The days in which merchandise was inspired by movies have been subverted, and there’s long been a trend of movies based on toys. The classic comedy Clue was the rare example of a clever interpretation of a familiar children’s pastime, but we haven’t seen the same type of acclaim for movies Battleship or any of the neverending Transformers franchise. But don’t worry, a Play-Doh movie is probably coming soon.
This weekend, we’ll get the third attempt at making a movie out of G.I. Joe, because 2009’s Rise of Cobra didn’t dissuade anyone that we needed two hours of mythology based on a cartoon made to sell action figures, and adding The Rock to the mix in 2013’s Retaliation didn’t shake that idea completely. Nevertheless, this weekend’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will try to make a compelling character origin story out of a plastic figurine.
If toys are now begging to be taken seriously, then Dallas fans who treat them with that respect are in luck. Plenty of Dallas specialty shops offer a plethora of options for action figure collectors and vintage toy enthusiasts. We’ve selected a few that you should definitely check out if you view these items as elevated historical relics, or if your kids need an upgrade to their playtime.
Order 66 Toys
190 East Stacy Road, Suite 1334, Allen
123 Fairview Station Parkway, Fairview
You’ve probably heard of the nation’s only all-Star Wars toy store already, but the force-sensitive shopping center now has two locations for die-hard fans to look for every Star Wars character from the iconic to the obscure. A new location in Fairview provides vintage merchandise dating back to the original 1977 film’s toy line.
The Toy Maven
6025 Royal Lane, Suite 223, Dallas
1275 East Southlake Blvd., Suite 411 Southlake
Here’s one for the kiddos, where you won’t be worried about finding a fragile Darth Vader doll worth more than your car. The Toy Maven store features crafts, games, action figures, and LEGOs squarely intended to be played with by younger children. No snobbery here!
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine
Did you know that LEGO sets are apparently a more valuable investment than gold? Dallas has a few LEGO store locations, but the Discovery Center in Grapevine offers rides and expanded building areas for kids in addition to the flagship retail outlet. Just try to avoid stepping on a loose LEGO, because we don’t exaggerate when we say it’s literally the most painful sensation known to mankind.
1424 Brown Trail, Bedford
Anyone who celebrates Halloween as a yearlong holiday will definitely want to check out this exclusively horror-centric novelty shop that we spotlighted a few months back. The giant stash of toys, magazines, movies and memorabilia from iconic horror franchises should certainly give horror fans more options than they’d get at a run-of-the-mill Party City.
4135 Belt Line Road, Suite 118, Addison
Larger locations may have a dedicated wing for anime items, but Addison’s pop shop is exclusively dedicated to fans of programs such as Dragonball Z and Naruto. There’s a wide range of options for those who browse, ranging from specialty items in the pricier range and cheaper gadgets for casual viewers.
CAMP, A Family Experience Store
9830 North Central Expressway, Dallas
Here’s a great option for those who miss Toys ‘R’ Us and Disney World in equal measure, because this shop sells an interactive experience including visual arts, racetracks, scooters, music areas, and even an in-door campground in addition to its stacked walls of toys and crafts. Launched this year, the new location is also offering summer programs for kids to explore their artistic sides.
6060 East Mockingbird Lane, Dallas
Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by seeing Star Wars, Marvel and DC characters absolutely everywhere, and this Dallas shop thankfully focuses on toys that aren’t based on those big franchises. The old-fashioned location centers on models, card games, crafts and board games. Weird that’s a novelty now, isn’t it?
More Fun Comics and Games
103 W. Hickory St., Denton
Primarily a comic shop for issues both new and classic, the Denton geek hangout still boasts a big library of supplemental games, toys, and decorations from all the characters you’re there to read about. Will your kids actually keep all of your Funko Pops? Only time will tell.