October 1, 2008 / 3:15 PM / 11 years ago

New Elmo and Guitar Hero top 2008 toy wish list

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The new “Guitar Hero World Tour” video game and a life-like Elmo doll that cracks jokes and sits with his legs crossed will be among childrens’ “most wanted” this holiday season, according to toy industry executives.

Visitors play the computer game 'Guitar Hero' at an exhibition stand at the Games Convention 2008 fair in the eastern German city of Leipzig August 20, 2008. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

In a sign that parents will be looking for value, this year’s hot-toy list — predicting what will fly off the shelves during the holidays — by industry veterans Jim Silver and Christopher Byrne, is mostly made up of toys and games that cost less than $80.

“Parents don’t look for bargains in terms of cheap,” said Silver, who is the editor-in-chief of toy-trade publisher aNb Media. “They look for price value. They don’t mind spending $200 for an iPod. They don’t want to spend even $10 if they don’t find value.”

Silver and Byrne released the list as they launched a toy Web site on Wednesday called www.timetoplaymag.com , after almost 10 years of creating a similar hot list for Toy Wishes magazine.

Fisher-Price’s Elmo Live, which made it onto their list, is an interactive plush toy that can sing, tell jokes and stories, and play games. It will sell for about $59.99 and be in stores from October 14.

Not all popular toys this season will be expensive.

For example, Spin Master’s Bakugan, a small toy that can fit in a child’s hand and transform into action-figure warriors, is a hit among kids ages 5 and up, and costs as little as $4.99.

“That’s a phenomenon we started looking at with Pokemon when it first came out,” Byrne said. “The hot toy is not prohibitive. Whatever the individual family’s economic situation is, (the kids) have the cool thing.”

And some toys like Hasbro’s U-Dance, a motion-based dance game for $74.99 that can be connected to the TV, reflects the popularity of reality shows, Silver said.

“Look at the success of dancing shows on television,” Silver said. “Look at ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Dancing is hot.”

Since the game does not require a mat to dance on or a console, it will appeal to value-hungry shoppers, Byrne added.

The Wii Fit by Nintendo Co Ltd will remain a top choice, but is not on the list since it has been on the market for a few months, Silver and Byrne said.

Toy recalls and concerns about lead levels will not be an issue this year, they added.

This year’s 16 toys expected to top holiday lists, arranged according to age:

* Laugh & Learn Smart Bounce and Spin Pony by Mattel’s Fisher-Price

* Elmo Live by Fisher-Price

* V-Motion Active Learning System by VTECH

* TAG Reading System by LeapFrog Enterprises

* Hot Wheels Turbo Driver by Mattel

* Star Wars The Clone Wars Clone Trooper Voice Changer Helmet by Hasbro

* Bakugan by Spin Master

* Furreal Friends Biscuit, My Lovin’ Pup by Hasbro

* MagNext by Mega Brands

* Clickables by Techno Source

* Eye-Clops Night Vision Goggles by Jakks Pacific

* Star Wars: The Clone Wars by Lego

* U-Dance by Hasbro

A customers looks at Elmo toys in a Chicago Wal-Mart, September 27, 2006. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

* Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker by Jakks Pacific

* Guitar Hero World Tour by Activision

* Rock Band 2 by Harmonix

Editing by Maureen Bavdek

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