One More Goodbye

Memories of Toys R Us
By Bro
August 13, 2018
Well, I thought I was done. Hello again everyone, it's been a while and it's nice to talk to you again. I've come out of retirement to share my memories of that one-of-a-kind toy store we all knew as Toys R Us, as well as to lament it's passing. Like most of us I'm sure, the announcement of it's closure stirred up a few emotions inside me. There was the initial sadness that yet one more beloved thing from childhood was passing from this earth and taking residence in the great halls of the museum of memory. But along with that sadness came a sense of thankfulness; thankfulness not only for the memories and that I was able to experience it as a child, but also that Toys R Us was able to bring the family that I started years later joy and future memories as well. In fact, it's those future memories that ultimately prompted me to write this article. It's a precious thing to have a childhood memory, but it's an even more precious thing to share those memories with your own children and then create some new ones. With that said, I present to you my memories of Toys R Us and the role it played in my life, both as a child and adult.

To explain why a store like this was and will be so fondly remembered, all I can say is simply there was nothing else like it. Sure, in my hometown we had other places to get toys. There was K-Mart, from where I obtained many a G.I. Joe. There was Wal-mart, where I remember picking up a lot of Hot Wheels and Micro Machines. In our local mall, there was a Kay-Bee Toys which I frequented. But in both Wal-mart and K-mart, those were merely toy aisles, small sections of a larger store. Kay Bee was a full blown toy store, but it was located in a mall and was therefore a small store. Toys R Us though...

It wasn't just a toy store. It was a giant toy store, filled to the brim with everything that could possibly delight a kid's heart and mind. Toys, board games, card games, video games, legos, puzzles, books, bikes, scooters, skateboards, Power Wheels...I didn't even have to get anything, just being in the store surrounded by it all was satisfying enough. (Well, almost ;) The building pictured above is the store I grew up with, located on Armagosa Road in Victorville, CA. I believe that picture was taken this year, 2018, but seeing it again brings me back to the heyday of action figures, giant plastic playsets, and a long pink Barbie aisle I never wanted to go into. It truly was something special and every trip there was a guaranteed good time. Part of that was because Toys R Us had toys you couldn't find anywhere else.

I remember looking down the aisles one day and finding to my shock and wonderment a collection of Mega Man action figures. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was Mega Man in toy form. I'd seen small figures of video game characters before, but real honest to goodness action figures based off of video games was a seldom seen thing for me. I could go home and play Mega Man without a tv and send him on new adventures of my own. I went home that day with the big man himself.

Before looking at this picture, I'd forgotten these were based off the 90's cartoon, not directly from the games themselves. He's uglier than I remembered him being. There were other figures too, like Rush, Guts Man, Cut Man, Bomb Man, Drill Man, Snake Man, Proto Man...etc. I had hoped to come back over time and grab more figures and accumulate a nice collection which would therefore result in some epic play times. But alas, Mega Man was the only figure I ever got from this toy line. His blaster hand could be swapped for a regular hand, and his blaster was a spring loaded launcher, complete with a charged shot. (Which to my memory didn't shoot very far.) While I do remember having a lot a of fun with him initially, I also recall the excitement waning pretty quickly compared to other toys I had. I don't remember his final fate, only that one time I lent him to my neighbor for a night in exchange for his Tiger Mortal Kombat lcd game.

I got him back, but I don't remember what happened to him after that. Another toy I remember getting from Toys R Us was a Street Shark. Street Sharks were a group of fighting anthropomorphic sharks in the same vein as ninja turtles, albeit with a much more 90's attitude. They had their own cartoon too, although I don't think it lasted more than a single season. I never watched it so I can't be sure. In fact, I don't recall being drawn to them much at all. I think the only reason I wanted the toy I had was because I just thought it looked cool.

I believe his name was Big Slammu, and this was the second version of him. Originally he was a wrestler. He came with a mouth guard that was outlined like teeth so he would look cool with or without it. This one was a lot of fun to play with. All Street Sharks were designed so that there mouth would open wide when you pulled back on their fin. His legs weren't posable at all, but his body swiveled making it easy to swing punches. While I used him on his own, I liked to use him as sort of a boss character for my other toys. When first encountered, he would have his mouth guard in and my other toys would just have to avoid his charges and punches while damaging him. After enough damage was done to him, he would spit out the guard and could now use his jaws to do massive damage. If that so sounds very video game-ish, that's intentional. My experiences with the NES, SNES, Genesis, and arcades helped shape much of my play time. I would often turn objects and areas in my house into different "levels" and play through them. It was a ton of fun, and I enjoyed the creative process of it all. In case of Big Slammu, I was picturing him as a boss similar to the classic tmnt arcade games. I had one friend who also had a Street Shark, this one was on roller blades, and I played with him too. Ultimately, it didn't end well for Mr. Slammu. I ended up cutting his gloves off his arms. I tossed the shark and kept the gloves, for who knows what reason. I remember instantly wishing I hadn't, but the damage was already done. Oh well.

Most of the G.I. Joes I had as a kid came from K-Mart, but there was one in particular I know I got at Toys R Us.

I mentioned this before in my article "Little Plastic Men." There were four of these copters if I remember correctly, two for Joes and two for the Cobras. Based on the screenshots I've seen, I also think this copter was in the NES G.I Joe game. As I said before, I had seen commercials for this thing and wasn't all that impressed with it. Then one day my family happened to go to Toys R Us and I saw it on a shelf and found it was really inexpensive. I was able to take it home and naturally I began to picture myself playing with it and launching it into the air. But upon exiting the store I was reminded that it was very windy outside. The entire drive home I kept watching the trees we would pass, hoping that the wind would die down the closer we got to our house. It didn't really, but I felt safe enough to send it up in the backyard. It got tossed around so I didn't really get a good outside test flight that first day. I did, however, discover that if I pulled the cord a little softly, I was able to launch it in the house and it would lightly bounce of the ceiling none the worse for the wear. And course I would also just move it around myself and pretend it was flying. It was nice to get so much use out of a toy I didn't initially want.

While on the subject of toys, I'd like to make mention one quick thing. Remember that arcade game Primal Rage?

Well, there were action figures made of the characters. I never saw a word of advertisement about them, I just remember my friend Jonathan and myself looking at toys and there they were sitting on the shelf. I thought they were cool, but I was also really surprised. I enjoyed Primal Rage in the arcades and I knew it was popular to a degree, but I didn't think it warranted enough interest to make toys out of. I think other fighting games were more deserving. Jonathan and I once talked and came up with ideas for a whole line of Killer Instinct action figures that I still think would have been awesome to have, had they been real. Anyway, I mention Primal Rage because I did like the game and ended up owning a couple of the figures. I had Armadon and Talon, and Jonathan eventually bought Chaos.

When you pulled Armadon's arms down, the spikes on his back would rise. Talon had some type of action you could do that made his claws scratch. I don't remember what Chaos did. I do have to mention that I can't remember where I got them. It could very well have been Wal-Mart, but given that Toys R Us is usually the only place I found toys like this, I think it's a safe bet I got them there. There is one more toy I remember getting specifically from Toys R Us and that was a Nerf weapon. Toys R Us was the place to get best selection of Nerf's finest foam weaponry. Seeing commercials would always give me something to look forward to any time I walked down that Nerf aisle. I can't account for where my parents bought Nerf guns they gave as Christmas and birthday gifts, but I know the only one I specifically bought Toys R Us myself was the Nerf Rattler, part of the Max Force series.

This didn't match my trusty Eagle Eye, but it was a good back up. The range on it wasn't bad, but since you had to pump it to fire, aiming could be tricky. Still, having four shots before reloading made it a great offensive weapon in a Nerf war. (At least until you had to track down your darts while under fire.) I went to Toys R Us that day to get a Super NES game called Ballz 3d, but came home with the Rattler instead. I made a good choice, I've heard nothing but terrible things about that game. I liked the Rattler because I was able to play with it like a toy gun when I was by myself. I used to pretend it was a machine gun and probably used it more in an imaginative way than I did in an actual Nerf fight. But hey, that's what toys are for, to be used as you see fit. While I have no doubt there were little things here and there, these are all the toys I remember getting specifically from Toys R Us. I also got my main childhood bike from Toys R Us, a black Magna mountain bike. For those of us who grew up in the 80's and 90's, Toys R Us held another special appeal in the form of video games. And just like toys, their video game selection was second to none.

Even though it was only a few aisles in the store, the games section was still an electronic wonderland. Magazine racks waited, holding the latest issue of your favorite gaming publications. Games lined the wall, but they had to be purchased a certain way. Each was represented by a picture of the box art, and underneath that was a ticket with the price and a bar code. The ticket was taken to register where it it could be paid for, and then you went to separate counter in the side of the store where a clerk would give you your game. I found a youtube video of what the Sega Genesis section used to look like back then.

In addition to all the games crying out for your (or your parent's) hard earned cash, there were kiosks set up to advertise what was new, what was hot, and what was coming.

I remember the one in my local store advertising RPG's like Final Fantasy 3, Earthbound, Secret of Evermore, and Illusion of Gaia . There was also previews for upcoming SNES games using the super fx chip, such as FX Fighter, a helicopter game, and Starfox 2. In addition these informational kiosks, there were displays set up so actually play some games. There was one for just about every single console it seemed. One I remember playing a lot early on was the set up for the Game Boy. Like many early Game Boy displays, the only game playable for a long time was Tetris. That was fun and all, but over time I was able to play a couple more. The first that comes to mind was a game called Wario Blast.

This was basically a Bomberman game wih Wario in it. Having never played a Bomberman game to this day, I didn't know that and assumed it was a simply brand new Wario game. You would think that Bomberman being a playable character would have tipped me off, but such was my ignorance back in the day. Besides I always used Wario every time I played it. I don't remember what the goal of the game was, only that I was running around planting bombs to clear debris and trying to blow up somebody else. I thought it was fun though and I recall looking forward to playing it everytime we went to Toys R Us for as long as it was there. And in a way, I'm thankful for that memory because this is one of those games that time seems to have forgotten about. Whether it not Wario Blast deserved it, I couldn't say. There was one other game that I was able to play on the Game Boy there and that was Donkey Kong.

This reimagining of the classic Donkey Kong arcade game remains one my favorite games released for the Game Boy. After completing the four stages from the arcade game, DK takes Pauline through the city and Mario gives chase. At this point, the game turns into a platformer with some puzzle elements. The goal was to get a key to a door and unlock the next stage. There were enemies to avoid, switch to use, and platforms to place to maneuver through the levels. Each world ended with a showdown against Kong himself. The kiosk was set to resest every ten minutes or so, so I was never to get very far in either game. I would never play Wario Blast again once it left that kiosk, but I was abe to borrow Donkey Kong a couple years later and finish the game.

There was a lot more than just Game Boy. I was able to play a few different consoles in Toys R Us over the years. It was there that I played Vectorman on the Genesis for the first time.

I don't think I ever played anything on the SNES there, but I did buy Star Fox with some birthday money one day.

Even though I went with Star Fox as the goal, I did take a moment to look around and almost decided to go with Capcom's medieval beat-em-up Knights of the Round instead. My dad and my cousin ended up talking me out of it. I had another mission that day as well. The latest issue of Nintendo Power at the time had Mega Man X2 as it's cover story and I wanted to be sure to pick it up. I had rented the first Mega Man X a few times and just loved everything about it. Therefore the announcement of the sequel filled my being with no small amount of excitement and I was anxious to devour every morsel of information on it I could.

While were in line to to pay for Star Fox, I started to thumb through the magazine. After a minute or so of searching, I checked the table of contents. After finding where the MMX2 preview began, I flipped my way to the correct page only to find that it wasn't there. In fact, there were several pages missing. Closer inspection showed me the torn pages near the center of the magazine. I couldn't believe it, the entire Mega Man section had been torn out, the very section I wanted the magazine for. I immediately went back to grab another copy and took the time to verify that it was completely intact. Needless to say I'm very thankful I decided to look through it while I was still in line and not at home.

Concluding the 16-bit era, Toys R Us was also the first place I ever played the Turbo Graphics 16. I always hoped to be able to play Bonk's Adventure, but the only game that was ever there to play was Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.

I thought Keith Courage was fun, especially when you transformed into that mech thing. Fortunately, my cousin got a Turbo Graphics so I was able to play plenty of Bonk and it's sequel later on. Also deserving a quick mention is the Virtual Boy. I believe the first place I played it was Circuit City, but Toys R Us was where I played it every time afterwards. Whenever I was finished playing, my folks would tell me how bloodshot my eyes were. The only game I ever played on it was a Star Fox-ish shooter called Red Alarm.

But if we're going to talk about Toys R Us and video games, the one thing that I will always remember more wonderfully than anything else was the Nintendo 64. My local Toys R Us had about twelve or so consoles set up with Super Mario 64. I can't tell you how much time my friend Jonathan and I spent playing it there.

Since he lived near there, when I went to his house sometimes his parents would drop of us there for a bit while they went to run errands or look at another store. I've never forgotten what it felt like to see Mario in full polygonal 3D for the first time. It was very special and each visit to play the game always left me with dreams of having my own Nintendo 64 one day. That dream came true, and two of my games I purchased at Toys R Us myself with my own money; Mario Kart 64 and Jet Force Gemini.

As long as there were N64's to play there, Mario 64 was the only game that was ever available to play, with one exception. I was able to play F-Zero X there one evening and I promptly asked for it as a Christmas gift that year. I'm happy to say I got it. But the Nintendo 64 was not the only console I owned during that time. A year or so later I got Playstation. Again, I can remember exactly two games that were purchased from Toys R Us. The first one was Resident Evil: Directors Cut. My friends and I were pretty big Resident Evil fans back then, and the Greatest Hits line of games made bigger budget titles more affordable for those of us whose only income was still an allowance.

My mom liked to do the majority of our Christmas shopping a few months in advance, and I had asked for this and made a point to mention how cheap it was. We went to Toys R Us, got the game's ticket, paid for it, and went to the window to pick it up. Once we were there, the clerk on duty made a point to mention to my parents that the game contained blood, gore, and violence. He then handed my mom the case and she looked disapprovingly at the ugly zombie on the cover. She then looked at me and I immediately began my defense. I told her that I had indeed played the game before, that yes there was some blood but it was nothing to worry about, and I really, really wanted to have it. In the end she picked it up and I spent Christmas morning that year exploring the mansion, solving puzzles and shooting monsters.

Another birthday a few years later found me with enough cash to pick up another game. I had received the PS1 version of Marvel Vs Capcom as a present and my friends and I spent the evening beating tar out of each other and had a wonderful time doing so. The following day I asked my dad to take me Toys R Us so I could spend my money. I looked at the Playstation games and almost decided to go with Silent Hill. A friend of mine talked me out of it because I had recently borrowed it from him and finished it. He didn't think it would be wise to buy something I had just beaten. (I wouldn't find out until years later just how much replay ability Silent Hill contained.) What I did end up buying was a Star Wars game called Jedi Power Battles.

This game followed the events of The Phantom Menace, although with a much more action oriented focus. You picked from one of five Jedi; Obi Wan, Qui-Gon, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, and a girl whose name a don't remember who held her lightsaber upside down. It was really hard. Besides the army of battle droids that awaited you, there was also platforming sections that resulted in many, many deaths. Poor camera angles combined with some cheap enemy placement made these sections much tougher than they needed to be. Checkpoints were also extremely spread out. Still, even with the difficulty and occasional cheap deaths, I managed to have a lot of fun with this game. It was a blast to play co-op, and once you learned the enemy placement and boss patterns, using your lightsaber and force powers as you conquered each stage was quite satisfying. Beating the game with different characters unlocked new characters to play as. I remember being able to play as Darth Maul, with only a single bladed lightsaber, sadly, and Captain Panaka and Queen Amidala. These two had blasters which made some fights a lot easier, but lacked any kind of force powers. I got a really good run from this game, but one time I lent it to one of my friends, and when I got it back the disc had jelly on it. I don't even want to know what happened. Needless to say, it didn't work right from that point on.

The N64/PS1/Saturn era also brought with it more games to play in store. Crash Bandicoot was playable for awhile. My friend Jonathan and I took turns playing it, but what he and his family started doing was bringing a notebook with them and writing down passwords so he could actually play through the game. Once I found out he was doing that, I thought that it was brilliant idea and wondered why neither of us had thought to do that before. The Sega Saturn that was set up there rotated between a few games during it's time at Toys R Us. I remember playing Panzer Dragoon there, and a demo for Fighters Megamix. But I remember most was a playing a demo for a game called Three Dirty Dwarves.

For reasons I can't explain, I really wanted to play this. I had only seen a few previews and screenshots in magazines and I knew absolutely nothing as to what the goal and story of it was, but it intrigued me nonetheless. The demo was pretty strange. The object was to destroy a building. A living, breathing building that attacked you. The three dwarves were all in play and you could easily switch between them. One carried a bat, another a bowling pin, and the other had a shotgun. What the dwarves and the building had done to antagonize each other, I could not say, but I set out to destroy it anyway. The demo ended immediately after it's defeat, and I don't recall wanting to play it anymore after that. The whole thing was just a little too strange for me.

And it is there that my childhood and adolescent memories of Toys R Us come to and end. I guess I just grew up. Once high school ended, I obviously wasn't buying toys anymore, and video games were taking a back seat to other things. Toy R Us simply fell out of my life for awhile. Even after I was married and my wife and I had a daughter, toys were usually bought at places like Target or Wal-Mart. My wife and I were aware that Toys R Us still existed, but for years we never really went there. We may have ventured in a few times, but it was rare. We got a play kitchen for my daughter there, and I bought a video game or two on occasion, but we both acknowledged that store had somehow changed. Yes, we were older and no longer children and I'm sure that was part of it. But along with that was an awareness that something else had changed. Toys R Us simply wasn't as magical as it used to be. Neither of us could put our finger on it, but something was missing. We would often drive by it and tell our daughter about it's former glory and the memories we had of how wonderful it used to be. No doubt these memories intrigued her and as she got older, she started asking to stop and look around inside. There was a Toys R Us very close to us where we now lived in Colorado Springs, and this was where the legendary toy store was ultimately brought back into our lives.

I'm not quite sure how it happened exactly, we just decided to go in there one day because we hadn't been inside a Toys R Us in very long time. It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The store was nice, well kept, and had a lot of fun things in it. One of the many blessings of children is that they give you a sense of new nostalgia. You not only remember your "good ole days," you remember their precious moments too. That was a big part of it, seeing my daughters eyes as they took in all the toys and games around her that could one day be hers. It's a look I recognized well. And that's how it started again. We started working Toys R Us back into our rotation of where to buy toys at, until it became our main destination. Just like before, we discovered that it had a better selection than anywhere else. There were toys like Lala-Loopsy that could be found elsewhere but had more variety in Toys R Us, but the first Toys R Us exclusive toy we got her was a Calico Critters playset.

These can now be found at Wal-Mart, but that wasn't always the case. We bought a few things from this line. But the biggest thing, what I believe my wife and daughter will remember most in the years to come, is Barbie. The aisle was no longer pink, but Toys R Us still had the best selection of Barbie products.

Barbie is something wife and daughter share and have a very special bond over. They both collect Barbie and their Barbie games have become the source of endless inside jokes and references in our household. It's a very special thing. Almost countless dolls and outfits have been purchased by the two of them over the past few years. They would often just want to peak into Toy R Us if we were near there just to see if there was anything new. (And there often was.) My wife would often tell my daughter about the dolls she used to have. My daughter remembered this and one day when we were shopping for my wife's birthday, we were looking at Barbie dolls when my daughter all of sudden exclaimed "Momma used to have that doll when she was little!" She ran over to the shelf and pointed out an anniversary edition of Totally Hair Barbie.

My daughter said that she wanted this to be her gift to her mom and wanted to give it to her that very day. I convinced her to wait until the actual birthday. It was worth it. When my wife opened it, it moved her to tears. It's proudly displayed in our home. Toys R Us proved to be a big blessing in the way of nostalgia for us. I picked up the complete Saved By The Bell collection there, once again as a present for my wife. Since owning it, I want to say we've gone through it at least four times. The best part is my daughter loves it too.

As for myself, Toys R Us was able to fulfill a childhood dream for me. I was born in 1983, so I grew up right smack in the middle of the rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, unlike what seemed like every other kid in the country, I was not allowed to watch the cartoon or play with the toys. I had friends and family members who had closets full of Turtle related awesomeness, and all I could do was look on enviously. A couple decades later, my time would come. A few years ago, Playmates re-released some of the original Turtles figures, exclusively through Toys R US.

They included the four turtles, Splinter, Shredder, a foot soldier, Bebop and Rocksteady, and the original turtle van. This may sound silly, but I thought it would be neat to pick up a Leonardo, since he's always been my favorite turtle and I've wanted one since I was a little kid. That Christmas, I got Leonardo and the rest of the turtles as well. Again, this sound silly but finally opening up the packaging and putting the little plastic weapons into their hands for myself was something that meant a lot to me. And the Turtle goodness doesn't end there. Not too long after that, another collection of the four turtles was released. This batch was based off the original comics, with all the turtles wearing red and having a rougher, edgy look. A couple even came with a color reprint of that turtles one shot micro story from the original comics run.

It took a couple years, but I was able to collect all four of them. The hold-up was Donatello. I got Leo and his comic as a Christmas gift (again) and picked up Mike and Ralph in the store later on. I never saw Donnie in the store ever and this collection wasn't available very long. Once they were gone, they were gone. In the end, my wife and daughter had to order him for me online, which once more was given as a Christmas gift. It's kind of funny that all three times I was given a Ninja Turtles action figure for Christmas was when I was an adult. I'm not complaining, I'm very thankful to have them.

Along with the turtles, Toys R Us started carrying a whole slew of collectible toys, mostly based off of video games or movies. Or in some cases both at the same time. One of the more unusual things I saw there once was a collectible action figure of Jason from Friday the 13th. Only it wasn't based off any of the films, but his appearance in the NES game.

I also remember seeing a Predator action figure from the NES game. I don't know who decided to green light a project to make collectible figures based off of retro craptacular movie based Nintendo games, but they sure sold quick. I only saw each one once, so somebody out there thought they would be neat to own.

In addition to toys, we were also buying more video games there. Along with the handful of 3DS, Wii, and Wii U games, one thing we purchased a lot of was amiibo. And nobody where we lived had a better amiibo selection than Toys R Us.

My daughter and I both collect these and I want to say roughly one third of our collection came specifically from that store. Even more so than places like Gamestop, Toys R Us would have more of the latest figures, and was the first to restock older ones. And for the last few years, that was our routine. My wife and daughter would continue to invest in Barbie, and I would haunt the amiibo section. Layaways were started and paid off for Christmas, and we would get coupons emailed to us afterwards. Sometimes would just go in to window shop if we were near that part of town. All seemed well enough in the land of Geoffrey the Giraffe. But I guess like all things, good things must come to an end too.

I was at work one day and even though I don't usually read newspapers, I noticed the preview for the finance section saying something about Toys R Us filing bankruptcy. I knew they were closing down some of their stores, but I didn't know the problem was that severe. I found the story and read the sad news that Toys R Us was indeed announcing it was going out of business. I sent my wife a text message to let her know. We both agreed it was sad, but we also knew everything was going to be on sale so we had hoped to maybe walk away with something grand before it closed down for good. But when the day came that we all went to take a look around, the joy of that faded pretty quick. Yes, I knew it was closing but it was still sad to see aisles that used to be filled with playsets and board games and legos now covered in "Everything Must Go!" signs.

It was very crowded inside and even though the sales were only at 10% off, people were piling things into their carts like crazy. I knew it wasn't, but it almost felt like the building was being looted. We bought my daughter a big art set, but decided to check back in from time to time to see if the sales got any bigger. My wife and daughter were hoping to score the Barbie Glam Jet, and I kept checking the video games. We were there every couple weeks or so to see what was what, and every time the employees said the closing date kept getting pushed back. But it was a very temporary delay. In early June, the sales at our local store had gone up to 60% off, depending on the item. Barbie products were up to 40%, and video games were 50%. It was then that we made our final purchases. My daughter picked up the Glam Jet.

The Nintendo selection was extremely picked over at that point, so I decided to take a chance on something I'd never played but had heard nothing but positive reviews about. The last video game I ever bought from Toys R Us was this...

We paid the cashier and when we walked outside, it really hit me. It's over. I would never set foot inside a Toys R Us again. It made me really sad and as the flood of memories came pouring into my mind, I turned toward the building one last time and said a quiet goodbye. Then we got into the car and drove home.

And that is that. I could go on to talk about memories and childhood and all that, but the loss of Toys R Us for me goes deeper than mere nostalgia. It almost seems symbolic of the loss of play as a whole. In a time where parents seem content to give even the youngest of children a phone or tablet to occupy them, places like Toys R Us reminded me of the excitement of bringing a new toy home and planning out how it would be played with, how it would interact with my other toys, what objects in my room would morph into as I entered the world of my imagination. As adults, I think it's far to easy to forget the vast creative world building that resulted just by simply playing. I don't mean to stand on a soap box or anything, I just remember how special that was. It appears that Toys R Us would agree with me. If you try and go to their website now, you will find this message:

"Thanks to each of you who shared your amazing journey to(and through)parenthood with us, and to every grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother and sister whose built a couch-cushion rocket ship, made up a hero adventure, or invented something gooey. Promise us just this one thing: Don't ever grow up. Play on!"

Such a beautiful sentiment. As it stands, I'm thankful for everything I have ever been given from this store; the toys purchased, the games played, and the memories made. I'm also thankful my own child was able to experience it before it ended. And so I bid one more goodbye, not just to you all, but to a toy store that was unlike any other.

Stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.
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