Sunday, September 22, 2019

[YouTube] Rambo Action Figures (1986)

The movie First Blood, which is based on a novel written by David Morrell in 1972, released in theaters in 1982. It stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD and struggling to readjust to civilian life. This film is quite different than what followed as it has a serious tone and is grounded in reality. However, when Rambo: First Blood - Part II released in 1985 Rambo became an unstoppable killing machine that catapulted the character into an iconic action hero for the '80s. Although neither movie, nor the additional sequels that would follow, are appropriate for kids, the popularity of Rambo led to the cartoon Rambo: The Force of Freedom.

Rambo: The Force of Freedom began as a mini-series in 1986 and received a full season of 65 episodes but was not renewed for a second season. In the show Rambo (voiced by Neil Ross) and five other fighters are members of the Force of Freedom commanded by Colonel Trautman. They battle the evil S.A.V.A.G.E. (Specialist Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy, and Global Extortion) that is lead by General Warhawk. Of course, being a cartoon in the '80s it needed a toy line and Coleco obliged. Coleco released 12 series one action figures in 1986 and six series two figures in 1987. There are also a variety of accessories that include eight weapon-related items, four vehicles, and an enemy base.

Although the show and toy line weren't around too long the series one items are common and rather easy to find loose but series two figures are rare, especially carded figures. During the brief time that the toys were on store shelves, the War Resisters League protested them and the cartoon for promoting violence among children, and also claimed both were racist and sexist. Coleco didn't seem bothered by most protests though it did feel the pressure from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee which led to the discontinuation of the Nomad action figure.

I've got seven series one action figures and some of the accessories (with some broken parts). Two of the series one figures are versions of Rambo: one being the iconic movie look while the other has him wearing a sweatshirt with the Force of Freedom logo. My only other good guy is Trautman who, unfortunately, broke a leg but it is possible to snap it back in to stand him up. For the bad guys, I have four figures.

The Force of Freedom


Fire-Power Rambo

Colonel Trautman


General Warhawk

Sergeant Havoc


Black Dragon


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Gaming Ads: Tecmo

I've run into some conflicting information for Tecmo's early days though it looks like it began in 1967, I'm just not positive of the name at that time. Eventually it changed its name to Tehkan before becoming known as Tecmo, Ltd. in 1986. Based in Japan, the company sold amusement machines throughout the '70s and developed its first game in 1981, the fixed-screen shooter Pleiades. Also in 1981, it opened U.S. Tehkan in California which would later become Tecmo, Inc. Some of Tecmo's best known games of the '80s include Bomb Jack, Solomon's Key, Rygar, Tecmo Bowl, and Ninja Gaiden. In the '90s it released Dead or Alive and Monster Rancher, both of which would receive numerous sequels alongside those of Tecmo Bowl and Ninja Gaiden.

Tecmo's current state will be the same as what I wrote in the Koei ads post. In 2009 Tecmo merged with Koei to form Koei Tecmo Holdings. The naming of the various Tecmo divisions has been changed a couple times since then. At first the North American company was called Tecmo Koei America but in 2014 it was reversed and became Koei Tecmo America.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Tecmo

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Gaming Ads: Take-Two Interactive Software, Taxan USA, and TecMajik

Based in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, or Take 2, was founded in 1993. The company primarily worked on computer games at the start, often focusing on full-motion video software with Hollywood actors. Take-Two expanded through a series of acquisitions, including Mission Studios (1996), GameTek's European and Canadian businesses (1997), BMG Interactive (1998), and DMA Design (1999). BMG's Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan, and Jamie King helped create Take-Two's Rockstar Games label, and today Grand Theft Auto creator DMA Design is known as Rockstar North. Another major acquisition for Take-Two was Visual Concepts, Kush Games, and the 2K sports line of games from Sega in 2005. 2K Sports became its sports publishing brand and for non-sports games it created the 2K Games label. In 2005 it also acquired Sid Meier's Firaxis Games and in 2006 it purchased Irrational Games (BioShock).

Founded in 1968, Japan-based Kaga Electronics created its Taxan brand in 1981 with the founding of Taxan USA and later opened a U.K. office in 1985. The company made a name for itself selling computer monitors and printers throughout the '80s, and is still in business today. From 1988 to 1991 Taxan USA published video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Game Boy platforms.

TecMajik was based in Belmont, CA, published a few games and developed a few others, namely Sega Master System ports, during the early '90s. I don't know much else about TecMajik though it appears to either have been funded by or a subsidiary of Lance Investments.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Take-Two Interactive Software, Taxan USA, TecMajik