As I’ve stated before, Mighty Max is my favorite toy of all time. It’s brilliantly designed and takes the ingeniousness of Polly Pocket to the next level: an artistic level where the designers constantly tried to one-up the previous design in sheer cleverness (there were stories posted by former Bluebird employees on the Mighty Max Archive where some of these guys bet or even dared each other to try and make a design concept work). I eventually got all the main sets, and even the entire knockoff line Sammy Steel. Once I collected all the Mighty Maxes, the collector in me was suddenly faced with a strange, vast void in his life. What to collect now that I’ve got everything I wanted from Max?
Strangely, my eye didn’t turn to the other boy-oriented mini sets, but to the girly stuff. I’ve probably annoyed the Mighty Max facebook groups to no end with my constant posting about girls’ toys, but there’s a reason for it. Well, besides the fact that I’ve always liked what I liked, regardless of what sex it was “intended” for.
The fact of it is, the other boy-oriented Mighty Max derivatives are boring and lazy. Even the less interesting Polly Pockets — hell, the less interesting and budget-as-hell Polly knockoffs — are still detailed locations where you can make things happen. That’s my case for oft-knocked girl toys: a doll house is domestic, but it’s versitile. It can host all kinds of shit.
Take a look at this, for example. It could be the scene of an ice cream social, or a last-minute search for a prom dress….or it’s the setting for a murder mystery. Or this section of the city has broken away from the planet somehow, and the people aboard have to find a way to get back. Or it’s the last part of the neighborhood not yet overrun by ghouls — anyone who leaves the buildings has ten seconds before they’re set upon by monsters and ripped to shreds, and the only way out is to take the boat…which has no fuel. Dollhouses are versitile by their nature: they’re a detailed neutral ground where I decide what happens.
Now what can you do with this? You can make two people fight in the Danger Room with big stupid cannons. There’s no room for imagination here. Marvel’s Pocket Comics and related toys were really the very worst, like they were designed by the most anal-retentive person on the planet. Even if they look nice, they’re still the same as a cup-and-ball game: it has one specific use that gets dull after ten seconds. In Skull Dungeon, you can get into all sorts of trouble every day. The only mini playsets worse than these were the Power Rangers ones, which had basically nothing inside.
Look at this. What the fuck even IS this?
And what is THIS? A party favor? A parlor game? Give me a break.
At least with something like this I can pretend I’m at Camp Crystal Lake. I can have Big Red from Mighty Max stand in for Jason.