My son loves garage sales, as do I. You see things you vaguely recall from bygone days, often only as TV commercials. Recently, we found something that I’d completely missed hearing about. Granted, I don’t have my finger on the pulse of what’s hot in toys at any given moment, but given how much effort was put into this thing, it was kind of surprising what I ran across when trying to figure out how to put the collection of plastic bits we found together.
What is it? It’s called DaGeDar:
It’s most commonly compared to Bakugan, since both involve rolling sphere-shaped characters, but from what I can tell, DaGeDar didn’t have much of a game component to it. There were trading cards and the spheres were collectible, but if you didn’t like shooting them at each other across the floor, all that left were the stunt track sets. That was what had caught our eye at the yard sale: Big marble-run sized hunks of green and orange plastic with loops, curves, and ramps. Sadly, this didn’t work out for the toy, either.
The tracks just don’t work. They come with shooters to propel the spheres that require adult-strength to even have a hope of using, and the track shapes were poorly designed to work with the balls they were made for. Most of the time, the balls wouldn’t make it through the loops, would go flying off the curves, or the effort of pulling on the shooter would make the track pieces come apart. At least one track set came with pieces where a “winning” ball would be decided by being the first through a gate where dual tracks merged, and as far as I can tell, that’s the only kind of official competitive function on offer.
So it was a pretty badly-designed toy. Imagine my surprise when I saw that it had been a finalist for the rather unfortunately named 2011 “Boy Toy of the Year Award”> from the Toy Industry Association. There was even a Star Wars tie-in line of balls and tracks. The company paid to make 13 short “webisodes” of a cartoon based on the toy, though it’s pretty strange, even by toy-cartoon standards.
This didn’t save the brand, and if Google Trends is any indication, it died in early 2013:
Anyway, I just found it unusual that something tied to such a popular movie franchise and with so much backing didn’t even ping my geek-radar when so many other collectible toy/game lines did. I also figure the balls themselves became problematic in a lot of households, since they’re pinball-sized, with a steel ball bearing inside of a plastic shell. Even though we don’t have one in the house, we made a “no slingshots” rule when we felt how hefty they were.
So that’s the remains of DaGeDar, available on eBay or at a garage sale near you.