It comes up alot that Hasbro has gotten deep in the habit of finding a few core characters like Duke, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow, and milking them for all they are worth. And while I've been guilty of clicking on threads that rally against Hasbro for such practices, in truth, I'd rather have it that way than the way they conducted their lines in the 80's.
I'll be 28 this year. My first GI Joe was a Duke. I probably got him as a gift sometime in 84, but being as I had barely started preschool at that time, he was long gone by the time I got a brand new RoadBlock 2 years later. Unfortunatly, RoadBlock also met his demise in my sandbox where he jprobably rests today. My collection however, I would say began in 87. By that time, I was old enough to treat my toys the way they were meant to be treated, and smart enough to value them. 87 was a horrible year to get into GI Joe. I would've begged for repacks back then. I would come home from school, pop down in front of the TV and watch the adventures of Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Bazooka, Alpine, Airtight, ect. I loved these characters, and I loved spending a half hour with them every day. Once every few weeks, we would go to the Kmart or Kroger and if I was good, I'd get to look at joes. What I would find was not the silent ninja commando, or a feisty redhead that helped save the day on my TV every weekday afternooon, but a neon green laser trooper and a guy who dresses like a bird. A FREAKIN BIRD!
I knew who the good figures were, and they weren't available to me. That is why you'll always find me participating in threads about the Tiger Force or Python Patrol. Those repaint lines were the closest I could get to the characters I knew, even if they looked a bit different now. Hasbro was so concerned with bringing me new joes every year, they neglected to remember the old ones. I didn't actually get a TF Duke, so I had to wait until 92 When the Desert camo version came out. I did get an armored CC in 87, but as a sole enemy leader we all know he sucked. Again I had to wait until the Battle talking commander version came out. Other figures I waited until the 90's for were Destro, Mutt, Mindbender, Zartan, Snake Eyes, eels, and BAT. All the main figs, and there were probably more that I just can't think of at the moment. when you're an 11 year old, a 5 year wait is pretty much half your childhood, and a year and a half or so afet geting all the guys I'd pretty much waited a lifetime for, I felt too old for them anyways.
So in the end, I know it sucks to see 7 different versions of Snake Eyes at the store. But at least Hasbro is keeping him on the shelf so when some kid goes with his mom to the store, he's got something better to choose from than a guy who dresses like a bird.