Synopsis of Toy
"Harness the Power of Dinosaurs."
Because of their artistry and all-round “cool” factor, there is still plenty of Dino Rider worship out there in toylover land today. First came the eponymous cartoon, but when you have a ‘dinosaur fighting dinosaur’ set-up that combines futuristic technology and prehistoria, you’re going to need more than a cartoon. You’re gonna have to bring out the big guns…and that’s just what Tyco did.
The premise was simple: the Dino Riders and their dinosaurs fought against the evil Rulons and their dinosaurs. The toys themselves were anything but simple. Inside the colorful and artwork-laden cardboard boxes (when a toy is born out of an animated series, the box had better be good) was a dinosaur that came with one to three riders and a whole cache of fighting gear. There were various attachment devices that allowed the Dino Riders and Rulons to throw things like rocks and nets at each other, and of course if it was a poor Rulon dinosaur, a horrible ‘brain box’ was included, which is how the bad guys got the dinosaurs to do their bidding. There were moving parts on all the animals, and the bigger guys had automated movement. For the players who wanted a little literature to go with their war games, there was an instruction booklet and a comic as well. In a “war of survival in 65 million B.C.,” you needed all the help you could get.
There were three series of Dino Riders toy lines, released in three consecutive years—the first hitting the toy store shelves in 1988. Within each series, there lived a handful of different Dino Riders and a handful of Rulon toys, as well as a selection of action figure riders that were sold separately. In 1990, perhaps out of species choices, the toyline shifted eras and a handful of Ice Age Mammals came out a fightin’. And in 1992, Tyco teamed with the Smithsonian Institute to release special, more highly detailed and battery-operated dinosaur versions of their best creatures. The Smithsonian special editions were the swan song of the Dino Rider dynasty—and a pretty good song to go out on.
Release History of Toy1988 - Dino Riders
1990 - Ice Age series
1992 - Smithsonian edition