Toys and the media

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by tusko, Jun 22, 2012.

?

What's more important:

Poll closed Aug 21, 2012.
  1. Toys, or

    14 vote(s)
    31.8%
  2. Story

    30 vote(s)
    68.2%
  1. tusko

    tusko Well-Known Member

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    Transformers is a multiplatform entity.

    Its: toys, comic books, art, cartoons, video games, movies and novels.

    The mainstay of this site, feeds the materialistic OCD of the toy collecting crowd but the question is: Do the toys make the media successful, or does the media make the toys more desireable?

    I know its a chicken and egg argument, but in my opinion it is the fact that Transformers still captures my imagination which makes it awesome. I hear their voices in my head when I day dream, I like the feel of the clicking of joints and transforming, I doodle scenes from the comics and happily watch the cartoons with my nephews.

    So what is more important:
    The toys, or
    The story?
     
  2. Thalack

    Thalack Well-Known Member

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    Ooooo.....hard to say...They are both very important to me. I guess for me, if I like the story and the setting the characters are in, it makes me buy them. But when the story is over, wrapped up and gone, the toys are always there. For me its a mix of both but I need a reason to snag the toys up rather than just grabbing them. Wether it's cause I buy TF Prime cause I love the show and I buy Generations out of nostalgia for G1.

    After rereading what I've typed, it's in the air for me. I try to think back on my childhood and the premiere of G1, sitting down and being enthralled with it. I couldn't wait to find out if there were toys and have my parents get me some.

    Then I take a step back and try to be objective and look at it in the reverse. The kind of kid I was. I was into sci-fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Gallactica. I had a thing for things in space or from space. G.I Joe didn't appeal, nor did any other shows that were more focused on earth, or earth with just humans. X-men was awesome cause they weren't quite humans, they were super humans. Superman, alien from another world. Go-Bots, cause they were freaking robots.

    I believe if I had never seen the G1 cartoon, but walked into a toy store and saw the toys, read the info of the characters on the back of the package, an alien race that are robots in disguise. It most likely would have sucked me in, and I would have gotten the toys first and then seen the show, and I believe I would be just as hooked as I am now.

    For me, I think the nature of what Transformers was and is, made it innevitable for me to fall in love and start collecting them.

    With that aside however, story is what does drive me as an adult. If I enjoy the story, and it captures me, I enjoy it. I believe, at least now in my life, my purchasing of Transformers comes from the story. If I like a continuity I'll buy figures from it. If I don't, I may pass on the figures, unless the figures are damn sexy looking.

    Damn you Tusko, I'm really at odds with myself now. I know if a figure looks great I'll buy it, but if a storyline captures me, I'll try to purchase most of the figures from that continuity.

    Tusko, your location says home...need more details like address so I can come and smack you on the back of the head. I'm really at odds with myself over this and can't say for sure. LOL :banghead: :stick: :throw :lolol 

    EDIT - Ok, I'm gonna go with story. And yes, that is my final answer. And yes, I'm going to still find you and smack you on the head Tusko!
     
  3. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I have nostalgic bonds to the story (particularly the G1 characters as fleshed out by Bob Budiansky). I think that the fiction has obviously contributed to the decades of success of the Transformers brand.

    But... when it really comes down to it, the fiction at large isn't really THAT good. Besides having an unusual amount of detail and development for a mere "toy fiction" back in 1984, it has never really benefited from especially elegant or original storytelling. The original "alien robot life-forms waging a secret war on Earth" was a neat idea, and the expansive cast of quirky characters was something special, but over the years, the basic setting has branched out to become an even more generic space-opera, and often the massive cast has been reduced to half-dozen main players on each side. The media... overall... is just average.

    Ultimately what made Transformers work was the toys. That's what got kids in the first place, that's the concept that has persisted over close to 30 years... the fiction has gone through ups and downs, but it's the toys that bring me back to it.

    Obviously for most fans, I think it's the mix of fiction and toys that are at the center of the appeal... but in the big picture, it has always been the toys that mattered most.

    zmog
     
  4. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    This.

    Media is usually what motivates me to buy the toys.
     
  5. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot TFW2005 Supporter

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    Fiction. Without fiction I don't care about the figures.
     
  6. Rewind Eject

    Rewind Eject Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. The figures are cool on their own; but the first thing I did was cut out the back and see who exactly I got. (necessary for toy-only characters mostly). While (as Smog said) the story isn't Shakespeare, it is the story's universe that has drawn me in; the characters, the conflict, the setting, etc...
     
  7. Janitor

    Janitor Well-Known Member

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    Toy? Story?

    [​IMG]

    Ok, in all seriousness it's REALLY hard for me to choose one over the other. Speaking from a G1 kid pov I enjoyed the stories and characters immensley, which drove me to favour certain toys over others. Even to this day, my G1 collection will gladly take on with open arms guys like the Battlechargers (despite their lameness) simply for appearing in the original toon, and completely shun Roadbuster, deluxe Insecticons, etc. Yeah, I'm still stubborn.

    From the toy perspective, in my mind Transformers always are/will be the greatest toys, bar none. No offense, but as great as other iconic entities are, TFs beat out Star Wars, He-Man, GI Joe, Voltron... "If it ain't transformers, it ain't shit" was essentially my mentality since forever.

    So 'media' I guess (turns out I had an answer afterall!)
     
  8. -Mainframe-

    -Mainframe- Well-Known Member

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    Story, always.

    Why do you think Transformers went down hill after the movie?

    They killed off too many characters that people liked. They killed the story.
     
  9. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot TFW2005 Supporter

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    Having read this it seems to me like fiction is the primary motivation for you. It seems to me that for you if a toy is good you'll buy it, but if the fiction is good you'll buy them all.
     
  10. tusko

    tusko Well-Known Member

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    I'm just doin' a "What If...." in my head:
    Let us say there was no 1983/84 - Diaclone line/Microman design license ....
    Let us say TF began with the 1986 movie where the TFs were truely first designed for the TF line. How different would things have been for the whole franchise.

    The arguement could be said for G2.... a line with very little fiction. Or Beast Wars, a line that's got some of the best fiction and solid toys for their style.

    I voted Story too because TFs were the comics for me. I didn't have cable or the cartoon growing up, just some fuzz on the old rabbit ears and erratic reception. I also didn't have many toys, just dream and curiosity on how it all fit together.
     
  11. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    We had this discussion not too long ago, but for me, the fiction is more important. If Transformers was only the toys, I would not be here now. Even as a kid, the fiction drove my interest in the toys.

    Kind of like the way I can look back at my childhood of being a Star Wars freak and owning about a metric ton of the toys. Would I have bought/asked for ANY Star Wars toys as a kid if the movies hadn't existed? I very seriously doubt it. The movies drew me in, made me interested in and care about the characters, and made me want to own any kind of Star Wars merch I could get my grubby, little hands on. Without the fiction, the Star Wars toys would have been nothing.

    And for me, it's a similar situation with Transformers.
     
  12. Acidophilus

    Acidophilus Well-Known Member

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    They're equally important to me.
     
  13. rxlthunder

    rxlthunder Banned

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    I only care about the toys more. I have other pieces of fiction to care about more than Transformers.
     
  14. Cyber-Scream

    Cyber-Scream Well-Known Member

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    Both are equally important to me. I've purchased some not so good figures before simply because I felt I needed that character in my collection. Other times I've purchased a really decent figure for the sole purpose of it being a good figure.

    In short: The media encourages me to buy shitty toys and the good toys encourage me to keep collecting, so both of them contribute to each other's success.
     
  15. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Story for me. I only ever got a small handful of TF toys as a kid. When I had my own income, I snapped up all the show-only characters from BW, and now I'm doing the same with TFP. But other than that, my toy collecting has been extremely limited. And even as small as my collecting is, I've sold off a bunch of the ones I thought I really wanted.

    So for me, the toys have never really mattered. It's cool to have a physical representation of your favorite characters, but it's the fiction that inspires me to want those characters in the first place.
     
  16. AMG

    AMG Old School

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    Story and characters for me. Those are what drives me to collect in the first place.
     
  17. moreprimeland

    moreprimeland Optimus told me to do it! Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    For me, the toys wouldn't have nearly as much meaning of significance without the story, the history, the war, the losses and some moments of joy and happiness.

    So, yep, the story is key....sometimes the toys have keys too. :D 
     
  18. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Of course, it's very difficult to separate the toys from the fiction... indeed, that was Hasbro's whole goal. They were meant to support each other.

    However, I think this means they're more co-dependent in many cases than we'd like to admit. I'm betting that a lot of people who are saying "fiction" wouldn't be here if the toys never happened. I know I wouldn't be.

    But then, where do you draw the lines between them? For me, all the fiction I really needed was printed on the back of the boxes. I had a cool name, a cool personality, some neat abilities and weapons... and a kick-ass toy robot. So while I probably wouldn't have become such a fan if Transformers were sold bare (much like Gobots, who had names and loose factions... but that was pretty much it until the cartoon show came along a bit later), I think I would have still loved my Transformers and remained emotionally attached to the franchise even if the G1 cartoon and Marvel Comics never happened.

    Hell... 2 other properties I LOVED from my childhood were Zoids and Battle Beasts, and those had NO fiction at all. I didn't even know my Battle Beasts had names until a decade later. :) 

    OR... ...there are some of us who just felt that the toys went downhill after the movie as well. Pastel and neon colours, lower detail, simpler transformations, alt-modes that didn't look like anything anymore, stupid names... my disinterest in post-1986 Transformers can be blamed partly on me getting older, and LARGELY on the fact that I thought the toys sucked.

    I mean, seriously. If you grow up on Diaclone and Microman, only to see the line arrive at something like Flamefeather... you're going to be disappointed. :p 

    This has the ring of truth for me. :thumb 

    zmog
     
  19. Noideaforaname

    Noideaforaname Pico, let's go up to Zuma

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    Transformers are one of a rare type of toy that doesn't really need a media tie-in to be interesting. What makes Batman, Darth Vader, or Snake Eyes toys cool? The actual character. What makes an Optimus Prime toy cool? The fact that the toy can actually turn into a truck!
     
  20. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    There's no question they are co-dependent.

    But while it's possible I wouldn't be here if the toys never happened, I can say with absolute certainty that I would now barely even remember Transformers ever existed -- if I did remember at all -- if it had been only a toy line with no supporting media.
     

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