Recognizing that kids today are rarely enamored with 30-year-old toys (not connected to Star Wars or LEGOs, that is) while their parents would play with nothing but, Mattel’s cleverly gone all-in on nostalgia by combining two classics from the 80s and 90s — the View-Master viewer and Batman: The Animated Series cartoon — and then completely overhauled them for the 21st century. Now everybody wins.
To start, that old click-click-click 3D View-Master you currently have boxed up in your parents’ basement is no longer. Mattel relaunched it last year as a sleek, safe-for-kids-to-drop Google Cardboard virtual reality headset. Simply pop in any 6-inch (or smaller) smartphone, download the app, and bon voyage — you’re off to faraway virtual lands. They did leave the mechanical button on the side, although now it’s used to touch the phone’s screen rather than advance the pictures. And speaking of pictures, a version of the old photo disc is also included, but it doesn’t actually go in the viewer — it sits instead on the table and acts as an augmented reality stage.
Now, the Batman part: In short, they took the popular Batman: The Animated Series cartoon you watched religiously in middle school and turned it into a VR game. The same voices (Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, etc), the same villains (the Joker, The Riddler, and Two-Face), the same sets (the Bat Cave, the trophy room, the crime lab); the only difference is that now you (and eventually your kids) get to fly the Batwing, go on missions, and help save Gotham. Except not until next month, when the product finally ships. It is, however, available for pre-order today.
ViewMaster VR’s Batman: The Animated Series Pack ($45, Pre-order available for November 2016)