Monday, June 20, 2011

#0018: Ace Duck

Alright, I’m going to really crack my knuckles on this one, plunge my fist into that mound of toys like an overzealous porn star, and yank out my prize. A toy of relative mediocrity, but with ties to something grander.

And to me, there is and never will be a greater set of toys than those in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. I know you’re excited, quivering in your chair with anticipation… Will it be the underappreciated Baxter Stockman? Or perhaps that trusty standby, Metalhead?

Well, no. And frankly, I don’t know why you’re quivering, you’ve already seen from the headline and the preceding photo that the toy is Ace Duck. Seriously. Stop quivering, fatty.

Suffice to say, Ace Duck was not the most prolific of all Ninja Turtles figures. He was one of those cheeky toy-borne creations that was later written into the show so that kids would get an eyeful of lovely duck and race out to get the toy. Although in most cases, the character was ushered to the forefront of an episode in order to emphasise how cool and awesome they were (and how many foot-flingin’ abilities they had), but in Ace Duck’s case, his presence was lame and forgettable.

It was hardly a presence at all, in fact. We briefly see him on television, quacking like Donald Duck. That’s it. That was Ace’s chance to make himself a star, and we got nothing but quacking. His bio card is much more ambitious, claiming that Krang was hungry for duck brain (I shit you not), so he attempted to send a duck from Earth to Dimension X for him to gnaw on at his delight, but test pilot Ace Conrad flew into the beam, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, quack quack quack.

The bio even makes the audacious claim that the Turtles end up hiring Ace to fly their blimp. I cry fowl. Donatello flies the blimp, and that’s all there is to it. Donny built the blimp, Donny knows the blimp, Donny loves the blimp. Adding an auxiliary duck into the mix just ruins both our sense of on-flight Zen and our carefully crafted Turtles lore.

Really, imagine how that conversation would go?

Leo: Shredder’s getting away!

Raph: Let’s down that clown in the Turtle Blimp!

Mike: Cowabunga or similar!

Ace: Quack quack quack.


See? It totally didn’t make sense.

The staple of Turtles figures (besides a shitload of buff anthropoids) is their ‘wacky weapons’, and Ace has got his. A weapons belt with egg grenades, a removable pilot’s hat and plug-in wings, and a service .45 pistol – wait, what? Ace Duck comes with a handgun?

Yep, you heard right. Ace Duck comes packaged with a pistol. Granted, it’s green, and obviously won’t shoot anything, but such a weapon seems mildly out of kilter in the friendly, cuddly world of Ninja Turtles, eh? Bebop and Rocksteady’s guns clearly shot lasers, which are far less threatening than bullets, but Ace Duck hits the scene and busts a cap in your ass.

Something about the whole thing seems uncouth, but fortunately for all you safety-concerned parents out there (the kind of parents who got Mulligrubs cancelled), my Ace has long since turned his pistol in. And his grenades, his belt, and even his wings. Shit, I’ve lost everything on my Ace Duck except his goddamn hat, which is the uncoolest thing he had.

I truly wish I didn’t have this tendency to lose all of the little knick knacks to my Turtles toys, but the beneficiary of Mr. Duck will ultimately be the one who takes the loss. I can just see it now, a bigwig businessman who wasted his youth trying to track down that elusive Ace Duck he so sought after as a boy. Whether it’s because he thoroughly enjoyed the brief on-screen appearance or the man just genuinely loves ducks, it’s irrelevant. He hoists the newfound toy to the air, and whizzes about the room with glee.

Then, suddenly, Foot Soldiers approach, their lasers in hand. The businessman gasps at first, but soon realises that he holds in his hand the Aero-dynamic Adventurer, ready to do battle with these ruffians!

Tragically, the businessman searches Ace Duck’s person, but is unable to locate the service .45 pistol, or the egg grenades. In desperation, the businessman tries to fling Ace to safety, but without his wings, he tumbles to the floor.

As a last resort, the businessman throws Ace Duck’s hat at the Foot Soldiers. It’s largely ineffective. In his final moment, the businessman wishes he had instead pursued Launchpad McQuack.

…I’m sorry, what? Ace Duck? Oh yes. Let’s proceed.

The primary thing you’ll notice, once you pop off his hat, is that shit, Ace Duck is intense. His eyes are wide and his pupils are dilated.

Just what is it that he’s looking at? Is it the fact that he’s just noticed that he appears to be under the complete control of a gigantic human child? Or is he just pissed off that you took off his hat? I’m none too sure, but I for one prefer to keep it on…

He has other, less frightening features, too. His right foot is raised as though in the middle of a toe-tapping jig, his jacket is open, revealing his manly feathered chest, and he has the turtles’ logo emblazoned on the back of his jacket. Curiously, this logo is a registered trademark. I wonder who trademarked it, exactly? Seems like a Michelangelo idea.

His arms feature more maneuverability than most others of his ilk, allowing him not only to move his arms up and down, but turn them back and forth, useful in situations of combat, pro wrestling or iffin he wants a cuddle.

And, speaking of pro wrestling, those familiar with the Turtles’ Archie comics may know of Ace Duck taking on a different, and vastly superior role…

That picture is just impeccable (or impeckable). There is nothing I can ever say to top the majesty of that image, and my puny little Ace Duck figure simply pales in comparison. If only they had taken the plunge and released a figure of that iteration. Then parents the world around could unite, expressing their bewilderment about how their child so desires the ‘big sexy duck toy’ for Christmas.

Fuck it; I’m manufacturing my own line of big sexy duck toys. Either get in, or get out. It’s a revolution that you can be proud of, whether you’re a fan of Wildwing Flashblade or Count Duckula. I just hope that a poorly spelt ‘duck’ logo doesn’t ruin our chances of age-appropriate approximation. Because yes, sexy ducks are fun for all ages.

Oh god. I don’t know what’s happening to this entry. I thought I’d already gone far enough with that businessman story, but now I can’t stop thinking about sexy ducks. I best end this now, as I send Ace Duck off on his last mission. …One more dangerous and exciting than any he’s ever been on before.

…Sexier, too? Only time will tell…

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#0017: Madden NFL 2005 (DS)

Well this is terribly mildly exciting, isn’t it? INAKA now shows that it is neither sexist, racist, or toyist, as it expands its ever-reaching clutches towards the medium of video games.

Video games are a different monster for me entirely, as far as parting ways goes. I’ve been playing them for as long as I remember, and eventually, like most other people, while my interest in toys waned as I grew up, my love for video games stayed strong.

According to IGN, I have a mighty collection of 244 games all up, with an estimated value of $7,606.32. I’m none too sure exactly how this value system is calculated; are games judged separately? Do I have a Lowly Worm-like ‘HTF’ gem? Has the presence of Bubsy 3D bumped the value down by approximately $800? And does anyone care that I own the Simpsons Cartoon Studio? Anyone at all?

Partly because of this list, and partly because of a feeling that I just might want to play them again someday, I have never once parted ways with a game. Not even my busted copy of Mortal Kombat 3 on Sega Genesis.

But they take up room, just like any other toy. So with a stiff upper lip and ecstasy knowing that GAME might pay me $5 for it, I cut my ties with Madden ’05 on the Nintendo DS.

I recall the night well. There I was, tucked away in the farthest reaches of Comox, B.C. The hour was approaching midnight, and it was December 31st. Whilst almost everyone else in the country was gathering with friends, out on the town, or at least enthusiastically eying their new Hello Kitty calendar, eager to unveil January’s illustration of Keroppi playing baseball, I was at home. Alone. And that was just the way I liked it.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was ending 2004 playing video games, because that’s how I started the year. It was a little bit less lonely that time however, because I was playing Animal Crossing, so I got to hang out with my good mate Alfonso. Unfortunately, Alfonso was absent from my copy of Madden on the DS, so I had to just make due with Albert Haynesworth.

There was a rare sense of achievement as I began 2005, because while most folks got sloshed, I shut out the Miami Dolphins to begin my season. It was exciting! It was stellar! And looking back now, it was entirely insufficient.

I am an avid fan of American football, at least as much as anyone can be when they’re on the other side of the planet, and broadcasters are under the miserably false impression that everyone wants to see five Oakland Raiders games a year. In 2004, my fandom was still in its infancy. I had only started following it during the ’02 playoffs, and my first foray into Madden was with the 2003 edition on the Gamecube.

Funnily enough, I skipped a year for some unknown reason, thereby missing the game-breaking mechanics of ‘04’s Michael Vick, famous for running faster than either Sonic the Hedgehog, or Kabal from the aforementioned MK3.

So I hadn’t seen a whole lot of Madden just yet. I didn’t know that the 2005 counterpart on home consoles would prove to be immeasurably superior, and I was too high on my new DS to realise that the player models were woefully lacking, especially when compared to another launch title, Mario 64 DS.

You might think I’m being a touch too critical based solely on those images, but it gets even worse when Madden’s in motion. They move rigidly, animate jerkily, and appear to have a magical ability to kick a football seconds after their foot had already passed by it. Frankly, I am unclear how this mystical kicking power would prove useful in the game of football, but darn it, they sure have it.

Beyond just the cosmetic shortcomings, the game also controls very awkwardly. Predominantly because of the poor animation, it’s hard to track exactly what’s going on out there. Is that mess of pixels a friend? A foe? Or is it Pac-Man, lost en route to his own game? Can’t be sure, better chuck the ball there and hope for the best. On the plus side, you can use the touch screen to throw to receivers, but that still doesn’t make them much more efficient at actually bringing the pass in.

To me, Madden just shouldn’t be done portably. I haven’t yet played a ‘Madden to go’ experience that didn’t disappoint, despite reviewers giving them the thumbs up. Call me spoiled by the ‘roided up performances of today’s consoles, but I’ll leave football sims to the big boys, thank you very much.

But perhaps the thing that frustrated me most, that filled me with such confusion and bewilderment, was who they chose to select as the Tennessee Titans’ best player…

Erron fucking Kinney.

Look, I loves me some Kinney, he was a solid and dependable tight end, but he was coming off a 25 catch, 193 yard and 3 TD season. Christ, I could get those numbers if you flung the ball at me enough times. For some reason, the ratings system was stacked in this one game to favour tight ends, making Kinney statistically superior to Tom Brady, Jamal Lewis, and both co-MVPs, Peyton Manning and Steve McNair.

Methinks this DS game was coded by tight ends, or at very least, tight end fanciers. Hehehe that sounds cheeky…

One of the other things that makes this game so disposable to me is the sheer number of Madden games I currently have in my possession. They’re bigger and better now, and this underpowered offering simply can’t stack up. Basically any positive quality it holds, its PS2 parallel has trumped. This includes: statistical brilliance by some of my favourite players, the song Wait by Earshot, and Jerry Rice.

Of all the Madden games I own, this one is the worst. And when you consider that I have the cumbersome Madden ’10 on iPhone, you know that this game is really bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go score a touchdown using only the Titans’ best player… Erron Kinney, it’s go time!

Damn you, Kinney! You and your tricks…

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#0016: Slumber Bunny Pip

Something foul is afoot deep within the recesses of my tub of toys… There’s something in there, that shouldn’t be…

Perfect! It’s jammed up the fan on the Ninja Turtles’ sewer-surfin’ skateboard.

Ahh! It’s wedged within the axels of the Hot Wheels lizard car, ruining its lofty goal of claiming that coveted golden cup.

Perfect! Lord have mercy, it’s infested the once-thought-impregnable ass of prehistoric Bebop. When queried about how this was affecting him, Bebop meekly responded that he felt ‘violated’.

This is wrong! This is downright unholy! Is this the doing of the wicked Megatron? Could it be a devious scheme hatched by none other than Dr. Robotnik? Perchance, even, it is the result of Julia Gillard’s ill-fated carbon tax?

Alas, no. This villain should never have been. She was once a lovable young lady, with nothing more in her heart than childish ambition and a love of snooze. But now, she has descended slowly but surely into a state of madness, with her wicked clutches taking hold of all toykind.

Today, we do battle with Slumber Bunny Pip.

Good gracious, look at that face. It’s a sickening combination of bitter misery and power drunkenness. Once upon a time, she was a simple Koosh Ling. They were a new line of Kooshes with faces and limbs who presumably got up to wacky adventures and each had their own strengths and personalities, making it necessary to collect them all, lest their team feel flawed and incomplete.

At least, that’s what they promised. On face value, they were the same old Kooshes you had been buying for ten years, that did nothing more than dangle from your dashboard and have a curious ability for collecting hair.

A different line of ‘Kooshes with attitude’ had already hit the scene some years earlier, the Koosh Kins, who even had their own Archie comic series, but they certainly failed to capture my imagination in the way these Koosh Lings did. I don’t know what it was, perhaps it was the fact that they had legs, but I needed to nab them Lings, and fast.

After the first line had had some success (because otherwise, why else would they have continued?), the Lings expanded into a second series dubbed ‘Wild Times’ Koosh Lings, which essentially translated into ‘Koosh Lings doin’ stuff’.

Their leader, T.K. became ‘Charming’, gaining a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, and a penchant for singing Tom Jones ditties. The resident vagina Skye donned herself a pair of roller blades and a helmet, for she was now ‘Skatin’ Skye’. But if these new upgraded Lings weren’t enough to whet your whistle, they had introduced fantastic new acquisitions to the squad, like our girl in blue, Slumber Bunny Pip.

For those of you crying foul that going to bed hardly qualifies as ‘Wild Times’, you can perhaps take note of her aggressive stance; her left hand outstretched as she questions your presence in her bedroom, standing between her and a good night’s sleep. Believe me, Pip fought hard for her right to nap, and she would take on anyone foolish enough to try and stop her. Wild Times, indeed.

Beyond that, I’m now having Wild Times trying to decide what’s happened with her once light and fluffy head of hair. I don’t know what sort of product it was made out of, but it appears to have disintegrated over the years. This, I’m sure, is further evidence of Pip’s Wild Times qualifications, possessing the exciting but unlisted ability of melting hair. Stick that down your pipe and smoke it, grappling hook Action Man! She even makes alopecia awesome.

Tragically, Pip is otherwise much the same as any other Koosh. Her rubbery blue appendages wiggle when you shake her around, and her limbs are bendable and posable. You can lift her arms and legs to the air if you should so choose, proving once and for all that she is clearly ready for… yes, you guessed it: Wild Times.

Indeed, those aren’t just slippers and a plush teddy she’s holding, but hollowed out rabbits and a dead baby bear, that she wields like some sick trophy. She isn’t quite up to the standards of Predator and skull collection yet, but trust me, she’s on her way.

Plus, she looks a little bit like a Muppet, which makes her okay in my book.

Despite this, Pip was most definitely my least favourite Koosh Ling. She lacked the wackiness of Teeter, she wasn’t the strong independent woman figure like Skye, and she was clearly inferior to Tugs, for Tugs was red, and red be mighty.

If it wasn’t for the completionist in me, I would have never added her to my arsenal of Koosh Lings. She’s a toy for sissies, and I can’t deal with being a sissy for any longer. Pip’s very presence is a heavy blow to my precious reputation.

However, we can’t just give her away to a bright-eyed young whelp in her current state, can we? Children have a tendency to giddily inhale stuff, so all that flaky hair is a definite no-no.

What now follows… is perhaps the darkest moment in INAKA history… This isn’t for the faint of heart…

I hadn’t intended for the television to have provided such appropriate narration, it was more just in case you were bored and wanted to watch Toy Story 3 for twelve seconds instead. However, I’m immensely pleased with the results. Slumber Bunny Pip can now state with pride that she was voiced by Ned Beatty.

And, looking like she does now, she could be appropriately cast as an extra in Deliverance. The world works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?

So I’ve saved the children, but potentially jeopardized Pip’s chances of being a coveted treasure. For the more artistically inclined, you might see parallels between the damaged lives of Pip and Fantine from Les Misérables. They were both once young and ambitious, but fell on hard times, and lost their hair. In Fantine’s case, she sold her hair in order to support her daughter. As for Pip, bitch please, her rebellious life of ursine murder led to her hair being ripped out from her skull. She’s hardcore, yo.

Methinks she too will now follow a similar career path to Fantine…

“Hey there sailor… Looking for Wild Times?”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Charity case?

Incidentally, seeing how these toys are destined to be jettisoned off into the unknown, if you're interested by anything you see, feel free to leave a comment, and it could be yours!

I'm not typically one for mailing items overseas, so I may have to work out the kinks a little bit, but I ask only that you send some cash my way for postage. The toy itself is yours, FREE OF CHARGE.

I'm tempted to then claim that postage will cost hundreds of dollars, but I'll refrain. Honest.

I typically hold onto the toys for anywhere between a week and a few months after reviewing them (because I'm horrendously lazy), so be quick and don't miss out on gaining a dusty Hulk Hogan figure of your very own!

...Before you mention it, yes I'm aware that nobody reads this blog to begin with, but I just thought I'd put it out there anyway, so nobody can ever claim that I didn't attempt to be generous.

#0015: Roaring Lizard

Sometimes I remember the origins of these toys fairly well, and you’d think that that would lead to some sort of teary-eyed nostalgia that renders us inseparable.

Apparently, you would be wrong. Today’s cuddly little critter was once the denizen of a department store of some sort, dwelling amongst a pile of discount plush toys.

Looking at him, he’s pretty unassuming. Based on appearance alone, I doubt I would have forked over my hard earned cash (that my parents had given me). But it’s what he’s sitting on that made him mine.

That ass there, it’s full of sounds.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the roaring lizard.

From that photo, I’ve surmised that he’s a Packers fan. This seems logical, as they are also green and yellow and enjoy cheese. But I digress, in ways once thought impossible.

So as I alluded to, the roaring lizard features a dandy little speaker on his derriere that makes a roaring sound once you press your fingers on two bits of metal. How this works, I never understood. It almost feels like you’re connecting an electrical current of some sort, with the only consequence being that you now have a noisy reptile on your hands, who makes all sorts of commotion when you touch him on the bottom. That sentence was probably longer than it needed to be.

Curiously enough, I was about to mention that the speaker means that he is inappropriate for bathtime use, but it dawned on me afterwards, that no plushes ought to be taken into the bath to begin with. It’s odd what things you think about when you’re spending your nights writing about toys. Also, in case you were wondering, yes I am still unemployed. It’s fantastic, but not quite as fantastic as our roaring lizard.


What else is there to write about this dapper young gentleman? I used to call him Godzilla, which seemed appropriate for his roaring abilities, but I also once named my Tyranitar Godzilla, too. Too many Godzillas, methinks. Identity crises amongst inanimate lizard facsimiles are not acceptable fare in my world.

Hence, he’s now just roaring lizard. Because that’s what he does, so that’s who he is. He’s got a delightfully fluffy red tongue jutting from his mouth, and soulless black eyes for you to stare into until the day’s end.

Really, I don’t feel terribly sad to be parting ways with roaring lizard. A man of his talents deserves much better, though I suppose it must be mentioned that his battery is flat, so he is currently incapable of roaring. Whether this will jeopardize his future prospects is uncertain, but one does tend to worry.

Hopefully someone will take him for what he is. A pudgy green thing that holds promise of roar someday. Beyond that, he feels good in your hand, and that’s what really matters, I think.

Monday, June 6, 2011

#0014: Festive White Bear

I could feel guilty, I suppose, for all of the unloved toys in my possession. If their one true purpose in this bleak existence is to be played with and loved, then a child who gives them nothing but apathy must be the cruelest master of all.

This may be a stupid thing to feel guilty for, but I already donate money to starving children and mistreated animals; forgotten toys are an underprivileged bunch. Why, I haven’t even seen a single commercial ever pleading their case.

So maybe, just maybe, I’m doing this next little gaffer a favour. Will he find the adulation he so desperately longed for out there? Can he become all he ever dreamt about through those years of torturous solitude? Might he make your Christmas complete?

Go, festive white bear! Be free!

Iffin you’re curious, those white blotches were surnames of people my dad has served legal documents on. Somehow, I don’t know if they would either be relevant to my festive white bear, or entirely legal. So omitted they be, through the mighty workings of Microsoft Paint.

As I’m typing this, I’m listening to Making Christmas from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m not sure that’s exactly the sort of holiday season that the makers of this yuletide bear intended when they put him together, but it’s what he gets. Incidentally, before I constructed this paragraph, I hadn’t quite fathomed the amount of different terms there are for Christmas. And I’ve barely scratched the surface! What an exciting day.

This bear is fairly non-descript. He’s white, he has a hat, and he’s gone all plaid on your ass. He also includes a dandy little golden thread protruding from his noggin for hanging purposes. Though in my mind, the only appropriate time for hanging a festive bear is during the festive season, making his hanging both cumbersome and short-lived.

And furthermore, where would you hang your bear? Off the tree? I doubt this, for he’s a great deal bigger and heavier than most ornaments, leading to broken branches and broken dreams.

Moreover (because I already said furthermore), I’m not sure I really trust this bear. It’s something about his eyes, maybe. There’s something… deep within him.

Christmas stones of some sort? I can’t be sure. But if that didn’t sufficiently freak you out, you should take a look at his left eye (yes, this entry will have two entire photos dedicated to close-ups of eyes. It’s like the reversible trashcan sidecar: muchos importante!)

Can you see the haunted ghostly face locked within his gaze? If you didn’t before, you surely will now. It’s like the FedEx arrow: once you’ve seen it, you can never unsee it.

His stitching appears to be getting mighty worn around his nose, likely the result of years of laying on the floor and not doing anything, but other than that, he’s in excellent nick. If he were a used car, I’d get an awful good deal for him.

So the future looks bright for this jolly, creepy-eyed bear. Perhaps the next time I see him, he’ll be the star of a major show, leaving me to watch on jealously from the crowd. I think I stole that notion from Avril Lavigne’s Sk8r Boi, but still. It applies. Horrible spelling and all.

Hulk: Then, I flung the piece of building halfway across San Francisco, and hit that mutated freak right in the face!

Bruiser: Hah! I could have sent it all the way into San Jose, you wuss. And I wouldn’t have even needed to throw it like a sissy, I would have just punched it across California with my camouflaged glove!

Slobster: Screw that shit, I would have just pinced it in half like a piece of jelly! …Why is Microsoft Word claiming ‘pinced’ isn’t a word? It so is!! I’ll pince you Bill Gates, I’LL PINCE YOU GOOD!!

Festive White Bear: I enjoy Christmas hugs.

So do we.