Posted 25/03/2013 by Axel in Columns

G.I.Joe Special #4: Toy Reviewer yo go re (OAFE.net)

Oafe featureApart from the enthousiastic toy collector from our previous interview, there exists the toy critic. In this fourth part of our G.I. Joe special we talk to one of the most influential online toy reviewers.

Why does Brainfreeze plug another website, you say, and what does it have to do with G.I. Joe?

It’s an easy question to answer. G.I. Joe is at its core a toy license of toy manufacturer Hasbro. Hasbro is probably the biggest toy company in the world. They have licenses to create, manufacture and distribute toys of Star Wars, Transformers, Marvel, Beyblade, Furby, Disney, My Little Pony en numerous boardgames. In any case, they decide who publishes G.I. Joe comic books and who directs the movies.

Not every toy is of even quality, though, and that is where the toy reviewers come in. Just like film critics they share their knowledge and give the pros and cons of the article. OAFE.net is one of the leading and most respected toy reviewing websites in the online community.

There was never any doubt about who I wanted to interview. Being a huge fan of the Online Action Figure Evaluators and yo go re, you may consider it a small honour and privilige to talk to the man himself. When the website discusses new G.I. Joe figures or vehicles, yo go re is their primary reviewer. Now it’s an ideal moment to find out how this reviewer looks at the toys.

Can you introduce yourself and give the site a free plug?

I’m yo go re, one of the writers for OAFE.net. Speaking with complete bias, OAFE has the best toy reviews anywhere.

Since our readers are probably unfamiliar with OAFE, why should they visit the site?

We don’t just give you the bare facts about the toys, but also the history of the character, the context of its creation and anything else we can think of. We’re not trying to simply report on the figure, we’re out to entertain you.

Oafe foto

Do the reviewers of Oafe recieve any free samples?

We’ve gotten free samples in the past – and when we do, we always make sure to point that out in the review. You’ve got to remind yourself that just because you didn’t have to spend any money on whatever it is you’re reviewing, your audience will. So the trick is to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself “would I be satisfied with this figure if I had bought it instead of (whatever else you ended up spending the equivalent money on)?

So it doesn’t influence your opnion on whether it is a good toy or not?

A toy is good when it’s satisfying. Which seems like sort of a cop-out answer, but isn’t that really the only way to judge anything? You want to feel like you got a good value for your money, so it’s partially a question of having an accurate sculpt, well-designed articulation and enough paint to look good, but the expectations for what those mean can change depending on how much the toy cost: there are things that are terrible at retail price, but good if you get them on sale…

555367_520414941325453_26140798_nWhat attracts you in the G.I. Joe franchise?

I always watched the A Real American Hero cartoon before school as a kid, and only got into the comics during the Devil’s Due Publishing era.

Of course, the toys are a huge part of the appeal for me as well, but a good story (whether it’s in the current IDW-comics or the recent cartoons) can make a nice toy even better.

How long have you been a fan? Would you consider yourself an enthousiast or serious collector?

I was originally a fan of G.I. Joe back in the ’80s, but I outgrew it in the ’90s, around the time that the toys started to rely on neon plastic and other gimmicks. When the more “normal” toys came back, so did I. Despite that, I’d still only think of myself as an enthusiast: the guys that run the G.I. Joe-centric sites are the REAL hardcore fans. They’re the ones with the encyclopedic knowledge, who will hunt down every morsel of Joe info the second it’s available: I’m more content to wait and let it come to me.

What is your favourite G.I. Joe toy?

Right now, I’d have to say Road Pig from the 2012 Dreadnoks box set. He was a favorite of mine as a kid, and the update is just wonderful. Such a terrific stew of subtle references and clever design! Of course, if you ask me again in a few months, my answer might be different: Hasbro keeps upping their game, releasing figures that are increasingly impressive.


If you could pick your facourite character in the rich G.I. Joe history, whom would you choose?

oafe zartan 2Zartan!!

He may be a little outlandish for those who prefer their G.I. Joe to be grounded in reality, but his abilities are just a little bit past the boundaries of cutting-edge technology, which is a great era for G.I. Joe (as a franchise) to hang out: any military story can take place in the modern day, but from a storytelling standpoint, pushing out a little bit into the future opens up more possibilities. Better vehicles, better weapons, and even maybe a man with integrated chameleon technology.

What is the influence of Mark Bellomo on collecting G.I. Joe?

He’s the one who makes those visual guidebooks, right?

Yes, that’s the one.

Those are impressive pieces of work!

Is there a large Joe or Cobra-fanbase? Are you an active part?

I’m not. But there’s clearly enough of a base to keep three major fan sites running, and to keep attention on the brand even during the lean times.

Is Hasbro customer-friendly (compared to, for instance, Mattel)?

No question! Hasbro seems to bend over backwards for their customers, while Mattel just bends their customers over.

With these famous last words we say goodbye.

Wednesday, in our next episode we take a look at the different G.I. Joe animated series.




Et alors?