If you've looked at a television, a movie screen, or a billboard at any time in the last year, you're probably already aware that Transformers is coming. And if you've done any of those things in the last 20 years, you probably already know the story: transforming robots from another planet fight other transforming robots while Earth hangs in the balance.
Let's see...robots, cartoons, new movie coming out...yep, this means merchandising and lots of it. The Transformers movie is going to get toys, toys, and more toys. Transformers is getting everything from action figures to board games to, obviously, video games. Hasbro, the company behind the original Transformers toys, is making the bulk of these products, while Activion is handling the upcoming video game release.
We received a big box from Hasbro today that included previews of their various transforming toys. It came with (and I'm in no way kidding about this) a transforming press kit with secret compartments. The Transformers merchandise they sent ranged from the standard (Transformers action figures) to the curious (a Transformers novel) to the downright awesome (Transformers Nerf gun).
The greatest toy in the bunch is the Transformers Optimus Prime Battle Rig Blaster. It's a big plastic truck that transformers into a Nerf gun shaped like Optimus Prime's blaster. It's huge (even my large fists can fit into it), and even though it won't make you feel like Optimus Prime, it'll at least convince your friends and co-workers that you're a giant lunatic. Granted, I'm probably the only giant lunatic who actually walks around the office with a giant Nerf gun mounted on my hand, but I like to think that simply makes me awesome.
Second greatest toy out of them is the Transformers Optimus Prime Voice Changer. It's a big plastic helmet that transforms your voice and shouts Optimus Prime quotes really, really loudly. It's big enough for even my head to fit inside, so I really have to ask who Hasbro is marketing these toys for.
Among the various Transformers action figures, a handful stand out as particularly interesting. The Transformers Real Gear figures are Transformers based on everyday electronics. Speed Dial 800 is a cell phone, Spy Shot 6 is a digital camera, Power Up VT6 is a portable game system, and so on. We haven't seen them up close yet, but they sound pretty interesting. They don't actually call people, take pictures, or play games, though.
Transformers hits July 4, but you don't have to wait until then to get your Transformers stuff. Hasbro's Transformers toys start to ship June 2, and the video game hits all major consoles June 26.