Monday, November 24, 2014

Game Show Board Games: Family Feud

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it seems appropriate to pull out a game that has been something of a family tradition for quite some time. In fact, this is arguably the start of my game show board game collection right here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transformers Feature - BotCon 2013 Electro(ns) and Gold Plastic Syndrome

From practically the moment that Hoist, one of the exclusives from the BotCon 2013 box set, was revealed, fans guessed that one of the at-convention souvenirs would be Electro, a character previously used only once, as one of the "Laser Rod" figures from Generation Two. The newly created head advertised for Hoist had a couple of features that weren't really native to the Machine Wars version of Hoist the toy was claiming to represent, but were perfect for Electro, and since new head molds are known to be expensive, we've come to expect them to be used more than once. Far from being a source of complaint, however, this was especially welcome news for many fans, as most anyone who once owned an Electro figure does so no longer, and this represented a second chance.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Transformers Feature - Hero Mashers Heatwave

Long-time readers will already know that I try to avoid unnecessary modifiers to character names whenever I can. If I do a feature on Mirage, for example, without pointing out that it's, say, Machine Wars Mirage, you can be fairly confident that I'm referencing the most iconic version of a character (which usually means the original version from the 1980s, now sometimes referred to as "Generation One"). However, because several names have been reused over the 30-year history of the franchise, modifiers are often necessary. In some cases, such as Heatwave, the lack of a truly "iconic" version creates a somewhat awkward situation.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Transformers Feature - Wal-Mart Exclusive Bumblebee and Strafe

For several years now, I've tried to include packaging art with features of Transformers toys. In the case of Generation One toys, this hits a certain "nostalgia factor" for me, while in the case of later generations of Transformers, this is intended to help supply a source of such artwork where no archive has been known to have been created. While I certainly do not have the resources to create such an archive, myself, I hope that I'm making the job that much easier for someone else. That said, Transformers packaging artwork doesn't always match the toy that it's created to help promote especially well. This set is a particularly egregious example.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Game Show Board Games: Card Sharks

Card Sharks is one of those shows that's due for a proper revival. It's now been 13 years since the most recent version was on the air (which, itself, is about how long it had been between the most recent version and the one that came before it). This version of the board game is dubbed the 25th anniversary version, despite coming out just a touch early (in 2002. The show premiered in 1978). It's actually a bit unusual among game show board games in my collection, in that it was sold without any version of the show currently on the air.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Essence of the Character

One of the privileges of my current working situation is that I have an office all to myself, with shelves that I'm allowed to place personal items on. Thus, I have an array of Transformers (and other items, but lots of Transformers) sitting behind me as I work that often catches the eye of those who pass through.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Not-Transformers Feature: Bluster and Trench from Mech Ideas

Transformers: Animated, which ran from December 2007 to mid-2009, was undeniably a visual departure from all of the various iterations of the Transformers franchise that have come before it and since. "Stylized" is perhaps the best way to explain the aesthetic. If you know about Transformers at all, and have any familiarity with Animated, then you will no doubt be able to identify any piece of the Animated cartoon, or its attendant merchandise, at a glance. These two guys are particularly unusual, however, in that they are not, strictly speaking, Animated toys. They're not even made by Hasbro (or any of the companies that do official Transformers in other countries). They are however, not only intended to emulate the distinctive Animated design aesthetic, but in fact are expressly using designs created by Animated lead character designer Derrick J. Wyatt. While Mech Ideas, the company that made them, is skating the edge of legality on several levels, they do at least try to avoid an obvious trademarking violation by calling their toys "Bluster" and "Trench."

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