In today's market, the more re-use a company can get out of existing tooling, the more chances they can take with a license - things that are a little more expensive or have a little more niche appeal will have a chance if the molds can be used to sell us more than one thing. Nobody does this better than NECA.
A perfect example is the regenesis of their Gremlins line: they created one mold and are releasing it over and over with different accessories and themes. Christmas carolers, jazzercisers... but the first one was this GameStop-exclusive "Gamer Gremlin."
The entire body of this toy is identical to the one we reviewed before, so for all the pertinent details, go read that one. This review is mainly going to focus on the differences - aka, the accessories.
We don't get any candy bars this time, but we do still get the big cup of ice-cold Cola - because what goes better around delicate
electronics and clumsy children than sticky, sugary beverages without a lid? But as going to the movies has taught us, what does pair well with soda is a big bucket of golden popcorn. This one is pretty awesome, because the "popcorn" part of it is separate from the "bucket" part of it. Why would that matter? Because there are two holes cut in the front, allowing the Gremlin to wear it like a mask or helmet! There must be something about popcorn containers that Gremlins find super appealing, since the last one had bags on his ears. Is it a natural part of their mating display? Do they even mate, considering that their form of reproduction just involves getting wet? [No comment --ed.]
If you don't to use the popcorn tub as headgear, you have other choices. He's got a pair of wraparound shades, because
this was the '80s, and a cap with a propeller. The hat has a green bill and panels of blue, yellow, and red, and the blue propeller spins freely when you flick it or blow on it. It doesn't actually attach to the figure's head in any way, just resting precariously on top. That means you can choose to have it point forward, or turn it around backwards for extra "cool guy" points! If you've got the shades on his face, the bits that stick out behind the ears help hold the hat in place.
And all that is cool, but it doesn't really have anything to do with being a "Gamer" Gremlin, does it? Well, we're not done yet. There's a copy of the Gremlins Atari game (or a reasonable facsimile,
with the NECA logo swapped in at the appropriate places) and the classic Atari controller, featuring a joystick and a single button. Finally, there's one of those retro "home arcade" cabinets, which were only about a foot tall? This one has a blue case and is apparently a game called The Fail Guy - not a real vintage game, but instead apparently an in-joke at the expense of a fellow NECA employee? It's got art all over the cabinet, including the screen inside, and the joystick is balljointed so you can swivel it around. It's pretty impressive, honestly. The set also includes a second pair of hands, given new poses to hold the new accessories.
Considering this figure isn't even a repaint but really just a repack with new accessories, the Gamer Gremlin turned out pretty dang awesome. It's also the first product I ever preordered at GameStop, showing that their effort to pick up TRU's slack was a good choice. The Gamer Gremlin is so fun, I wasn't even too sad that I paid full price for him instead of waiting for that crazy sale they had a few months ago. If NECA can keep being clever with their releases like this, we may end up with a lot of Gremlins using this one body.