This year's hot toys may have more buzz than ever before.
In a sign of the growing role electronics play in children's toys, this year's Toys "R" Us "hot toy" list includes not only Fisher-Price's digital camera, designed for ages 3 years old and up, but also, for the first time, a video game console.
Other hot toys chosen by Toys "R" Us include Hasbro's Designer's World, a plug-and-play TV game from its Tiger Games division that lets girls design their own fashion line, and the Nitro Notebook by Vtech, a pink laptop-lookalike learning toy.
The annual Toys "R" Us "Fabulous 15" list features toys that the retail chain expects to be big sellers for the coming holiday season.
Hot season for video gamersNintendo's Wii console made its U.S. debut on Nov. 19 in what is expected to be a hot holiday season for video game consoles; Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 hit U.S. stores on Nov. 17.
But Nintendo, with its "Donkey Kong," "Mario Brothers" and "Pokemon" game franchises, has found success with a younger audience.
"The PlayStation 3 is really geared to a savvy gaming enthusiast," said Kathleen Waugh, a spokeswoman for Toys "R" Us, of the decision to add the Wii to the list. "The Wii system appeals to young kids as well as adults."The Wii, priced at $250, features a motion-sensing controller that operates like a television remote control and lets players simulate swinging a bat, sword or tennis racquet.
Waugh said one of Toys "R" Us' criteria of adding an item to its hot list is knowing it will have sufficient stock of the item for the holiday season, and she said that Toys "R" Us was able to ensure that by "taking a leadership position on the launch of Wii."
Extreme Elmo makes the cutOther toys on the list include T.M.X. Elmo, or Tickle Me Extreme, made by Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price division. The doll, which hit stores on September 19 after months of secrecy, is the 10th anniversary version of the original red plush Tickle Me Elmo doll, which created a craze when it was introduced.
The T.M.X. doll has been flying off store shelves since its introduction last week, but Waugh said Toys "R" Us continues to get new shipments of the doll.
But not all of the toys on the hot list are electronic.
The list includes the Speed Stacks StackPack -- a game by Jakks Pacific Inc.'s Play Along division that involves stacking up and down Speed Stack cups in predetermined forms as fast as possible.
Blue Man Group Percussion Tubes
Dora's Talking Cash Register
ESPN Fast Action Football
Kid-Tough Digital Camera
Laugh & Learn Baby Grand Piano
My Scene My Bling Bling Styling Head
Pink Nitro Notebook
Power Rangers Deluxe Manticore Megazord
Speed Stacks StackPack
Sound City Railway
Tap Dancing Mumble