There are so many great things that came out of the 1980's. The music, the fashion, the cartoons, and especially the explosion of video games in the homes of the masses. The 1980's produced a vast array of entertainment that blossomed into great and nostalgic franchises. Gremlins, Transformers, G.I. Joe -- the list could on and on. The Nintendo Entertainment System was a huge success in the world of video games for the home. It absolutely dominated that genre and era. Being very well positioned in that decade, it tied in very well with many of the franchise icons of the time. There is a hefty list of NES games inspired and based on movies and cartoons of the 1980's.
What is awesome to see is that some of the most revered NES game franchises have received their due respect with the release of great action figures at last. The best current example of this can be seen with the release of Mega Man action figures over the last couple of years. Mega Man is rightly considered one the best 8 bit era lineage of games. A side scrolling blasting platform game -- it is epic. For a game that had six editions on the 8 bit NES, it never failed to deliver the quality of game play that went along with the name Mega Man. All of the Mega Man games are considered to be in the top 100 NES games of all time. That is saying something.
At Radar Toys we basically tear up at the sight of mint condition copies of the NES games or the action figures. Mega Man is retro, nostalgic, and all kinds of awesome. The action figures are superb. We love the packaging and the style of the figures themselves. While no one will argue that these are the most articulate or detailed figures --- they are clean, with a smooth retro look and true to the original characters. They have a soft sculpting appeal that we think is great and a perfect fit for the style of Mega Man characters. Just look at some of these pictures and see Mega Man glory:
At Radar Toys we have a special affinity for things that came out of the 1980's. So many of the great franchises that we loved as kids came from that era. Transformers, He - Man, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, The Smurfs --- the list could go on and on. It was a radical time, as they say, and we love seeing them revisited and remembered in recent merchandising comebacks. One particular franchise that has undeniable appeal and has weathered the years well is The Gremlins.
Who doesn't love Gremlins? Cute, mischievous and nasty -- all rolled into one package. It was a recipe for awesomeness since the day the screenwriter, Chris Columbus, put his pen to paper. It's no wonder that when Steven Spielberg came across the script he helped to get it produced. It mixed horror, humor, and the Christmas spirit cohesively in one very determined cult movie. If you haven't seen it in a while, go back and revisit it -- you'll be laughing tears and thanking yourself at the same time.
Not too long ago NECA released some Gremlin action figures and we've been hooked ever since. Just look at these pictures:
When you think of Star Wars it is almost impossible to grasp the scope of such an iconic franchise. It debuted at exactly the right time when audiences were itching for great effects, the abilities of science and space travel, and the very human element of heroes succeeding against impossible odds. Star Wars showed that no matter how far technology, time, and space travel evolution will ever evolve -- we will never lose the basic elements that make us human. Love, hate, greed and redemption will go with us always. It was a bold story mixed with the right amount of imagination to capture decades of fans and enthusiasts.
Over the years there has been an enormous amount of merchandise release celebrating the Star Wars franchise. From action figures to lunchboxes to costumes -- there is little that has yet to proudly wear Star Wars dressing. Action figures have been blessed to be at the forefront of Star Wars merchandise. It has been great for collectors -- Star Wars action figures have scarcely ever left the shelves since the movies debuted. Today we are going to look at some of the more unique Star Wars figures that have captured our hearts.
Easily one of the house favorites is the line of Ralph Mcquarrie signature figures. Released in 2003, these figures are based on some of the sketches done by the early and revered art designers of Star Wars, Mr. Ralph Mcquarrie. Why this matters is that Star Wars succeeded because it had such great design and artistic direction as a franchise, and these figures prove the work and dedication that went into making something into a certified classic. What is neat is that the Mcquarrie figure look so very different from what we all recognize as Han Solo, Boba Fett, and Storm Troopers. It is unbelievably neat to see the origins of these figures in actual toy form that can be put on your shelf. When they were released, they were part of a limited run making them more popular and cherished by collectors. Let's take a look at some of our favorites:
When it comes to G.I. Joe, where to begin? An iconic 1980's story and franchise, it is beloved by many fans and collectors. What's great about G.I. Joe is that the franchise is steeped in both the history of action figures and vintage in its own right. G.I. Joe figures were among some of the first toys that spawned the beginnings of action figures. So if you collect action figures you owe G.I. Joe its due respect. We love that.
Then, of course, G.I. Joe's are awesome because they are not superheroes -- they are each just expertly skilled in their own respective weaponry and fields of battle. That makes it easy to find a favorite character to root for. Flint anyone? G.I. Joe figures are unique because they have been around for what seems like ages now. There are various sizes to collect, from the more lifelike 12 inch size to the rabbid 3 3/4 inch versions. Lots of weapons, lots of accessories and generally lots of variations to enjoy.
It's also neat that G.I. Joe is certified awesome. We don't have to sit here and defend this franchise. It's cultural iconic run in the 1980's helped to ensure that everyone has "The Real American Hero" slogan imprinted in their brain. Even the graphic text is recognizable to many people that aren't die hard enthusiasts.
There are times in life when you can only find the solution to a problem by playing with a yo-yo. I've been a writer for a long time and early in my career worked at a fairly progressive ad agency. I was thrilled that when faced with a creative problem I was able to step outside of my office and do a few yo-yo tricks to get my brain working in the right direction. Some say that Napoleon, too, was a yo-yo enthusiast and would often relieve stress by throwing a yo-yo. Setting aside speculation, the yo-yo was first uncovered in history in 500 B.C. Greece.
The ancient form of yo-yos were produced using wood, metal or painted terra cotta discs simply referred to as discs. An example is on display in the National Museum of Athens in Greece along with a vase depicting a young boy playing with a yo-yo. The toy's history moves through Egypt, China, Britain and France among other nations. The toy was very popular in the early twentieth century in the Philippines and helped the yo-yo gain ground in the U.S.