Super Mario Happy Meal Toys

SM_MCI bought a plastic sack of Super Mario toys for eight bucks so now I’m gonna write about that.


I love Super Mario. I’ve spent decades playing through this plump plumber’s adventures. And that’s not just nostalgia speaking. Mario games have a history of being innovative, timeless, and fun. He’s viewed as the Mickey Mouse of video games without becoming a soulless corporate mascot hellbent on absorbing everything you cherish for profit.

Mario simply stands a quiet chubby Italian man who loves jumping on everything. And, deep down, aren’t we all ? Click for a picture of me as Super Mario from 13 years ago. Not from Halloween or anything either. Just living life.

So when you’re at a flea market and come across a ziplock of mysterious Super Mario toys for $10, you offer $8. And when you get that ziplock of Super Mario toys for $8, you go home and you write about it for your sad decrepit website damn it.

SMB1
Note: NES, Bowser, and Goomba added for pure A E S T H E T I C S

Research revealed this is a complete set of Super Mario toys featured in McDonald’s Happy Meals back in August of 2018. Retro? Definitely not, but covering the Super Mario Bros 3 Happy Meal toys at this point is beating a dead horse. And I happen to like my horses alive…and thriving…and quietly drinking water midday from a wooded creek. That’s how I like my horses. Anyway the Mario toys…

SMB2
I would have easily snuck one of these in my pencil case when I was a kid as a reminder of my freedoms in the outside world.

My favorite Happy Meal toys as a kid were barebones action figures. This is because I’d incorporate them with my non-Happy Meal action figures for what can only be described as Epic Playtime Crossover-Battles™ that predate the Cinematic Universe craze by decades. Yet 2018’s Super Mario toys are games in their own right featuring a pinball game, a maze game, and a Rubix cube-like puzzle game. My favorite being the 8 bit throwback pinball game which can give you seconds of fun.  These are all well made and cool, but unlike the good ‘ol days, I can’t have one of these fight my Robocop. I probably could though honestly.

SMB4
Note: Yoshi is supposed to be in a cloud of smoke. But it indeed looks like he is melting into my Nintendo. I like both explanations.

 Ah, now we’re getting action-figurey! Yoshi “dashes” with the help of his little plastic launcher. He comes with two token targets. Luigi is the same gist with better execution. He comes with a little Goomba and Koopa Troopa target. You put that plastic “fireball” in his hand, wind him back, and he hurls it at those nerds. It’s also pretty rare to get a Fireflower version of Luigi. Especially one that looks so salty. You can possibly make your own targets…like Mario himself…to really further the jealously that fuels the sibling rivalry.

SMB3
Mario without his hat is like Dracula without his cape. They just become regular dudes.

Don’t worry, there are Mario toys in the Super Mario lot. On the left there’s addictive gambler Mario, where you push his head into a Slot Machine question mark block to test your luck. The Florida Gambling Council actually tried to get this toy recalled  as they stated it’s “marketing gambling to children.” Mind you, This is coming from the same state known for an enormous theme park that promises more money more “magic”. And then there’s “Hat Toss” Mario. He operates like “Salty Flame Luigi” but instead tosses his hat onto a target. Think of it as “Manchild Floor Darts” but it comes with a smashed cheeseburger and french fries. Not too shabby. And you also get another rare figure: Hatless Mario. Which is cool and all, but the hat makes the man.

SMB5
Is this the best toy? YES. Did I play this alone? YES. Did I realize how sad it looked from a different perspective? YES.

This one is my favorite: YOSHI BINGO. It’s a legit game of bingo with Mario inspired flippable cards, little punch pieces, and a radical Yoshi “spinner” to play. That spinner makes it. It’s creative and it’s a game that takes more than 30 seconds to play.  It’s a fun gateway to introduce your kids to a game they’ll be taking way too seriously about 70 years down the road. Do you think we’ll have Happy Meals still?


The Good: 

  • Solid variety of features/games
  • Very well made. Better than a lot of the small in-store Mario toys.
  • Video Game Characters are “games” themselves. What a concept!
  • I got these for $1 per toy. Not sure how many gold coins that is.

The Bad: 

  • Not Enough Mario characters (Bowser? Peach? Toad? Donkey Kong?)
  • Rubix Cube Puzzle thing is clearly the least cool toy
  • Yoshi Dasher doesn’t “shoot” very far (He was never a runner though)

In conclusion, for a cheap impulse buy and being a big Mario fan…these were really interesting and fun to examine and play. The toys themselves are studier with better paint applications than what I’ve seen in stores. It’s always fun to see where Happy Meal toys are nowadays. Nothing can replace the ones when I was a kid, but I think it’s fair to say that’s nostalgia talking. These are way cooler and a lot of thought went into their designs. I don’t even know if kids play with physical toys nowadays or if a McDonald’s Happy Meal is something they’d crave, but I’d be begging my grandma to stop at the ‘ol Mickey D’s drive-thru for these guys without a doubt.

“Shut up, Christopher…” She’d say. “You need a toy like you need another hole in the head.”

Ah, childhood.

SMB6

Sig_2018_SMALL

A Mighty Morphin’ Autopsy

mmprbanner copyI dissected a 1993 Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger action figure and took pictures of it. That’s it. That’s what this is.

If you’re ready for this nonsense lets move forward…

I purchased a set of original 1993 Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger figures for $15. Now,  understand I did not want the set.  I simply wanted the Green Ranger. But, for whatever reason, the seller wouldn’t separate them. Perhaps he wanted to get rid of this dirty and scuffed figure rainbow plaguing his store in one simple transaction. Yet I’d like to think he believed in the importance of teamwork and to never leave your fellow ranger behind.

Either way, I now have my Green Ranger and thus planted the idea seed for this article. Not too shabby for $3.50 per Power Ranger.

MMPR1

This is the Red Ranger I was forced to purchase. Upon examining my toys, I came to the conclusion he was the most battle damaged. A lot of paint chips, a broken belt buckle, and creaky limbs etc. No amount of Clorox wipes, soap, hot water, or toothpaste could return him to his Mighty Morphin’ passable self. After inspecting him I exclaimed, “Gee, there’s a lot of screws in this guy…” and that’s how Jason The Red Ranger became the cadaver. I decided to make a long article about it on my dead website. Go Go Power Rangers! 

MMPR3
“I say we do!” “I say we don’t!”

More context because I’m longwinded: I love dissembling things. I have since I was a child. I do not know why. I enjoy the process of taking my toys apart, examining what made them what they were, and reassembling them. Could this be because of some deep seeded physiological trauma? A coping mechanism perhaps? Remember Dunkaroos? I graduated from simple action figures to game consoles and handhelds when I was in my late teens. And that led to soldering, cleaning, (aesthetically) customizing, and modding. My most recent project was completely refurbishing two Nintendo Game and Watches. If doing something along the lines of this interests you, my advice would to be to start cheap and have your subject be something you don’t mind messing up. Like…a beat-up $3 Power Ranger action figure. Speaking of that (oh yeah) let’s continue…

MMPR2
The screws that were holding together this Power Ranger for 27 years. Thank you for your service, boys.

It only took me a few minutes to completely disassemble this figure. And, when the deed was done, it still supported itself nicely. I assume the figure was being held together by 27 years of sticky candy coated finger residue and dried up bubble bath.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGERY 

MMPR5

I grew up with a couple of these Power Ranger figures and I always loved the heft of them. They were 8 inches tall, great articulation, and decent detail. They were action figures in every sense of the word. And I think that’s why nowadays one in the package is rare and one in good condition is pricey. Because these guys were played-the-heck-out of with. Wow, read that previous sentence. It’s terrible. These weren’t little 3 3/4th  inch stormtroopers with swallowable accessories. You could grip these guys around the waist and have them kick the shit out of your little cousin. POWER Rangers, man. Truly.

MMPR4
Hollow inside. Turns out I have more in common with the Red Ranger than I previously believed.

In conclusion, it was pretty interesting to dissect a piece of your childhood. This figure actually turned out to be a little more intricate than I previously predicted. Reassembly is also pretty simple. And upon further inspecting the parts, this could be a great way to really refurbish these figures to their original glory. That being said, the thing to take away from reading this article is that I now own the Green Ranger action figure I truly wanted. And, deep down, isn’t that what we all wanted? That’s rhetorical by the way.

Thank you for reading about me literally taking apart a 27 year old action figure. Most of what I write is pointless, but I honestly believe this might just be the most pointless thing I’ve ever written.

I love it.  

Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 11.21.37 AM
Rest In Power.

Sig_2018_SMALL

I Ate Ninja Turtles Kid Cuisine

I’ve yet to come across someone from my generation that doesn’t know what Kid Cuisine is. Whether recalling the penguin mascot on the box or the icy blue plastic tray it came in, others recollections of it are surprisingly fond. And with so many iconic childhood brands going the way of the dodo, it’s remarkable that you can still find Kid Cuisine nestled comfortably in your local freezer section.

I know this because I just bought one from my local freezer section.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 7.54.34 AM
This site has hit an all time low.

No, I didn’t buy it because I had a hankering for soggy cardboard cheese pizza. Nor did I get a craving for soupy slimy mac and cheese. I didn’t yearn for spongey chicken nuggets and a “brownie” so hard it could break a kitchen window. I bought it because it featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And anyone that knows me understands you can slap a Ninja Turtle on anything and I’ll buy it. Case and point: Kid Freaking Cuisine.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 7.56.06 AM
A Kid Cuisine Vanity Shot.

I was never particularly fond of Kid Cuisine. I think I just felt, as a kid, it was my duty to eat Kid Cuisine. It’s right there in the title after all. This time around after a nostalgic conversation with my girlfriend I found myself in the “frozen dinner” section for curiosities sake. Lo and behold, towards the bottom of the freezer they be for a mere $1.97. The presence of Ninja Turtles coupled with the diarrhea the meal would surely cause reinforced my purchase. And to bring everything full circle I realized I could write about this on my virtual tumbleweed of a website. Now as I put this in writing I realize it is very sad.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 8.24.46 AM
The activity I did located on the back of the box whilst waiting for my dinner.

I put my tray in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I crushed the activity on the back of the box in about 25 seconds. Writing the Turtles names and weapons down? Please! I scoffed confidently. I pondered why I was doing this exactly. That took some time. Before I could come up with any discernible answer my food was about ready.  And here it is…

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 7.58.33 AM
It’s food! (?)

For anybody who wants the details it’s Cowabunga Popcorn Chicken with fries, corn, and Shell Shocked Chocolate Cookies. You’d think a Ninja Turtle themed meal would contain PIZZA. But at this point I realized I was giving too much thought to my frozen children’s meal. I mean, I probably have the longest review on a Kid Cuisine out there right now. And if that’s true, it’s an accomplishment I’ll relish to the grave.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 8.02.25 AM
The new TMNT logo was on the “Shell Shocked” cookies. That was the peak for me.

Now, I’m no food critic. I don’t have sophisticated tastes (I took pictures of a Ninja Turtle doll next to a frozen dinner). I grew up on Happy Meals and think Taco Bell is high culinary art. But I do like to watch Gordon Ramsey television shows. So I have some training in that regard.

THE GOOD

  • The tray is blue. Which is fun. Most trays are not blue.
  • The Cowabunga Popcorn Chicken could be kinda sorta maybe passable with a decent dipping sauce.
  • The Ninja Turtles were on the box. And their logo was on the “cookies”.

THE BAD

  • Everything tasted like the packaging it came in.
  • Corn tasted like packing peanuts. The fries were bland mush. The cookies were literally a bag filled with nobody’s favorite part of an off brand Oreo.
  • I felt sad eating it.

To be frank, it was awful. But it was just a microwavable kids meal for $1.97. And when you’re a kid…you’re picky and your taste palette sucks. So maybe this would be passable to the average 5 year old I don’t know. Taking what I remember about previous Kid Cuisines, I would’ve had a pizza, that weird brownie thing (with some green “ooze” icing) and maybe a Ninja Turtles sticker/trading card/temporary tattoo in the box.

In conclusion, I can’t believe I’m writing about this much more posing it for pictures. I guess it adds to the eccentric charm of my website. I’m not going to recommend this to adults or children. And with the “clean and healthy” eating angle my generation pushes, I’m sort of astonished that these are still around. I’m not saying that because I think you shouldn’t feed trash to your kids, I’m simply saying there’s much tastier trash you could be feeding your kids.

This is just the consequences of being a shill to a brand you love. A slave to my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Cowabunga, dudes. Cowabunga.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 8.10.28 AM

Sig_2018_SMALL