|“||Big deal! Probably some Microheadtargetmaster with a Pretender shell!||”|
|“||Basically, I feel that the TFs died because Hasbro got carried away with inventing dumb gimmicks that often hampered the Transformers' transformation, appearance, etc.||”|
—Alexander Hart, alt.toys.transformers, November 1994
The dictionary gives several definitions of a "gimmick", but in relation to Transformers toys it is usually used to mean "a feature added to a toy to enhance its play value or make it more attractive to buyers". They may also be called "action features". Common gimmicks found on Transformers are:
- Weapons, which may be static, deployable, or projectile-launching,
- Interaction with other Transformers,
- Electronic sounds or lights,
- Articulated limbs, and
- Transformation itself, or the lack thereof.
The term "gimmick" has a vaguely pejorative sense, and some Transformers fans profess a dislike for all gimmicks on Transformers. A look at the above list makes this seem strange; a truly gimmick-free Transformer toy would be no more than a static statue. Usually, however, the real if unspoken argument is that articulation and transformation are the preferred features, and others are unwanted because they tend to interfere with these favored two. This is most noticeable with recent lines, where a set uniform feature is given to all a given line's figures (such as Armada's Mini-Cons or Cybertron's Cyber Planet Keys), thus drawing more attention to it than the actual figure.
On the other hand, these fans may believe that attempts to add play value are bound to make Transformers into Playskool baby toys instead of the adult collectibles they should be. How silly that would be.
- Action Masters
- Color changing
- Cyber Planet Keys
- Electric lights
- Pull-back motor
- Sparking gimmick
- Triple Changer