Hi-tech makes yo-yos return

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The Independent Online
PARENTS ACROSS the country are celebrating a blast from the past which has managed the impossible - tempting children away from the computer and into the fresh air.

The yo-yo is back. Children are queuing up to get one and shops are struggling to feed the demand as manufacturers report a huge increase in sales.

New high tech yo-yos have made the Tamagotchi old hat. The 1990s versions carry a clutch mechanism that makes old tricks much easier to master.

A spokesman for manufacturers Bandai said a series of skills' tests or "Tricknology" had revived interest. The tests required tricks to be performed in front of an audience, and were marked.

In Japan, where, according to Bandai, the latest yo-yo craze started, skilled users are performing in front of audiences of up to 40,000 children.

PMS International, which also manufactures yo-yos, reported an outstanding surge in sales. Last year the company sold only a few hundred while it expects sales to be more than half-a-million by the end of next month.

But as with all new fads some caveats apply. Today's yo-yos are not as cheap as they used to be, coming in at pounds 7.99 for the Yomega X-Brain, which has a clutch system. And for the Metallic Missile, which is made- to-measure out of aluminium, you can expect to pay around pounds 130.

Cost was also one of the reasons headmaster Steve Wigley from Studley Green primary school in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, banned them from his school. Mr Wigley felt the high price of some of the toys could make them socially divisive. He was also concerned about the safety of whirling yo-yosafter seeing pupils with them in the playground.