Product Type: Tomy board games
Newest Review: ... the stand as pictured in this photo). ***Game play*** Set up is quick and straightforward, simply push and twist the 'spike' to the down... more
Popping up perfectly
Tomy Pop Up Pirate
Member Name: historywitch
Tomy Pop Up Pirate
Advantages: Game for all age groups to play together, fun, inexpensive, sturdy and hard to break, quick to play
Disadvantages: 2 tiny design niggles
Pop up pirate is a game that I remember playing when I was a child and I had a real burst of nostalgia when I bought a copy for my own children almost 20 years later. The pirate's barrel is a slightly different shape and the décor has changed slightly but otherwise it is the same old game I knew and loved. Given the current predilection to remake old classics I was delighted that this winning format had not been messed around with. I paid £4.99 when it was reduced, but the average price seems to be between £9 and £12.
The game itself is superbly simple. You get a plastic barrel which sits on a wide circular base. In the centre is a hole and you insert the plastic pirate and push him down until you hear a click. Around the barrel are 24 little holes into which you insert the 24 little swords. There are 6 swords in four different colours so you can have up to four people playing, or play by yourself with 24. When the unlucky sword is pushed it releases the spring inside and the pirate pops out into the air. It can be played very quickly after opening the box, no sorting of pieces required or elaborate edifices to be constructed first.
Tomy recommend this game for children aged 4+ but other than the fact that the swords can be rendered ineffective by chewing there is no reason why younger children can't play this too, there are no safety issues here. It is one of my 2 year olds favourite toys and one he likes to play with his sister, who is four years older than him. Those who have children with age gaps know that it is very hard to find toys and games that they can play together without it either being too simple or too complicated, but this one hits exactly the right note. Its impossible to cheat or fiddle the score as well, as its just a game of pure luck. Any accusations of 'she took my turn' can be easily solved by simply counting the number of coloured swords inserted into the barrel. The competition between the two of them when playing seems to be friendlier too, less mean-spirited, probably because everyone gets to laugh and jump at the end of the game.
Pop-up pirate can also be a nice quick game too. So many children's games can go on forever with lots of rules to remember, but this one can be played in less than five minutes. When the children beg for one more game before bed, they know they can only choose pop-up pirate! Because it is quite an exciting game with an element of surprise and anticipation it also isn't boring. You never know when it will go off and when it does it always makes me jump and the kids laugh, shout and try and catch the pirate before he hits the ground.
One added benefit to buying this game for young children is it's a very good way of teaching them things in a fun way. I just finished a series of games of Pop up Pirate with my two year old as I do most days recently and noted down that it had helped him with:
Turntaking- he can now say 'X's turn' and 'Mummy's turn. Because there isn't a long wait between turns he can wait that few seconds happily whilst I put my sword in the barrel. He will choose and pass me a sword so I can take my turn.
Colours- He can sort and recognise the four colours of the swords and name them e.g. 'red sword for mummy', 'blue sword in the barrel'. He can also sort them into the different colours.
Pattern-making- we put a blue sword then a yellow one etc
How to lose-Sometimes Mummy puts in the right sword, sometimes he does, sometimes his sister does but as long as it results in the pirate shooting into the air he doesn't care.
It has also improved his manual dexterity and motor skills as he concentrates to get the sword into the thin slot. As each sword has a ridge at the handle end which requires some pressure to push into place he has learnt to hug the barrel carefully to stop it from falling over and off its stand (pirate falls out too) whilst he pushes.
There are only two tiny negatives to this game, hardly even worth mentioning really. First the stand that the barrel stands on doesn't hold it in place very well, it could do with a slightly higher ridge to stop the barrel slipping off so easily. Secondly it doesn't fit very easily back into the box, it bulges and the lid won't shut, which is only an issue if you want to store it neatly - just a slight niggle though.
This is a game that I can wholeheartedly recommend. It is unabashedly low tech and simple but it is one of those old-fashioned games that all ages can play happily together. It is sturdy and hard to damage and safe enough/uncomplicated enough for young children to play, with some educational benefits for pre-schoolers. The negatives are nothing more than minor niggles that do not in any way affect my enthusiasm for this game or the enjoyment that children get out of it. I would recommend it most for the 2.5-6 age group, although there is no reason why older children wouldn't enjoy it too. I find that a lot of children grow up quite quickly nowadays and while I was happily playing this up until the age of 10, I'm not sure many 9 year olds would seek out this game to play over a DS or Wii.
Summary: An old classic that needs no alteration
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