Toys Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Retro gaming, robots, and bustin'ghosts

Looking for the perfect toy for your kids, friend's kids, or just looking to pick up some collectibles for yourself? We've got you covered with a list of toys that should make a child of any age smile. Even the adult ones.


You’ve got all the games, consoles, and accessories wrapped and placed under the tree, but there still seems to be something missing. While video games are great, you’ll probably want to balance out your digital gift with some physical ones. Fortunately, we’ve put together a selection of several toys that would make great gifts for the children or adult collectors in your life.

Arcade Cabs

It’s getting easier and easier to own a home arcade nowadays, and the holidays are a great time to surprise a loved one with a cab featuring one of their favorite games of yesteryear. Arcade1Up came out with some fantastic new cabs for their ever-expanding lineup including a new ¾-sized Golden Axe cab and a Ms.Pac-Man cocktail cab. For folks seeking a full-sized cab, the AtGames Legends Ultimate is a great option and features a ton of classic arcade and home console games baked right into the machine already. If space is an issue, you can always snag one of New Wave Toys’ highly-detailed desktop cabs. Right now they’ve got a very cool Dragon’s Lair Replicade up for order that even comes with its own tiny little laserdisc player.


Let’s face it: Robots are awesome and they always will be. That’s why you basically can’t go wrong with getting someone any sort of Transformers figure. This year there were some particularly cool collabs that came down the line, including a Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Transformer and a Top Gun jet fighter one as well. Along with the new licensed collabs, there were plenty of traditional Transformers that hit store shelves in 2020. The Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege Deluxe Refraktor 3-Pack (which are in our featured pic for this article) can change from bots to hover tanks and all three can combine to make a fancy camera. I’m also personally really into the new Quintesson Judge as it was one of my favorite characters from the original animated Transformers movie back in the day. The rate at which Hasbro cranks out new Transformers is pretty impressive and that hard work guarantees that you’re most likely never going to be in short order for a new model, so be sure to check out Hasbro Pulse if you’re looking for a particular Autobot or Decepticon.

Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler's Neutrona Wand

Before the world spiraled out of control during this year’s global pandemic, we were supposed to get a new Ghostbusters movie that would’ve featured a ton of nods and winks to the original film. While that movie has sadly been delayed, it would appear that some of the collector’s merchandise that was supposed to go along with it have still made it to store shelves in time for the holiday season. One product in particular really caught the eye of our own Greg “Burkleton” Burke: Egon Spengler’s Neutrona Wand. This prop replica is actually pretty affordable when put up against its contemporaries and features several audio and LED lighting effects that really drive home its quality. Who are your relatives gonna call if there’s something strange in their neighborhood this holiday? Probably you, if you pick up a Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler's Neutrona Wand. Just don’t zap Santa as he’s coming down the chimney.

Snap Ships

Snap Ships are probably one of the most literally named products on the market. Essentially, they’re model spaceships that snap together in order to fabricate them. They come with all the standard parts you’d expect like wings that move and cockpits you can fit a pilot action figure in and all that good stuff. Snap Ships also come with some weaponry like lasers and missile launchers that actually fire and each box comes with a mystery part. Kids can mix and match their parts to create their own ultimate ship so you may want to pick up a couple of kits for variety’s sake. Snap Ships also has an AR companion app that lets you mess around with some of the core ship kits.


Hatchimals are a great interactive toy for your kids.
Hatchimals are a great interactive toy for your kids.

These weird little robot pets have been a popular staple for kids over the last few years. Each creature comes in a giant egg and “hatches” out of it. You never know what kind of Hatchimal you’re going to get until it comes out of its shell. You could think of it as a less creepy version of the Furby with more advanced tech that can even learn your child’s name. As your child plays with its Hatchimal it will grow mentally from an infant into an adult. If you’ve got a younger child in your life this will make a great gift.

Squeakee the Balloon Dog

Can't get a real dog? Get a robot dog instead!
Can't get a real dog? Get a robot dog instead!

The animatronic toys don’t stop with the Hatchimals. If you can’t have a real dog than maybe consider picking up your very own Squeakee the Balloon Dog for the family. Squeakee can learn commands and you can always “deflate” him with the included toy push pin accessory if he’s being a jerk. Fortunately, you can also blow him back up if you’re having remorse about the deflation. It’s a cool take on the robot dog toy, which hasn’t really had much of a makeover since the days of the AIBO.

Think there’s something we missed here? Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section below. Worried we missed out on all the stuff from the Marvel, Lego and Star Wars franchises? Well, we actually did individual guides for those things this year, so make sure you check out all of our other Holiday 2020 Gift Guides and double check you've got something for everyone on your list.

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Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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