February 22, 2011

Small parts and meta-toys: the Basic Fun legacy

Oh hey. Basic Fun is still around.

I used to fawn over this company's toys as a kid, I would probably even go as far as saying this company fueled my longtime fascination with miniature versions of things. I forget the exact year of the first time I had seen a peg of these things at our local ToyTown, but I would definitely date it before 2007.

I used to dream of owning my own Etch-A-Sketch keychain (Now comes in four new collectible colors!) and strain my poor little nine-year-old head over how the heck Pocket Foosball was supposed to work.

Between my sister and I, we had managed to own miniaturized versions of:
  • Perfection
  • Twister
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Magnetic Poetry
  • a Dymo labelling gun
  • Bulbasaur, with his very own Poké Ball
Okay, that list was actually much shorter than I thought.

One unintentionally amusing thing about Basic Fun is how it made no secret of their being very much a "zeitgeist"-minded company. I like to think it was the enduring appeal of their Classic Games keychains and other signature products that saved their asses many a time whenever the eventual datedness of the latest hot-ticket pop culture property backfired on them. Back then they used to release a lot of Simpsons or Nickelodeon product, then a lot of Pokémon product. These days it's Bakugan this and Family Guy that and...

The last time I clicked on their site it was sparsely updated and riddled with malware. I thought that this signaled the inevitable end of the company much like it did with Kenner or Bluebird or *sob* Stikfas.

But lo and behold, I walked into an SM toy department one Wednesday and found a whole peg of them. I eventually got this:

Basic Fun's Ouija keychain
My trusty Nokia in pic for scale.
What this tells me is that novelty keychains are still a hot commodity these days, occasionally to the point of parody.

Fun fact: I have seen an actual Ouija board game for sale here a grand total of once. Oh, that ghost hunter stigma!

One last note: People, never use your flash drives as keychains. It always ends in tragedy.

Though the jury's still out on whether putting a keychain on a flash drive will mitigate this.

My old flash drive used to have a pizza keychain.

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