I have a theory about my childhood and I'm trying to look at it as unbiased as possible. Taking off my Jedi colored glasses, I'll throw out some ideas as simple as I can put them. It was the age that consumerism attacked the youthful minds full-on; and won. I think the reason it hit the eighties kids harder is the way that pop culture filled every facet of our lives more than any era before or since. All of those cartoons: The G.I. Joes, The He-Mans, The Transformers (among a host of others-list your favs in the comments below) existed in order to sell toys. We were bombarded with advertising telling us that we HAD to have the latest and greatest action figures. If you liked a cartoon, EVERYTHING you owned could be of that product. Companies really began to monetize their television shows with toys, games, etc. I think it allowed us, who got those Underoos and bedsheets, to really feel like these characters were part of our world and part of us. No generation before us had that level of connection. In all due respect, I view Star Wars as the gateway for all kinds of other beloved nerdtacular influences that shaped our culture. It is deeply personal to me. However, It's hard for me to simply say there are G.I. Joe and Transformer fanboys and fangirls purely because of SW. So when the Autobots, Decepticons, Joes and Cobra came along, they were the first to marry (a) a well-executed toyline with (b) cartoons with higher production values and (c) successful, long-running comics franchises (it bears repeating: G.I. Joe had sales figures along the lines of X-Men at its peak). No matter what type of geek you were, you had a means to access these franchises. Kid who liked to read? Here, take a GI Joe comic and don't ask your parents too much about 'Nam. ALL of it captured my imagination, love, and loyalty. The toys in the eighties were revolutionary. The redefined what it meant to have a play date. You could literally sit there for hours an create original "episodes" of your favorite shows with these toys. I still reminisce on many wildly inaccurate laser battles. Now again...I can only answer for myself, but it really was a large defining factor of how I grew to understand the world around me. I'm sure every generation thinks that their influences were new and original, but I think that for this period of time, a lot of them were pretty geeky for whatever reason, and it made the difference. Our parents and grandparents had pioneering astronauts and the silver age of comics (I.E. the start of Marvel). They had successful soldiers of war, the waning world of westerns, and the golden age of comics (e.g. the start of DC/National). Our generation has no heroes of its own, which is why many creators/companies of our generation work to perpetuate the heroes of the past, or 'revamp' them for the modern day. Some could say, we are still clinging to our childhoods because these movies, television, comic books, etc. EVERYTHING we consumed as children taught us to. Maybe the moral of anything made during this time for kids was that kids were the soul of this planet, and it was the adults had lost their way. Our fictions told us it was okay, the kids, their innocence, their intelligence, and their open-mindedness will always win. I'm kind of leaning heavily on creators like Spielberg, Lucas and the like to make this argument. You'd be right. Look at their output in the eighties and tell me differently. I still collect action figures and any toy that catches my eye. I wear graphic tees with pride. Were we the first truly spoiled generation raised on junk that equated status? Yep. Our entire childhood was one long commercial designed to sell us stuff. And we bought it. Gladly. -Dagobot Get at me on twitter: @markdago


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