The current thing being worked on is a self-replicating toy. The ones in containment are suicidally depressed because there's no one to play with. As in, every night a bunch of them jump into an incinerator.
I can't picture these things as anything other than the Bob-ombs from Super Mario Bros 3.
That WAS where the idea came from, in a roundabout sort of way. I was at Toys R Us the other day, and I was finding those little Bob-ombs full of candy dust randomly all over the store. My comment to one of the employees? "THEY'RE BREEDING!" And a long chain of thought ensued which resulted in these guys.
(I got one of those for a dollar. He's sitting on my dresser at the moment)
After much editing, frustration and failure, Windup Critters are in the braintrash. As with all Braintrash entries, feel free to salvage.