Top holiday electronics picks named
Color Game Boys and Pokemon-related items lead the most-wanted list of holiday shoppers, Carson City retailers said Tuesday.
But the quest for Amazing Ally, a doll with a heart of microcircuits, has some parents calling toy departments every morning, in the tradition of the great Furby hunt last year and “Tickle Me” (or was it “Just Try to Find Me”) Elmo a few years before that.
Nintendo, which upgraded the handheld Game Boy console to color this year, also owns the U.S. distribution rights to Pokemon items. The company has doubled up the franchise with its Game Boy cartridges called Pokemon Red, Pokemon Yellow and Pokemon Blue.
The color Game Boys are very popular at Wal-Mart and most often are sold with a Pokemon Yellow game, which is more popular than the Blue and Red varieties, according to Betty in the electronics department. (Several retailers’ employees interviewed did not want their entire names used).
Super KMart manager Brad Johnson said “anything Pokemon” and the color Game Boys were the quickest gift items to sell out.
Furbys have been selling briskly this year, he said, “but they’re not flying out of here like last year. Pokemon pretty well took their place.”
Johnson said the annual “hottest gift item” always focuses on children’s toys, whether Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids or Pokemons.
Amazing Ally talks, tells jokes and speaks up when she needs to be played with or otherwise get attention. The doll, made by Playmates and going for about $60, has been popular at Wal-Mart, Kmart and the Carson City Target.
Bill, an assistant manager in electronics at Target, said demand is high for all electronic toys. He said the popular games for other systems are Donkey Kong 64, Pokemon Snap and WrestleMania 2000 for the Nintendo 64; Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Tomb Raider 4 and Supercross 2000 for the Sony Playstation, and NFL 2K and NBA 2K for the Sega Dreamcast.
The Dreamcast has been selling well at Target since a Thanksgiving special, Bill said. The color Game Boys, though, only show up occasionally in small shipments and do not last long, he said.
Over at Wal-Mart, though, the Dreamcast has been a slow mover despite its pre-release hype, said a spokeswoman. But, she said, the store sells out a case of 600 boxes of Pokemon trading cards in a few hours, when they are available.
Tuesday, about 50 children of Carson’s two middle schools were turned loose in Kmart with $25 each to spend, $20 from the Karson Kruisers and $5 donated by the store. They could have focused on toys for themselves, but many thought first of others.
“I was amazed. Normally, you give kids money and they run and buy something for themselves. Many of these kids were shopping for others,” said Lee Radtke, the Kruisers’ president who helped coordinate the shopping spree for the youngsters. He said there were no restrictions on how the shopping money was spent.
Several of the children, recommended by the school district’s Children in Transition program coordinator Kim Riggs, were picking gifts for parents, relatives and friends, Radtke said. One girl used the money to buy black shoes for a caroling outing later Tuesday, he said.
This is the second year the Karson Kruisers have sponsored the shopping spree. Radtke said the members pass the hat among themselves, then the collected amount is matched from the club treasury. The Kruisers raise the funds through activities associated with their cruises each summer.