The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks Top 5 Thunderdome Throwdown – Merry Christmas Ya’ Filthy Animals!
Hello Geeks! It’s that special time of the month again…No, Not that one!
It’s our Top 5!
This month we are we are taking a stroll with the Ghost of Christmas Past while we look back at our favorite gifts that we did get and even a few ones that got away! Enjoy…
MARTIAN LUTHOR KANG THE 117th
I really, really loved Batman as a kid. And on quite a few Christmas mornings I’d see a box in just the right shape and make a beeline for it. I’d know before I tore off the paper that I was getting a new Batmobile! Here are the ones I remember:
-Micro Machines Star Wars
One year I got several of the Micro Machines Star Wars sets that were shaped like characters’ heads. I spent the rest of the day playing with miniature cities contained within alien skulls. I’ve provided a picture of C-3PO/Tatooine because a robot’s severed head is less unsettling than a farm boy’s or a bounty hunter’s.
-What’s Inside? Everyday Things
I suppose this gift is more of a nerd thing than it is a geek thing, but I loved it so much and it contributed to my indoorsman lifestyle. It was a book full of pictures on how household objects were put together. I read it to death and I’m kind of considering buying it again.
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Playset
When I was a little fella, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I do believe I had every single Turtles action figure from the first few series, and I would play with them every chance I got. So naturally when this toy was released my folks popped it under the tree for me, and it blew me away. Not just because it was awesome (and it WAS awesome), but because it was a total surprise. I mean, growing up with four older brothers I never really had any chance of believing in Santa Claus past age 3, so I knew where the presents came from. But I didn’t try to sneak a peek or anything, no… What surprised me was that I had no idea this thing existed. The back of the action figure packages only showed other figures and occasionally one-figure vehicles. There wasn’t a civilian internet, and it wasn’t like I read any TMNT trade magazines in Kindergarten, so the very existence of this toy blew my mind. I played with it until it fell apart, and loved every second of it.
Which brings me to the gift that never was….
-The Danger Room
When I realized that I had been totally ignorant of the sewer playset, it got me to wondering if there was anything else like that kicking around. As soon as they started making them, I fell in love with the Marvel superheroes toys, particularly the X-Men.
With all of the X-Men toys, how could they not make a Danger Room playset? They made two little “Danger Cubicles” as I recall, one for Cyclops and one for Wolverine but that wasn’t gonna do it for me. I needed a spot where the whole team could get in on the action. My folks certainly tried, they got me the Marvel Superheroes Training Center, and that wasn’t too shabby.
But I never did get that perfect Danger Room. I suppose I never will.
-Optimus Prime (Powermaster)
Damn right I had to look up the official name! Released in 1988, a young Biff Tannen was excruciatingly excited for this. I don’t even think I asked for this, I woke up one Christmas Morning and good old Saint Nick had left it for me. It was great to get the Autobot leader as a toy but this version was a huge improvement over the 1984 original. It came with the trailer that could disconnect and open up into a crazy missile silo, a normal size Optimus but then you could “transform” it in a different way to create a gigantic ass kicking Optimus Prime.
-Ghostbusters’ Fire Station & Ecto 1
I’m not sure if these toys were sold together as a set or not, but I got them the same Christmas and man was it glorious. These toys were based off the late 80’s cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” which followed the movie (someone else beat them to the punch by making simply a “Ghostbusters” cartoon in an attempt to cause confusion). Do I need to explain what makes this fire station so awesome? Much like Ray in the movie, I was very impressed by the fireman’s pole. The real showstopper though was the open sewer type gratings on the roof. The toy actually came with a small container of slime that you poured down those grates and let shit get nuts. It was so awesome. What’s not so awesome was my mom making me clean up the dry flaky slime that accumulated all over. Alas, a small price to pay.
-Nintendo Entertainment System
Cliche choice? Maybe. But it changed my life. One Fall day in 1988, my parents were gone and my brother and I were playing hide and seek in our house. I went to hide under my parents bed and what stared me in the face was the box that held the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the version that came with two controllers, the gun, Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. I screamed in delight and immediately called off the hide and seek game to tell my brother. To this day I don’t think I ever told my parents I knew about it ahead of time.
I can’t fathom how much time I must have put into paying Mario and Duck Hunt. I had barely played a video game anywhere before that. I LOVED Nintendo and I still do. No matter how many better systems came along, I still have a soft spot in my heart for that system. It’s my absolute favorite and my console of choice.
-Sherwood Forest Playset
This one’s a little bitter-sweet. One year for Christmas my parents bought me a handful of Kenner Toys action figures based on the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (how many people can claim to have Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman action figures?) I was also given the toy that was the base of operations for Robin Hood and his merry men in Sherwood Forest. For some reason I thought it was the coolest thing.
Shortly, I learned that this toy was the EXACT same toy my neighbor had for the Ewok Village from Return of The Jedi. It’s the same plastic mold; they didn’t even change anything besides adding green leaves. They just marketed it as something different 8 years later. What a sham! Kenner Toys must have had warehouses of the originals left over and pulled a fast one on a bunch of kids. I still loved it though and played with it all the time, but I learned a valuable lesson that day.
-New Adventures Of He-Man Power Sword
I’m bending the rules here a bit because this is a toy I never had, but dear God did I want it. I asked for it 2 Christmases in a row but my parents claimed they could never find it. It’s the proverbial “one that got away”. I was a little young for He-Man but I played with a lot of the toys because I had an older brother. Apparently, they ran a new He-Man series in 1990 called The New Adventures Of He-Man which was a continuation of the original Masters Of The Universe. Whatever. I don’t think I saw one episode of the new series. But dammit, I wanted that sword!
You might be asking what makes said sword so cool. Just know that it made sound effects. It clashes the steel of another sword FOR YOU!! It made laser sounds (allowing you to pretend you were Link from the Zelda games or possibly a Jedi) amongst many other excellent noises. I watched an old commercial for this on youtube and it made me want it now more than ever.
-GI Joe Space Shuttle
Yar, thar she be, the white whale. The G.I. Joe Defiant. The one that got away. This came out towards the end of the period of time where I was still young enough to really be into G.I. Joe stuff, nevertheless, I wanted this one BADLY! Just look at the massive size of it! This thing was bigger than most of the children that played with it! All G.I. Joe vehicles came with action figures that were exclusive to that vehicle, however the Defiant came with not one, but TWO figures. a cool space man figure named Payload, who piloted the Defiant, and Hardtop, who drove the crawler vehicle that transported the shuttle on the ground. Plus, it had a bunch of cool battle stations and stuff for all your other Joes. My parents came through for me every Christmas, without fail. but this one didn’t make Santa’s list one year and I’ve been longing for it ever since. Sigh…. maybe someday. Mom and Dad did score some major points with a prior G.I. Joe purchase though:
-GI Joe Hovercraft
The Killer W.H.A.L.E. (Warrior: Hovering Assault Launching Envoy), yeah I think I was about 5 or 6 when this bad boy showed up under the tree one fine Christmas. Another massive Joe assault vehicle, this one coming with firing rockets, a lever that would launch depth charges off this side, a dirt bike and a water sled which would fire out of the front of the boat. It also came with Cutter, who was pretty much the poor man’s Shipwreck, but with a life jacket, a Red Sox hat, and no accessory parrot. It even floated on water!!! This present completely blew my mind as a kid. Come to think of it, I REALLY owe my parents big for this one.
I think I was about 4 years old when Santa brought this by for me. This is actually the first “Big Toy” I ever remember getting. Before then it was just strictly action figures and maybe the occasional vehicle, but this was the first time I adventured into giant playset territory as a kid. Grayskull had so many cool features and accessories: there was an elevator, weapons racks, spare weapons, and my favorite of all the trap door in the throne room! You’d place whatever baddie you had available over the oriental rug looking tile, seat He-Man in the throne, then when you turned the chair to face the bad guy WHOOOSHHHH the floor dropped out from beneath them. There was also a separate extension piece that you could by that attached to the top of the right tower that was a perch for the He-Man plane/flying vehicle thingie. I had that one too. Plus the counterpart Snake Mountain playset for the bad guys to hang out in. Yeah. I was kind of a spoiled kid.
-The Power Glove
There’s no better feeling on Christmas morning than unwrapping a gift and finally being rewarded with the thing that you’ve been pestering you folks about for months. You begged, pleaded, did dishes, took out trash, walked dogs that didn’t even belong to you, just hoping to score enough points with your parents for them to give in and buy you that special thing. Sometimes, you get that thing… and sometimes it turns out to be a giant piece of shit. Thus is the cautionary tale of the Nintendo Power Glove; be very careful what you wish for. This thing looked freaking amazing and futuristic, which of course is very alluring to a kid fond of tech stuff. Not to mention, Nintendo was marketing the holy hell out of this thing, even going so far as to shoe-horn it in to the 1989 movie The Wizard with Fred Savage. They made this thing look so cool and easy to use, that you’d be stupid NOT to get one. In reality though this fucking turd of an accessory DID NOT WORK AT ALL! There were codes that you had to program in for certain games in order to control them. Each control scheme had a pre-programmed set of movements, but performing the movements rarely resulted in the intended action. Most of the time whenever I tried to use this monstrosity, I’d try to use the motion control for about five minutes before frustratingly defaulting to good old program number 14, which was the program that just let you use the controller that was on the arm. The glove came with a list of what games went with what control schemes which was cool, but what about new games?!?! This was the pre-internet era, so it wasn’t like you could just hop on the net and find out the new program code. This one was such a gargantuan disappointment.
This was easily the best present I ever got for Christmas, hands down, no contest. It easily earns this status just because of the path that it put me on for the rest of my life. I’ve been a gamer quite literally as far back as I can remember. As a toddler I grew up in a house with an extensive Atari game collection and I was blowing up the Death Star via the original Star Wars arcade game at the area Chuck E. Cheese when I was about 3. Before the NES dropped I was rocking games, like Rambo, Moon Patrol, and the Movie Monsters game (that was my favorite, it let you pick a type of giant monster and then choose a city to destroy; there were Godzilla, King Kong, Rodan, and Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rip offs, plus a giant robot and a giant octopus) on my Commodore combo 64/128. I was firmly on my way to becoming a hardcore PC gamer. Then came the second grade. It was about this time that all my friends were getting there hands on this thing called a Nintendo. I was regaled with tales of adventuring Italian plumbers and some kid trying to save a chick named Zelda. It was pretty much all I heard about. All. The. Time. Plus, Nintendo used to set up these display cases at department stores that would let you play a selection of games in five minute increments. I spent many, many, many, hours on Saturday afternoons parked at one of those while my mom was shopping at Sears or something. After years of hearing my beg and plead, I finally got the Nintendo Power Set when I was in the 3rd grade. It came with the Zapper, the Power Pad, and THREE games: Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, and World Class Track meet. Using the Power Pad was fun, only until my friends and I figured out that you could make the guys on the screen run faster if you pushed the spots on the pads with your hands instead of running on them, but hundreds of thousands of hours would be burned on that machine playing various other titles. After that, sleepovers with your friends turned into secret all night gaming marathons with the sound turned down so you would wake up any parents. Getting dropped off at a friend’s house usually meant a trip to the video store so you guys could rent a game to play with. The machine was so central to child entertainment that is shaped our social interactions and friendships. The original NES then led me to the Super Nintendo, then the Genesis, then the N64, the Playstation and so on and so on . The original NES started me on the path of console gaming and that’s where I’ve been ever since. This one had a huge impact on me.
-Sword of Omens
This thing was seriously badass! I think that I got this when I was 8. I totally remember seeing it under the tree and grabbing it to take a swing at something of my sisters! I always liked Thundercats because it wasn’t really all that hard to get them all because there were only seven of them (including Snarf!) As time went on, guests starred on the show and eventually they became toys too. They were made from a really hard plastic which was tough to break, but that made have less articulation than other toys, these things were like Monoliths! OK back to the Sword…The Sword of Omens is Lion-O’s main weapon. It was cool because it was a dagger that grew when he screamed Thunder! I would run around with that thing everywhere and just pretended to be Lion-O all day….that is until I took it to school and brought it on the playground. Not gonna lie, for two or three minutes I ruled the Jungle Gym, until one of the aides took it from me. After recess I went to get it back and they “lost” it. That is when I understood the whole don’t take toys you love to school thingie…Damn Lunchroom Aide, stole my Sword of Omens! Where was Sight Beyond Sight when I needed it that time!
It’s the car….Chicks dig the car. Well, so do little boys! I’ve been a Batman fan for as long as I could remember and the Superpowers Batmobile was awesome! This classic toy could take a licking and keep on ticking. It was so cool that my cousin who was 5 years older than me saw mine on Christmas and freaked and had to get one too! It could seat two, but you didn’t need lame-ass Robin riding shotgun, it was big enough to get Darkseid in there!
So I really wanted this one but I had a Genesis and my parents were dead-set against getting this for me. I tried to hit up my mom and dad regularly, but just annoyed them. I asked my aunt, but she wasn’t going for it either. My sister, who I spent my childhood having a bitter bloodfued with was dating this guy and bought him one and I was like URRRRGGGHHHHH! So Christmas morning comes and I get my presents and I’m happy ’cause its Christmas but I’m not happy-happy because I’m opening shirts and crap. When all of the sudden I open up a SNES game! And I’m like WHAT! I start shaking and sifting through the presents and I’m like, where is it! Come to find out, my sister got one for me, unbeknownst to anyone. It was so unexpected, it was like a bullet to the head. It was so awesome, I’ll never forget it!
This toy was one of the all time greats! It was so insanely ridiculous that it made sense to put 4 turtles in there and the best part was that they actually fit in there! The top came off for easy access and with the exception of a few little pieces here and there, it was pretty solid. I remember that I used it as a make-shift toy carrier when I went on trips. I remember the year that I got it, we went to my aunt and uncles house and I had to leave it home! I only got to play with it a little bit in the morning and was chomping the bit to get back to it to stomp the foot clan. My Dad ran home for something and brought it back for me so I could show it off to my cousin…What an awesome Christmas!
-G I JOE Headquarters
Oh Man! I remember this bad boy. My dad stayed up all night on Christmas Eve putting this one together, but he put something on backwards and it drove me crazy, so I took it apart and when my dad saw that he vowed never to put anything together for me again. At the end of the day, it was a $100 gray wall of plastic, but still it was a bad-ass present in the mid ’80s!
OK Nerds, that’s our list this month and we’re sticking to it!
Seasons Greetings Geeks!
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Posted on December 10, 2012, in COMICS!, Geekology, Geeks-Mas, Top 5, Toys, Video Games and tagged action figure, Batman, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, He-Man, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, TMNT, Transformers, X-Men. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.