Last Friday M. attended a birthday party1 at one of the many local bounce places.2 After bouncing for awhile, then eating pizza, cake, and ice cream, the host mom handed out tokens for the arcade area to all the kids. While I was helping M. earn some tickets so she could get another cheap, plastic toy to take home, I noticed a Pop-a-Shot. Except this Pop-a-Shot didn’t look like the games I remembered. All the graphics were black, silver, and purple and the text graffiti-styled. The net was a chain rather than a traditional net. The balls were black. Then I noticed the name.

Rapper Ballin’


I wasn’t sure whether the be amused, bemused, or offended. Rapper Ballin’? Are you serious? In lily white Carmel, Indiana, no less.

None of the kids played the game. I don’t know of a bunch of 5-7 year olds sensed the irony of the game in an up-scale shopping area, were turned off by its urban overtones, or were just too little to play.

I have no qualms with game companies tweaking their goods to fit certain demographics. But Rapper Ballin’ just felt a little desperate and sad to me.

  1. Wednesday M. will go to her fourth birthday party of the summer. Two of those were for twins. Apparently her class was loaded with summer birthdays. We’ve come home with a lot of goodie bags and asked for a lot of gift receipts at Target this month. 
  2. We’ve now been to Bounce-U, Bounce Town, Bouncertown, and Monkey Joe’s. Plus the girls’ gymnastics place has added an inflatable bounce house that the classes get to run through at the end of class. I wish I had invested in inflatable bounce toys five years ago.