Synopsis of Toy
Ask any members of Generation X for a list of their favorite childhood movies, and you are likely to hear Tron mentioned more than once. This high-tech cult classic told the story of a computer programmer who is sucked into a computer and has to fight his way through several video-game style contests. The film pulled off this unusual story by combining live action with brand-new computer animation techniques. As a result, it captured the imaginations of kids everywhere and helped bring movies into the digital-effects era. It also inspired two hit arcade games—Tron and Discs Of Tron—and a line of cool action figures that remain popular today.
Issued by Tomy in 1982, the Tron action figures consisted of four 3¼-inch toys made of plastic that was blue for the heroic figures (Tron and Flynn) and red for the villainous characters (Sark and Warrior). The Tron, Flynn and Sark figures also came with detachable discs to use as weapons. The Warrior came with a staff resembling the weapon he used in the film. To add the crowning touch, elaborate circuit-style designs were painted onto the bodies of these figures in dayglo shades to recreate the computer-enhanced appearance of the film’s characters.
There was only one kind of accessory for the Tron toys, but it was a true doozy: the Light Cycles were plastic vehicles that resembled souped-up futuristic motorcycles. They came in two colors, red and yellow, and were packaged with ripcords that allowed the user to race them across any flat surface. These vehicles also opened up so a Tron action figure could be placed inside. These Light Cycles also inspired knock-offs: in Canada, another toy company called Toy City produced their own unofficial light cycle-styled toys that came in blue, green, silver, and orange colors. Unfortunately, these vehicles were 25% smaller than the Tomy light cycles and thus couldn’t accommodate any action figures inside.
The Tron toys were surprisingly short-lived and disappeared from toy shelves quickly. As a result, they have become pricey collector’s items in recent years. Light cycles in particular are a hot item among members of Generation X who grew up with Tron looming large in their imaginations. Tron toys are especially popular in Japan since they were only made in the U.S. and never in Japan. The long-lived cool status of the Tron toys proves that they lived up to the promise on the Tron movie poster, taking their owners into “a world inside the computer where man has never been.”