Toy Box 1-Racing Champions and Matchbox Mario Kart 64 Die Cast Cars

Stagnation can be a horrible thing; just ask anyone who’s found themselves on the wrong end of a riverbank, coated in algae and gasping for air. Ew. Anyway, in an effort to keep things fresh here at Retro(spective), I’m starting up a new feature that I’m going to call Toy Box, which is going to focus on videogame toys, figures, and memorabilia! Gaming is an interesting pastime, as for all the controllers, systems, wires, cartridges, discs, and endless peripherals, there’s a level of intangibility to it all because of the digital nature of the games themselves. With baseball, I can go snag a ball and toss it around in my hands as I listen to a game on the radio. Videogames, on the other hand, are confined to your visual memory when you’re not actively playing them. Toys serve as a way of breaking that barrier down, which is why I find ones based on games so endearing. It’s one the more unique things about videogames and part of the reason I’ve chosen to highlight them in this new feature.

I can vividly remember being a kid sitting in my grandma’s front room playing with the Super Mario Bros. 3 McDonald’s toys. It didn’t matter that the characters looked a little deformed, because there was no getting past how cool it was to finally have Mario in my hands. Videogames create a world with very defined limits and rules, whereas toys, well, they can be whatever you want them to be. With my Goomba and spring-loaded Mario duking it out, the limitations of the game world were gone and I could live out all the adventures and stories I wanted with Mario truly under my control. Toys and figures create a tangible connection to videogames that the games alone can’t provide.

At this point, Toy Box is going to be where I showcase some of the more awesome toys that collectors and fans might be interested in learning about. If I have fascinating background info on what I’m highlighting, I’ll be sure to incorporate it, but otherwise just enjoy the pretty pictures of things you might not have ever known existed! Expect Toy Box about once a week, dear readers.

With that said, our first batch of toy goodness is going to focus on some excellent die cast cars based off of Mario Kart 64!

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Racing Champions Mario Kart 64 5-Pack | Released 2000

I stumbled across this nifty pack of die cast cars in Old Sacramento a few weeks ago. The cars are a mixture of Chevies and Dodge builds. The set consists (in case it’s hard to tell from the pic alone) of cars featuring Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Bowser. Racing Champions has done other videogame cars in the past, including ones based on Mega Man X4.

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Matchbox Mario Kart 64 Individual Packs | Released 2005

These particular die casts I’ve had since I was in my teens. Hard to remember where I stumbled across them, but part of me is inclined to say Walmart. These actually came out later than the Racing Champions set, but are equally cool. Matchbox, too, has done cars based off of other videogame properties, including Sonic!

Well, that’s all for this installment, folks! Was this a bit light on content? Just right? Let me know, but rest assured there’s more to come. I’ll be experimenting a bit with this one until I feel I have it just right, but I hope you liked this first offering. Thanks for reading!

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