The toy of choice this season for boys under 10 is the Beyblade (pronounced “Babe Laid”) Metal Fusion Super Vortex Battle Set from Japan. But the marketing glitz masks the simple and traditional game beneath the plastic and chrome.
Complete with its own “Let It Rip!” video at the toy’s website and instructional videos at the manufacturers YouTube channel, Beyblade has all the new media support you might associate with some sort of viral online game app.
But, despite the rhetoric, Beyblade Metal Fusion is merely a plastic forum within which spinning tops compete to be the last one spinning. Rather than relying on finger twists, there are various small contraptions to impart mechanical spin to the selection of shining plastic tops. These latter have fanciful names such as “Storm Pegasus” and are deemed to have different spinning characteristics based on their four constituent parts: face bolt, fusion wheel, spin track and performance tip.
To complete the spell it casts over young boys — and the collection of tried and tested gimmicks it draws upon — there are trading cards that correspond to the different tops that also unlock features at the website.
For boys under 10 these may be the new “gotta-have” toys, but for boys between 30 and 80 there’s not much new to these Japanese duelling dreidels and their amusingly fetishized merchandise.
Watch an instructional video to learn how to perform the “Sliding Shoot.”