I had go-bot toys as a kid, and no transformers. I always just assumed it was because we were poor.
Leader 1 and Cy-Kill were poor substitutes for Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Of course they were incredibly commercial. Children's cartoons back then were twenty minute advertisements for shitty toys.
That's because it worked so well for anime from that era. 30 minute commercials for robots that linked together to form giant robots. And those were bigger, made of metal not cheap plastic, and cost a small fortune.
My brother and I collected Go-Bots instead of Transformers as kids ... not a conscious decision on our parts, we just happened to watch their cartoon instead of the Transformers one.
When I was a kid, I always felt those licensed comics were "too commercial" for my sophisticated tastes. I definitely did not enjoy Popples or Muppet Babies comics at any time. DON'T LOOK IN THAT BOX STOP GET OUT
I was a much bigger fan of Go-Bots than Transformers as a kid (although I watched both) because I liked the characters better (they had more personality to me) and because the toys actually transformed the way they did on the cartoon.On Transformers, the toys don't look like the cartoon characters in many cases and they did cheater shit like putting Bumblebee's head on a little flap you flip up that doesn't even look like a head. Tthey transform on the show by doing weird size-changes or short-cutting the transformations and they don't always transform as toys the same way they do on the show.Go-Bots, they all transformed exactly like the toys. You push the legs up, push the arms in, flip the cone over Leader-1s head, and bam he's an airplane, and he does the same thing on the show too. Scooter bends his knees to his waist and flips up the front of his torso and he's a scooter, on both versions of him. This was very important tome as a kid. I liked both, I had both sets of toys, but Go-Bots toys were closer counterparts to their animated versions, and that was very valuable to me.Plus Scooter was basically me as a kid, so that helped the relatability. Cowardly nervous small nerd who can't fight and talks funny. Bam, soul bros.
Yeah, he's a hipster, but he was a hipster before it was cool.
I liked them both. I thought the Go-Bots had a more interesting overarching plot, but the quality of individual episodes was not as high. Also, I thought Transformers generally had better animation. Still, I definitely liked them both.
As Dave said, The Go-Bots transformed the same in real life and on the show, though the transformations were often kind of cheap, with their faces hidden just by putting them on the underside of whatever they transformed into. Still, the Porsche and weird futuristic car ones were pretty cool, and I have a vague memory of a larger version of Leader-1 that came out later in the run that was much better than the original.That said, I get my hipster cred from Robotech. I still liked Transformers, but Robotech was where it was at. Much more sophisticated, what with interracial couples, transvestitism, and major characters actually dying. I had to fiddle with rabbit ears to tune in the signal from Baltimore's WBFF to see it - very low-fi. I still love it and think about it too much to this very day. Right now, three Robotech toys are staring at me as I type this. Okay, fine, fine - one Robotech toy, one Macross toy, and one Mospeada toy, but we're in the States - they're Robotech, dammit.