I’m sitting here smiling after watching this YouTube series. Growing up I used to play with Green and Tan army guys. Often times their would be a war movie playing in the background while I had make-believe battles of my own being fought right in the living room. Green army guys were the good guys and Tan the bad guys.
I recently have been playing old PC games now that I can play them on my Mac. Backyard Baseball and Backyard Football are mainly what I play. But I found 3DO’s Army Men and I might have to give it a whirl. It’s not the same as one of the other games I used to play, can’t think of the name now, but basically it was Plastic Green Tanks, Jeeps, and soldiers fighting to capture a flag against Blue and Tan soldiers. Endless fun.
There have been newer games on Playstation 2 like Army Men: Air Attack 2 where you fly around in Apache helicopters blowing up Tan Armies. Because they are toys, the battlefields are often sandboxes, backyards, living rooms, etc. It’s a fun environment that allows the player (often younger kids) play a PG rated war-type game. Their is no blood or gore or any of the bad things that are in modern games. My brother and I grew up playing games like these on PC and on earlier gaming systems PS1 and PS2.
So I’m looking up videos to reminisce on past memories and I type in “Green vs Tan army guys” on YouTube. The first video is 24 minutes long called Army Men – Plastic Apocalypse and it has 11 MILLION VIEWS! Anything with over a million views is impressive. So I started watching it and I must say I thought it was
It’s stop-animation with special effects and voice-over acting. It’s absurd and funny. It’s simplistic yet complex. Their is a story behind all the chaos. Most of the sound effects, gunfire, explosions are taken away from war movies like Saving Private Ryan.
At first I was skeptical, but anything with 11 million views has my attention. Clearly the creator of this had a similar childhood like mine. Now as an adult, he’s taking his old army guys and using them in something I imagine he’s passionate about: creating stories and film making (could be wrong, but that’s what I’m assuming).
If you haven’t clicked the video above, this is what the army guys look like:
Green (Good) Tan (Bad). Simple as that. What I loved about this series is that when the guys are running or shooting or lying down, the characters are changing between army guy poses. They have the same shade of green allowing the viewer to follow along. The creator chose the main characters who were different shades of Green or Gray to identify who the main protagonists were.
This YouTube series is an adult version of our childhood experiences. Heads are getting shot off, toys are being burned (melted), Sniper Towers are being blown up by tanks, all the things that would happen in the games, happened here. Their are a few swears in the dialog, but mostly it’s comic relief. The video doesn’t drag on because their is always something exciting happening as the story progresses.
Like the games, the environment for the battlefield appears to be a backyard and a shed. Enemy bunkers are home-made boxes. Tall grass is known as a forest, ant hills are mountains, it has a similar feel as Honey I Strunk The Kids or Bugs Life. But with guns, explosions and chaos.
Overall, I’m a fan and I’m glad my curious brain stumbled upon this video series. It’s cool to look back at my childhood and smile about the simple-minded things that kept me busy during the day. Here’s what the newer army guys looked like that I played with a few years later:
More detail, facial recognition, color schemes and realism. But in the end, it’s all the same for the endless amounts of fun kids have playing with these toys growing up. I’m glad I had this opportunity, it allowed me to use my imagination at a young age. That same imagination hasn’t left and maybe this is where I first learned how to makeup and write stories of my own without even realizing it.
Hopefully one day my kids will have a similar experience. We’ll just have to wait and see..
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