While we were at C2E2, we had the pleasure of talking with Bryan Katzel from Senario Toys. He showed us their newest line of remote controlled figures: Little two inch robots called "Zibits." Currently the first wave of Zibits, 12 different models of robot, are available at Toys-R-Us. They plan to roll out Zibits version 1.5 by the Fall, and hopefully to stores like Walmart and Target.
Each robot has his own name, personality, and backstory, and runs on a combo of three button (watch-style) batteries in the bot, and two AAA batteries in the remote control. (The button batteries are included but you have to add your own AAA's.) They have led lights for eyes that glow and flash, and the remote control has a speaker on the back where you can hear a variety of different robot-like noises. They retail for $9.99 apiece, and playsets for the robots are coming soon.
Of course Laura and I found these things fascinating and were delighted to take home a pair. Review and videos after the jump.
Here's Bryan demo-ing the toys for us, and explaining a few things about them. He seemed to really love each and every one and you could tell they had a ton of fun coming up with the names and backstories during the development process.
When I got my Zibit home (I don't know his name because the first wave 'bots don't have name cards, the next wave will), I tried him out on my tiled entryway, but grout is too much for their tiny wheels to traverse. Pretty much everything is too much for their tiny wheels to traverse, so unless you want to play with the Zibits on hardwood or in the kitchen forever, you're probably going to have to get the playsets.
The other thing is that the remote control has two positions: forward and back. Forward goes forward. Back makes it spin around. Which means it's not necessarily very maneuverable, but it's still a lot of fun. You can't expect a lot from a two inch toy, at least not at this juncture. (I will note that after about twenty minutes of inexpertly ramming my robot into the walls, my husband took over and within twelve seconds had the thing running like he was preparing for a robot toy gauntlet.)
Overall, Senario's main goal is to make fun little toys for kids, as well as a collectible item for adults. I saw several different Zibits that I'd like to own just for aesthetic purposes, so I presume geeks and nerds alike in every age range will want to track every single one of these down to own them all. I'm still a ways from owning a real droid, but this is a good start.
Of course, the real joy is seeing how your house pets react to the newest member of the family.