I know that here at Rice Digital we’re big fans of all things, well, digital, but today I want to talk about a beloved childhood game that took my primary school playground by storm. I didn’t know anything about Pokémon cards, Match Attax or Yu-Gi-Oh! – for me, it was all about Gogo’s Crazy Bones.
What are Gogo’s Crazy Bones?
If Gogo’s Crazy Bones are from before your time (or maybe it’s just been that long since you’ve seen one!), allow me to illuminate. Gogos are these little plastic figurines with simple yet incredibly endearing designs, first appearing in 1996, which you could usually buy in 4-piece blind bags.
The first series had 60 unique characters to collect, but it later fell out of production and was replaced with a rebooted collection of 80 Gogos in 2007, each available in 5 different colours. On top of this, 5 rare “Most Wanted” Gogos were available to collect, appearing at least once on average per box of thirty packets, alongside 15 slightly less rare “Wanted” Gogos that were only available in the US.
Including all colour variations, there were a whopping 420 Gogos to collect, which was 10-year-old me’s top priority – especially the glitter and glow-in-the-dark variations. A classmate of mine had a glittery Mosh, and managed to convince our whole year that she had the rarest ever Gogo, a lie which I believed right up until writing this article when I found that Mosh was actually the most common Gogo, and I was just unlucky in finding it. Devastating.
There’s not much to Gogos in terms of lore; some are superheroes, some pirates, some have fists for heads, and so on. There was a monthly comic released from 2010 in the UK, but this was mostly comprised of one-page gags. Such wasted potential! If someone were to get these characters into a My Hero Academia-style anime they could rebuild the empire anew…
Despite being distributed by Spanish company Magic Box Int, many Gogos look distinctly anime-inspired, like Hayato for example. The second series of the rebooted franchise, Evolution, was even more overtly inspired by Japanese pop culture, with Gogos like Moshi, Koku-chan and Hayori.
And there are so many more Gogos that I won’t be anywhere close to covering in this article – a truly dizzying amount of series and sub-series, many of them licensed, for example by Disney, Marvel, DC, McDonalds, Dragonball Z and the 2010 England National Football Team, to name a few. Many countries got an exclusive series or two, to boot – it is actually insane how prolific these things were.
So can you actually do anything with Gogos, or?
Gameplay or no, the real fascination with Gogos came from collecting your own little army of rare and colourful little guys. Officially, there are actually a bunch of games you can play with the figurines to win points, but we only played one: you face your Gogo against your opponent’s and take turns flicking it until one Gogo is knocked over. If you topple someone else’s Gogo, it now belongs to you, and your army increases.
As you can imagine, this led to scenes of outrage, and Gogos were swiftly banned across schools all around the world. I, personally, stuck to friendly matches, as I couldn’t bear parting with any of my loyal soldiers.
For many others, the pleasure of owning a Gogo was reward enough. There were a plethora of accessories offered for kids to show off their Gogos, my favourite of which is the bone cage, which made your Gogo look like a prisoner of war.
Merchandising for this franchise went absolutely insane, including board games, video games, books, stickers, music, Coca-Cola bottle caps, yo-yos, finger skateboards… I really could go on all day. Even the featured image for this article uses the packshot from the 2012 Nintendo DS game.
Can you play Gogo’s Crazy Bones in 2023?
Though the franchise’s Wikipedia page states that Magic Box Int. stopped distributing Gogos in 2019, the company has still been seen to release Gogo-ish products. A 5-piece series for Frozen II, for example, was released by Iguti in 2021 and are definitively not Gogos, but due to PPI Brasil having a hand in production (PPI Worldwide is the official owner of Gogo’s outside of Europe and North America), the figures included the Magic Box stamp which was used to authenticate Gogos as legitimate items. So the Frozen figures are considered Gogos in all but name.
PPI Worldwide is also responsible for Wikkeez, a very similar product that also offers blind-bag collectables with different rarities and colour variations. The only difference is that the series is licensed by Disney, and so its 50 figurines are all modelled after popular characters from the likes of Star Wars and Pixar. To me, this product is obviously inferior – anyone can make a little plastic guy, but the original Gogos had character and personality without needing existing IPs behind them. We need to go back!
Magic Box Int is still producing collectables, but seem to have pivoted to slightly larger toys with more functionality, yet a far more limited range, like T-Racers and Kookyloos. It seems that their Gogo days are far behind them now, sadly, so I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing a revival any time soon.
Despite this, there are a plethora of Gogo’s Crazy Bones enthusiasts who collect and resell figurines online, so if you’re hankering for your favourite childhood figure, there’s a very good chance you can find it on eBay. And you can, I suppose, just flick random household objects at each other if you want to simulate the series’ high-octane (/j) gameplay.
For the most part, though, the sun has set on the empire of Gogo’s Crazy Bones. I, for one, will never forget them – and if they do happen to make a comeback, I’ll be first in line to buy more of these endearingly wacky toys.
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