Saturday, December 7, 2019

Gaming Ads: Ubisoft Entertainment

Ubisoft Entertainment (originally spelled Ubi Soft) was founded in France by five brothers in 1986.The Guillemot brothers worked for the family's company that primarily sold supplies and various other items to farmers. Following a visit to the U.K., one of the brothers realized there might be a market for video games so they decided to branch out in 1984 by importing and selling games via mail order to consumers. It wasn't long before they were also supplying local retailers and with the business growing quickly they saw the next logical step as becoming an actual game company. At the beginning it largely published or ported games, and it was involved in the release of more than 80 games before Ubisoft had its first original, huge hit.

In 1995 Ubisoft published the PlayStation launch title Rayman. While many games on the PlayStation featured 3D graphics, Rayman is a side-scrolling platform game designed by Michel Ancel. The game was a big hit that solidified Ubisoft as a major player in video games. One of Ubisoft's biggest acquisitions came in 2000 when it acquired Red Storm Entertainment, makers of the Tom Clancy games, such as Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon. Ubisoft has acquired a variety of other developers over the past 20 years as well and has also founded many studios around the world. Today it remains one of the most significant third-party publishers with popular game franchises like the aforementioned Tom Clancy games and Rayman, Assassin's Creed, and Just Dance.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Ubisoft Entertainment

Sunday, December 1, 2019

[YouTube] Star Wars: Five 1990's Action Figure Promotions

Fan club magazine with the cantina band
member offer.
Once the original Star Wars trilogy ended its run in theaters Kenner continued to release toys through 1985 though Star Wars fever was on the decline. Its last series based on the movies, before producing toys based on Star Wars cartoons, was called The Power of the Force and are among the rarest of the original trilogy's action figures. In 1991 Hasbro acquired Kenner and brought Star Wars toys back in 1995 with anticipation building toward the return of the film series. The new Star Wars toy line was also called The Power of the Force and it includes more detailed versions of many of the characters and vehicles from the first three films. It also made toys based on other Star Wars media, such as novels, comic books, and a video game.

Using as a reference, I believe there were eight figures released in the '90s that were only available through mail-away promotions, five of which I am showing here. The three I do not own -- Oola & Salacious Crumb (two-pack) and Wuher -- were exclusive to the Star Wars Fan Club. Those three never received any kind of standard release within that time period but the five I have did later receive retail releases though they aren't exactly the same as the special order versions.

Han Solo - Stormtrooper Disguise (1995) 
While Luke Skywalker had a Stormtrooper disguise action figure back in 1985, Han never did. To get this figure fans had to purchase select boxes of Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal to get the order form and mail that in along with two proofs of purchase from any Froot Loops cereal. The action figure's only accessory is the Stormtrooper helmet as no weapon was included. In 1997 a Toys "R" Us exclusive version of Han in disguise was released in a three-pack with Luke and Chewbacca. I added some photo comparisons to other Stormtrooper figures.

Spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi (1997)
This action figure is meant to represent the spirit or ghost version of Obi-Wan Kenobi that appears on Dagobah when Luke is training with Yoda. It could be had for $1.99 plus two proofs of purchase from specialty marked bags of regular Lay's potato chips. The figure is translucent so it really doesn't look like the glowing version of Alec Guinness in the movie series and it doesn't seem like the head or arms are meant to move. Hasbro released a better looking (color is more ghost-like) spirit of Obi-Wan as part of a three-pack with Yoda and Anakin spirits in 1998. In the last photo I stuck a flashlight under Obi-Wan to light him up.

Cantina Band Member (1997)
Cantina band Figrin D'An and the Modal Nodes appears in the Mos Eisley Cantina as seen in the first film, A New Hope. This figure was available to members of the Star Wars Fan Club for the rather high price of $9 plus $1.50 for shipping. The Fan Club's Insider magazine suggested buying five to have a complete band though it was later confirmed the band actually has seven members. Only one version of the figure was made but each one is packaged with five different instruments. A similar figure called Barquin D'An was released in a Walmart exclusive two-pack with Droopy McCool in 1998.

B'omarr Monk (1997)
Are you asking who is B'omarr Monk? I certainly wouldn't know who or what it is if I didn't own this toy. It's one of the strangest Star Wars action figures ever made because, well, it's definitely strange looking and most probably don't recall seeing the character in the movies (you can see it in Return of the Jedi during Jabba the Hutt's palace scenes). At Wookiepedia I learned this is not a character's name but an order of monks, and they preserved their brains after death. To get one kids and collectors had to grab the order form from the Kenner website and according to, it cost $7.98. It comes with a small instruction sheet as it actually has to be assembled. Hasbro released a B'omarr Monk in stores seven years later with the only difference being the color of the bowl.

Mace Windu (1998)
One year before The Phantom Menace movie hit theaters, Hasbro allowed fans to purchase a preview of the toy line in the form of Jedi Master Mace Windu. Whereas all of the previous figures I've mentioned were packaged in plastic bags stuffed inside a nondescript white box for shipping, Windu has a box with a design similar to the retail toys. This one cost $2.99 plus six action figure proofs of purchase and a dated receipt. Apparently Hasbro didn't know Mace's lightsaber color when it produced this one or even the early retail figures as they both come with a blue lightsaber rather than the purple one he wields in the films. In fact, since the character does not use his lightsaber in The Phantom Menace I don't believe the color was chosen until before Attack of the Clones. I included a comparison to one of his Phantom Menace action figures. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Gaming Ads: Turbo Technologies

I'm re-posting some of what I had written for NEC and am updating that post as there was some confusion when I uploaded those ads which included a couple from Turbo Technologies, Inc. (TTi). 

Hudson Soft teamed up with NEC to create Turbo Technologies in 1992 which replaced NEC Home Electronics USA as the North American marketing division for the TurboGrafx-16. At this time the company released the TurboDuo, a console that combined the TurboGrafx-16 and its CD-ROM add-on into one unit. However, the price was $299.99 and a rather odd decision was made to use the same controller ports as the PC Engine which differed from that of the TurboGrafx-16. The TurboDuo can also play the Super CD format that have more RAM over the standard discs. Overall, 94 HuCard games, 21 CD, and 23 Super CD games were released. Although not very successful in the U.S., the console fared much better overseas where it sold around eight times as many units. TTi ended support for the platform in 1994.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Turbo Technologies

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Year 3: November Update

As I write this I've not made a new toy video this month, sorry! They are very time consuming and the last two I attempted didn't work out because the items I chose are broken. One is the Hot Wheels set Wipeout where the foam pads in the car launchers are crumbling and can't launch the cars strongly enough. The other is for a game called Electronic Detective that sometimes turns on but the audio is not working at all. I may do brief blog posts about one or both without a video since I already set up the Hot Wheels track and took photos. My next idea for a video will probably be about Star Wars.

Speaking of Star Wars, which I do often, I've been playing the new game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It has received very high praise from the press and I like it but I'm not quite as high on it. The game looks great and the sound effects are Star Wars which means it sounds great as well, and lightsabers are always cool. However, I'm having a hard time caring about the story or the characters. I believe I've mentioned before I'm not a fan of having digitized actors in games which this game has. I'd rather see a more original hero or be able to create my own. Also, the majority of the settings thus far are in remote locations where there are typically a lack of other characters, aside from Imperial troops and creatures.

The game play is more comparable to an Uncharted or Tomb Raider game, with lots of climbing, swinging, shimmying, wall running, and crossing beams. You do get action sequences in between the exploration and minor puzzles but no space combat and after 15+ hours I don't expect any. Of course, it's more fun once you get all the Force powers but that can take a while and the game sends you back to the same areas multiple times. It's more than possible I'm a bit burned out on games right now and don't want to be negative, and certainly do appreciate having a single-player Star Wars game. Also, it's tough to take good action screenshots on the PS4 as they tend to blur.

In the past I've mentioned The Toys That Made Us a few times. It's an original show only on Netflix though the first two seasons are available on home video. I bring it up since the third season debuted this month. Unfortunately, I do not subscribe to Netflix or any service actually so I cannot see it but if you can you should. Of course, since I don't subscribe to anything I also can't watch The Mandalorian (more Star Wars!) which debuted this month exclusively on Disney+. Since I didn't say enough about Star Wars yet, something I did see recently is the first season of the animated show Star Wars Resistance. It's first and foremost a kid's show so don't expect it to be Rebels. The main setting is a somewhat boring station surrounded by water which I'd say is the worst aspect. However, the way it ended makes season two appear as if it will be more appealing, and I think overall it's fun for kids. Most of the characters are new though Poe Dameron shows up once in a while and BB-8 is in it a bunch. The second and already final season is airing now.

Okay, that's probably enough Star Wars. Not too much else is going on other than just trying to find time to get everything done. I did post about Shenmue and plan to start Shenmue III next. That Shenmue post doesn't look like much but when you take into account having to flip through magazines, scan them, edit, and put the post together, that was around an eight hour project. I've got the rest of the ad posts written which consists of 12 more. After that I'll backtrack a bit to fill in some publishers I now have ads for and then post ads under some other gaming categories. Maybe I will also get the ads uploaded in another location too. Otherwise, the ad posts will be ending in a few months which means I probably won't be posting too often next year.

Enjoy the upcoming holidays and shopping season if you're into that, and thanks for reading!


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Gaming Ads: Triax, Triffix Entertainment, and Trimark Interactive

All three companies these week have a small number of ads. Triax, sometimes Triax Controls or Triax Technologies, made game controllers for Nintendo and Sega's 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. It called its controllers Turbo Touch as there was no D-Pad to push, only a surface to touch. There is currently a company called Triax Technologies that is unrelated.

Triffix Entertainment was a Canadian publisher based in Montreal. It released only three games, games, all for Nintendo platforms in the early '90s. I've got two ads, one for Castelian (aka Tower Toppler) and one for Space Football. The third game it published is Dream TV.

Trimark Interactive was founded in 1993 and was a subsidiary of Trimark Holdings, which was part of the television and film company Trimark Pictures. It appears to have published five games before being closed. I've only got ads for The Hive and a game that may not have released in North America.

 More ads can be found at Facebook: Triax, Triffix Entertainment, Trimark Interactive