hobbyDB Team Posts

Did We Mention We Get To Play With Toys at hobbyDB?

hobbydb office tatooine

There are many reasons it’s awesome to work at hobbyDB, not the least of which is our office space. Our Boulder, Colorado headquarters are located in a building that bears a strong resemblance to Luke Skywalker’s home. In fact, we’ve officially nicknamed it Tatooine. Inside, the walls rarely meet at right angles, and bright, primary colors abound.

The latest bit of fun? Our new mini conference room. The wall-mounted Hot Wheels track is great for keeping meetings light and non-confrontational, unless some sort of racing action breaks out, in which case we race for keeps. A dry erase board is also on hand for keeping track of points standings. Or for, you know, conducting actual work.

Hot Wheels room at hobbyDB

All kidding aside, a little fun in the workplace helps create an atmosphere in which folks look forward to spending time. So, what’s the most fun thing in your workplace? Let us know in the comments section!

13 Video Games Based on Blatant Product Placement

Product placement in video games has become an annoying intrusion (except for driving games, in which case branded realism is more than welcome). But over the years, several companies have developed promotional video games starring their actual products, logos, and spokescharacters in acts of commercialism so blatant it’s almost cute. Here are some of the more memorable games of this genre, most of them snack-or-fast-food based, some of them kind of fun.

Kool-Aid Man” (1983)

Kool Aid Man video game

If you sent in 125 proof of purchase seals from Kool-Aid packs, you got this Atari 2600 or Intellivision cartridge for free. And you know what? It was a pretty cool game. Players moved Kool-Aid Man around the screen in an attempt to knock out the Thirsties while also collecting the ingredients for a pitcher of sugary drink before time ran out via the pool at the bottom of the screen draining empty. Confusing? Sure. But, seriously, way more fun than it sounds.

Pepsi Invaders” (aka “Coke Wins”) (1983)

Pepsi Invaders Atari 2600 game

This game was not a huge seller. In fact, it wasn’t for sale at all. Coca Cola poked fun at their rival by producing this version of Space Invaders for their 1983 Sales convention, handing out about 125 copies of this Atari 2600 cartridge to attendees. They replaced the alien shapes of the original game with the letters from PEPSI, but it’s otherwise identical to the mass produced game. Original cartridges sell for a lot of money these days.

Domino’s Pizza “Yo! Noid” (1990)

Dominos Pizza Noid video game

Perhaps no spokescharacter in the history of advertising was more despised and ridiculed than the Noid. With that strike already against it, Domino’s released this Nintendo game to terrible reviews for its pointless play and frustrating level of difficulty. It was like getting double anchovies on your pizza.

Chester Cheetah “Too Cool To Fool” (1992)

Chester Cheetos video game

Long before Goat Simulator, this game allowed you to become a cartoon cheetah who promotes fried cheese curls by riding around on a scooter and jumping on unsuspecting victims’ heads. Because, y’know… EXTREME! The first of two Cheetos based games of that era, it was available for Super Nintendo and Sega systems.

McDonald’s “Treasure Land Adventure” (1993)

McDonalds video game

Connoisseurs of fast food could get this Sega Genesis game to go with any meal (Happy or otherwise). Similar in play to Super Mario World and many other games, the graphics on this are surprisingly well developed for the era and price. This was one of several games McD’s has offered over the years.

7 Up “Cool Spot” (1994)

7up Spot video game

The mid ’90s were a golden age for anthropomorphic junk food stars and their related games. For that reason, 7 Up turned part of their logo into a radical red dot with sunglasses to appeal to the youth market, and inserted him into this surfing game for Sega, GameBoy and PC.

Chex Quest” (1996)

Chex Cereal video game

This video game is an important part of your nutritious breakfast. Here’s a first person shooter game that came as a prize in boxes of Chex cereals. It was based on the engine that ran the awesomely popular Doom video game, so the action rocked. But instead of killing Martians, players used their “Zorcher” to “teleport” “phlegm-based monsters” to “another realm.” It was PC based, but not to worry. If you don’t have a mid-90s Pentium machine laying around, you can still find it to play online.

Burger King “Big Bumpin’,” “Sneak King,” and “Pocket Bike Racer” (2006)

Burger King video game

Not to be outdone by McDonald’s, Burger King offered these Xbox games for a buck each with purchase of a combo meal. Big Bumpin’ was a bumper car game, too slow to be much fun. Sneak King required the scary rubber-headed King to present unsuspecting strangers with burgers (creepy, complicated and stupid). But the Pocket Bike Racer game was kinda entertaining, probably because it was based on the dynamics of existing racing games with new skins applied.

“Super Mario Spaghettios” (2012)

Mario Luigi Nintendo Spaghettios

Oh wait, this wasn’t a game… it was a can of pasta shaped like objects from Mario’s world. Never mind. But that would’ve been really cool.

Taco Bell “The Waiting Game” (2013)

Taco Bell Waiting video game

In the history of dull video games, this one was the most exciting. After Taco Bell introduced their first flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos to worldwide acclaim, it took them a loooong time to release the next variation. So, a month before the Cool Ranch Doritos flavor was to hit restaurants, these arcade games showed up at Canadian Taco Bell locations. Gameplay was based on the excruciating angst of that waiting period in the form of your character standing in line and gradually moving forward. Seriously. Your reward for finishing the intentionally dull 10-minute odyssey? A coupon for a free taco. To be redeemed later. Of course.

Levi’s “Skate-A-Rama” (2014)

Levis video game

Not a console or PC game, and not online either, this virtual reality game required players to perform real skateboard tricks on a stage coordinated with graphics projected behind them to score points. The ramps and rails are pretty basic, so the novelty wore off pretty quick. Levi’s set this up at trade shows to promote their skate wear line. Because, y’know… EXTREME!

Know of any others? Mention them in the comments below, and add them to the hobbyDB database if they aren’t already there!

This “Star Wars” Thing Might Turn Out to be Popular

Did you hear about the new “Star Wars” movie? No, not “The Force Awakens.” That’s soooo December of  2015.

But in December of 2016, “Rogue One,” a spin off of the “Star Wars” universe will land in cinemas, bringing the theatrical run of this franchise up to 8 films (or just 5 if you’re of a certain age and refuse to acknowledge the prequels).

star wars bb8 diorama

Either way, we found this BB-8 Diorama and some life size costumes at the 2016 Nuremburg Toy Fair. So it’s safe to say, the Force will be collectible for the forseeable future.

star wars rogue one costumes

Diecast Drift Track Lets You Play With Cars at Work

One of the best things about working at hobbyDB? You can play with toys at work and nobody gets mad. And if someone does call you out, you can claim you were studying it for cataloging purposes.

Well, let’s get ready to rip open some Hot Wheels blister packs! This diecast drift track set from Tyotoys allows you make your favorite 1:64 scale vehicles “drift” around the corners in a just barely controlled set of slides. They come in a few different sizes, but the small set, at 18 x 9.5 inches, should fit on your desktop for plenty of worktime “research” into friction, speed, aerodynamics, and any other scientific principle you can think of that justfies playing with cars on the job. It even has screws to adjust the banking.

Here’s a short video showing the track in action. Some skill and practice and the right vehicle set up are actually called for, so it never gets boring. And for you fans of Kidrobot vinyl art toys… you will be pleased when you hit the 1:00 minute mark. Trust us!

Tracks are for sale on Tyotoys’ website.

See More of What You Want, Less of What You Don’t

At hobbyDB, we see super-powers as kinda our thing, which is why we’ve been working hard to perfect the power of laser-focused search to better navigate through our galaxy of collectibles. These features are brand new, so you may want to tinker around with them first to get the hang of things.

 

Exclusive Keywords

If I wanted to look at Porsches, but don’t want to be bothered with those pesky Boxsters, I can put a minus in front of keywords I want to leave out of the search. For example, if I type

My results will show ALL Hot Wheels Porsches except Porsche Boxsters. Wahoo!

Search Filters

Maybe you have an affinity for black VW Drag Buses from Phil’s Garage? Perhaps you only want to see Boeing Model Aircrafts from the Herpa Wings series in one place? No problem!

Search filters allow you to find collectibles using any combination of model characteristics. Below is a small example – don’t worry, we have a ton of more options for you to play with, as well as detailed data points to easily locate any collectibles. Start browsing now!

search filter

 

Happy collecting,

Patrick & the hobbyDB team

Still not clear on how the new features work? Shoot us an email at contact@hobbydb.com for a further demonstration.