photo by Edward McGowan
While the trend for unapologetically recycling ’80s cartoons is something you either love (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) or hate (those new G.I. Joe movies), you gotta admit: The new Transformers movies are pretty dang awesome. Not to mention, there’s been a bunch of buzz going around recently about the new Transformers browser based MMO video game, Transformers Universe.
Even if you can’t get on board the (admittedly cheap) reboot trend, you must admit that the Transformers universe is rife with universal retro appeal for the whole family. Who among you is grumpy enough to hate aliens that turn into awesome Earth vehicles and fight each other? This series just has personality and potential in spades.
Cool logo? Check! The Decepticon and Autobot graphics have definitely stood the test of time, and can be spotted on car bumpers everywhere.
Awesome concept easily transferable to playtime? Check! I’m still secretly waiting for every yellow car or transport truck to come magically to life, and I’m well past the age of that sort of thing being reasonable. Don’t forget, the whole series was originally born from a Japanese toy line, so imaginative play is the name of the game.
Great themes of good and evil with a good measure of values tossed into the mix? Check! The lessons learned through watching the entertaining hand-drawn Transformers cartoons has made the world a better place for almost 30 years.
So pick up your media of choice and get in a little family time with the robots in disguise. We’ve picked out a few great pieces to jump start your household’s new Transformers obsession:
1. Autobot Workshop
The timeless appeal (and freshly opened smell) of Play-Doh, and the awesomeness of Transformers together in one toy? This must be 80s throwback heaven. Make an Autobot or Decepticon, then mash, bash, slice or – dare I say it – transform your creation into something entirely new using the workshop’s molds and tools. Get the Autobot Workshop here.
2. Soundwave Tee
We all know about Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee, but those guys are just the tip of the Transformers character iceburg. If you really want to throw off some retro cool vibes, you’re going to have to go with a character like Soundwave.
There aren’t too many characters out there the epitomize the ’80s quite like Soundwave; he transformed into a cassette player. That’s right, I said cassette. See that? Your T-shirt purchase just turned into a history lesson.
If you remember this Soundwave toy, that’s it: You win. Your kids wish their toys could play cassettes and transform like this one could.
Get the Soundwave tee here.
3. Optimus Prime-ish Toddler Tee
What do you think Optimus Prime was like as a baby? Maybe he was just a wee-wittle pickup truck with a very deep, reassuring voice (because obviously, he was born talking like that). Tell the world that your toddler is bound for great things just like Optimus with this super adorable handmade tee from Mi Cielo, available here.
4. Autobots Bracelet
Thankfully, the era of “girl cartoons” and “boy cartoons” is behind us. Now we teach our kids to like what they like (and sometimes to like what we like). If your little nerdlette digs retro Autobot style, by all means, fan that flame with some adorable accessories like this colorful and charming bracelet by Etsy artist Rachel Dean, available here.
5. Challenge of the Gobots: The Original Mini-Series
If you’ve devoured every second of Transformers media out there, it may be time to check out this similar ’80s series made by Hanna-Barbera. One DVD contains the entire Gobotron saga, which may just open up a whole new realm of transforming toy possibilities. Watching this five-episode mini-series, you’ll see why the Gobots has its own long-standing cult following.
Challenge of the Gobots: The Original Mini-Series is available here.
Look no further than this hilarious Gangnam Style/Transformers mash-up video for evidence that even after 30 years, the Autobots won’t be leaving Earth anytime soon.