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Toy Action Sets -- Quantity Over Quality?
Matt - 09/12/00


Grocery stores, bargain shops, and convenience markets all have one thing in common, and I'm not talking about the old lady who complains that the napkins turned out to be a nickel higher than the store circular claimed. I'm talking about shitty toys. I really feel bad for kids who go on these trips with their moms without complaining due to the promise of a toy in return. Let's face it, unless you're going to a legit toy store, you're gonna get royally screwed.

The toys I'm talking about have several things in common. They're all made of cheap plastic that seems to break, melt, or disintegrate upon touching it...they're universally less interesting and fun than trying to color in stuff with the useless white crayon....and, frankly, they all fucking suck.

To prove my point, today I went out to a 99 cent store so shameful and misrepresenting that I can't even dignify calling it anything besides 'Shit Palace'. Shit Palace sold a lot of useless stuff - helium balloons with holes in 'em, white t-shirts than were no longer predominantly white, and of course...lots of food so far past the expiration date that it could be labelled as an 'antique' and sold on eBay. But most importantly - bad toys.

These aren't your normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill bad toys though...these are bad toy action sets. Allegedly, these accessories will allow kids to submerge themselves into worlds they've only read about and seen on tv. In truth, they're the world's worst toys thrown together, essentially giving you the chance to buy all of the world's worst toys at once.

So, let's take a look.

Not since the time three different people kicked me in the groin on the same day have I felt such a triple-threat of terror. These three action sets combined bring you more crappy toys than you could dream possible. Let's take a look at each one as they battle to the death. Only one of these sets will survive - the others will be burnt in a symbolic show of hatred for rip-off toys. Hmm. Wait, if I actually do burn them, it's not all that symbolic, is it? Either way, two of these fuckers are getting torched.



STAR FORCE

The Galactic Playset From Beyond! I hope it's from beyond, I hate to imagine anyone on this planet being morally willing to create something so shitty. The Star Force set would let you shoot suction cup arrows onto a target. Well, in theory anyway. There's two things holding the set back from making all that possible: the suction cups wouldn't stick to the target even if you glued them, and the arrows don't even shoot out of the fucking gun.

Shitty toys are one thing, but shitty toys that don't work bring us to a whole new level of annoyance. The most frightening thing about all this is that the package is marked 'series one'. Which means that somewhere, somehow...there's newer, even more awful versions of these available.

PS - obviously this is a kid's toy, but you need to have the strength of a Greek god to pull the trigger on the gun. I used pliars to do it. And even when you do, nothing happens. The target circle itself is another pristine example of toy glory - the cardboard score area falls off the plastic base if you shoot at, touch, or even look at it the wrong way.

On the plus side, and for absolutely no reason, it comes with two silver spacemen. It was brilliant strategy, really. While you can't possibly play with the gun and target for more than fifteen seconds without breaking it, you could certainly kill a good half hour trying to get these two guys to stand up. I think I clocked in at 15:27, but remember - I'm an expert.

The ultimate twist of irony: after playing with this for five minutes, I decided I really needed to kill myself. It's that bad. But there's no way to accomplish it with the fucking lame gun they give you. And what fun is a toy that doesn't give you the option to hurt yourself or those close to you? A really bad toy.

Thumbs down, to the burn pile.



NAVY SEALS: SPECIAL MILITARY EQUIPMENT

Here's another beauty. It's not quite as pointless as the Star Force set, but the accessories it comes with are even worse. Even if you're three years old, you're going to need the combined imagination of an LSD addict and the guy who created Tiki God party lights to enjoy this stuff.

It comes with a watch, which obviously is the pinnacle of military gear. Evidently, my wrists are too big to put the watch on. More importantly, the watch is too small to fit on a pencil. It's got all the other essentials of wartime - walkie talkie, grenade, and canteen. The odd thing here is that each of those items has something cryptic written on it. The grenade just says 'China', which is pretty easy to figure out. It's obviously a homage to the World Wrestling Federation's first transsexual. Things get a little more interesting with the other two though: the canteen has the initials 'M.H.' written on it. You figure that one out. The watch is the real winner though. Only one word and one word only is on it, and it's a word that's held a deep personal meaning in all our hearts for as long as we can remember: 'gluckmation'.

Gluckmation, huh?

It also comes with a knife. I was hoping this would serve as the saving grace of this abomination. If the knife had slipped past the committee of toy people who say 'no' and was sharp enough to slice people up, at least I could call this the cheapest way to land a lethal weapon.

Unfortunately, the knife's not even sharp enough to put a dent in my Creature From The Black Lagoon beanie doll. And if it can't do that, there's no way on Earth it'll work on my mom. PS, Mom's getting kinda pissed that I keep mentioning her in a negative light on the site. That's what she gets for reading it. How am I supposed to do the article about what movies not to see on shrooms knowing that Aunt Sadie'll hear about it within ten minutes of the article being posted?

Getting back on track, the only military training you'll get from this set is what not to bring on the battlefield. If those dirty japs are coming at you with rifles and copies of Eric Neis' workout tape, you're going to want better ammunition than a lousy watch and a little dogtag.

PS, the guys shown on the package aren't Navy Seals, they're regular scuba divers. As you can tell, a lot of production values went into this one. Luckily, most five-year-olds wouldn't give a shit if there were clowns with roses on the package, as long as they got some mock weapons to threaten their sisters with. But dammit, this just sucks for those of us old enough to understand that regular scuba divers don't carry grenades.

Thumbs in the middle, leaning downward. I might not burn it, but that's only because after burning the Star Force set, I remember how bad melting cheap plastic actually smells.



NINJA POWER

Yes!!! Now we're talking! Fuck the military and FUCK GALACTIC TRAVEL - now we're dealing with ninjas! Listen, there's a hundred things wrong with this set, but I can't possibly sit here and blast something that's displaying such blatant promotion to our world's greatest unsung heroes...the ninjas!

But, I've gotta mention that it's pretty funny how the package makes a big deal about the set including four pieces. Yes, four whole pieces!!! Now that's a bargain. And why call these things 'pieces'? Accessories? Maybe. Weapons? Definitely. But pieces? C'mon, they could've done better than that.

As you can see, it comes with a literal bonanza of stereotypical ninja gear. A fake knife and a sheath that broke when I tried bending it into position. Also, a ninja star. Yes, a ninja star. You really need this set if you want the powers of intimidation on your site.

But that's not all it comes with. The coup de whatever the hell: nunchucks! Now things are getting serious. The Ninja Action Set was originally meant to be lumped into this article as one of the worst toy kits ever, but how can I do anything but glow now that it has nunchucks? Hell, that's one of the only three things around that'll make me don cheetah prints and feather boas.

See?

This really opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. With these chucks, you could be anyone from Bruce Lee to TMNT's Michaelangelo. And you could do it in style. Best part is, they're plastic - but heavy enough to hurt. So let's say you wanted to whack someone across the forehead. You could easily employ 'but I thought it was just plastic!' excuse when you're finished. These ninjas really cover all bases. If they don't kill you outright, they leave everything neat and tidy to avoid any possibly retribution.

Fact is, the toys absolutely suck. But know how every Christmas, you get that box of Christmas Crunch despite absolutely hating Cap'n Crunch? Same deal here. It's all in the name. There could've been nothing in this package. All it has to say is 'ninja', and it's a winner.

Thumbs up! This one definitely won't go into the burn pile.


I guess if there's a moral to this story, it's quality over quantity. Sure, with these sets, you're getting more toys for your buck - but the toys blow! Save up a little cash and parlay it into one good toy, preferably something that won't break if you try playing with it.

Of course, not all of you reading these engage in such activities as buying toys, but this lesson really applies in all walks of life. Don't go to the CD store and get three 4.99 clearance albums you'll never listen to. Get one good one! If I had learned this lesson earlier, right now I'd have a cool, refreshing giant Snapple instead of a bunch of shitty plastic accessories. Learn from my mistakes: quality over quantity! And by all means - avoid action toy sets.


Special Newsflash: X-E Hits The Magazines?

Yep, X-Entertainment was featured in a neat little blurb in the September issue of Lowcountry Monthly of South Carolina, courtesy of reader and sexual deviant, Funkychuck. So, a big thanks to him, and while we're at it, to all the other readers and webmasters who've plugged us on and off the net. Every night Liquor, Rocket, and myself all congregate in a secret IRC room just to giggle and give each other high fives.

Of course, even a nice gesture such as this isn't without it's share of controversy. Check out the cover....

Hmmm is right. I may be mistaken, but it looks like X-E cult hero and New Jersey mayor Fat Daddy took a trip down to the Carolinas for a photo shoot. Weird, huh?

If you've got the power to get us in print, tell us about it, and we'll bribe you with mystery peanuts just like we did Funkychuck. Later!

- Matt
matt@x-entertainment.com