Everyone played with toys, right? They're bright, and happy, and remind you of happy children. Why not use that to your advantage when writing a video game?
Toy Time is an area in a Video Game that is themed around children's toys, set in a toy store/factory/closet/box/etc., or even completely made of toys. The toys may or may not be giant. Expect to see a lot of sugary cute enemies.
Toy Time tends to include primarily simple or old-fashioned toys for some reason. Expect to see lots of blocks (especially blocks moving back and forth across a bottomless pit), toy soldiers, balls, and so forth; this is the case in Super Mario Galaxy. Alternatively, Toy Time might just be bright and colorful with architecture that suggests childishness; this is the case with Paper Mario. There is a good chance that at least some of the level will be made of Lego, but don't expect the game to actually mention it.
Sometimes, the toys are the actual characters - Living Toys.
Toy Time is usually played as a lighthearted romp through childhood memories, but with just a change of the background music and some creepy enemies in the stage, it can get a much darker, dissonant tone. A Toy Time in a Sonic game would be far different from Toy Time in Silent Hill.
Video game examples
- In Luigi's Mansion, the battle with Chauncy takes place in a toybox/crib hybrid supernatural arena.
- The Cannon of Block Valley from Graffiti Kingdom. As the name suggests, it's a level full of bright colors and things made of blocks, even the enemies and their attacks. Ironically, it is also home to one of the most ridiculous bosses in the entire game.
- In Ganbare Goemon Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, both the Ghost Toys Castle and the Festival Temple Castle have elements of this.
- The Topaz Passage in Wario Land 4 has four levels set to this theme, and the boss is a small mouse floating around on top of a giant stuffed bear.
- Toy Commander was a Sega Dreamcast game made entirely of this. The main character was a kid who got a collection of army themed toys for Christmas, and his old toys, lead by a masochistic teddy bear, wanted revenge. The player was tasked to perform various missions using toy aircraft, boats, vehicles, and tiny soldiers to take back rooms of his house that were under assault.
- There are two in Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge. Wolverine's stages have toy soldiers, robotic clowns, and killer jack-in-the-boxes. Gambit's stages feature giant robotic Chess pieces.
- The Playground in Water Warfare has many toy-like constructions. In addition to large piles of blocks you can hide in, there are also castle playhouses, pirate ship jungle gyms, rocket ships, playground equipment, slides, and a giant dinosaur that contribute to the toylike theme.
- The Toy Factory dungeon in Ragnarok Online mixes this and Christmas themes. It even has a Santa Claus-like monster lurking by there.
- Maple Story has Ludibrium, a castle made of LEGO. Although the enemies start out cute, things get uglier and more ghastly as you get deep into the clock tower. You'll start seeing things like possessed damaged teddy bears and evil clocks with teeth. Also, the boss of a Party Quest in the same area is a whale-like monster with Uncle Sam-esque nipples and a clock on its head.
- In fact, the name of the castle and even the lake it's suspended over is a reference to the place's toy-like nature: Ludibrium is a Latin word derived from ludus, meaning "a plaything or a trivial game."
- Toy Dream in Mario Party 5.
- Toy Time Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy, the Trope Namer, is a level made entirely of toys and other stuff straight out of a children's bedroom (which incidentally, is what the background is). It's also the Macro Zone to an extent.
- Large portions of the Rightside Down Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2 are made out of wooden building blocks, as with the Upside Dizzy and Puzzle Plank Galaxies. Also, Flipsville Galaxy appears to take place inside a giant dollhouse.
- As its name suggests, Toy Kingdom in Sonic the Hedgehog Advance 3 is a kingdom made of toys.
- While we're on the subject of Sonic: In Sonic CD, the "Good Future" version of Wacky Workbench is a bright and whimsical toy factory.
- The second world of Castle of Illusion is a town made entirely of toys.
- Toy Tracks in Kirbys Epic Yarn.
- James Pond 2: Codename Robocod is set at Santa Claus's castle, and so a large proportion of the areas and enemies are based on toys of one kind or another. In general, Christmas-themed settings are likely to contain toys.
- Mischief Makers doesn't have any explicitly toy-based areas, but there are many toy-like objects scattered around the game world, like brightly colored rubber(?) balls and blocks with faces on them and enemies that bounce on springs or roll on wheels in a toy-like fashion.
- Cool Spot contains several toy-themed levels.
- Donkey Kong 64 had a level in a toy factory, Frantic Factory. It was much creepier than your average toy level, though.
- The Toybox levels in DK: Jungle Climber, which also have a bit of a sinister feel to them.
- Wacky World in The Lost Vikings falls into this as well.
- The old (1984) Activision game Toy Bizarre for Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum.
- The Mario Zone in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins seems to qualify.
- They got some crap past the radar there: The level in robot Mario's groin is full of balls.
- Wario Land's Topaz Passage in Wario Land 4 with it's four toy themed levels (Toy Block Tower, Big Board, Doodle Woods, Domino Zone) is a definite example of this.
- The Evil Toy Corporation, the main setting of Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots. It also qualifies as an Eternal Engine as it consists, well, approximatively 90% of the game and it's evil.
- Castlevania has several darker versions of Toytime. In Chronicles, Stage 6 is the Tower of Dolls and Mirrors, where toys come to life and attack you. Dawn of Sorrow revisits this with the latter half of Demon Guest House, with faded playroom wallpaper, broken toys in the background, and demon clowns and living dolls as enemies. To top it off, the boss is a giant wooden head on strings that spits out dolls to attack.
- The third level of Little Nemo the Dream Master consists almost entirely of riding a toy train while toy airplanes crash all over the place.
- The Mega Man series has several. Spring Man, Clown Man, & Magic Man's levels in the original series are probably the best examples. The first Mega Man ZX game has a rather brutal subversion as the light mood the level tries to achieve is completely ruined by the fact that it's also the place where Vent & Aile's mother was murdered when they were little.
- The second level of the Jazz Jackrabbit Gaiden Game Holiday Hare '95 was set in a gigantic Lego construct stuffed with toys, many of which tried to kill you. One of the giant rabbit dolls seen in the level was the design basis for Jazz's brother Spaz in Jazz Jackrabbit 2.
- The entire Clockwork Knight series was this. You controlled a toy knight that went from room to room in one house and fought evil toys.
- The Tom and Jerry video game for the Super Nintendo had Jerry traverse through a world consisting of Lego-block stages and toys out to get him. (Maybe Tom had too much free time on his hands?)
- Toy Land from Chameleon Twist 2.
- There was a Toy Store level in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
- A level in Harley's Humoungous Adventure is about that.
- The Toy Room in the SNES version of The Addams Family.
- The fourth world of Rainbow Islands is Toy World. It's even more bright and colorful than the rest of the game, which truly is saying something.
- The final chapter of Alice: Madness Returns is a horribly twisted version of this trope, consisting of broken, decrepit toys, hideously deformed porcelain dolls, and mutilated animals and their bones attached to doll parts for decoration.
- Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa has levels where the platforms are alphabet blocks and LEGO-like bricks.
- The 7th kingdom in Little King's Story is this, with hints of Macro Zone. It's full of giant legos, murderous protractors, and little demons piloting Fan Tanks. The boss, King Giant Champloon, is a giant automatonish thing that looks like like a doll made from children's handicrafts.
- Hell, let's not forget the entire game is set on a toy stage!
- Glutton's Kitchen from Pikmin 2, which also has elements of Band Land.
- Shy Guy's Toy Box from Paper Mario.
- Kylin's Paradise in SaGa Frontier.
- Junkyard from Legend of Mana definitely fits the bill, but with some Darker and Edgier implications.
- While the dungeon itself (being a stereotypical evil lair) is not an example, Persona 4's Secret Base dungeon has a boss that likely does qualify, being a mash up of toys. Void Quest is half toy time, and half shout outs to various Famicom/Super Famicom era jRPGs
- Kingdom Hearts has this level whenever you're in Winnie the Pooh's world.
- The little known arcade game Toy Pop by Namco is built entirely around this trope.
- The Alone in the Dark series did this with the short freebie Jack in the Dark, about a little girl trapped in a toyshop.
- An old Mac game, Power Pete, was set entirely in a toy store. Even the player's character is a toy, an action figure to be exact.
Non-video game examples
- In ReBoot there are two games that fit a toy theme. The first one is very obviously a Toy Story parody mixed with James Bond films. The second one is less Toy Story but with more Star Wars references, but the characters still become like toys in the game.
- Toyman's specialty is the Happy Fun Ball. In the Superfriends episode "The Deadliest Game" he traps Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan on a planet of toys. Then there's his DCAU appearances...