Not every brand that has been attached to Transformers has made a major contribution to the franchise, and if you're in the US you could easily have missed Milton Bradley's connection entirely. But in Europe, games manufacturer Milton Bradley was key to the early success of G1. It's also one of the oldest subsidiaries of Hasbro, predating the parent company's 1923 founding date by some sixty years! Keep reading for more information.
While Milton Bradley the person had always been a champion of education - he was part of the movement that introduced Kindergarten to the United States - the company's educational products dwindled coming into the latter half of the 20th century, focusing more on entertaining toys and games. The company continued along until the first video game boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s cut into toymakers' profits, at which point they were acquired by Hasbro. The Milton Bradley brand continued under Hasbro, which also acquired Parker Brothers as part of Kenner-Parker toys in the early 1990s. Around 2009, both were rolled into the Hasbro Games brand.
Besides The Game of Life, the modern version of which was created in 1960, Milton Bradley was known for a great many other boardgames such as Candy Land, Chutes And Ladders, Connect Four, Twister, and Crossfire(You'll get caught up in the). They also published the Simon, the electronic game where players have to match a pattern of colored flashing lights.
Fascinatingly, there's also a theory that the harder-to-find second wave of Milton Bradly Transformers toys was originally manufactured by rival toymaker Joustra, holder of the Diaclone license at the time. This could be why such obscure, second-string characters as Optimus Prime were relegated to a very weird, irregularity-laden second wave of figures in Europe.
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