For the love of all things nerdy, I've decided I need a 12-step program. Let me set the stage. I'm a 36 year old man with a wife and 3 awesome children. I work full-time plus, and have (I believe) hit an early sort of mid-life crisis.
My wife and I have been avid collectors of video games over the years, mostly retro. We both grew up in the NES/Atari/Sega days. I stepped away from other things and even had breaks in game collecting while we built our family and settled into our lives. I became "that guy," and tried to be the "adult" I was told I should be.
Fast forward to about 2 years ago. We were struggling with our oldest child who falls on the Autism spectrum. School was a mess for him, and I fought to find a way to bond with him and relieve some of the stress. Then it happened: I found a copy of the original animated Transformers movie. We watched it together, and he was HOOKED! Even more, it re-lit the love in my soul for the franchise that meant so much to me as a child. We found the original series episodes and binge watched them together. The flood gates had been opened!
Shortly after that, I found a website called TFW2005. I knew Transformers toys had continued, but I hadn't paid much attention since what I usually saw were the ones from the live action movies. No, I'm not a fan. Cool beans if you are, but they aren't for me. However, little did I know how much I had missed!
A little more background on me: I also fall on the spectrum. Yep, Mr. Father of 3 falls right on the Autism spectrum. How else did you think my son was cursed with this whole ordeal? Heredity at its finest! One of the endearing traits is our tendency to hyper focus. When something strikes our fancy, it consumes us. We devour anything and everything we can learn. I guess that's a perk?
What I found started with the whole Generations line, CHUG scale as some people may refer to it. We were smack in the middle of Combiner Wars. Now, I loved my G1 toys as a kid, but THESE were the characters I knew! Not the old bricks, but REAL representations of the characters I loved as a child! I went purchase crazy! Menasor, Bruticus, Superion, Defensor, and the big daddy of all Devastator! Those flood gates were getting a little weak, suddenly.
About half way through this, I was introduced to a new line. Somehow, in all my crazy lust for CW, I missed out on another line that brought these characters even closer to reality: Masterpiece. Oh. My. Primus!!!!! The first one to hit my doorstep was Wheeljack. He was a favorite as a child, and this figure BROUGHT IT! I was in a state of shock as I sat at our kitchen table and opened the box for the first time. Shortly after, I stopped at a Toys R Us, and saw Bluestreak on the shelf. His Datsun brothers followed shortly after. Then it was Sideswipe and Red Alert. But, where was Sunstreaker? You can guess where this is going...
Wait a minute? What's this "Third Party"? You mean to tell me that other companies are making Transformers that are ACTUALLY Transformers? Like, the real characters? And they're GOOD? Ok, these things and the MP molds are a bit pricey, but I've had far more expensive hobbies (ever build cars? yeah...).
Remember those flood gates? Gone. I blew up the dam, leveled the town below, and drowned the citizens. I started buying everything! I would think I was done, for about a week or 2, then I would see something else. Hasbro also launched their Titans Return line, and when I wasn't buying MP or Third Party, I was buying more Hasbro.
All this was aided by finding more like-minded fans. After TFW, I discovered a local group hosting a convention. My son and I attended our first con together, Dairycon 2015. So many good people, so many cool toys! We filled the trunk of my little VW Jetta with so many cool figures, pieces of art, and memories! I was also finding the podcast and YouTube communities, as well as the Facebook groups. Ultimately this led to the best group of guys a nerd could ask for, the Realm Of Collectors. Scratch that, I'm calling these jackals the Realm of Enablers!
Where did this take me? Well, I'm still playing catch up. I missed so much over the years. The ROC family really got me back into reading the comics, and I saw waves of cool new figures. Now don't get me wrong, TFW holds a place in my heart for getting the ball rolling, but ROC brought the love. And with that love came the further desire to push my collection.
That brings us to the current day. I'm still behind. There are so many good figures, I just can't keep up. I need more overtime. I need a second job. I need to win the bloody lotto! My wallet is on life support, my display room is getting cramped, and someone needs to get me an intervention!
And if I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.