Monday, December 10, 2012
"Back to the Future" fans wax wroth over heinous hoverboard.
"You can tell it's Mattel...it's SWELL!"
Haven't seen THIS slogan in a LONG time. There MAY be a reason....
Mattel was the premiere toy company back in my day. REMCO, Hasbro, Topper...no-one held a candle to happy Matty, Mattel's corporate shill. You could expect quality, playability, TRENDINESS, but with a lifespan! Mattel tended to create trends, rather than ride them.
Hot Wheels, Major Matt Mason, a myriad of other toy lines; you could expect quality. I have a 40-plus-year-old pull string toy whose voicebox still works! Heck, Mattel made the stock and other plastic bits for the eminently jammable M-16, for playing army guys in Southeast Asia.
Alas, the Baby Boomers grew up, our adult expectations went down, and Mattel met them.
Meet the NEW Matty...the corporate spokes scrawl for Matty Collector.com, Mattel's high-end, sell 'em to the ComiCon crowd, and to professionals with midlife-and-later crises.
This is not an endearing logo. He looks like a hood, Jughead after his first taste of crack, or one of the Joker's goons. Confidence is not inspired. This is not to say that the Matty Collector idea is a scheme gone wrong; much that I have seen is quite good: the Ghostbusters PKE meter prop would be usable for a good fan film. When they are good they are very, very good. When they are bad....
Which brings us to the Back to the Future Hoverboard replica. Fans and collectors have lusted after this beast for some time now, and the original designer for the movie was brought in to consult. On the promise of movie-quality proposity, Matty presold the things for $120. One. Hundred. Twenty. Dollars. This for a hoverboard that doesn't. It is supposed to glide over certain surfaces like carpet. Apparently, it doesn't even do that well. Beyond the Marquee reports on the whole thing, includeng BTTF designer Bob Gale's take on it all. The slaughter on the Matty discussion board is bloody, with collectors venting their spleen, and the Matty mods banning the righteous miscreants. They didn't even get the lenticular look right (remember the flicker rings?). Apparently, what you get is a pink board with stickers on it, and a stand that doesn't work well. Where do I sign up?
This naturally moves me to a rant on "the tuna doesn't taste as good as it used to". The aforementioned talking toy still works after over forty years. Bell Telephone equipment was so tough you could almost hammer nails with it, and still your call quality was excellent. The China/Walmartification of the marketplace leaves a hunger for quality products again.
The "Veg-a-Matic", on the other hand....
The Moral: If you want quality collector's stuff, don't buy it from a logo that looks like it grew up in Juvie.