A Dynamic Debate at Dork Dimension

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Not that this topic hasn’t been argued to death before, but I thought I’d point you all to a discussion going on over at Dork Dimension about “collectibles vs. fun toys.” It grew out of the comments section of a review in which Nathan of DD had a side-rant about “collectibles.” I’ve made a few long-winded contributions in the comments section. It’s an interesting debate, even if I think it’s mostly a semantic argument being twisted into a qualitative argument.

That said, there does seem to be a groundswell among some toy fans against “collector” toys in favor of more simple toys that are “meant to be played with.”* I first noticed it with some of the Glyos folks, it accelerated around the time of O.M.F.G. and the burgeoning DIY toys movement, and now – for some toy fans, anyway – seems to be moving into mild but open antagonism toward “adult collector” toys.

*I use quotation marks not to denote sarcasm or belittle their argument, but to ensure I’m not implicitly endorsing the idea that collector toys aren’t meant to be played with, something I don’t necessarily agree with – at least not for all collector-oriented toys.

UPDATE: The discussion has also spread to Twitter (and roamed far afield from there, but it’s a pretty cool discussion).

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  • I think the debate ended when someone said, "It doesn't MATTER if kids enjoy playing with them, they're not toys!" near the end. You can't argue with that kind of stupidity.

    That… and you argued for both – simple "fun" toys and hyper-realistic "collector" ones, but there are people rabidly attacking with "no! It CAN'T be both! It HAS TO BE ONE OR THE OTHER GRAAAAAW!"

    At least Nate's still a good guy, even if I disagree with parts of his opinion.

    • Nathan's awesome (he's been helping me with some website stuff) and everyone's entitled to their opinions. I just thought it was an interesting debate.

      • Yeah, he's totally awesome – I wish I kept in better touch since LRG. But the debate kind of fell apart when third parties came in and said things like "Whether or not kids enjoy toys defeats the purpose."

        Now, I saw this as someone who has a bunch of NECA Predators… and boxes of MUSCLEs. There's room for both!

  • the twitter discussion was a good one… but we didn't really argue there at all…

  • I admire the spirit of his argument, but I looked at those Batman toys tonight at the store, and while the sculpts are neat in a cartoony way, I can't get past a lack of knee articulation.

    Also, ya know which toys had incredible articulation and yet could maintain a standing pose on carpeted floors?

    Sigma 6.

    A toy can be both well-articulated and kid-friendly.

    • Sigma 6 is the first thing that popped into my mind when thinking of a well-articulated kid's toy. You could probably throw those guys across a room and they'd be fine. Sure, they'll have some scratched paint, but those things are solid.

  • Monte nails it. Sigma 6 is amazing! Me and Monte, the last two guys on the planet lovin' Sigma 6, lol.

    I fall somewhere in-between on this debate. I think the new Nick TMNT figures are FANTASTIC and it a lot of ways, more "fun" than their better articulated Classics counterparts. I even think the less articulated villains are a lot of fun. I know a lot of people were revolting about how those guys didn't have as much articulation…

    But they still had a fair amount and I could "play" with it enough to be satisfied.

    I don't think every toy needs to meet the DCUC standard or whatever. Different things work for different lines. But I'm not sure one thing makes something a toy or a collectible. The debate got a little long winded and confusing for my tastes. At times I wondered if people were saying 3 3/4 GI Joes were collectibles.

    Personally, I don't think everything should be held to the same standard. So a new figure that's only got the big 5, could still be awesome. I hate a review where people whine about how it doesn't have 75 POA. But at the same time, if a figure has nothing else going for it, perhaps the lack of articulation IS the key problem with the figure. Then the complaints are a bit more warranted. I think it truly depends on what the toy company is going for.

    I love a lot of simple toys. Some of the more complex "collectible" ones can be annoying as well. But I'm not sure why I can't enjoy both or why kids can't also enjoy both. Reviewers need to be able to understand the differences as well.

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