Saturday, February 23, 2019

Year 3: February Update

February has had some big news for both video games and toys. All of the toy news came out of Toy Fair last weekend; I tried to put together an overview but had a hard time with that and my post didn't turn out too great -- and I'm sure I missed a lot. As I said in that post, the Transformers crossover with the Ghostbusters is likely the coolest unveiling at the show for kids of the '80s like myself. This past week also saw Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime announce his retirement. He started at Nintendo in 2003 as the executive vice president of sales and marketing and became president of the company in 2006. Many video game fans know him best from his E3 presentations back when Nintendo was still doing on-stage press conferences.

Reggie unveiling the Nintendo DS at E3 2004.

In other game news, on February 4th Respawn and Electronic Arts made a surprise release of Apex Legends, a battle royale game that is already challenging Fortnite. Speaking of battle royale, there is now a battle royale Tetris game called Tetris 99 for the Nintendo Switch. Yesterday BioWare released Anthem though the reviews haven't been great. I'm a big fan of Mass Effect and many other BioWare role-playing games but I don't have much interest in Anthem. I'll probably try it anyway since I need to get some better screenshots for work than what is being offered to the press when I have the time. I'm currently busy with Metro Exodus after completing the Persona 3 and 5 dancing games last weekend.

Tetris 99

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding Microsoft's future plans for Xbox Game Pass and what it might unveil at E3. The rumors have Microsoft making its Game Pass accessible on the Nintendo Switch which would allow Switch owners to play Xbox One games via streaming. Sony is sitting out this year's E3 and the expectation is that the future Microsoft console will be announced. As far as the blog, Facebook continues to give me fits. The gaming ad albums will not remain in alphabetical order! I apologize for that as this transition from Flickr hasn't gone as well as I initially thought it did. I'm sure I've repeated myself a few times because it bothers me quite a bit. In April I should be posting Sega ads and hope to have a week of Sega content at that time. Most likely I'll divide up the Sega ads into two or three separate posts; I've got over 160 ads which will take some time to upload and label.

Thanks again for visiting!


Gaming Ads: Quantum Quality Productions and RazorSoft

Quantum Quality Productions, or QQP, was a developer and publisher of computer games based in New Jersey and New Mexico. I'm not certain when it was founded but its first game released in 1991 and is best known for its strategy war games. In 1994 QQP was purchased by American Laser Games and in 1995 it was shut down.

RazorSoft was based in Oklahoma and published five games for the Sega Genesis from 1989 to 1992. Although an official Genesis licensee, it was sued by Sega over the manufacturing of cartridges. There was a settlement reached before it released its last game so I'm not sure if the lawsuit was a factor in it going out of business or if its games simply didn't sell well. Of its five games, one was an arcade port, three were computer game ports, and one was an original game.

Quantum Quality Productions albums: Facebook - Google Photos
RazorSoft albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Monday, February 18, 2019

Toy Fair 2019

Toy Fair 2019 kicked off in New York this past Saturday and runs through tomorrow though I think all of the big announcements have been made (actually I'm updating this article a little on the 19th as I missed a few video game related things). This is just a summary of some of the announcements made since I'm not actually in attendance. There are over 200 exhibitors at the show and I don't have time to research all of them so I'm going to primarily stick to Hasbro, Mattel, LEGO, Playmates Toys, and McFarlane Toys. Even then I still can't include everything as there is way too much! I'll provide images for some only if they are available on official company or press sites.

Hasbro continues to roll out new Transformers in a variety of lines, such as the War for Cybertron: Siege, Studio Series, and Cyberverse. The biggest Toy Fair reveal for kids of the '80s has to be Ectotron, an Autobot that tranforms into the Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 vehicle. Ectotron will be exclusive to Hasbro's online store and GameStop in the U.S. for $49.99. Another GameStop exclusive from Hasbro is a Power Rangers Lightning Goldar figure. Shadow Ranger was shown as well, a Power Rangers toy that's not exclusive to any specific store. There is plenty of Star Wars stuff that I will link to at which has a lot of images (might take a while to load that page). Other items coming from Hasbro include Fortnite-branded Nerf Blasters and Super Soakers, Overwatch action figures, L.O.L. Surprise Monopoly, The Lie Detector Game, Play-Doh Tootie the Ice Cream Maker, and My Little Pony Rainbow Tail Surprise Collection.

I'm having a harder time with Mattel as it doesn't have its announcements as well sorted as Hasbro. It has a bunch of photos on Facebook with no descriptions so I can say it will, of course, release new Barbies and Hot Wheels, plus toys based on Shazam, WWE, Detective Pikachu, and Harry Potter. There is also a relaunch of the Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes and a crossover with WWE Hot Wheels Monster Trucks.

LEGO will have a number of new toys based on its own properties in 2019, such as The LEGO Movie 2 and Ninjago. A new series will be LEGO Speed Champions which allows builders to create replicas of popular cars. Another new LEGO theme is called LEGO Hidden Side that will blend eight "haunted" building sets with augmented reality. This year will also see sets based on Spider-Man, Disney Junior Mickey & Minnie, Toy Story 4, Batman, Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Overwatch, and Minecraft, among others.

Playmates Toys announced a bunch of new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) items: Babble Heads (they talk), Deluxe Ninja Spin Turtles, and Giant Battle Shell Turtles (over 10"). Disney Aladdin Genie interactive figure, Super G Wingsuit figures, more Ben 10 action figures, and Pop Tops are coming from Playmates too. Pop Tops are some sort of transforming figures with licensed characters, such as TMNT, Marvel, and DC. I cannot locate any images for Playmates Toys, sorry! Instead here is a photo from Jakks Pacific; it signed a multi-year deal with Sega of America to make Sonic the Hedgehog products.

McFarlane Toys has quite a few figures based on video games upcoming, some brand new licenses it acquired and some continuations of its previous series': Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, Fortnite, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Cuphead, Five Nights at Freddy's, and Hello Neighbor. Other figures include those based on the film Labyrinth and popular anime, like My Hero Academia, Naruto, and One Punch Man.

Lastly, here are the 2018 award winners that were announced at Toy Fair:

  • Action Figure of the Year: Mattel Jurassic World™ Dinosaur Action Figures by Mattel, Inc. 
  • Collectible of the Year: LEGO® Harry Potter™ and Fantastic Beasts™ Minifigure Series by LEGO Systems, Inc. 
  • Construction Toy of the Year: LEGO® Harry Potter™ Great Hall™ by LEGO Systems, Inc. 
  • Creative Toy of the Year: Cool Maker KumiKreator by Spin Master 
  • Doll of the Year: L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Under Wraps by MGA Entertainment 
  • Game of the Year: Disney Villainous™ Game by Wonder Forge by Ravensburger 
  • Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year: Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn® Smart Learning Home™ by Mattel, Inc. 
  • Innovative Toy of the Year: Botley™ the Coding Robot Activity Set by Learning Resources 
  • License of the Year: L.O.L. Surprise! by MGA Entertainment 
  • Outdoor Toy of the Year: Glove-A-Bubbles by Zing 
  • Playset Toy of the Year (tie): LEGO® Creator Expert Roller Coaster by LEGO Systems, Inc. and L.O.L. Surprise! House by MGA Entertainment
  • Plush of the Year (tie): Scruff-A-Luvs by Moose Toys and Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie by Hasbro, Inc.
  • Preschool Toy of the Year: Fisher-Price® Think & Learn Rocktopus™ by Mattel, Inc. 
  • Rookie of the Year: Ollyball - The Ultimate Indoor Play Ball! by VICTURY Sports 
  • Specialty Toy of the Year: LEGO® Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Castle by LEGO Systems, Inc. 
  • Tech Toy of the Year: Arcade1Up by Tastemakers LLC 
  • Vehicle of the Year: PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck by Spin Master & Nickelodeon 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

[YouTube] Fisher-Price Movie Viewer & Theater

In 1973 Fisher-Price released a toy called the Movie Viewer. Users place a plastic movie cartridge into the device, hold the handle with one hand, and turn a dial with the other. When looking through the eye piece a short movie with no audio can be seen at variable speeds that depend on how fast the dial is turned. It is similar to a View-Master, only with moving images instead of still frames, and like a View-Master light is needed to make the image viewable. The Movie Viewer was quite popular among families and in 1978 Fisher-Price released the Movie Viewer Theater that plays the same cartridges. With the Theater multiple people could watch a cartridge together either on the built-in screen or by projecting it onto a wall or other screen. To view cartridges on the Theater it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet to power a light bulb; viewing cartridges still requires a dial to be turned manually.

It appears the original cartridges were released all the way up to 1987 with characters licensed from Disney, Sesame Street, Peanuts, Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes, and Marvel Comics (all Spider-Man). Most of my cartridges are Disney, though I have a few Sesame Street and a couple Looney Tunes. The stickers that identify the cartridge sometimes dry up and fall off so I've lost a few of the labels and won't provide photos of those but I'll drop a link here to This Old Toy which has a variety of pictures for most of the cartridges and Viewers. I also have a duplicate cartridge that is still in the original packaging, however, the packaging lists a different cartridge than what is in the box. It's likely the packaging and pricing changed throughout the years as well; the price tag on mine says it cost $2.99 at Bradlees. Unfortunately, I'm unsure of the original price of the Theater but I'd guess in 1978 it would possibly be in the $30 range.

The items do look a bit dirty in the photos despite wiping them down. I think many are permanent marks as these are items dating back 40 years and were used a fair amount when I was younger.

Movie Viewer

Movie Viewer Theater


Above I mentioned that the original cartridges were released as late as 1987 and I said original because Fisher-Price is currently selling a Movie Viewer in its Classic Toys line that includes two new cartridges. The new cartridges are basic movies about letters and numbers as it wouldn't able to sell the original cartridges without re-acquiring all of the licenses. However, you can buy the old cartridges used and then grab a new viewer to enjoy them.