Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The January Review : 2016 - The Year of the Video Game Toys
These toys keep shooting out of my game systems, and I want it to continue!
If it wasn't obvious by all the Alexx Shorts being posted: I'm very behind. Having a kid (he's eleven months old, now!) has slowed things down considerably, so thanks for sticking with me and hopefully enjoying the blasts from the past.
This "January Review" seemed like a good idea to catch up and at least do some quick points on the various things I got in 2016. At first, I had wanted a "Top Ten", but I'm terrible at ranking things and there were just way too many good things this year. Next idea was this, but then I looked at many of my top favorites and saw an awesome trend: We were just swamped with video game figures! And swamped in the very best of ways. Like a beautiful smelling swamp full of candy - a Willy Wonka Swamp, if you will.
So today we'll be looking at some of my favorites from 2016: The Year of the Video Game Toys!
We'll start with a first, for NECA: figures from a video game that had no movie or any other media besides the game. Contra! Or: "AHHH YES, CONTRA!", which is what I called it when I first saw the figures.
NECA had been familiar with creating video game repaints of figures they've made before, like an NES Jason Vorhees, an NES and SNES Robocop, a Genesis Predator, etc. They were basic pixely repaints, but done well and on already established figures that were known for being awesome. On top of that, the boxes they came in often looked like the box the original game came in, so NECA was paying attention to all angles.
Thankfully, when it came to choosing their first endeavor into video-game-only characters: They went with Contra! They've been mostly ignored, over the years, and they certainly weren't going to get crazy paint jobs like this, if they had gotten figures in the past.
NECA couldn't have picked a more perfect pair! They're under represented in the toy world, and NECA only had to sculpt new heads and weapons, because the basic bodies are reused from Dutch, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Predator. What more do you need, since they're already based on action stars like Schwarzenegger and were just big burly shirtless dudes?
They're technically a bit messed up, since Player 1 is blue and supposed to be the blonde dude, but it works well enough for me, and I've seen people swap the heads and they still look good without the bandana's matching. The reason they have different heads at all (because the sprites both look like the blonde dude) is because of the box art shown up in the first picture.
There's a few features, like the interchangeable parts for the guns, the blasts, and an item orb, but I'll go over those in more detail in a real review of these guys.
(Note for those that noticed: The picture is HUGE, because I resized my pics based on how big they are on my screen. I recently got a new laptop, so doing the same thing on a MUCH larger screen ended up with a much larger picture! I'll be tweaking things in the future, for instance, the length of the website itself has already changed. If there's a problem with having to scroll all the way over to read or see things, please let me know.)
These two are fantastic, though they're not the traditional super play-worthy toys that I'm used to. I wouldn't let that stop you from moving them around and shooting aliens, though. They move well, hold their accessories, and they're CONTRA, BABY! If you're any sort of fan of the original, then this was made for you.
Moving on in NES land:
Power Mega Man and Jet Mega Man, two modes of Mega Man merged with Rush, from Mega Man 6 on the NES. These are by Sentinel (the producers of TruForce's Mega Man X) in a line called 4 Inch-Nel. They're a super expensive exclusive pack that was totally worth it, and I love them. BUT...I'll be going over them at the Mega Man Network soon, so we'll discuss how awesome they are over there. I'll update you when that's finished!
While we're here talking about Sentinel and TruForce, though: Here's the last repaint of the TruForce Mega Man X figure, in "armor colors", so to speak. It's technically "X-Boost" mode, something they made up as a super mode without any armor parts, but the paint job is still based on his traditional colors for most of his armors. It's just as good as the original, but with an amazing and beautiful paint job. If you have enough of X and want more armored versions, I wouldn't blame you for skipping the normal one and going straight for this, though he is an SDCC exclusive and probably more on the aftermarket than the standard one.
You've seen this Link before, in my vacation pictures. This is a Figma Link, from "A Link Between Worlds", but he's also a perfect representation of Link from the SNES and Gameboy days. If you're looking for a younger link in green and brown, like the old days, then this is your figure! I couldn't recommend him highly enough without sounding like a little kid explaining his day at the park.
Yet another one where, if you're any sort of fan of the Zelda games that come from this era, then you'll want this figure. And you'll want to sit in the dirt outside and photograph him.
I'll go over this in it's own review, but this is a basic much smaller Metroid, from World of Nintendo. I highly recommend hunting more than one of these down, 'cause these are your Metroids, folks!
Technically they're a little small for the Figma Samus, but I don't care, I doubt you will either. They work for any Samus you can get on the market now, and you'd best pick 'em up when you see 'em!
Now here's one of my top favorites! This is a Nendoroid Kirby. If you're unfamiliar with Nendoroid: They're usually heavy on the cute and light on the articulation. Kirby, however, is already cute, so there's literally no difference between how he appears in games and the look of this figure. The next major facet is articulation, and BOY did they pump out brilliance!
I'll go over it more in-depth in a review, but: His arms and legs are magnets, and they just stick to the main body in any way you want. Genius! You gotta play with the figure to fully understand. It is the perfect Kirby figure, save for the lack of flat feet, so you'd need a stand most of the time.
But why stand this thing up? He'll be in your hand, most of the time! He's so fun to mess with!
The only feature not on a magnet are his faces, which just swap out by turning and unlocking the front part and adding on a different one.
His accessories plug into a separate accessory hand.
And his hats are magnetized as well, so you can slide them around at your leisure. Since the magnet system is so simple, I'm hoping for extra sets of just hats and powers for Kirby, 'cause he needs 'em ALL!
If I had any complaints, it's not being able to stand on his own and the flame power needing the stand as well. Otherwise: BUY THIS. I don't even care if you don't like Kirby, just buy it for your general happiness and well-being.
Moving out of NES town, and into Genesis Junction: Tomy has taken over the Sonic license, for better or worse. Better, in terms of stability of the figures, but worse in terms of selection. Jazwares filled out a vast majority of my wants, though, so I'm not terribly hurting for too many more.
Couldn't help myself here, though! Tomy did a classic collection, and while Jazwares did that as well, these are smaller and more in scale with each other (I think? Tails may be a little big, I dunno). Plus: Knuckles! He didn't get a classic figure, with Jazwares.
Technically I wasn't chomping at the bit for these, but they deserve mention as classic Sonic out on the shelves as I type. They're worthy of your collection, if you have no other classic Sonic items.
As an aside, Tomy also hit Metal Sonic - one of my favorite Sonic characters - from the current Sonic Boom show:
He's not going to beat out the Jazwares Metal Sonic, but if you need one, this will certainly scratch the itch while also giving him some basic C-grip hands that no other Metal Sonic has had yet (in case you need him to hold things. Who knows, I'm not gona judge your Sonic fan fictions).
Alright, last one!
Technically we're moving back into NES territory, but this is by no means an official toy or even a totally accurate representation of a vehicle from a game. It's more of a homage, with extras, from David White, the independent toy guy and artist who runs Mechazone.
This is the Epsilon, a homage to the vehicle from Master Blaster, called "Sophia the 3rd". If you look up the vehicle, you'll see the similarities. This is the Sophia, no question, but with some awesome extras unique to Mechazone's design:
You can unfold the back tires and swing back the front tires to turn it into a bipedal walker!
If you've got D-Arts Mega Man figures, the blasts will fit in the barrel perfectly, but it otherwise comes with no effects (not that it needs them).
Not only is it cool to have a unique representation of the Sophia, but the other amazing thing is this: The vehicle is all 3D printed! Each part came out of a printer and was smoothed and assembled (you could take it apart yourself, if you wanted) by David White himself. These are the times we live in: Where you could print and sell your own toys! I am just floored by this, however, you still need skill in design and the ability to perfect the parts; but to be able to complete a sellable item on your own time, out of your own home...WOW! I can't believe we've made it to this point, in terms of toys and collectables.
Alright, enough gushing: The last thing is that the cockpit opens and can seat any small figure you can find. The only one I had on hand was Captain Picard, so...here you go. The set also comes with a robot head so that you can add limbs from this Diaclone robot, but I don't have that (though I WILL be getting the tiny pilots, soon) so I can't show off that feature. I don't really show all that this can do, but I'll save that - like the others - for it's own review.
2016 was an amazing year for video game toys, and this only scratches the surface (and leaves out a lot of World of Nintendo, but you'll see them all on here eventually). Companies and even independent toy makers are making and homaging video games in solid form, and it only seems to be continuing. There have been so many childhood dream toys brought to life in years past, but this year shotgunned 'em at top speed and hit my face like a buckshot of rainbows. Here's to more and more and more! And more! MORE!!