Tag Archives: Toys R Us

No More Toys for Us

I remember the coming of the big Toys R Us store in Sunnyvale, over on El Camino Real near Mathilda Avenue.  It was, in a somewhat conservative time, a brash statement of color.

Something akin to what it looked like back in the day – Pic swiped from the internet

And, more importantly to me at the time, if was full of toys.

More recently they transformed the building into the bland beige store front style so common on strip malls across the country.  But for a while it stood out.  And it was haunted.

Of course, as a kid, it was a big deal even without the alleged ghost. (There is a post on Snopes about the haunting, a recurring story here in the valley, which had to get mentioned one last time when the location was set to close.)  But toy stores seemed to be a thing back then.  We not only had Toys R Us expanding into the valley, we also had a local chain, Kiddie World, with a couple of equally sizable locations, and later another big store… King Something’s Kingdom of Toys I think… it was over off of Interstate 880 with a big wooden soldier on the front of the building … along with smaller local retailers and the mall toy stores that eventually all became KB Toys.  And then there were the pseudo-toy stores, the hobby shops and the like, which grew in importance to me as time moved along.

I suppose it is in the nature of being a child, know where all the toy stores are and which retailer has a decent toy department and which does not.  I recall being disappointed with the one at Sears back in the day.

But even before the internet began to thin the heard of brick and mortar toy stores things were changing.  Silicon Valley was growing.  The population has more than doubled since that Toys R Us location opened.  Population pressures and a level of land scarcity (exacerbated by zoning laws favoring single family detached dwellings, leading the valley to be called a gang of suburbs in search of a city) began pushing up real estate prices, something reflected in retail rental costs, which killed off a lot of the small, independent toy stores.

Time, change, and competition send others packed.  That big toy store off 880 whose name eludes me was gone by the end of the 80s.  By the mid-90s Kiddie World, shrunk to a single location not too far down the road from the haunted Toys R Us, was trying to make its way by focusing on patio furniture and backyard play sets before it closed down.  And, as I mentioned, KB Toys scooped up the mall toy stores… at least before land value made having as many malls as we did economically nonviable.  And then even it fell over, as did the famous FAO Schwartz.

But Toys R Us seemed to be able to hang on and even thrive, scooping up fallen rivals and opening up Babies R Us in the late 90s, the go-to store for new parents.  Gift cards to Babies R Us were very welcome at baby showers and the like.  And in the age of Amazon the chain was able to strike a deal with wrecker of the status quo, even if Amazon reneged on the deal.

The chain was around for my daughter to grow up with.  Trips there were fun for the both of us.  There is something about being able to see and touch toys in person, to get their measure in reality, that surpasses any online purchasing experience.  The web is for buying, but stores are for browsing.  And Pokemon events.  Toys R Us used to host Pokemon download events, and my daughter and I attended more than a few of those.

However the internet kept pressure on the company while retail competitors like Target and WalMart.  Then they screwed up a couple of season of buying and were soon in deep trouble, needing to borrow more money for 2017 holiday season, a time of year which generates the lion’s share of their revenue.  That did not pay off and, having not turned a profit since 2013, the company was in serious trouble.

And so it goes.  Today, Friday, June 29, 2018, the last Toys R Us in the US is closing down.  It has been reported that their overseas subsidiaries will follow suit and the company will effectively disappear.  There is a farewell notice on their web site.

Farewell from Toys R Us

I am, at least theoretically, well past the need for a toy store, though I have persisted pretty well on the “don’t ever grow up” front.  As well as can be expected.

My daughter too is past toy stores for now, but she was sad as well when she heard the news.  She remembers going there when she was younger.  It was a memorable experience, a rite of childhood, being able to go to a big toy store.  And she has picked up some of my sense of nostalgia as she has realized that childhood doesn’t last forever.  The only constant in life is change.

And so one more facet of my life, of my daughter’s life, of the life of the valley, passes into memory.

Good-bye Geoffrey!

It will be a while… I hope… until grand kids are a concern.  I wonder what will fill the gap for them?  What will replace the toy store experience?  Or will video and virtual be all they know?

Zoroark Download Event Coming to Toys R Us!

It has been somewhat quiet on the Pokemon front, with Pokemon Black and White being limited to WiFi downloads since the launch back in March and only the 2011 Pokemon World Championship Series in the news since.

However, Nintendo has a Pokemon movie going to DVD, and that is just the thing to get them to cough up a download event with a special Pokemon.

The movie in question is Zoroark: Master of Illusions, and so naturally Zoroark is the Pokemon available at the download event.

From September 18th through September 25th you will be able to download a special level 50 version of Zoroark at Toys R Us.  Find the details here.

Previously, the only way to get Zoroark was to have downloaded and transferred the three shiny legendary Pokemon from the Pokemon Black and White pre-release events.  If you missed that, you now have another opportunity to get Zoroark.

In addition, Pokemon.com is running a number of additional promotions to go along with the release of the movie to DVD, including a Win With Zoroark Sweepstakes that runs through the end of September.  The prizes include copies of the movie, but the grand prize is a Nintendo 3DS and a full suite of Pokemon Black and White games and accessories.


The download event is for Pokemon Black and White only.  All of the details are available at Pokemon.com.

Pokemon Secret Egg Event Coming to Toys R Us

Pokemon.com has announced a new download event to be held at Toys R Us from April 27th through May 31st.

The event coincides with the airing of an episode of the Pokemon animated series where Ash is given a special Pokemon egg to care for until it hatches.

You too can download the same egg at Toys R Us and hatch it in your copy of Pokemon Black or White.

From the site:

Get a Secret Egg, pick up special Pokémon TCG packs, and discover new Pokémon at a special Toys“R”Us event beginning April 27th!

Coming up in the Pokémon: Black & White animated TV series, Ash is given a great responsibility—he must care for a delicate Pokémon Egg until it hatches. Watch episodes every Saturday through May 21st on Cartoon Network to find out which Pokémon will hatch!

You can follow in Ash’s footsteps with your own Pokémon Egg! Visit participating Toys”R”Us stores from April 27th to May 31st to receive a Secret Egg distribution for your Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version game. Carry the Secret Egg with you in your game until it hatches to find out which one of three secret Pokémon you’ll get!

While at Toys”R”Us, look for a special Pokémon Trading Card Game offer: you can purchase Pokémon TCG: Black & White booster two-packs that include a secret promo card featuring one of the three Pokémon that may hatch from your Secret Egg!

Head to Toys”R”Us starting April 27th with your Nintendo DS™ system and a copy of your game for the Secret Egg distribution, and check out all the other amazing Pokémon products, including special packs of Pokémon TCG cards!

This download is only for Pokemon Black and White.  I suspect that the Pokemon that comes from the egg won’t be available through any other means, but I suppose we’ll only know once it hatches.

[Addendum: The “How To” details are now posted over at the Pokemon Black and White site.]

The Last Weekend for the Shiny Pokemon Download at GameStop

The last of the shiny Pokemon download events, part of the build up to Pokemon Black and White, ends this weekend at GameStop.

The final shiny Pokemon, Suicune, is available to download through this coming Sunday, February 6th.

You appear to need all three shiny Pokemon for Pokemon Black and White.  When you transfer them to Pokemon Black or White you will unlock the ability to catch the new Pokemon Zoroark.  Zoroark will otherwise not be obtainable in the game.

And, while you are out on your download mission, you might as well stop by your local Toys R Us to download Ash’s Pikachu.  The download event for Ash’s Pikachu runs until February 13th.

Go Pikachu!

That will then be followed in some areas by the Pokemon tour.

And then, finally, Pokemon Black and White will ship on March 6th, at which point we can actually sit down and play the game!

Download Ash’s Pikachu at Toys R Us

Nintendo is really cranking up the download events for the launch of Pokemon Black and White.

First they announced the GameStop shiny Pokemon download event(s).

Then they announced the Pokemon Black and White Tour, which includes a download of its own.

And now Pokemon.com has announced that from January 30th to February 13th they are bringing in Toys R Us for… a Pikachu download event?  Really?

I am famous, everybody loves me!

I mean, yes, Pikachu is the head honcho, the top of the Pokemon Pyramid of Fame, he even has his own page on Wikipedia unlike most of his 392 fellow monsters, and his own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but after that Yellow Forest Pokewalker route, does anybody not have enough Pikachu yet?

OMG Pikachu!

The place was nothing but Pikachu.  You had to catch dozens of ordinary Pikachu to get the mildly special Pikachu. I knew people who were very sick of Pikachu after that.

To be fair, this download event is for a Pikachu that has all the same abilities that Ash Ketchum‘s Pikachu has in the long-running Pokemon Anime TV series.  This includes, according to the promo page, Volt Tackle, Thunderbolt, and Iron Tail.  I’m not sure why they wouldn’t mention the fourth ability, since Pokemon can only have four abilities, and I am going to guess that regular viewers of the TV series could probably name it, so why hide it?

To create some minor mystery I guess.

And Pikachu also comes holding the Light Ball, which doubles up his attack stat and makes him 19% more adorable.

This event works with all of the DS native main-line Pokemon games, so you can download to Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver.

Since we’re big on Pokemon at our house, I am sure we’ll be at Toys R Us downloading this extra special Pikachu to all of our copies of Pokemon.

Details on the event and how to download Ash’s Pikachu are available here.

Arceus Obtained

My daughter and I finally dusted off our Nintendo DSes and made our way down to Toys R Us to download Arceus on the last day of the event.

ArceusSolo

Arceus

We were alone downloading at the store.  I imagine that those with Pokemon on their mind grabbed theirs last weekend.

The process was simple as usual.  We have been to enough download events that there were no mysteries involved.

My daughter, on getting her first close look at Arceus declared it a complete rip-off of Dialga.

Dialga2

Dialga

I don’t quite see the resemblance myself, but I am probably distracted by that pet fence that Arceus appears to gotten stuck half way down his body.

Arceus at Toys R Us

The Arceus download event is finally upon us.  You can bring your copy of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum to download Arceus at Toys R Us stores in the US and Puerto Rico from November 7th through the 15th.

Toys R Us does not seem to be pushing this event as much as they have done previous such events.  The event does appear in their weekly ad, but the mention is buried several pages into it.

Get Arceus
This event is, of course, part of a coordinated push by Nintendo to keep interesting in Pokemon at a simmer while we await a new installment in the series, the promised Pokemon HeartGold and Soul Silver.  As such, this download event coincides with the release of a new Pokemon movie “Arceus and the Jewel of Life” and the addition of Arceus related booster packs to the Pokemon Platinum version of the trading card game.

Arceus Triple

The Three Faces of Arceus

More information is available over at Pokemon.com.