Remembering Toys ‘R Us…

March 22, 2018 9:36pm
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It makes me really sad to think that the store responsible for suppling some of the best toys of my youth, and also my adulthood!, is closing.

Even today, it’s hard for me not to just wander around a Toys ‘R Us and take it all in – the toy sections at Walmart and Target can’t compare to their selection, and searching on Amazon just isn’t quite the same as browsing aisle after aisle after aisle of nothing but toys like Toys ‘R Us has offered us in person. I love the vast variety that can have you one minute looking at toddler toys and singing Elmos, then Power Wheels and scooters, then almost every Lego set currently in production!

I guess the thing that really bothers me is that unlike other types of stores, there really aren’t any alternatives that we can go to aside from those inferior options at other big box retailers for toys and nothing but toys. I mean, it’s bothered me for a while how toy stores have basically disappeared from our malls, except maybe at Christmastime in one of those odd, pop-up stores or kiosks that you know will be long gone come the new year. 

Disney used to have a decent toy store over at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, but it was recently downsized to make room for a bigger Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, I think?

Toys ‘R Us was fantastic, to steal the phrase from Chuck E. Cheese’s, at truly being the one and only place where a kid could be a kid. It was a totally immersive experience to be surrounded by toys from every veritable direction, and so it makes me sad that I won’t be able to treat my own kids to a visit after they get good report cards or we just feel like picking up some new Lego sets.

Not to mention, Toys ‘R Us has been the only local store that’s regularly had Collectible Lego Minifigs when I wanted them because Target and Walmart consistency fall short… :<

I think I might write a little more about this later, once I’ve had a chance to visit my local store and better soak it all in, but in the meantime The Game Chasers just posted a pretty great video looking back at their own memories from growing up as Toys ‘R Us kids. So many memories, so many video games, so many toys… 🙁

I’ve never really been much of a K’Nex fan, although I do have a few random sets from the Mario Kart series that they have. That said, I was at Target this evening … and maybe it’s just because I already completed The Simpsons and I need something new to collect … but I saw a box of the Mario blind packs and started sorting through them.

It was when I got the hint that they’re really not all that blind that I decided to pick up a handful of them just to play a hunch!

mario_knex2

I couldn’t help but notice that on the back of each pack there was a code, and although the code was identical for each one in the box, what was different from one pack to another was that each had a specific number in the code underlined. 

No … that couldn’t be the difference between all of the figures, could it?! 😮 

mario_knex1

0514048 – Bullet Bill

0514048 – Diddy Kong

0514048 – Cheep Cheep (0 double-underlined)

0514048 – Toad

Of course, my luck I ended up picking the least desirable of all the characters with not a primary like Mario or Bowser or even Yoshi in sight! Still, I suppose if I wanted to go back and grab the others, it wouldn’t be too difficult now, assuming that they’re not all picked over and all that’s left are Toads and Diddys. At this point I’m not sure if I’ll do that or not … at first glance I thought they might look neat on a shelf by all of my games once I get ’em unpacked and find room for them, but there are some other toy lines that have made Mario figures that look arguably better, so we’ll see.

Man, do I SO WISH that Nintendo had signed this series with Lego and not K’Nex, though!!!

The Gobots (duh dun dun dun dun dun DUH!)

October 18, 2013 9:42pm
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I grew up as a Gobots kid.

At the time I honestly didn’t really think much of Transformers – I think Gobots were just what I ended up with because that’s what they had on the shelves in the toy aisle of our local grocery store, so that’s where my allowance and whatnot went when I had money to spend. In hindsight, it’s clear that one is pretty much a direct rip-off of the other … even though technically my beloved Gobots actually came out a few months before the stupid Transformers did!  😛

Anyways, I bring this up tonight because whenever these alien robots wander back into my head from my childhood, I’m always reminded of one particular series of episodes that I’ve never been able to find online … until tonight. It’s a five-episode arc called The Gobotron Saga that featured the original creator of the Gobots, The Last Engineer, being sought out to save the Guardians from an evil Renegade invasion. The very last part in the series (5 of 5) features him showing off the new power suits that he created to give the Guardians the upper hand against their enemies which were totally awesome … and yes, I absolutely had every last one of them to complete the set…

…although it’s really hard not to look at the final “Power Warrior” that is formed and not think that it’s just a blatant rip-off of Voltron…  🙄

I also found it somewhat intriguing to look through the actual cast of the show and come to realize that several of the voice actors were actually involved in a lot of the cartoons that I used to watch growing up!

  • B.J. Ward, who was the voice of Small Foot on Gobots, was also Princess Allura and Haggar on Voltron as well as did voices on The Chipmunks and Darkwing Duck.
  • Frank Welkerwho was the voice of Scooter, also did Dr. Claw on Inspector Gadget, ironically Megatron and others on The Transformers, and all sorts of voices from Muppet Babies, Tiny Toon Adventures, not to mention Nibbler on Futurama today!
  • Arthur Burghardtwho was Turbo on Gobots, also appeared on The Transformers, The Chipmunks, and G.I. Joe (a lot of these folks did G.I. Joe – I just never watched that one).
  • And probably most notable of all, Optimus Prime himself, Peter Cullenalso appeared on Gobots as several of the Renegades in addition to narrating Voltron and doing voices for The Chipmunks, Ghostbusters, DuckTales, BraveStarr, Winnie the Pooh, Rescue Rangers, Gummi Bears … the list goes on!

Anyways, here’s the full miniseries – all 100 minutes of it across five parts! I tried to track down another one that I liked as well – it was actually a miniseries of the first five episodes of the show, but the only copy I could find was on some really crappy video site that literally played commercials every five minutes and was nearly unwatchable. Rumor has it you can still get that one as a print-on-demand DVD from Hanna-Barbera, so if anyone needs an awesome nostalgic Christmas gift for me this year… 😉

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