Artifact Title / Toys

  • Polly Pocket dolls were originally called that because the doll was less than an inch high and the whole play-set closed in on itself and fit easily into your pocket. This has not been referenced in years, as Polly has grown to be much taller and her play-sets expansive.
  • Hot Wheels introduced a car called "Purple Passion" in the early '90s. It was a 40s style hot rod painted purple. The car has been reissued several times since then, but not always in purple.
  • BIONICLE was originally a biological chronicle, as it centered around the story of those living inside a giant robot. The reboot featured no such thing.
  • Transformers once introduced the Action Masters - toys that were highly poseable action figures (compared to the average Transformer of the era) but did not transform. They were naturally fodder for mocking as "Transformers that don't transform".
    • They were justified as still being "transformers" because they came with small animal partners or vehicles that could transform. In the fiction, Action Masters were regular transformers who used a dangerous new fuel that robbed them of their transformation ability, but granted them enhanced physical abilities.
    • Adding to the confusion, some Action Masters, named Action Master Elites, could transform on their own (albeit rarely in any kind of complex fashion). They were Transformers who don't transform who do transform.
    • Since the original Action Masters, many forms of non-transforming Transformers have shown up, most notably for the live action movie series. There are even completely non-articulated statues of Transformers made.
    • A few character names become this, given time. Astrotrain, for instance had a name that referred to him being a Triple Changer who switched between a train and a space shuttle. However, that's tricky to engineer, so since then, there have been Astrotrain toys that only turned into a space shuttle.
  • G.I. Joe originally referred to the generic American soldier who served as the basis for the line. It came from the fact that the line was supposed to represent the average soldier. As early as the 70s, this started to get abandoned, with a shift away from soldier figures after The Vietnam War, and Joe becoming more of an adventure hero. When the franchise was rebooted in the 80s, it restored the "American soldier" angle, but focused on a large cast that comprised easily the least average American soldiers in history, none of whom were named "Joe" (until Joe Colton came along). In plenty of later series, the protagonists have been neither soldiers nor Americans, and "GI Joe" refers to some kind of international special ops organization that's inexplicably named after slang for American grunts.