Mattel’s Close but no Cigar Barbie Advert.

2E84023900000578-0-image-a-13_1447726496883
Mattel challenging gender stereotypes with brand new Barbie advert

In a first for toy brand Mattel, a new advert for their new Moschino branded Barbie features a young boy playing with the doll, all smiles and winks with his female buddies.  ‘Moschino Barbie is so fierce!’ the boy says to the camera as he holds Barbie’s purse before placing it on her arm.

Check it out below.

Sure, It’s a brave and bold move for Mattel, aiming to bring down the “boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls” stereotypes we’ve been accustomed to for generations and the move in general is a step forward in breaking down those gender stereotypes that we were all brought up with.

While watching the advert for the very first time, I applauded the introduction of a boy into the girl aimed market which acknowledges the fact that yes, there are boys who like to play with dolls too, especially in an time where more and more parents are becoming vocally against toy segregation in shops and more viral videos are popping up showing young boys embracing the Frozen phenomenon, it was great to see Mattel step up  – or at least I thought…

2E84022100000578-0-image-a-11_1447726455797
Close but not there yet.  This Moschino Barbie retailed for $150

See, then it dawned on me, this advert is for a collectible designer Barbie doll that retailed for $150 and not some jewel hair mermaid rocker Barbie that can be found in shops for $20+.  The target audience for this advert isn’t children who ask their parents to buy the dolls for them but for adult collectors who bought out the limited edition of 700 within an hour (and are now re-selling on the secondary market for $400-$800!!).

This advert won’t air on television during programs aimed at the 8-14 year old market or be found in catalogs crammed into mail boxes resulting in no little boys going to find this doll and thinking…”If the boy in the ad is playing with one, then I want it!”

It’s a kind of “the thought was there but we’re not going 100% with it” moment from Mattel.

Doing a bit of research it seems other people took notice of this fact which prompted Mattel to release the following statement to BBC News.

This video parodies iconic Barbie commercials from the 1980’s starring a young [Moschino creative director] Jeremy Scott look alike. The video celebrates how boys and girls alike play with Barbie – it’s all about self-expression, fashion, imagination and storytelling.”  Mattel added that the commercial (or fauxmercial as noted by Mattel) was created by them – but with Mr Scott calling the creative shots.

So yes, let us applaud Mattel/Jeremy Scott for breaking toy based stereotypes and finally including a boy into the world of Barbie doll advertising but let’s not be blinded to the fact that this is a marketing campaign about a designer doll played with by children that was directly aimed at an adult market.

Let’s just wait and see if this is only a  first move by Mattel into breaking down those boys toys vs girls toys barriers.

Oh, and by the way, the video is hosted on Moschino’s YouTube page, not Barbie’s.

Advertisements

Fallout 4 Feels and Review for PS4

Fallout 4_20151116204042
Red sequin dress with leather armor, this is Fallout 4

The Fallout series never fails to exercise my rage quit limitations and with Fallout 4, the latest in the line of post-apocalyptic scavenger games, that limitation is being pushed to it’s utmost limits.  That said, i’m guessing it’s a good thing to say that 10 hours in and I am yet to actually quit in a fit of rage.

The best way for me to describe the game is comparing it to say…a shit sandwich.  A compliment topped with shit topped with another compliment.

So far, Fallout 4, for the most part, has encouraged me to develop a rather nasty hoarding disorder worse than anything seen on one of those reality hoarder shows but unlike those shows where the crazy woman keeps empty cans of beans from 1985 because she has an emotional attachment to them, i’m hoarding for the fact that everything within Fallout 4, from plates to hairbrushes, cars to trees, can all be turned to scrap and reused for modding weapons, armor and camp building purposes.

Now…camp building….we all remember that feeling we got when Bethesda released the trailer for Fallout 4 that showed how we can rebuild settlements from the ground up?  Us Fallout fans squeed with delight at this new element to the series and it seemed the possibilities were endless for what we could do with settlements…I tell you though, this is one of the most frustrating features of the game.

Aside from trying to ration your pack between broken cups, cigar boxes, sniper rifles and ammo, the first attempt at rebuilding a settlement felt a bit tedious and yawn inducing.  Here we have a massive, massive land we’re yearning to discover but right off the bat, the game requires me to run around town demolishing everything in it just so it can be rebuilt again.

The second attempt at building, I found myself in an old drive-in unable to build more than a handful of shabby shacks and plant some corn because the ground was so uneven and hilly that whatever I placed down was floating in the air making it unusable, thus a waste of resources.  Add into that the inability to remove dead bodies of slaughtered raiders, creatures, skeletons or general ground rubble and suddenly you become incredibly restricted to what you can build and where it can be built.

That said, once far enough into the game, maintaining these settlements does become a feature and I find myself, in between missions and side quests, travelling from camp to camp trying to make sure there is enough power, water, food and beds to keep wasteland survivors happy.

One of the main things I have found myself liking are the companions available to follow you throughout the wasteland.  Characters like Diamond City reporter Piper, Dogmeat the dog and private eye synthetic Nick Valentine have much better and engaging personalities and are much more fleshed out than those featured in previous outings though your will to put a bullet in these companions will be tested when they all but ruin any chance you had of making a stealthy kill as they burst in shooting and bashing any enemy in sight or block you from leaving or entering a room as they choose to stand in a doorway reluctant to move no matter where you direct them to go.

The downside to these companions is how easily they get lost in the sprawling wasteland.  While you can determine where your companions are sent to when you trade one for another, trying to remember who is where can be nightmarish, especially when it comes to Dogmeat who seems to wander about.  While i’m sure I sent him to Sanctuary, he’s now presumably roaming about aimlessly in bumfuck nowhere.  An ability to contact these companions without having to physically grab them would have been a much wiser choice.

One word of advice however is NOT to play this game with your own fluffy companion in the same room.  My girl found it necessary to react any time Dogmeat barked or growled aggressively or yelped in pain.

Interactions with NPC’s have vastly improved to a point where travelers within your camps can be assigned tasks from gardening to patrolling the grounds or used as storage bins to hold more of your junk you find.  Don’t like what someone is wearing?  You can even swap out their current outfit for something that you’ve picked up along the way meaning you can fit out an entire town – men and women – in nothing but purple sequin off the shoulder dresses (something I haven’t done but am tempted to do)

As for bugs and glitches, I’ve read there’s more issues on consoles versus the PC release, but for me, playing on the PS4, the only ‘odd’ thing I’ve come across so far is a massive brahmin stuck in my bedroom (how on earth did it get there?!) which I later shot dead and pillaged.  Now the damn thing is just laying dead on my bed rotting away.

Fallout 4_20151116191117
I may have to re-arrange some furniture…

Overall, Fallout 4 achieves its main goals of feeling true to the Fallout series and offering an immense game that will gobble up hours upon hours of your life as you try to complete everything that pops up across your travels.  Even as I write this, I’m only 10 or so hours into game play and I have barely scratched the surface of what Fallout 4 has to offer.

It’s brutal, it’s crazy, it’s full of distractions and it’s immense fun.  It is Fallout after all!

Toy Review: Total Soldier Corps Elite Vs The Curse

StoryImage_3

Fans and collectors of the long running GI Joe figures by Hasbro will undoubtedly, during their time, have come across the well known knock-off line “The Corps” figures by Lanard Toys.  It’s pointless in trying to deny it!  We all had them infiltrating our collections at one time or another!  They’re cheaper though less articulated and are more readily available on store shelves than Joes are currently here in Australia.

Though recently, Lanard re-branded the Corps line as The Corps Elite Vs The Curse, released a bunch of brand new vehicles, mega play sets and figures, introduced new characters with better articulation and launched a website featuring bios, artwork and mini comics.  It’s a big and bold move for the company, but a smart one, especially in an age where its competitor in Hasbro’s GI Joe are becoming more and more scarce on toy shelves and collectors are screaming for more releases.

The biggest and best change to the line is the introduction of two female characters, never seen before within the Corps line.  Somehow, over all these years, there has been zero female presence within the Corps line which, looking back, is rather odd considering Lanards influence of Hasbro’s Joe line which contains a strong female presence with characters like Scarlet, Lady Jaye, Baroness, Agent Helix…the list goes on.

Snake Bite by Lanard Toys. Photo from Actionfigurebarbecue.com
                                         Snake Bite by Lanard Toys. Photo from Actionfigurebarbecue.com

That’s all changed now with ‘Snake Bite’ and ‘Puma’ permanently added to the roster and due to their popularity, could lead the way to even more gals to future Corps releases.  Snake Bite, the red headed Aussie chick and Puma, the gun toting bad-girl brunette feature a brand new head sculpt each though share the same body, but also feature increased articulation on a Corps figure.  The new figures offer 6 points of articulation from hinged knees, ball jointed hips, swivel mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, and a ball jointed head (standard Corps figures usually offer 4-5 points of articulation) which will keep the Joe fans happy.  The paint apps are nice with Snake Bite’s funky side shaved red hair and green/grey camouflage and Puma’s brown pompadour pony-tail and red/brown uniform.  The only miss is Snake Bite is missing her eye under her red fringe.

The brand new three figure packs also offer up a series of weapons (of which the girls have two throwing daggers, a pistol and crossbow each AND with added ports, these girls can hold all their weapons at once!) along with a motorcycle which, judging by the articulation needed to put the figure on, is made specifically for Puma and Snake Bite.

Brand new character Puma
Brand new character Puma

These new Corps figures have been floating around England and the USA for a few months now and have recently begun popping up in Target stores here in Australia oddly branded through Target’s budget Kids Space line (I say odd as Lanard’s website lists KMart as the official Aussie distributor for the line and Kmart confirmed to me that these figures aren’t releasing until Jan 2016) The price point for these figures are pretty neat also with the three pack selling at Target for $8 each (yep, $8 for three figures, a bunch of weapons and a vehicle!) and single carded figures for only $3 each – though, just like everywhere else, Puma and Snake Bite are not sold individually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The official figures with detailed card back
merge
Target Australia’s Kids Space offering

Where Hasbro’s effort with GI Joe being literally non existent on shelves anymore, Lanard’s newer offerings have arrived at the right time and with the right price point.  Affordable, visual, fun and diverse!  You can find the figure packs via Target Australia under their Kids Space budget toy line right now or as the official Corps Elite branding in Kmart Australia in Jan 2016.