The IGN article I mentioned just yesterday got me thinking about other Star Wars stuff that I still own. At 32 (gonna be 33 on Tuesday!), I still have a heap of the toys I had when I was a kid. I admit it, I still like to get them out and set them on my desk or on a shelf to admire. In my old house, I had a huge built-in display case that I was able to use for this purpose. Inside, I stored hundreds of toys, usually set up in a sort of “police line-up“/shrine-like configuration.
Needless to say, I kept filling it more and more to the point where if I opened the case to put a new one in, it would create a domino effect of collapsing action figures. I would buy the figures at yard sales, flea markets and (very rarely) eBay.
So what makes me keep all these toys, 20 years after I last played with them? Lots of reasons:
- Nostalgia: There’s certainly the nostalgia of them. It’s ust like people will keep their letterman jacket well after they can fit in them. They keep it to remember the achievements they made. For me, they are a reminder of the good times I had playing with them.
- Design: As an artist, I’m always fascinated with how things are designed. I like to see how the toy creators shape and mold figures. I like the fancy colors. I like to consider how someone said “this is what an alien should look like.”
- History: As I’ve grown away from the “play mode” that these toys served, I’ve become more interested in the history they represent. Consumer culture. The story of how, in the 1980s, cartoons were allowed to serve as advertising vehicles for toys. The details on why certain toy lines failed and others succeeded. Or why some toys were never released or got pulled from the shelves. To me, just like someone who reads about the history of baseball, it’s all mesmerizing.
- To show off: Yep, even my jock friends will come in and say “Whoa! I remember that!” and “Wow, that’s so cool!” From repairmen to family members, I usually find them lingering by my toy collection. Sure, it’s a little weird, but they take the time to look, and that makes me smile inside.
And that, my friends, is why I still have Star Wars action figures.
(Star Wars and whole lot more.)