I like GoBots.
It was fun to see that 1985 catalog that recently went up, and the usual discussions on the toyline. They're more positive than they had been in the past, which is nice, although I don't want people to get *too* positive and make the prices go up.
You know what, though? GoBots was a better toyline than Transformers, in some ways.
Suppose it's the 80s, and you've got $20, and you've somehow managed to find a toy store that hasn't been utterly despoiled by the roboplastico-mad public.
You can get Optimus, or Megatron, pick one.
You can get Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter, Cy-Kill, Cop-Tur,and Crasher, the six core GoBots from the show, the ones you'll see in every episode. One of them is a girl, and she's a tremendously fun and well-used character.
Of course, there are plenty of other toys to buy, and most of them would also feature on the show...but rather quietly. No huge "BUY ME" episode for Zeemon, but he's there, and if you like him, you can buy one. The major merchandise push is those six core characters.
The cartoon models stuck closely to the toy designs, so there was none of the frustration some of us had with toys like Ironhide. I admit, I can appreciate the Vanette design now, but as a kid, I didn't like it. The robots shotlasers with their hands, so there weren't many weapons to
lose, and a good many of the small toys actually can put both fists together for a double blast!
The core of the GoBot toyline were the least costly toys. The 'core of the core', except maybe for Scooter, were among the simplest of these. They were toys you could carry in your pocket, and the Bandai designs don't have lots of pieces sticking out, where they can break off.
If you want to branch out, you can get playsets, vehicles, and powersuit combiners. You can get some of the Devices of the Week, like Zod and Scales. These can all interact with the core $3 toys that you've already got.
It's a very complete and satisfying toyline, isn't it? About the only missing piece would be the human sidekicks. To me, it's the most Tonka-like a media-driven toyline could get. It's like their steel trucks - the kids get what they are led to expect, and after that it's time to play, not wish for something better.
But...what does this mean to a collector, twenty-odd years later?
The big merchandise push mostly affected the six core toys, which a lot of people had, and which were some of the simplest in the toyline - and so adult fans don't remember how many other GoBots appeared on the show, or, indeed, how many other GoBots there were. They remember those six, and their simple toys, and so GoBots are seen as a small, limited line of overly simple toys.
At under $20 for these six toys, more parents could afford them, compared with the $80+ it would cost for the minimal core cast of G1 Transformers (Optimus, Jazz, Bumblebee, Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream) Greater affordability arguably led to less unfulfilled desire,
to be satisfied when funds became available.
The GoBot toys were largely cartoon-accurate, so there aren't a lot of unfulfilled desires for show-accurate versions of favorite characters, like we had for Ironhide (for example).
GoBot toys don't tend to break or shed pieces...they wear out, getting loose-jointed, but a toy that is a bit floppy isn't frustrating on the same level as a Mirage that broke in half, or a Bluestreak without a roof. Remember, kids pick up their 'bots and fly them around, making laser noises. Toys that wear out, instead of breaking down, make for less frustration.
Frustration...the GoBots line seemed to minimize it...and maybe that's why it's no longer here. It's vital to give the consumer what he wants...but not all of it! The unfulfilled desires of childhood drive the Classics Transformers of today...but when a toyline doesn't leave those, well, there's no need for Classics.
As much as I like TFs, thinking about things like this always makes me feel...slightly unclean for it. You know? Consumerism and all that. GoBots seems less affected, somehow...
Am I making sense to anybody, here?
Edited by Autobus Prime, 22 February 2011 - 05:01 PM.