Sunday, May 24, 2020

[YouTube] Hot Wheels Action Command Sto & Go Base

Released in 1984, the Hot Wheels Action Command Sto & Go Base from Mattel is reminiscent of 1979's Hot Wheels Service Center Foldaway Garage (aka Service Center Sto & Go Set). Both are the same size with the same ramp, elevator, and vehicle bays. However, the Action Command lacks the garage doors, rotating wheel bars of the "Dynamometer," car wash, gas pump, and bell of the Service Center. Instead the military-themed Action Command includes 12 plastic army men, sand bags, guns, gas can clusters, barrels, platform to knock over, and a flag. I mention in the video that I was unsure of the pricing but then recalled there was a Read's price tag stating $29.50. My thought is Read's would be a bit higher in price than something like Kmart and I should have spent more time preparing as I somehow missed the Bradlees price tag on Combat Command listing it at $14.88.

While I find the lighter colors and background stickers of the Service Center more appealing, the Action Command does have more, well, action. Kids can play with the army men and send their vehicles ramming into the platform that is meant to be placed at the bottom of the ramp. For myself, it tends to feel more like playing with army men rather than a die-cast car set. The army men are not to scale either, as they tower over the Hot Wheels, two of which are included: Big Bertha tank and Roll Patrol jeep.

For another comparison I have a generic set called Play 'N Carry Combat Command by Durham Industries. Clearly made from cheaper plastic, the Combat Command does not feel sturdy but it does have a larger area for vehicles. It also has the identical type of army men but in a different shade of green. As long as owners supply their own die-cast cars to replace the flimsy plastic ones, this set really isn't too bad despite the inferior quality of the build. When I say the plastic is cheaper what I'm implying is it would break easily. For example, if you were to drop it on a carpeted floor there is a good chance it would develop a crack whereas I believe the sturdy Hot Wheels set would be fine.

In the last photo below that has many vehicles only four of them are Hot Wheels. The one on the top back is a generic brand and the rest are from Matchbox. There are also a few attempts at action shots with both the jeep and tank smashing into the barrel platform.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Year 4: May Update

Brady Bunch Trading Card
It's time for another update and not much has happened since the last one. In Michigan the stay-at-home order has been extended to June 12th so I'll continue to work from home. While I have played the Commodore 64 a bit for the YouTube channel, I've not turned on any modern console in at least a month so my game time has been limited. This has been a busy week for the blog, however, as this is the 4th post in as many days. Yesterday both the TurboGrafx-16 mini released and Pac-Man turned 40 so I finally got to post the TurboGrafx articles I had done months ago. If all goes well there will be a new toy post with video up tomorrow.

Microsoft held a third-party Xbox Series X digital event this month where a bunch of trailers were shown. Many of the games had dark themes and nothing grabbed me. I expect what was shown in the video are likely all games that will appear on the PlayStation 5 as well. There will be plenty more events like this and many game trailers appearing online next month during the time that is typically reserved for E3. At the end of April the next Assassin's Creed was unveiled and more recently Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 was announced which is a remaster compilation coming this September.

Since last month I also learned of the passing of Hector Garrido on April 19th at the age of 92. While I was not familiar with the name until now, it turns out he had quite an impact on my childhood. Mr. Garrido is responsible for much of the artwork found on the early G.I. Joe toy packaging of the '80s, as well as many book covers. I'm not sure if he did the art on all the toys or for how many years he worked on the franchise but he was certainly a significant contributor. If you've followed the blog for a while you probably know that the 1980's GI. Joe toy line is my favorite and I love the box art, it brings back many memories any time I see it.

Both toys above actually cost only $3 which seems like a steal today but was probably close to minimum wage back then. The trading cards below have curved edges but some are cut off due to the placement on the scanner.

That's about all I can think of for now. I'll aim to get another baseball video game covered while we continue to wait for a possible MLB season. I'm also thinking I should play a Carmen Sandiego game soon to add some educational content for all those kids who had their school year cut short. Thanks for visiting!


Friday, May 22, 2020

Happy 40th Birthday Pac-Man

Pac-Man, arguably the most iconic video game character of all time, turns 40 today. Nintendo's Mario has likely supplanted Pac-Man as the most well-known game character, especially for the younger generation, but Pac-Man was huge in the early '80s and his impact on video games and pop culture should not be understated. Namco's (now Bandai Namco) yellow ghost chomper helped the arcade scene thrive and was plastered on numerous products, from lunch boxes and board games to apparel and cereal. The character also appeared in a Saturday morning cartoon in 1982 and had a hit song from Buckner & Garcia titled "Pac-Man Fever."

Pac-Man Plus arcade marqee.

Next Generation - Oct. 98
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to put together a comprehensive blog post here so it's more of a compilation of some previous postings and photos/scans of a few items I own like the marquee above. With the blog being largely centered around video game ads there is, of course, a Namco ads post which has some Pac-Man ads with the rest at Facebook but I'll put all Pac-Man related ads below. I also scanned all the Namco newsletters in 2018 that always feature images of the character and a ghost. To the right is part of an article about game characters from the October 1998 issue of Next Generation magazine. It features an interview with Toru Iwatani, the creator of Puck Man which was Pac-Man's original name in Japan. This is the second page of the article to appear on the blog (first was for Crash Bandicoot) and one of these days I'll scan the whole thing and put it in one post.

Pac-Man Board and Handheld Pinball Games
The board game was released in 1982 by Milton Bradley and I do realize I've got the ghost's eye stickers on all wrong. I don't see a year on the pinball game from Diamond Toymakers.

The stickers from Fleer are similar to trading cards and packs included "Rub-Off Game" cards too. I'm scanning them inside of the plastic pages I keep them in to save time. I know that's not the best way to see them but I just don't have time to scan and edit each one individually. Also, a few are Ms. Pac-Man cards and I'm leaving a few regular stickers in the pages. The Pac-Man eating a ghost stickers are most likely unofficial. All the scratch 'n' sniff stickers (they still smell great!) are stuck inside an album which is why those have a blue background that says "Stellar Stinkies."

Video Game Ads
There are a lot of Tengen ads with a photo of a Pac-Man game box but I'm only going to include the ads that either have text about the game or where Pac-Man is a key part of the ad.