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McUpdates
 September 4 2001

Beetlejuice Releases

Suncoast, Sam Goody, and other "Media Play" affiliated stores have started getting their Beetlejuice product from some company in New Jersey you've never heard of. After seeing them, you'll wish you never heard that someone picked up this Tim Burton license-- the sculpts are terrible and the prices are a bit high. 5 carded figures and two three-piece PVC box sets have shipped to stores, and if early sales are an indication, they might stay there.

McBionicle

After making numerous visits and phone calls to McDonalds-- something I dare not wish upon anyone-- it seems like McBionicle is due to be released this Friday. Lots of eBay auctions have surfaced for the six figures, and it appears comic books will be coming as well.

In the grand tradition of McToys for each gender, the she-toy is "Diva Starz." Pretty hideous stuff.

McFarlane Clearances

Several more McFarlane lines have shown up at Kay-Bee Toys on clearance-- Alice Cooper ($7.99), Rob Zombie ($6.99), and more have shown up alongside existing Yellow Submarine: Sgt. Pepper ($4.99) and Anime ($4.99) lines. While Where the Wild Things Are haven't shown up yet, we're still watching.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit for GameBoy Advance Impressions

Well, the game is making the rounds around the office. And it's good. Real good. The new tracks are longer than the Super NES version, and the graphics are nicely tweaked to look a few development cycles beyond the original. The graphics are still strictly 16bit-- hey, like our name-- but all the gameplay of the original is there.

Seriously. I unlocked most of the original tracks, and the Super NES versions are there in their pseudo-updated splendor. Instead of having the four cups with five tracks each, there are five cups with four tracks each. Annoying? You betcha. But with the exception of a few minor graphical tweaks and Wario taking the place of the Koopa Troopa, there really isn't that much difference between the included classic courses and those of the original.

And to answer two popular questions: we haven't tried Battle Mode yet (one unit, no cord, no test), and the graphics are bright enough to not require an obscene amount of external light to see the screen. The game is on sale at Target this week for $25.88, the regular price is around $29.99, and the going rate of the game at most mall video game stores is $34.99. If you have the money and the GBA, you need this game.

Star Wars Cheap

Clearance fanatics, take note: many Wal-Marts and Kay-Bee stores are getting in cheap Power of the Jedi product, meaning you can get great figures like Dagobah Darth Vader-- the one with the removable head and faceplate-- for like only three bucks.

16bit Updates

Not much on the site front to report in the way of updates, but our Internet connection-- which is allegedly a T1 or some derivation thereof-- has been a sluggish 140 bytes/second or less. I swear, a 2400 modem is better than this...

-- AP

Progress
 September 5 2001

Batman: New Cheap Finds

Hasbro's Bat-line has gone through a lot of repaints over the years, and for those interested, here are some new ones to keep an eye out for.
Spectrum of the Bat: Originally showing up at Macfrugals and Big Lots stores, these are now trickling into Kay-Bee stores. They're basically just repaints, but as cheap Batfodder, they aren't bad.
Wal-Mart: A trio of small boxed two-packs are hitting the discount city for $5.99 each. Batman vs. The Joker, Batman & Superman, and Batman & Robin are available at most Wal-Marts now.

Cubix at Burger King

Robots for Everyone is the latest kiddie fare to grace the Kid's Club Meals at the Burger King. Included are several sets which each contain a component to build an eight-inch tall version of the lead robot, Cubix. Next at BK: Treehouse of Horror Simpsons toys.

Dreamcast's Demise: Bargain Basement Bonanza

While the hardcore already know this, several stores have been bumping down DC games to the price of a song-- Target has had Tony Hawk as low as $10, and Electronics Boutique has had Jet Grind Radio for $9.99, with all stores having dozens of titles for $19.99 or less. If you're looking to round out that game library and have a Dreamcast (now $79.99) there's no better time to grab some new stuff.

Simpsons Wave 5 Playsets Quotes

The Simpsons Collector Sector posted the "Try Me" quotes from the Wave 5 playsets-- the arcade and the church. Looks like Playmates picked a bunch of good ones for this round.

TransFormers: New Toon Saturday, New Releases

If you live in the USA-- well, most of the USA-- Fox Kids will be airing TransFormers: Robots In Disguise this weekend. The series, a localized version of the Japanese Car Robots episodes, features the infamous original transforming sound effect from the original show as well as other small changes that the American market has come to expect from the market translation. Apparently, Fox will be airing the show early-- like 8 AM in most parts of the country.

Word has it the show will air in the UK this October and in Canada... uh... the next week?

Also, the second series of small cars-- the two-packs for $4.99-- are starting to hit. These are especially notable because they feature molds which have been shelved since the mid-'90s. They're still essentially just transforming Hot Wheels cars, but hey, they're neat, painted well, and cheap so keep your eyes open. (And these are the first RiD releases that were not originally offered in Japan's Car Robots series.)

TransFormers II: ToyFare Exclusive

In an ironic twist, the folks of Bigbot.com are petitioning ToyFare magazine to get an exclusive-- this is interesting, since the Simpsons folk are petitioning to BAN them from getting future exclusives. Getting such an exclusive is a fairly dubious honor. Either way, it's notable, so check it out.

-- AP

Ninjalicious
 September 6 2001

Back to the Future from Corgi

BTTF.com posted this new toy from Corgi in their catalog and they're selling 'em for $24.88. I don't know what it's selling for elsewhere, but eh, it's cool and they're good people, so there's a free plug. To our vast audience of six readers.

Bionicle Combiner Instructions

The crack staff of Mask Of Destiny posted some custom instructions of the model that can be made with the six smaller sets, the Turaga Nui. Nifty stuff.

(I also pulled an Infected Hau mask out of one of the packs tonight... good stuff. Now I gotta make some sort of custom Evil Tahu or something with it...)

McAnime 2 Previews

Spawn.com posted QTVR shots of the second batch of the 3D Animation figures... but Kaneda on his bike doesn't seem to want to work. Still, cool stuff, and these are due out shortly. And don't forget, series one is at the finer Kay-Bee stores for $4.99!

Thanks to LoserSW for pointing this out.

TransFormers: Packaging Redux

Some of the original two-packs of RID figures will be appearing in new packaging, this time with both cars appearing in car mode. So there's a variant for ya.

-- AP

Yak's Back
 September 7 2001

McBionicle News

McDonalds.com added their page for the promotion, which starts today. Don't forget there's a Duplo "under 3" toy of something that resembles a mask made out of multicolored bricks as well as a comic book which is reprinted online.

TransFormers: New Toys, New Names

This eBay auction posted packaged picks of three Decepticon-- yes, Decepticon-- combiners. The Combaticons are seen here, complete with the logos of evil, with their US names for the first time. In case the auction doesn't work, they are as follows:
Jeep: Rollbar
Space Ship: Movor
Tank: Armorhide

Yakface.com Revised

Well, the relanch of Yakface.com is underway, and as a result we didn't get new stuff for 16bit today. Come back Monday.

-- AP

New Junk
 September 11 2001

New Final Fantasy Art

A few days ago, The GIA posted some original artwork based on the classic game series. "Moogles Playing Poker." That should be incentive enough to go look. It's also the highlight...

My Pet Monster Returns

The orange-manacled blue and purple monster from the 1980s has started surfacing in a slightly new form at our local K-Mart stores, complete with the original name. Knock-offs have appeared elsewhere. We think it's interesting.

Simpsons Cereal

Kelloggs has announced they're doing their part to revitalize another important part of the 1980s: the licensed character cereal. After years with no Urkel-Os, Nintendo Cereal System, or the classic Mr. T Cereal, we're getting two new entries: Homer Simpson's Cinnamon Donut Cereal and Bart Simpson's Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch.

Want proof? Read this article over at Excite.

(Oh, and the show just one two Emmys. Best Animated Program, and one to Hank Azaria for... something.)

Star Wars: Episode One DVD Stuff

Quite possibly the biggest thing since Jesus, a press conference at Skywalker Ranch over the weekend kicked off the biggest marketing deal for a DVD we can recall. From the sound of things, regardless of what people thought of the flick, people are gonna buy it anyway. Well, we were waiting for the DVD from the get-go, but now we can go to any of a dozen sites and get pretty much anything you'd ever want to know about the disc-- and you should go to your fave DVD site and take a look-see.

Also notable, early reviews of Citizen Kane are getting pushed by the wayside, and that's supposed to be a hugely significant release... restored print, etc. (Kane, by the by, has a ton of supplements, a newish print, and is also a two-disc set which will bow on September 25. Along with The Simpsons Season One.)

TransFormers: New Releases

Still more new Robots in Disguise have popped up in stores. In addition to the repackaged car two-packs and two new sets with all-new molds, a pair of Auto/Jet two-packs have surfaced. The wheeled vehicles are US releases of the Japanese Wrecker Hook and Indy Heat toys, while the jets are repainted G2 Cyberjets. And yes, they're Decepticons, complete with the logos. They're in the Deluxe assortments. (We picked up Tow-Line and Skyfire.)

Zoids Hit US

Toys "R" Us here in Tucson has gotten in an assortment of a trio of domestic releases of Japanese Zoids, including Cannon Tortoise and Gun Sniper. The smaller sets are $9.99 each at the store, which is a few dollars more each than they were selling for in Japan. The toys come in graphically unpleasing and trilogo packaging.

-- AP

Enter A Title, Moron
 September 13 2001

Donate Blood/Time/Stuff

If you haven't thought about it already, consider donating some of yourself to the survivors of the New York tragedy. Check your local organizations and institutions for details. We wish everyone involved the best in these difficult times.

Bionicle: McRandom

Those of you collecting the McDonalds Bionicle Toys may have noticed an element of randomness in the distribution of the toys-- some local stores have #3 and #6, another one has had #4 and just got #2, and the list goes on. So you might not have missed a toy yet, but it might not hurt to call around to see if a store has one you're missing since it seems possible that a set could be completed already.

Final Fantasy X: 2002

GameSpot is reporting the next installment in the popular Square RPG series will be available in the US in English in January.

McFarlane Anime 2 at Entertainment Earth

E-Tailler Entertainment Earth sent out a message today letting us know they're the first on the block with Tenchi and all the other second series Anime figures. Check 'em out.

TransFormers: TransTech Art

This site has images of concept art for the abandoned TransTech Optimus toy.

-- AP

Better Never Than Late
 September 14 2001

Lord of the Rings Now Available

Today's big toy news is that the initial Toy Biz line is out. We scored a Witch King Ringwraith ($7.99 at Toys "R" Us) and other figures were available, including Samwise, Legolas, Newbortn Lurtz, Samwise, Gandalf, and a few others. (No Strider though.) The figures are typical Toy Biz-- some look amazing, others look like trash.

The packaging is similar to some of the large Xena figures--flat back, rounded front. These look very durable, and do a fairly good job of making the toys look like a better value than they actually are. (Eight bucks for a figure means it better be a damned good figure.)

Like most Toy Biz figures, this feels like another line that might be popular for a week, then people stop caring. (Like X-Men.) Although a lot of the figures are rather nice, so don't wait to pick up the whole line on clearance.

A feature on the figure with multiple shots of the toy and one of its packaging can be found in our toybox, or click directly to it here. A full review of the toy and additional images of its packaging may follow.

Bionicle: Last McPost

As of today, it's possible to buy all six toys here in Arizona, and the line has only been out for one week. Wow. The only one we haven't seen/bought is the Under 3 toy, but we haven't asked around much.

Causey Way: Last Release

What Else? Records finally updated their site this week with info on the newest and most likely final release of The Causey Way. The label has had a six track CD on tap for at least two years, and the site says that the album is finally due this Fall. I really, really, really hope so-- I'm fixin' me for more new Causey. There's a RealAudio track of one new tune, "Makes Me."

What Else? is an indie label best known for its wide array of releases on vinyl, including a live show from Supernova on a 10" record, a 7" of old TV show covers from Less Than Jake, and lots of other stuff you've never heard of. And there's a punk cover of "The Safety Dance" in there somewhere.

GameCube Launch

The latest Nintendo game console hit Japan today. With only three launch titles, it seems the reception of the half-million units has been rather lukewarm. The following sites have features on it:
GameSpot
IGN

Birthday

It's my birthday. I'm gonna buy me some junk and play me some Starcraft. McDonalds for lunch. Good times.

-- AP

CGI Ninja Turtles, McFarlane-O-Rama
 September 17 2001

McFarlane Anime Exclusive Ryoko at EB

In a bit of a surprise move, an exclusive repaint in new packaging showed up at Electronics Boutique last Friday... this new version of Ryoko is turquoise, black, and purple. Interested? Check your local malls or EB World.

McFarlane's Jim Morrison of the Doors Figure Released

Also released, The Lizard King. (He can do anything.)

McFarlane Movie Maniacs IV Released

Yet more releases, including Evil Ash, and the Terminators T-1000 and T-800 as well as others. Check your local stores.

ReSaurus Store Clearances

ReSaurus, one of the great, dying toy companies that emerged in the past few years, is marking down several items in their company store. Items include Street Fighter, Pick-Ups, Special Forces, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Simpsons Pin Pals Moe

Wizard World has added Pin Pal Moe to their site in a variety of bundles with magazine subscriptions and previous exclusives. The cheapest one is about $44. The figure will be sold separately in the future.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... in CGI?!?

While those who care almost certainly know, it was news to us-- NinjaTurtles.com, the official TMNT site, has some info on a CGI animated TV pilot that was posted in June. Screenshots and a press release of sorts are under-- oddly-- their "Contact Us" area.

-- AP

Duploriffic
 September 18 2001

GameCube Launch Sales Figures

GameSpot posted sales data of the sleeper launch of the system, which was made available in Japan on September 14. The system, surprisingly, did not sell out completely... check out GameSpot for full details.

McDonalds "Bionicle" Duplo Toy

For the curious, here's an image of the "Under 3" toy for the Bionicle promotion. It's more of a parrot than a tiki, but it's still definitely not worth the two bucks.

-- AP

I Like Traffic Lights
 September 20 2001

Harry Potter LEGO Arriving

From Bricks To Broomsticks posted a report of people finding the new Harry Potter sets at a Wal-Mart in Ohio. Certainly, this is good news for everybody looking for these.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Delay Greatly Exaggerated

The Gaming Intelligence Agency posted that Konami of America confirmed that the game is still scheduled for release in North America on November 13, albiet with at least one cut.

Simpsons: Rabbi Krustofski

The Simpsons Collector Sector is reporting TV Guide has confirmed an action figure of Krusty the Clown's father. An interesting choice, to say the least.

-- AP

Simple
 September 26 2001

Simpsons DVD Released

The new box set of Simpsons Season One episodes has been released at retail. The lowest price in stores seems to be $29.99 at Target and Best Buy. Online, the lowest prices can be computed at DVD Price Search.

Early impressions: the "never before seen scenes" from the "Some Enchanted Evening" (aka Babysitter Bandit) are of a very low quality in terms of visuals. Overall, the look of the DVD is superior to what I'm used to seeing for the show (i.e., bad antenna signal) but it isn't as good as, say, a recently released Disney disc. This collection trumps and VHS set taped off of the airwaves, easily, and for $30 for 13 episodes, it ain't bad. However there are some VERY NASTY bits of digital artifacting, and at least one instance of a pixellated image taking the place of a few seconds of animation.

The two commentaries we checked out-- "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" and "Bart The Genius"-- really color what was going on at the beginning of the show's production. If there was ever any doubt that this first batch of episodes was rushed, consider it eliminated.

Be sure to read series creator Matt Groening's letter inside the packaging-- funny stuff.

Simpsons Series 5 Playsets Released

Both the Arcade and Church were spotted (by us) in Tucson at Suncoast Motion Picture Co. at El Con Mall. If they weren't $29.99 there, we'd have images for you.

Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 2 Released

The Simpsons Collector Sector posted word (and images) of this piece's release. Check their site for the full scoop. (And if anyone scores an extra TOH2, do let us know.)

TransFormers PVC Act 4 Images

KingBlackLioTigerMegaDragonGigaDeathyHawkPredaGalvaGoRound! (Formerly Citizen V, formerly Baron Heinrich Zemo) posted these two links to images of the new figures on the newsgroup alt.toys.transformers.
Group Shot
Fortress Maximus

Xbox Kiosks at Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us stores in the USA are rolling out new "R-Zone" displays for Xbox and PlayStation 2, both of which are quite impressive. The Xbox display features pictures of upcoming games, a physical representation of the console, and of course, nothing playable just yet. The system, though, is gigantic-- if you heard it was big, you still might be in for a surprise. It's definitely the biggest system released in quite some time...

-- AP

Half Attention
 September 28 2001

Final Fantasy: Unlimited Trailer

The Gaming Intelligence Agency has posted a brief trailer of the new Final Fantasy Anime series.

New Nightmare Before Christmas Ride and Merch at Disneyland

Boingo.com posted shots of the new Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland. Definitley worth a look, as there's a lot of new statues and merchandise to see!

Simpsons Cereal Released

Collecting Simpsons has located and posted information on the new Simpsons Cereal brands: Homer's Cinnamon Donut and Bart Simpson Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch.

-- AP

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