The toy and game industry is fraught with more scandal than Britney Spears. Take the recent battle between Hasbro, makers of Scrabble, and the popular online word game, Scrabulous. Hasbro sued the makers of Scrabulous for copyright infringement, effectively forcing the thousands of loyal fans of Scrabulous to find other ways to waste their time. (The toy giant has since dropped the suit.)
Check out these toy-time scandals and controversies, and remember them the next time you -- or your kid -- is yearning for a new plastic plaything.
Bratz Although the low-rise jeans-wearing dolls are meant for girls between the ages of 7 to 12-years-old, preschool girls have been toting these luscious-lipped curvaceous toys, causing an outrage among parents and toy watchdog groups. In 2006, a Harvard group, in collaboration with Dads and Daughters, pressured Hasbro to stop production on a Bratz line based on the super-sexy girl group Pussycat Dolls in 2006.
Barbie In 1989, the Barbie Liberation Organization took Mattel to task for their Teen-Talk Barbie, which intoned the infamous words, "Math is hard." To teach Mattel a lesson, they switched dozens of Teen-Talk Barbie voice boxes with those from Talking Duke G.I. Joe dolls.
Easy-Bake Oven A popular toy since the '50s, you'd think that Hasbro would've gotten he kinks out of the play oven by now. In July 2007 the toy company recalled the new version of the oven after more than 200 kids got their fingers stuck in the oven's door and 77 kids reported being burned from the device.
Aqua Dots It's never a good idea to eat your toys, especially if they're Aqua Dots. In 2007, there were several cases of kids vomiting or falling into a coma after ingesting the beads. And, scientists found that the toy's coating contained a chemical that turns into the "date rape" drug Rohypnol after digestion. The arts and crafts beads were pulled off U.S. shelves immediately after the discovery.
Scrabulous When RJ Softwares developed Scrabulous for the ultra-popular Facebook it attracted a half-million players daily, prompting Scrabble maker Hasbro to step in and slap the India-based company with a fat lawsuit. Hasbro claims that RJ Softwares stole "intelligent software" including the game's trademark name.
Super Columbine Massacre RPG When tragedy hits, it's usually a good idea to downplay it and let wounds heal--not create a video game about the disaster. Despite the negative reaction by the survivors and victims' families, the game is still available online.
Tickle Me Elmo In 2006, love fo Tickle Me Elmo turned ugly at a Target in Tampa, Fla., when a man threatened another customer with his life. The guy told the shopper he had a gun and wasn't afraid to use it if he didn't get the Elmo doll. And it looks like Elmo isn't that innocent after all: That same year, some copies of the "Potty Time with Elmo" interactive book contained a button that said," Who wants to die?"
Grand Theft Auto The game's in-your-face violence and sex has been highly scrutinized by parent groups. And controversy sparked when 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game contained sexually explicit mini-games that could be unlocked with a code. Versions of the game have already been banned in Thailand and Australia.
The SockObama In June 2008, the blogosphere fumed about a sock monkey doll made to look like Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama. Although the doll may have been described as "firm but huggable," the doll's production was stopped after a couple of weeks after critics said the doll had racist undertones.
Furby No one's too sure exactly what a Furby is. However, in early 1999, The National Security Agency put employees under "Furby Alert" and requiring that employees keep their Furbies at home. It turns out the furry toy contains a computer chip that can potentially record classified information.
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