Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Are Transformers Too Complicated To Be Toys?

Occasionally a Transformer is released that is just too damn complicated, it has too many moving pieces, too many motions you have to go through, and/or pieces frequently pop off while transforming just because there are too many things to move around.

The toylines for the recent movies are full of figures like this. The (big) Optimus Prime toy from the Revenge of the Fallen movie probably takes me about 10 minutes to transform, if I remember all of the steps, and don't have to search out the instructions again, to figure out how to position his gas tanks in order to allow the movement of some other esssential piece.

This got me thinking, and it's been stewing in my brain for a couple of days.
It does seem that a lot of transformers, especially the movie toys, just aren't designed with the traditional play scheme of two kids playing with their toys, and having them fight each other, in mind.

I just don't see a kid getting any of the movie Primes and making him drive around in truck mode, then transform into bot and have him "fight". Even if you've got the transformation down pat, it's still going to take a couple of minutes to transform either the voyager or leader molds.

When you're just playing on your own, of course that's less of a concern, you can pause the "action" for as long as you need. Which is kind of depressing to think about.

Hasbro's company line has consistently been "we make toys for kids, not collectors" over and over again, but it seems like they're aiming at people like us, where the only "play" they're looking for is transforming the toy, and then making it do a cool pose on the shelf.

So, if they're really making "toys for kids" are there a lot of "kid collectors" out there?

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