Just because you've reached the age where you're paying off student loans and applying for mortgages doesn't mean your love of toys has to be abandoned. In fact, nowadays toymakers usually target adults as much as children, so there's no shame in asking for action figures, games, and other collectibles this holiday no matter how old you are — especially if it's one of these.
Nerf Rival Apollo and Zeus Blasters
A few years ago the makers of Nerf realised they were losing customers as kids simply grew too old for the pretend blasters. So to keep teens interested in the brand, the Nerf Rival line trades darts for small foam balls that come blasting out of the barrels at an awesome 70 miles per hour. They also carry more ammo, are much easier to reload in the heat of battle, and come in both manual and automatic models.
Playmation: Marvel's Avengers Starter Pack
Part role-playing toy, part action figure line, and part mobile game, Disney and Hasbro's first "Playmation" series — created to keep kids active while playing rather than just sitting around staring at a touchscreen — is all about the Avengers. Kids (or kids at heart) scan the figures onto their respective bases, and then using a combination of the Iron Man repulsor wrist toy and the AvengersNet app, go on missions that task them with running around, jumping and dodging supervillain attacks, and generally being one of Earth's mightiest heroes. And new missions get downloaded to the app on a regular basis!
Sphero BB-8 Droid
It's not uncommon for a movie tie-in toy to become a huge hit after a film hits theatres. But months before its release date? After just a couple of teasers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens the little rolling BB-8 droid won the entire galaxy over, and Sphero was able to leverage its existing technologies to create a near perfect replica of the character controlled by your smartphone. It's been months since she (yes, BB-8 is a she) was released, and demand is still high for the toy, so you might still have to hunt a bit to put one under the tree.
Batman: The Animated Series Deluxe Batmobile
For many fans, this classic Bruce Timm cartoon series is still the definitive Batman. All these years later, the show finally has its own definitive toyline, too — and said toyline now has its definitive vehicle. Perfectly capturing the sleek aesthetic of the Batmobile in the show, this 24-inch replica has moving wheels and functioning headlights, and is scaled to fit up to two different figures from the 6-inch Batman: The Animated Series range.
Hasbro Generations Combiner Wars Devastator
Children of the '80s have long since grown up, so isn't it time for the Transformers they used to play with to mature as well? To a 10-year-old, Hasbro's original Devastator seemed monstrous, and to a 40-year-old, this new two-foot-tall Combiners Wars Devastator is just as towering. It comes with an equally gargantuan price tag, so it's a good thing most of those millennials are now gainfully employed.
Lego Dimensions Video Game and Bonus Packs
Available on a plethora of gaming platforms, the selling point of Dimensions isn't just that it features Lego toys, but is a mash-up adventure featuring DC superheroes, Lord of the Rings, The Simpsons, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and many, many more pop culture icons. The starter pack comes with the game, the toy-scanning portal, and the four basic figures you need to play the game: Batman, Gandalf, The Lego Movie's Wyldstyle, and a Batmobile vehicle. You can then expand the fun with more characters andsets, like Portal and Doctor Who. While the Starter Pack set has an MSRP of $US100, there are various Team, Fun and Level Packs available from $US15-30 each.
Lego Ideas WALL-E
We'll always have a soft spot for a mountain of regular rainbow-coloured Lego bricks, but it's all but impossible to resist those theme sets when the company releases adorable versions of characters like WALL•E. This 677-piece set was designed by an actual Pixar animator named Angus MacLane who actually worked on the film, so there's little doubt it's as accurate as it can possibly be.
Hot Wheels Star Wars Escape From Jakku
Pretty much every toyline that can make Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys this holiday season is, and Hot Wheels is no exception. This awesome spinning extravaganza rputs you in control of the Millennium Falcon as it tries to escape from Jakku. Using a control stick to move the Falcon (or any other Hot Wheels ship you attach to it) you can try and avoid the spinning TIE Fighters, or take 'em out with your slick piloting skills.
Windows 3.0 Solitaire Cards by Susan Kare
Before the internet came along, Windows Solitaire was the best way for office drones to while away the hours at work. But did you know it was first introduced in Windows 3.0, with pixelated card designs by Susan Kare, to help teach people how to use a mouse? Those now-iconic card designs are available once again, but as a real-life deck of cards you can use to play a real-life game of Solitaire.
DC Comics Designer Series Action Figures
DC Collectibles' "Designer Series" include some of our absolute favourite comic book action figures out there. Not only are the 6-inch-tall figures fully poseable, but they're designed to the match the art of DC icons like Jae Lee, Terry Dodson, Lee Bermejo and Greg Capullo — giving Batman, Wonder Woman, the Teen Titans, and many other DC heroes and villains extremely unique and stylish looks. If you've got a big toy collector in your life that's also a DC comics fan, these would make them very happy. $US25 each
View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
Do you remember having your mind blown as a kid the first time you peered at the magical 3D images inside a View-Master? Every pull of that giant lever brought you to another eye-popping locale. But today's kids are a little harder to impress, so the new Mattel View-Master takes advantage of modern VR techniques and smartphones to give kids a virtual reality experience on the cheap. Think of it as a more durable kid-friendly version of Google Cardboard, which means even adults can have plenty of fun with it.
Spin Master Zoomer Dino Indominus Rex
No dinosaur will ever replace the mighty T-rex in our hearts, but the Indominus Rex — that science experiment gone wrong in this summer's Jurassic World — sure came close. For the film's release, Spin Master turned its adorable self-balancing Zoomer Dino into the Indominus Rex complete with textured skin, roaring sound effects, and a taste for Chris Pratt.
Hot Toys' Iron Man Sixth-Scale Hulkbuster Figure
There are action figures, and then there's Hot Toys' sixth-scale Iron Man Hulkbuster figure. At a massive21-inches tall, not only will it tower over all other figures in your collection, it will also put them all to shame with some of the most insane detailing you'll ever find in a toy. Thirty points of articulation let you pose the Hulkbuster however you want, 16 separate LEDs help bring it to life, and you'll even find a tiny but perfectly in-scale Iron Man hidden inside. $US825
Lego Creator Ferrari F40
It's one of the most recognisable and sought-after Ferraris ever made, and there's a good chance you'll probably never own the real thing. But that's OK, because Lego has a 1158-piece replica that's almost as drool-worthy. Its doors open, its headlights pop-up, and under the rear gate you'll even find a removable Lego replica of the F40's twin turbocharged, 2.9-litre, 478 horsepower V8 engine. And it's available in your choice of red, red, or red!
USAopoly Back to the Future Edition Monopoly
The success of the endless number of themed Monopoly sets seems solely based on how cool the tokens it comes with are. And based on that criteria, the Back to the Future version of the classic game should sell a billion copies, because it comes with a time-travelling DeLorean, a power-lace sneaker, and hoverboard game tokens. And instead of building houses and hotels, you're collecting plutonium rods and plutonium cases. Where we're going, we don't need roads — but we do need to collect $US200.
Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set
Will we still be eating sushi once the future that Star Trek promised arrives? Probably not real tuna, as they will probably be completely extinct in a few years. But it's hard to be disappointed when you're eating synthetic sushi with a U.S.S. Enterprise chopstick set. The ship's warp trails are removable and double as chopsticks, while the saucer becomes a soy sauce dish. The lack of a Klingon Bird of Prey wasabi holder is an oversight, but one we're willing to overlook. $US34.99
If you remember the slot car tracks your parents used to play with, you'll also understand why Anki's Overdrive has made them utterly obsolete. Those grooved snap-together tracks are now replaced with modular segments held in place with magnets. More importanly, now the cars are free to drive wherever they want, and they won't go off course thanks to cameras underneath each vehicle, tracking their location on the course. Touchscreen smartphones and tablets also replace those pistol-grip slot car controllers of yesteryear, giving racers access to virtual power-ups and weapons to take down their opponents if driving isn't their forte.
ThinkGeek Knight Rider K.I.T.T. USB Car Charger
Self-driving cars are creeping closer and closer to becoming a reality, but until they can drive and talk like Knight Rider's K.I.T.T. did back in the '80s, we're not interested. In the meantime, this USB car charger from ThinkGeek will tide us over. It plugs into your vehicle's 12-volt outlet, and in addition to charging up your mobile devices, it lights up and flashes just like K.I.T.T. did, and it has 11 different phrases and sound effects from the TV show. $US30
Arduboy Credit Card-Sized Gaming System
Your smartphone can run everything from Solitaire to Grand Theft Auto, but some games will always be better when played with actual buttons. And since the open-source Arduboy game system is the same size as one of the credit cards in your wallet, you won't mind bringing it along in addition to your phone. This is how games like Tetris were meant to be played, but there's also an ever-growing library of free games for the Arduboy whenever you need a new distraction. $US40
The Droid R2-D2 Themed Pinball Coffee Table
Grownups are supposed to fill their homes with things like potted plants and coffee tables, right? The latter of those two is far more appealing when it's also a fully-functional Star Wars-themed pinball machine that happens to look like R2-D2. Beneath the table's glass you'll find the guts of an authentic Data East pinball machine that's been converted, by hand, into what is obviously the only piece of furniture you'll ever really need. $US10,000+
Game On! Air Hockey Salt & Pepper Shakers
The best way to convince kids to eat their brussels sprouts is to keep them distracted and entertained at the dinner table. Forget all this "don't play with your food" nonsense and grab a pair of these salt-and-pepper shakers that are also working air hockey paddles. Felt pads on the bottom ensure they will slide across your dinner table without scratching it all up, but we can't assure you that red plastic puck isn't going to cause any damage after a particularly spirited shot. $US15