This week, our cool toy is not from a small, struggling company, but I picked it because it’s just way cool. Mega Bloks is a Canadian company that has successfully challenged LEGO for dominance in the construction toy world. They’ve done this by adapting to changes in the market, and have added elements of other types of toys to keep their construction sets fresh. Their latest toy line combines the fun of the old Marx playsets with the joy of model-building and the trendy genre of swashbuckling pirates.

“Pyrates,” thusly named so that they can trademark the word, is a great series of toys that you can find in almost any store that sells toys. They come with cool fully articulated 2-inch-tall action figures in a variety of styles. Prices range from four bucks for a set of three figures, to 50 bucks for the large “Skeleton Crew” ship. The Skull-shaped playsets that sell for about eight bucks come with a CD-ROM that has a terrific 15-minute animated film that uses the toys to tell the background story of the toys.

Maybe it was the three months that I had to wear an eyepatch last year, but lately I’ve become fascinated with all things piratical. They’re really cool. Assembling them is a nice peaceful diversion, and they look cool on the big corner table in the living room.

I’ve written more extensively about Mega Bloks Pyrates here. And you can check out their website here.