A Grim Sigma 6 Speculation [Archive] - YoJoe.com Forums

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GI Trekker
03-14-2006, 09:36 PM
Was giving this some thought today. Keep in mind this comes from someone who trusts Hasbro these days about as far as he could throw a full-size Aircraft Carrier.

Now, we'd all like to see some new characters in the Sigma 6 line, right? Maybe some of the Dreadnoks. CERTAINLY Scarlett. Maybe some familiar faces that haven't really turned up at all yet -- Flint, Stalker, Shipwreck, whomever.

And yet, except for a handful of new characters like Zartan, Firefly, Hi-Tech, and a couple of others, Hasbro seems determined to make the 8" line the "House of Duke and Snake-Eyes".

Okay -- it could be argued that molds for 8" figures are even more expensive than ones for 3-3/4" figures. I understand and accept that. But at what cost to the ongoing popularity of the toy line?

And that brings me to point B - Does Hasbro even CARE if Sigma 6 establishes itself for any sort of longevity? Consider Bandai's Power Rangers. Consider Transformers. For all we know, Hasbro has no intention of continuing Sigma 6 for more than another year or so even if it proves to be the hottest toy on the face of the planet (which admittedly isn't saying as much as it used to), and they already have something else in the works that's completely different from ANYTHING that's gone before. Remember -- G.I.Joe is run by MARKETING these days -- not anyone in concept or design.

And, I might add, I don't think that's something that G.I.Joe can get away with as well as Power Rangers or Transformers...

So why SHOULD they risk an 8" Scarlett figure in a line that they don't see lasting?

On the other hand, it wouldn't cost nearly as much to put some of these characters into the 2.5" line. Now, I don't know about you, but while the vehicles for that line look pretty cool, and I can certainly understand the rationale, since doing 8" scale vehicles is just not that viable, I don't think any of us would want to see certain prominent characters ONLY in a barely-poseable 2.5" format.

But I've just got this very nasty feeling that this may be the direction for Sigma 6. Keep cranking out versions of the same small group in the 8" line, and new faces would be largely restricted to the 2.5" line. And personally, I think that would be, to put it politely, really awful. :(

Thoughts, anyone?

statesofeuphoria
03-15-2006, 05:59 AM
I feel the same way.

Since seeing toy fair pics we will have: 5 Snake eyes, 5 Dukes, 3 Storm Shadows and are already seeing redo's of Long Range and Heavy Duty with only a couple of new characters added to the mix. What wave are we on now 4??

I don't like the way the line is headed and I think once I pick up Destro, Zartan and Firefly, I'm done until we see some females which probably won't happen.

Any other figures I pick up will be for customs to get figures I actually want.

It seems that Hasbro creates lines of figures half-heartedly worried only about the bottom line which is important I know, but If you create something and it is quality and the commitment and attention to detail is there the sales will come, not the other way around. It seems hasbro first figures out what is going to cost what, and then puts out figures accordingly not really caring about the integrity of the product they create. Hoping buyers will bite. If they don't something else will be in the pike next year and so on and so forth.
In the early days (80's) there was a sense of the company being behind the product and putting time and consideration into everything they did. That is one of the main reasons the line was such a success. Hasbro led the way and consumers came. It wasn't until the early 90's when Hasbro started following trends (Ninja turtles, Power Rangers) that the line began to fail and instead of leading the way, they blended in to all of the other stuff on the toy aisle that catered to a younger audience. I think they are still trying to overcome this problem. With Sigma 6 I think they did market research to see what's hot...Hmmmm anime what can we do with that??? Thus S6 is born. When anime is no longer a hot ticket item, GI Joe will go through the next trend. Hmmmm....smaller miniature figures are hot now what can we do with those??? (2.5") See where this is going? What is next? Plush?

They keep trying to re invent the wheel when the formula for success was there all along. I think all buyers (collectors) want out of GI Joe is quality figures/vehicles in a cohesive universe that has military realism with a touch of fantasy/sci-fi (Cobra). Keep the repaints to a minimum (troops not included) and BOMBARD all media outlets with advertisements and product support (comics and GOOD tv show).

I'm done with my rant for the day.

gunslingercbr
03-15-2006, 06:28 AM
1. Sigma 6 is about those few characters that get figures, so no real need for a large variety of Joe characters--see Power Rangers if concerned about the success of such a strategy.

2. Keys to success of RAH in the 80's simply isn't applicable in todays market. Those strategies are obsolete, regardless of their success. The market has changed and different strategies are neccessary.

3. Marketing and design and development work in conjunction in todays environment. Neither run the process, they are both a part of it.

4. Product lines are getting shorter and shorter in todays environment. The wheel has to be continually be reinvented for success.

These are facts. If they do not coincide with your preconceived notions than it is those preconceived notions that are incorrect, not the strategies.

orionlukteel
03-15-2006, 12:44 PM
1. Sigma 6 is about those few characters that get figures, so no real need for a large variety of Joe characters--see Power Rangers if concerned about the success of such a strategy.


Heck, see Spiderman and Batman for examples of one-note successes.:D

Funny thing is, it'd probably be cheaper to release all of these accessories as accessory packs - eg. sea ops gear that could be used with the first Duke figure, and so on. - rather than continuing to release the figures at a $15 price point.

statesofeuphoria
03-15-2006, 04:34 PM
1. Sigma 6 is about those few characters that get figures, so no real need for a large variety of Joe characters--see Power Rangers if concerned about the success of such a strategy.

2. Keys to success of RAH in the 80's simply isn't applicable in todays market. Those strategies are obsolete, regardless of their success. The market has changed and different strategies are neccessary.

3. Marketing and design and development work in conjunction in todays environment. Neither run the process, they are both a part of it.

4. Product lines are getting shorter and shorter in todays environment. The wheel has to be continually be reinvented for success.

These are facts. If they do not coincide with your preconceived notions than it is those preconceived notions that are incorrect, not the strategies.




1. Power Rangers is such a success because kids easily identify with them since they have been on TV continually for the past 15 years and cater to that younger fan base. If the shows go away, I guarantee the toys won't be far behind. PR toys aren't enough to keep the brand name going without the show. The only thing S6 has in common is a smaller core group of heroes.

2.Baloney.How is this strategy obsolete? Of course times have changed, but Quality product+ company behind said product+media proliferation =success no matter what time frame the market is in. You could have the coolest product in the world, but if the company is wishy-washy and no one knows about the product when released or cant find it in stores, consumers will soon lose interest.The only thing different now is the influx of video games so Hasbro would need to tweak this stategy a little bit. If Hasbro was behind GI Joe, had comics on the news stand (not just direct market), had a daily TV show on and a video game or two on the shelves, there would be no stopping them. GI Joe should be Hasbro's bread and butter, but it seems they want to keep it on the down low for potential consumers.

3. My only problem with product development is the using of focus groups that have little to no relevance as to who is actually buying the product.

4. Hasbro is one of if not the largest toy manufacturer(s) in the world and in my opinion should be leading the way as far as action figures go. It is a sad truth that lines are getting smaller but I believe most of the fault rests with the larger retailers who want quick turnaround on product. I wouldn't say the wheel has to be reinvented, just tweaks to keep the product looking fresh at retail.

I'm so glad that you in your infinite and "correct" knowledge are here to set us simpletons straight about our ignorance. I may not know the ins and outs of the toy corporation and it's processes, but I do know enough about when something isn't broke it doesn't need to be fixed. I've only been collecting toys for 30 years. What the heck do I know anyway?
In my mind Hasbro went astray around 92 and has let the market dictate what they should do instead of them taking hold and determining what the market is. I was merely stating my opinion...this is a message board after all for GI Joe DISCUSSION. Get over yourself.

wichitastang
03-15-2006, 05:08 PM
1. Power Rangers is such a success because kids easily identify with them since they have been on TV continually for the past 15 years and cater to that younger fan base. If the shows go away, I guarantee the toys won't be far behind. PR toys aren't enough to keep the brand name going without the show. The only thing S6 has in common is a smaller core group of heroes.

2.Baloney.How is this strategy obsolete? Of course times have changed, but Quality product+ company behind said product+media proliferation =success no matter what time frame the market is in. You could have the coolest product in the world, but if the company is wishy-washy and no one knows about the product when released or cant find it in stores, consumers will soon lose interest.The only thing different now is the influx of video games so Hasbro would need to tweak this stategy a little bit. If Hasbro was behind GI Joe, had comics on the news stand (not just direct market), had a daily TV show on and a video game or two on the shelves, there would be no stopping them. GI Joe should be Hasbro's bread and butter, but it seems they want to keep it on the down low for potential consumers.

3. My only problem with product development is the using of focus groups that have little to no relevance as to who is actually buying the product.

4. Hasbro is one of if not the largest toy manufacturer(s) in the world and in my opinion should be leading the way as far as action figures go. It is a sad truth that lines are getting smaller but I believe most of the fault rests with the larger retailers who want quick turnaround on product. I wouldn't say the wheel has to be reinvented, just tweaks to keep the product looking fresh at retail.

I'm so glad that you in your infinite and "correct" knowledge are here to set us simpletons straight about our ignorance. I may not know the ins and outs of the toy corporation and it's processes, but I do know enough about when something isn't broke it doesn't need to be fixed. I've only been collecting toys for 30 years. What the heck do I know anyway?
In my mind Hasbro went astray around 92 and has let the market dictate what they should do instead of them taking hold and determining what the market is. I was merely stating my opinion...this is a message board after all for GI Joe DISCUSSION. Get over yourself.
I agree with what your saying. Kids are kids and that will never change. Like you said, if Hasbro pushed the RAH line it would fly. Don't get me wrong I don't know jack about marketing and the way the toy industry works,but I think kids would play with stuff that we played with 20 years ago. Just my opinion.

GI Trekker
03-17-2006, 07:54 PM
One additional thought on this. I was at a certain Toys "R" Us yesterday, the one that's more distant from me from where I live in Tucson. This TRU is soon to become a combination Toys "R" Us/Babies "R" Us. Since they're not expanding their space, this means that the store's "Toys "R" Us space will be diminishing -- including their action figure section.

The manager of that store, whom I have known for years, very specifically said that the only action figures they'll carry are the REALLY hot ones that sell through right away.

In light of that comment, and assuming that this is not the only TRU that will be doing this, and throwing in both the marketing AND the stockholder mentality that if there's even a slight dip in the sales of some item (a friend of mine who is far more of a business expert than myself has regaled me with the stories of how stockholders of almost any company get upset when that company's product fails to continue to GROW in sales, even if it's something like DVD players that once most of the country has one the sales growth is LOGICALLY going to slow down), then it's panic-time and a change MUST be brought about -- how might THAT effect Sigma 6's longevity?

Alas, this isn't the 80's anymore. The Real American Hero lasted for twelve years, had good years and some not-so-good, but I believe it took a pretty serious dip, as well as some very serious competition, to bring it down. I wonder if the same can be said of Sigma 6, and that's NOT to malign Sigma 6.

Look at it this way. The Real American Hero could've withstood, in its day, the equivalent of a massive belly wound. I fear that all it would take for the powers-that-be to declare Sigma 6's time over would be the equivalent of a paper cut.

lograydmk
03-18-2006, 05:30 PM
I think the toy world in general is pretty grim theese days
there doesn't seem to be a need for imaginative play
I think it is just the direction we accept society bringing us

other then that i think that Sigma Six is a great toy line
I really can not think of a toyline that we do not get alot of multipe versions of the key charecters

Sigma Six as a whole looks great thye look to have a lot of playablilty i really dig the cloth parts of there costumes

I do not buy them because i collect to much as it is already and they are pricey for me right now

but other wise I would

I would like to see a Scarlett and The Baroness though

I would have to buy those and probly end up getting a Snake Eyes Storm Shadow Duke Spirit Tunnel Rat Zartan Cobra commander And destro to

gunslingercbr
03-19-2006, 11:34 AM
2.Baloney.How is this strategy obsolete? Of course times have changed, but Quality product+ company behind said product+media proliferation =success no matter what time frame the market is in. You could have the coolest product in the world, but if the company is wishy-washy and no one knows about the product when released or cant find it in stores, consumers will soon lose interest.The only thing different now is the influx of video games so Hasbro would need to tweak this stategy a little bit. If Hasbro was behind GI Joe, had comics on the news stand (not just direct market), had a daily TV show on and a video game or two on the shelves, there would be no stopping them. GI Joe should be Hasbro's bread and butter, but it seems they want to keep it on the down low for potential consumers.
not even close to be an applicable debate of what I said. kids today aren't the same as kids, like most of us, 20 years ago, just as kids 20 years ago weren't the same weren't the same as their parents 30 years before that. yet it is your defense that because one strategy worked years ago it should continue to work. that is a rdiculous assertion, because it assumes that success existed in a vacuum and wasn't a repercussion of appealing to children in a way applicable to that time, and ignores the strategic reason of why it worked.


I'm so glad that you in your infinite and "correct" knowledge are here to set us simpletons straight about our ignorance. I may not know the ins and outs of the toy corporation and it's processes, but I do know enough about when something isn't broke it doesn't need to be fixed. I've only been collecting toys for 30 years. What the heck do I know anyway?
In my mind Hasbro went astray around 92 and has let the market dictate what they should do instead of them taking hold and determining what the market is. I was merely stating my opinion...this is a message board after all for GI Joe DISCUSSION. Get over yourself.
you're welcome. I'm sorry you don't like the truth if it disputes your opinion. you are free to ignore these facts and believe anything you like, nobody is focing you to accept them.

msv
03-19-2006, 12:20 PM
I just bought a Sigma 6 stormshadow in a Toys r us in Canada; I think that's a good sign.

Dakemesh
03-19-2006, 06:10 PM
1. Sigma 6 is about those few characters that get figures, so no real need for a large variety of Joe characters--see Power Rangers if concerned about the success of such a strategy.


See Mattel's defunct He-man line for an example of failure with that strategy. They had great sculpts, and a supporting cartoon, but b/c every case shipped with 4 He-man's, 4 Skeletors and 1 each of two other figures, the line killed itself. The minute I see Snake Armor Duke, or Battle Damage Cobra Commander... uh...;)

statesofeuphoria
03-19-2006, 08:15 PM
not even close to be an applicable debate of what I said. kids today aren't the same as kids, like most of us, 20 years ago, just as kids 20 years ago weren't the same weren't the same as their parents 30 years before that. yet it is your defense that because one strategy worked years ago it should continue to work. that is a rdiculous assertion, because it assumes that success existed in a vacuum and wasn't a repercussion of appealing to children in a way applicable to that time, and ignores the strategic reason of why it worked.


you're welcome. I'm sorry you don't like the truth if it disputes your opinion. you are free to ignore these facts and believe anything you like, nobody is focing you to accept them.

What debate?
I voiced my opinion and your only retort is: You are wrong because I said so and if you have a difference of opinion you are ignorant.

Gimme a break dude. At least I was trying to give examples other than saying "i'm right you're wrong deal with it" as you have done.
The TRUTH is Hasbro is not behind the brand name of GI Joe like they have been in the past. That is FACT. If you believe anything different, I would like to visit this fantasy world you live in because it isn't a place called reality.
I was merely giving an example of how thier marketing has worked in the past and if you actually READ the post you would see that I stated this strategy would have to be tweaked since we are dealing with a new generation of kids.

SoulcatcherX
03-21-2006, 12:00 AM
It's been trounced over and over. For a toyline to be sucessful nowadays it has to have basically (though admittedly not always) the full-packaged media push via comics, videogames, chapter-books, special output DVD's and at least a weekly television series.

Anymore, when you get a new toy on the shelves it is a result of cross mediatation from movie releases (FF, Spidey, Batman Begins, *sense a pattern here?*).

The fact is there is probally only one single toyline that will _never_ be off of the store shelves no matter what and even that market has had to diverge into various off-shoots and is often outsold by those same branchings. It has outlasted not only every female-oriented line but has effectually stomped every boy-oriented line as well (with the possible exception of Hot Wheels). That plastic juggernaut is, of course, Barbie.

The lesson here, however, is the way that Barbie has done so (Bratz and MyScene stuff aside). Never straying from from the original concept whilst still keeping current with modern trends. Maybe fashion is easier to emulate that the warfare theme of Joe in that regard? Not only that, but they also have learn to exploit cross-promotional aspects better than anyone else. Anyone here with a daughter can attest to seemingly endless flood of direct-to-retail themed movies that sink their hooks in our precious baby girls. Brilliance in marketing. Pure murder on my budget.

And that is the tripping stone of Hasbro's Joe-line. They gave it an effort but the results were nothing better than mediocre, which really can not be solely their fault when they have to vie against (or more accurately, parallel themselves) with a generation of over-diagnosed ADD adolescents that succumb to any and every distraction placed before them.

MikePrime
03-21-2006, 12:09 AM
I'd like to know why the "they prefer video games" comment is frequently used when it comes to discussions about the demise of action figures? Did they just invent home video game systems in the last seven years?

I played my NES, and then SNES and Sega Genesis all of the time and I still liked G.I. Joes and other action figure lines.

SoulcatcherX
03-21-2006, 12:22 AM
I'd like to know why the "they prefer video games" comment is frequently used when it comes to discussions about the demise of action figures? Did they just invent home video game systems in the last seven years?

I played my NES, and then SNES and Sega Genesis all of the time and I still liked G.I. Joes and other action figure lines.

I think they key point here is that you and I (and others of "older" generations) actually did do other things besides play video games. Generally, in today's kid-centric society they either play games on a console, play on a computer or have a phone attached to their ear. If none of that, they are hanging with friends (which by some newly designed social standard dictates that playing with toys after the age of 8 is uncool).

Rotty
03-21-2006, 03:45 AM
It's been trounced over and over. For a toyline to be sucessful nowadays it has to have basically (though admittedly not always) the full-packaged media push via comics, videogames, chapter-books, special output DVD's and at least a weekly television series.

Like you said, not always. Lego's wildly popular Bionicle line is going into its sixth consecutive year on the shelves, and has succeeded without a television series. Indeed, for the first two years it succeeded purely on the strength of the online story, play pattern of the toys, and video games. Later books and an annual direct-to-DVD movie were added, but the initial two years of success were without that support.

Could GI Joe do that well with a great story? No, I don't think it could, not as long as it's saddled with Cobra. I think kids today are savvy enough to know that anyone waging war on the United States with tanks and fighter jets and submarines and androids is an absurd concept. There's too much of the Soviet Union's military-industrial complex in Cobra for them to find wide acceptance in today's world.

orionlukteel
03-21-2006, 11:00 AM
Like you said, not always. Lego's wildly popular Bionicle line is going into its sixth consecutive year on the shelves, and has succeeded without a television series. Indeed, for the first two years it succeeded purely on the strength of the online story, play pattern of the toys, and video games. Later books and an annual direct-to-DVD movie were added, but the initial two years of success were without that support.



Keep in mind, though, that Bionicles were HEAVILY marketed, much moreso than Joes have been since the 90's. You couldn't watch cartoons or kids' shows when Bionicles first came out without seeing one or more commercials for the line. Same thing for just about every Batman line (and that WAS produced in conjunction with movies and cartoons)

GI Joe currently has a LITTLE of that support, but nowhere near the blitz that Lego put on.

I see the point you guys are making, just keep in mind the level of marketing for some of those other lines.

Rotty
03-21-2006, 01:40 PM
Keep in mind, though, that Bionicles were HEAVILY marketed, much moreso than Joes have been since the 90's. You couldn't watch cartoons or kids' shows when Bionicles first came out without seeing one or more commercials for the line. Same thing for just about every Batman line (and that WAS produced in conjunction with movies and cartoons)

GI Joe currently has a LITTLE of that support, but nowhere near the blitz that Lego put on.

Right. A line needs a certain budget for 30-second ads when it first comes out, at least through December of that year, to obtain a critical mass of interest with kids. The other key ingredients are the play value of the toys, a story that captures the imaginations of kids, and a TV series or blockbuster movie or video games. GI Joe is falling down on advertising and its story is running on fumes from 1984-86 rather than changing into something that would excite kids.

Canadian51
03-21-2006, 04:26 PM
There are a variety of reasons why ARAH is in trouble. I think it is important to note, that many of the people posting in this discussion are viewing things from the 33/4 inch viewpoint.

Consider that GI Joe has survived in some way shape or form for a long long time and the basic concept of a well articulated, well accessorized action figure will live on past 33/4 inch figures.

Some things to note regarding many of the ideas presented. Saturday Morning Cartoons are "dead" in 1992 CBS cancelled their Saturday morning cartoon lineup (replacing it with the Today Show and Saved By the Bell.)

Before people reply with "but there are cartoons on Saturdays now..." that may be true, but it has been a slow process back for the cartoons, and they are not viewed in the same fashion. Cartoons in the 80s were 30 minute commercials where kids would decide which vehicle/figure they had to have. This is gone. Normal commercials work to remind kids of who/what they want, but will not serve to implant the notion of "I have to have X for my birthday no matter what..." the same way seeing Shipwreck save the girl and blow up the Moray during a 30 minute episode would.

Video games are not new. They have been around for decades stealing kids money in arcades, and now with expensive consoles and games. Yes, I remember playing GI Joe before Nintendo came out. I remember playing after it came out. But I also remember many of my friends hanging up their toys in favor of video games (or selling them to buy new games). My little brother who was born in 89 never picked up on toys the same way I did. He watched me play video games until he was old enough to play on his own and bypassed toys entirely.

I also agree (as much as it pains me) that Cobra is outdated. The concept prayed on the fears of children (and their parents) of the faceless (look at the CGs and Troopers) enemy that was COMMUNIST RUSSIA. So inspiring kids to take up the good freedom fight was important.

Cobra being a "terrorist" organization fails miserably by comparison to the real life battles being fought. I agree that an overhaul of Cobra is needed for GI Joe to be effective with kids.

However, most toys are being marketed to a much younger audience (pre video game age) and therefore violence has to be even MORE reduced than twenty years ago.

These are some (of the many) reasons why GI Joe ARAH (and its 33/4 inch brethren) are struggling.

GI Joe will live on as long as little boys want to grow up to be soldiers. It just might not ever be as big as in the 80s.

Yo Joe.

GI Steevy
03-21-2006, 09:37 PM
Right. A line needs a certain budget for 30-second ads when it first comes out, at least through December of that year, to obtain a critical mass of interest with kids. The other key ingredients are the play value of the toys, a story that captures the imaginations of kids, and a TV series or blockbuster movie or video games. GI Joe is falling down on advertising and its story is running on fumes from 1984-86 rather than changing into something that would excite kids.
I agree

I still feel Sigma Six has been the much needed kick in the pants the franchise needed, especially in its portrayal of Cobra which fits modern themes of the hidden terrorist cells, while at the same time recasting them in a supervillian role to make them more appealing to kids.

Dreadnok4life
03-22-2006, 02:04 PM
Like you said, not always. Lego's wildly popular Bionicle line is going into its sixth consecutive year on the shelves, and has succeeded without a television series. Indeed, for the first two years it succeeded purely on the strength of the online story, play pattern of the toys, and video games. Later books and an annual direct-to-DVD movie were added, but the initial two years of success were without that support.

Could GI Joe do that well with a great story? No, I don't think it could, not as long as it's saddled with Cobra. I think kids today are savvy enough to know that anyone waging war on the United States with tanks and fighter jets and submarines and androids is an absurd concept. There's too much of the Soviet Union's military-industrial complex in Cobra for them to find wide acceptance in today's world.

The inclusion of Cobra as GI Joe's enemy has nothing to do with the toyline's perceived failure. A different enemy might spark new interest in the line for you, but a 7 year old who hasn't been collecting Joe for 20 years could care less. Cobra would be as new to them as it was to us 20 years ago. So replacing Cobra with some other goofy concept such as "The Red Shadows" or "The Bad Guys" or whatever wouldn't change anything.

I think you don't have much experience being around seven year olds. Either that or the kids you know are geniuses. Because the seven year olds I know aren't "savvy" enough to know about the "Soviet Union's military-industrial complex" in Cobra. All of the 7 year olds I know are doing pretty well if they can name all of the state capitals.

In summary what you are saying is the typical kid, who worships Harry Potter's magic and flying dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a man with the powers of a Spider (Spiderman), could not believe GI Joe has an enemy that has tanks and airplanes? That doesn't make sense to me at all.

I'm sure we are in agreement that GI Joe has to have an enemy to fight. It should be an enemy that is relatively equal to GI Joe. Otherwise it wouldn't hold anyone's interest. So what's wrong with Cobra?

There is no way Hasbro could make the enemy realistic to today's world. Could you imagine the horror and outrage the public would have if Hasbro introduced a realistic enemy for Joe. I can see Wave 1 now, It would feature Osama Bin Laden as "Leader". An exploding Arabic female terrorist with her own explosives ladened waist pack who carries a baby in her arms. It could include the Islamic Fascist student who runs over fellow college students with his SUV? Umm.. I don't think so.

What other enemy could they have? China? Some fictional country? I think when you examine the alternatives Cobra is a solid choice as Joe's enemy.

MikePrime
03-22-2006, 04:14 PM
The inclusion of Cobra as GI Joe's enemy has nothing to do with the toyline's perceived failure. A different enemy might spark new interest in the line for you, but a 7 year old who hasn't been collecting Joe for 20 years could care less. Cobra would be as new to them as it was to us 20 years ago. So replacing Cobra with some other goofy concept such as "The Red Shadows" or "The Bad Guys" or whatever wouldn't change anything.

I think you don't have much experience being around seven year olds. Either that or the kids you know are geniuses. Because the seven year olds I know aren't "savvy" enough to know about the "Soviet Union's military-industrial complex" in Cobra. All of the 7 year olds I know are doing pretty well if they can name all of the state capitals.

In summary what you are saying is the typical kid, who worships Harry Potter's magic and flying dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a man with the powers of a Spider (Spiderman), could not believe GI Joe has an enemy that has tanks and airplanes? That doesn't make sense to me at all.

I'm sure we are in agreement that GI Joe has to have an enemy to fight. It should be an enemy that is relatively equal to GI Joe. Otherwise it wouldn't hold anyone's interest. So what's wrong with Cobra?

There is no way Hasbro could make the enemy realistic to today's world. Could you imagine the horror and outrage the public would have if Hasbro introduced a realistic enemy for Joe. I can see Wave 1 now, It would feature Osama Bin Laden as "Leader". An exploding Arabic female terrorist with her own explosives ladened waist pack who carries a baby in her arms. It could include the Islamic Fascist student who runs over fellow college students with his SUV? Umm.. I don't think so.

What other enemy could they have? China? Some fictional country? I think when you examine the alternatives Cobra is a solid choice as Joe's enemy.

Agreed. I ceretainly never considered anything all that complex when I was a kid.

Still, an all racially inclusive, extremely well organized, homegrown terrorist organization is a bit fantastical.

Rotty
03-23-2006, 12:47 AM
The inclusion of Cobra as GI Joe's enemy has nothing to do with the toyline's perceived failure. A different enemy might spark new interest in the line for you, but a 7 year old who hasn't been collecting Joe for 20 years could care less. Cobra would be as new to them as it was to us 20 years ago. So replacing Cobra with some other goofy concept such as "The Red Shadows" or "The Bad Guys" or whatever wouldn't change anything.

I think you don't have much experience being around seven year olds. Either that or the kids you know are geniuses. Because the seven year olds I know aren't "savvy" enough to know about the "Soviet Union's military-industrial complex" in Cobra. All of the 7 year olds I know are doing pretty well if they can name all of the state capitals.

The logic of seven-year-old's isn't that sophisticated. Rather, what I'm saying is that the Cobra we love is a concept utterly foreign to kids of this decade. Think about it, if a kid in the '80s thought the military was "cool", he could look at illustrated books with lots of images of the tanks, fighter jets, and such used by foreign powers that his country's military might fight. Soviet military hardware was chic enough that I could buy model kits at the local Target or K-Mart (and Portland, Oregon isn't exactly near a military base to create a heightened demand for military toys and kits). That was the context in which Cobra's fleets of high-tech weapons flew off the shelves like hotcakes. Kids today who think the military is "cool" are much more likely to hear about bad guys having improvised explosives than fighter jets.


In summary what you are saying is the typical kid, who worships Harry Potter's magic and flying dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a man with the powers of a Spider (Spiderman), could not believe GI Joe has an enemy that has tanks and airplanes? That doesn't make sense to me at all.

The issue as I see it is this: there's nothing in a contemporary child's world that resembles our vision of what GI Joe is. Magic, races of robots, and superheroes are staples of the cultural landscape. Meanwhile, there's nothing in today's world even close to the GI Joe of the 1980s other than... GI Joe. Being foreign to reality isn't the problem, it's being foreign to reality and everything in popular culture.


I'm sure we are in agreement that GI Joe has to have an enemy to fight. It should be an enemy that is relatively equal to GI Joe. Otherwise it wouldn't hold anyone's interest. So what's wrong with Cobra?

There isn't a problem with an enemy called "Cobra". The problem arises from a tendancy to copy every aspect of Cobra as it existed in the most profitable years of the vintage 3.75" line (approx. 1983-1986). I don't know if it's a lack of creativity, nostalgia by the design team, fear that purchases by adult fans eager to recapture the emotions that GI Joe brought them as kids during those years, or what, but after applying this formula through 4 years of anemic sales, it's clearly not working.

So an enemy called "Cobra" could be possible in a blockbuster-success, among-the-3-best-selling-action-figure-brands GI Joe, but not the one we're familiar with. It would have to be an enemy kids could relate to.