOND NAY OF CHRISTMAS: SNACKTIME KID CABBAGE PATCH DOLL

And it’s day two of Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous?

(Actually, this one today…totally dangerous)

WHY IT WAS FUN: Cabbage Patch Dolls were so-ugly-they-were-cute and came with a certified Birth Certificate from a garden where they were “grown.” OK, maybe not so mind-blowing – but for some reason they were still popular Christmas gifts for many years. Both boys and girls liked them and the snappiest one of all was Snacktime Kid. Featuring battery-powered mechanical jaws, a kid could feed Snacktime a special plastic pretzel and then watch the doll poop it out. How could you possibility improve on that?!

WHY IT WAS BAD: Oops – they didn’t add an off switch for those battery-powered mechanical jaws. Armed with “real chewing action,” Snacktime Kid just kept crunching on that plastic pretzel until it swallowed it. Unfortunately, Snacktime Kid didn’t seem to care if, instead, it was chewing on kid’s finger or hunk of hair. The only way to turn it off was to remove the doll’s special battery backpack – something panicked parents didn’t take the time to read up on before their kid became imperiled. Mattel recalled them in 1997 and offered to repay the 500,000 Snacktime Kids owners “a full cash refund.”

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THE TWELVE NAYS OF CHRISTMAS

‘Tis the season to be jolly – and a good way to make a kid jolly is to give them a ton of toys for Christmas. That explains why 60% of the toys parents buy for their kids are purchased this time of year. But you better watch out! ‘Tis also the season to say nay to toys – either by banning, blocking, or protesting against them! Most toys pulled from store shelves are due to concerns over little kids choking on small parts or exposure to toxic paint – both reasonable reasons to recall them. But occasionally the nay-saying is so weird, so outrageous, so over-the-top, so crazy, so weird (did we say that already?) that Bad For You has decided to highlight them here: a nay a day. Sure, some toys on this list were banned for good reason (the first two on our countdown are clearly BAD ideas), but are others on the list actually dangerous?

You decide!

THE FIRST NAY OF CHRISTMAS: THE  ATOMIC ENERGY LAB

WHY IT WAS FUN: “Produces awe-inspiring sights,” promised the product catalog. “Enables you to actually SEE the paths of electrons and alpha particles traveling at speeds of more than 10,000 miles per SECOND!” And they weren’t lying – those radiating mist trails were truly a sight to behold. The Atomic Energy Lab also looked great; it was designed by the guy who created the Erector Set. The whole thing was pretty pricey, too: $49.50 – a lot of money in 1951. Any kid would be lucky to have it, right?

WHY IT WAS BAD: Wrong – those super-cool glowing mist trails were caused by little chunks of radioactive uranium! Parents feared their budding young scientist – or, more likely, the kid’s younger sibling – would swallow the radioactive ore and light up like a Christmas tree.

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