For the unlucky few out there who aren’t aware, May 4th is officially known as Star Wars Day. Why the 4th? It’s a play on words, of course. “May the 4th Be With You”.
Additionally, there is some history to it beyond just that convenient tidbit of word play. From the official Star Wars website:
One of the earliest known records of “May the 4th” used in popular culture is in 1979, as described here by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
Friday, May 4
“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”
Once the Internet allowed Star Wars fans around the world to connect with one another, May the 4th soon became a grassroots tradition each year, with fans online and offline proclaiming it “Star Wars Day.”
See? It’s almost as ingrained in our culture as Christmas and, dare I say, Arbor Day!
So what’s this got to do with toys? I’m glad you asked, anonymous internet visitor. It seems that somewhere along the way Angry Birds, a game some of you may be familiar with, and Star Wars got together and put out a special edition of the ever popular app for smart phones. Interestingly enough, they called it “Angry Birds, Star Wars Edition”.
Anyways, in addition to the video version of the game, Hasbro has just released a slew of great new toys that you and your kids can actually interact with on your own. I was fortunate enough to receive a few of them in return for sharing my thoughts with you on these toys. Read on for my findings.
Angry Birds Star Wars Millennium Falcon Bounce Game
Now, I’m sure some of you parents might remember a game in college called Beer Pong. And now that you’re a responsible adult who doesn’t have time for such silliness and irresponsible behavior, you’re thinking that all those hours of effort are going to forever go to waste. WRONG!
Hasbro developed this very Kid-Friendly version of the game, in which the Millennium Falcon becomes your target and you attempt to knock Star Wars themed pigs off of the ship, land your Chewbacca (or other Star Wars Character) Ping Pong ball in the ship itself for bonus points. This game is an absolute blast with your kids.
In my house, my three boys aged 13, 10 and 8, sat at the kitchen table playing this one for a very long time. I had to muscle my way in to get a few shots myself. I was skeptical that it would hold their attention at first, seeing as how it wasn’t digital and on a big screen in front of them, but surprisingly they found the challenge of landing that ball just right to be fascinating. Also, you can purchase additional, collectible bouncers to add to the fun.
If I were to grade this toy, I’d have to give it a solid B+. The rules and gameplay are simple enough that even the youngest member of the family can participate, but the challenge is great enough that the adults are all going to want to show off who’s still the Fraternity Champ after all these years. If there was one negative I found, it is that sometimes the target birds slide into the ship and it makes it difficult for large fingers (Dad fingers) to retrieve the pieces. That’s a very minor knock on a very fun little game.
Angry Birds Star Wars AT AT Attack Battle Game
For play value, you’re not going to beat this game. This was the second game I received to try out, and let me tell you, even Mom insisted on launching a miniature bird-shaped Han Solo across the room. Full disclosure: Mom tolerates (barely) Dad’s love of Star Wars.
This game is part model building, part catapult strategy and 100% fun! You build up the AT AT and place your Empirical Pigs around the target. Then you grab your Light Saber catapult, a handful of Rebel Birds and take aim.
My youngest son spent an entire afternoon building new AT ATs and taking different approaches to attacking it. I even spent a good part of the day building and demolishing the invading forces. Hasbro has also created other play sets in this same game style. You can choose from the AT AT, Jabba’s Palace and Battle at Tatooine. There may be more than that, but those are the ones I know of for certain.
If I were to grade this toy? It’s absolutely an A+ in our home. It’s interactive, it teaches motor skills and best of all, it’s supposed to get destroyed when you play with it. I have a feeling we’ll be hosting a tournament version here very shortly.
Angry Birds Star Wars Foam Flyers
I’m going to apologize in advance to the good people at Hasbro. These lightweight, super squishy and extra soft Foam Flyers may be meant to play a larger version of Angry Birds with your other toys, or they may be intended to play a safe game of indoor catch. At my house, it immediately became a projectile weapon to attack my unsuspecting kids with.
It’s soft. It’s safe. It’s about the size of a baseball, and when you have kids you know they’re going to throw something at each other eventually. Given a choice, I’d rather it be this Foam Flyer than their commemorative baseball from the Minor League baseball team.
Any toy you can throw and not break something while indoors gets high marks in my book. We have fun ambushing each other throughout the day, and while I only received the Stormtrooper to try out, I’m heading out to the store this weekend to pick up the rest.
What? A Dad has a right to defend himself in his own home.
Normally, we don’t rush out to buy the latest “themed” toys because many of them seem rushed to market to capitalize simply on the theme’s fleeting fame. Any number of super hero toys that we’ve owned have inevitably fallen short of the mark.
My honest impression of these Angry Birds Star Wars toys is that they put a lot of thought into making something that won’t be played with one time and then relegated to the top shelf of the closet, never to be seen again until it’s Yard Sale time. These two games that I received will get a lot of use in the coming months.
Image source: starwars.com