The Only Video Game Journalists To Get Action Figures

Today, GamePro magazine ceases to be. Which for lovers of print is a bit of a sad moment, given the fact it’s been around since 1988.

In that time it’s previewed, reviewed and wrote about a lot of games, but for me it’ll always be remembered as the only video game magazine to ever get its own line of action figures.

Yes, as bizarre as that sounds, for a little while there GamePro was in business with toy company Joyride Studios and was putting out action figures based on its editorial team.

Between 2002 and 2003 Joyride and GamePro released as a joint venture a number of lines of video game action figures, most of them based on licensed properties like Metroid, Zelda and Sonic (there were even planes from Medal of Honour!). Awesomely, less-established franchises were given the treatment as well, like Jet Set Radio and Monkey Ball.

Right in the middle of all the video game characters, though, they dropped a line featuring some of the more popular writers for the magazine.

Why would anyone give a shit about video game writers? Well, while a Luke Plunkett action figure would hardly sell (Press button to type! Features realistic stubble!), GamePro for a long time didn’t credit writers with their actual names. They had them adopt characters with both fake names and comic book-style avatars, initially as a smokescreen to cover for the fact the magazine didn’t have many writers, and later just because it stuck and readers seemed to like it.

Some of these alter-egos included Bro Buzz (former EIC Wes Nihei) and Fart of War (CGW and 2K Boston’s Shawn Elliot), but not everyone had the honour of getting their own toy. Only the big names like Miss Spell, Dan Elektro (Activision’s community man One of Swords/Dan Amrich), Major Mike (former EGM writer Mike Weigand) and Dr. Zombie (Francis Mao, who now works at Capcom) ended up in plastic form, each in the likeness not of the writer but their fantasy avatar.

Surprisingly, it was thought the premise was such a lure that the editorial figures – of which “only” 2500 of each were ever made – tried to encourage multiple purchases by making 100 of them limited editions. Not in the standard toy sense of including more features or alternate colour schemes, but by…including the signatures of GamePro editors.

Unsurprisingly, the figures were a compete disaster, and quickly found their way to the bargain bins of both toy stores and GameStop branches.

If you’re interested in picking one of these, they’re available not just on eBay, but a few regular online retailers as well.

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