Now that Christmas is over I am reminded of a thought I’d recently had. If wasn’t so much of a thought as a lamentation.
I was recently playing with some action figures with one of my nephews and this moment of grieving came back to me again post-Christmas.
Action figures have gone down hill since my own childhood took place in the 90’s. My gripe is not about the characters themselves and what they are from or attached to. Rather I lament the actual quality of the toys.
I was born in the mid-eighties and thus my childhood saw me grow up in the 90’s. I think of myself as being of the last year of kids to come of age without mobile phones and the internet being truly commonplace(they did about the year I got out of high school in the early 00’s). With toys I’d say those of us born in the 80’s were the last kids before the full merchandising explosion that took place in the late 90’s to now.
However I don’t want to talk about all toys. I’m here today to talk about action figures. In my childhood GI Joes were the end all be all of action figures. Me and my brother had quite a few growing up, as did all my friends. I even saved up my own money to buy the GI Joe headquarters at some young age.
I spent many hours as a young lad playing with my GI Joes and remember them quite fondly. Perhaps that is why it disappoints me to see what kids have to play with today. GI Joes were special to me but it makes no difference if todays kids play with Power Rangers or Iron Man, or whatever else is the topic.
What bugs me is the lack of quality. The GI Joes are fully moveable. They have articulating elbows and knees, moveable legs at the hips and they could also bend at the waist. These are features I have never seen on any of the action figures I have bought for my nephews in the past several years.
Today’s action figures are all stiff legged and straight armed. You’re lucky if you can even find one that can move his shoulders in any direction other than up and down, let alone his elbows.
How is it that everything we have has gotten smaller and more effective yet action figures have devolved? If Moore’s law suggests that computer chip technology doubles every 2 years(and the cost halves) how is it that any modern everyday action figure couldn’t even wipe his own butt if he had too?
I understand the free market but if those wonderful flexible GI Joes could be had for $2.99 in the early 90’s than what pray tell is stopping $15 Thor from bending his elbows?