Random Retro Issue 5
Mogwai, Krang, and the TurboExpress
In this issue:
Gremlin Adventures Story 1, Krang's Android Body, and the TurboExpress
Gremlin Adventures Story 1: The Gift of the Mogwai
Gremlins was a very fun film released in 1984. The main protagonist was a furry little guy named Gizmo who could easily latch onto children's buying purchases. Hardee's was well aware of Gizmo's selling power and offered storybooks with records that retold the entire story of the movie.
There were a total of 5 of the books released and each came with a record that played the story word for word along with the book. The record also played music and sound effects, adding to the overall experience.
The pictures in the book are illustrated, not photos from the movie. The art is not overly cartoony though. It edges just across the line showing a hint of realism in the images as well.
The story follows closely with the movie. This first book focuses on Gizmo being brought to the Peltzer household and his first meeting with Billy.
This book and record set also introduces everyone to the rules of a Mogwai such as never get them wet and they cannot eat after midnight. Rules that we all know will be broken.
Records are somehow still not extinct. You can occasionally find a new album still coming out on vinyl as well as on CD. Records like these though have long gone the way of the Dodo and if you have access to a working record player they can be well worth a play through.
Krang's Android Body (the large version)
The Shredder may have been the main evildoer in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline but everybody knew that Krang was really the brains behind the Foot Clan's operation.
The plastic Krang was originally released in 1989 in a mechanical walker that sort of resembled a shrunken AT-ST that had been modified to be driven by a giant brain. That version of Krang was cool but ultimately what every kid wanted was the Android Body that Krang used in the cartoon.
Finally, in 1991, we got the huge robotic carrier for the Dimension-X brain and it was awesome. It's more of a vehicle than an action figure, though it was articulated about as much as any other classic TMNT figure.
You can really see how much bigger Krang's Android Body is by seeing it next to a standard figure from the line. Mikey is dwarfed by Krang's huge body which stands at almost three times as tall as the turtles themselves. Later on Playmates also released a smaller version of this toy, which was about the same size as other TMNT figures. The smaller version was still cool but nothing beats this guy just because he's so big and cool looking.
This was an awesome toy and I'm betting that even today's kids would enjoy playing with this robotic behemoth. Mine has clearly been put through a lot of play and has some definite wear and tear but I love him no less.
In 1989 Nintendo released their Game Boy which went on to become the king of handheld video games. In 1990 NEC released the TurboExpress, a system far superior in many ways to Nintendo's green screened baby. The TurboExpress played the exact same games as NEC's big boy console, the TurboGrafx-16.
The TurboExpress has a nice color screen that shows the TurboGrafx-16 games off beautifully. The drawback to the system playing it's bigger brother's games was in the text. The games were really designed to be played on the home console and shown on a television. The text proved that and made some games annoying to play because of the unreadable text on the small screen. Games such as Bonk's Adventure were still fun to play though as there was no need to read any dialogue during the game.
The TurboVision TV Tuner was another cool feature of the handheld. You could purchase the tuner separately and use it to watch tv on your portable screen. It's not the most effective way in the world to watch your favorite shows but if you were lucky you could pick up something decent on the TurboVision's rather large pullout antenna.
The TurboExpress was a nice piece of technology but it came with a great hunger for batteries. Six AA batteries could only keep the thing alive for a few hours and that was a huge drawback to this and the other color portables of the time. Pretty soon you'd be stealing batteries from everything else in the house until eventually there was not a working remote left.
There may have been some problems with the system but overall it does not deserve to be ignored. The Gameboy was the winner in the handheld war but the TurboExpress is still loads of fun (as long as you have the money to keep it powered up).
Random Retro Advertisement
Rock Lords were a spin off from Tonka's GoBots which basically just equals a bunch of unloved toys. I don't know why but I liked them and still do. I thought Stonedar and Rokkon from Masters of the Universe were cool and these toys were just a step up from that for me. Maybe I just have bad taste but I think everything about this ad is awesome too, I'm going to have to go find some transforming rocks now.