ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

When it comes to the Transformers, it's becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile the hugely successful modern movie franchise from the comparatively modest original '80s toys.

Sure, they almost immediately became pop-cultural icons, but they did so in the sort of way that we, as kids, tended to fall in love with: they were mass-marketed, character-driven, and ridiculously fun to play with. That simple genius - though since brought to a much wider audience by Michael Bay's Transformers movies - has never quite been as perfectly distilled as it was in the original range of toys.

Which makes it all the more fascinating, then, to remember that...

The Very First Generation of Transformers...Weren't Transformers at All...

YUP.
YUP.

Instead, the Transformers we know and love were the product of a partnership, way back in 1983, between Hasbro and the Japanese toy company Takara. That deal saw two existing ranges of transforming toys - Diaclones and Microman - combined together to create the Transformers we recognize today.

Take a look at this old Japanese commercial for Diaclones, for instance, and see if you recognize anyone...

Which pretty much covers a whole lot of Autobots, but when it comes to the likes of Megatron and Soundwave, the credit ultimately goes to Microman - a range of toys that were less vehicle-focused, and more interested in everyday objects that transformed into awesome robots...

After the 1983 deal, then, the two ranges were promptly linked together using the plot and characters we know and love, and quickly became childhood favorites for millions.

The main point of that being?

It turns out Transformers were totally awesome way before they were actually even called Transformers... Kudos to Kotaku for reminding me just how much...

What do you guys think, though? Are there any other classic toys with interesting back-stories?

via Kotaku

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