It’s inevitable that the world of gaming – with all its highly marketable characters, worlds and stories – should breed an accompanying world of merchandise. For every popular video game, there are figurines, collector cards and yes, even Monopoly variations thrust out into a world of eager consumers. It’s only natural then, for a collector of retro games such as myself to get bitten by the bug of sourcing and hoarding these ancillary goodies, which is how I’ve come to start building a small collection of gaming related figurines.
In particular, I’ve got a soft spot for anything with Street Fighter branding.
Imagine my glee then, when I discovered that one of the most well known figurine brands in the Universe – G.I Joe – had done a crossover set of Street Fighter characters when Street Fighter 2 was at a popularity peak in the 90s. I’ve now managed to amass a reasonable set of G.I Joe Street Fighter characters, some of which can be seen below.
Now, the first thing to note is that a few of these models look, well, a bit retarded. This is due to there being only a handful of templates for G.I Joe figurines in terms of body shape etc, with most of the detail being added by way of accessories or paints. This leaves some of the characters looking instantly recognizable (Blanka, E. Honda, M. Bison) while some look disturbingly like a drag queen with a military fetish (Ken).
Each character comes with a set of weapons and accessories that have little to no correlation to any story lines from the video game franchise (unless you know something about a thread of narrative where M. Bison wields a Bazooka or Ken takes down some bad guys with an AK-47?) but this just adds to the overall quirkiness, charm and in my opinion collect-ability of the G.I Joe Street Fighter sets. I’ve even managed to track down a still boxed Chun Li!
Of course, anything G.I Joe wouldn’t be complete without weapon adorned vehicles to transport your death wielding plastic dudes all over the lounge-room floor, so why not take your shiny Crimson Cruiser out for a spin?
If M. Bison driving and Vega hanging off the side is anything to go by, this is the transport of choice for Street Fighter bosses. The box contains the Cruiser itself, a special edition M. Bison figure, Puzzle book and some G.I Joe ‘Combat Pay’ dollars which if memory serves me were redeemable for items from a special G.I Joe catalogue of toys and accessories. Sadly, the dollars have an expiry of March 1993, so I’m not going on a spending spree any time soon.
It would seem that I’ve started something with this figurine collecting, something that has no chance of ending after a few G.I Joe figurines and a couple of Bobble Heads.