Ten Video Games that Should Have Gotten Toys

By Jason F.C. Clarke in Daily Lists, Toys, Video Games
Monday, December 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

When the popularity of videogames exploded with in the 1980s and early 1990s, it seemed like a no-brainer that toys would quickly follow. Characters like Pac-Man, Mario and Sonic were as familiar to kids as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. However, aside from the occasional PVC figurine, there were hardly any good toys of video game characters for many years.

Things started to change around 1997, when a company called Resaurus produced an action figure of Duke Nukem (back when he was still kind of cool). Resaurus was a pioneer in the video game action figure arena, nabbing the licenses for Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter and Quake 2, among others. Its success led other toy companies to take notice and the video game toy revolution began. Nowadays, we have action figures based on nearly any modern video game property you can name. But because companies were so slow to catch on, there are some classic video games that were passed by and still have no toys. Here are ten games whose characters are perfect for toy lines.

10. Battletoads

Battletoads was the incredibly difficult NES classic that frustrated players worldwide. It was an early offering from powerhouse Rare. The key to its difficulty was that it changed gameplay genres level to level. At its core it was a beat 'em up starring three anthropomorphic toads named after skin conditions -- Rash, Zitz and Pimple -- whose punches and kicks made their limbs expand into enormous boots and battering rams to knock enemies off-screen. It remains a classic today, and Battletoads action figures would still appeal to both nostalgic gamers and kids. The core Battletoads deserve super articulation as well as interchangeable limbs, so you can change Pimple's fist into the giant hammer, as well as jet-bikes so you can relive the endless frustration of slamming your bike into a wall over and over. And of course we'd need a figure of the bodacious Dark Queen, who rivals Sin's Elexis Sinclaire and Soulcalibur's Ivy for sheer cleavage. There were some Battletoads bendy toys, but everyone knows bendy toys don't count because they suck.

9. Star Fox

Fox McCloud and his group of anthropomorphic animal pilots became staple characters in Nintendo after first appearing in the SNES classic Star Fox. The follow-up (more of a semi-remake if we're honest) Star Fox 64 didn't have quite the same impact, but those characters remain beloved. Fox is a prominent character in Nintendo's cross-franchise brawler Super Smash Bros alongside teammate Falco, and Peppy Hare's enthusiastic "Do a barrell roll!" is so well known in popular culture that a Google search will make your screen follow the instruction. Ideally we'd get a line of 3.75" figures with in-scale ships for them to pilot.

8. The Secret of Monkey Island

Before Captain Jack Sparrow flounced his way through his adventures involving undead pirates, there was the dashing-but-hapless Guybrush Threepwood (Mighty Pirate) and his cantankerous arch-nemesis, the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. Possibly the greatest point-and-click adventure game series of all time, the Monkey Island games are full of characters tailor-made for toys. Now that Disney owns LucasArts and is reportedly reaching its Cthulhu-like tendrils toward Hasbro, a Monkey Island toy line could be closer than we dare dream.

7. Commander Keen

PC gamers from the early 1990s will have fond memories of Commander Keen, a.k.a. eight-year-old child genius Billy Blaze who took to space in his own Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket and ended up fighting aliens to save the Earth. Wearing his older brother's yellow Green Bay Packers football helmet with a purple shirt, jeans and red Chucks, Commander Keen would make an excellent action figure alongside figures of creatures like the Vorticons and Robo Red. And who wouldn't want a toy of the infamous Dopefish, who still makes cameo appearances in games to this day?

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