When you think of a giant toy company, usually names like Mattel, Ideal, or Hasbro jump to mind. One company usually doesn’t pop up immediately, because they don’t play up their corporate name the same way the others do. But Jakks Pacific has been a huge player in toys and games for over 20 years. For their contributions to our toy boxes and collector shelves, Jakks Pacific is a 2016 inductee in the Pop Culture Hall of Fame.
The company got big fast, acquiring several established brands such as Remco, Child Guidance, Road Champions, Toymax, and many others right out of the gate. From there, they were able to use their size to get licenses from dozens of brands and entertainment properties like Cabbage Patch Kids, Club Penguin, Godzilla, Phineas & Ferb, Stanley Tools, and Star Wars.
What follwed was a huge range of action figures, from Rocky to Dragon Ball Z, outdoor activities such as backyard water toys, Halloween costumes from a wide range of characters such as Masters of the Universe… the list goes on. Jakks has made so many different kinds of toy, but many people don’t realize what a heavy hitter they are in the industry.
One of their biggest and most enduring hits is their series of Plug & Play TV games. Each of the dozens of different titles is basically a joystick of other controller that hooks directly to any television and comes pre-programmed with multiple games. The Atari joystick game was both a welcome nod to the past and something of a mindblower for anyone who played the original 2600 console, which could only hold one cartridge at a time. The Spongebob Squarepants series of games were truly inspired, with the entire controller shaped like the character (his nose as the joystick).
Disney Tsum Tsum characters are their latest success, a wide range of bean shaped characters representing just about every Disney character you can think of (including the worlds of Marvel, Star Wars, and Muppets). With a track record like theirs, Jakks Pacific will be in the toy game for a long time.