Sky Shadow wins Christmas or, Simple is Better

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by ZacWilliam, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. ZacWilliam

    ZacWilliam Well-Known Member

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    I had something proved to me this Xmas that I'd long suspected.

    Since TRU was having a BOGO sale and all the little kids in my family were a good TF age it was Transformers all around this year. I gave Prime First Edition BB, and Arcee, a Wheeljack and a Sky/Black Shadow to different kids.

    Black Shadow was **BY FAR** the biggest hit. My 10 year old nephew LOVED him. He played with him all the evening of the party. My sister says he took him to bed with him that night and played with him for the next 2 days straight. And my nephew told me exactly why, he said to me very excitedly "I can transform him myself! I don't have to wait for you to come over!" he was SO EXCITED for a Transformer that was fun and at his skill level.

    He's had Transformers before, Movie stuff mostly bought by my Sister or my Dad and they've inverribly turned in moments into a jumbled ball of mess that he can't do anything with. They then sit on the floor till torn apart and lost or get thrown in a box and forgotten. Similarly Prime BB was the relative loser of the night. I figured as a Bumblebee and a Prime toy he'd be pretty simple so I gave him to my 8 year old cousin (same year I was btw when TFs first started and I fell in love with them). I guessed wrong and he couldn't do BB at all. It was just too complex. After several lessons from me that night I'd give him about a 50% chance of ever being able to TF that toy by himself at home.

    So I've had reinforced to me what I've often thought looking at a lot of modern TF, especially the movie lines (Looking at you especially RotF) they have given us better articulation, more detailed designs but have often cost us something MUCH more important: fun, easy, simple Transformations that kids can do and ENJOY. Every mess like RoTF Mixmaster Hasbro sells is one frustrated kid who decides TFs are stupid toys and not fun and never wants another. Every Prime BB that is much too hard for an 8 year old is one 9 year old who has no interest in Prime Goldbug the next year.

    We fans often berate toys like Thunderwing/SkyShadow or Ultra Silverbolt for being fairly simple, but you know what? Those reletively simpler toys that are the closest to what kids fell in love with in G1. They're toys a kid can do and enjoy during a game without failure, a jumbled mess or pausing play for a half hour. This Xmas has convinced me more than ever, for the health and future of the line, that this is what Transformers REALLY should be.


    -ZacWilliam, hopefull that the Prime design image touting more intuitive simple transformation means Hasbro has realized this too...
     
  2. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    Agreed.
     
  3. Dormamu

    Dormamu I am Broot.

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    That's why we loved Jumpstarters, Firebots, and Duocons. Because simple bricks made us use our imagination.
     
  4. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    ... and lets not forget Beast Wars flipformers. Speaking of something alike, my little cousin probably had more fun with my Mcdonalds Manta than he did with many of my "better" toys, simply because he could transform it on his own without having to wait while I essentially played with it.
     
  5. Starfire22

    Starfire22 Zoot Suit Riot

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    Sky shadow is a winner, nice to see that he loved it. :) 
     
  6. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

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    You make some good points about the complexity of a transformation and it's something I've often wondered about, myself. As toy design continues to evolve, transformations become more elaborate. As a child of G1, I was able to grow with the evolution and keep up with the advancements embodied in the Movie and Masterpiece lines. However, I keep thinking about the younger generation and how hard it will be for them to adapt to this significant increase in complexity. Moreover, I'm equally concerned about how much force is required to transform modern toys, especially the first time out of the box. I owned Snapdragon as a kid and I remember having some trouble transforming his legs and feet because of how stiff they were. Granted, they're not much harder than your average Voyager, but to a 9-year old kid they were a real challenge. Now compare that to the amount of brute strength required to get RTS Perceptor back into vehicle mode and I can't imagine a kid fumbling in vain with it for long before tossing it aside in boredom.

    Your 10-year old nephew seems to affirm my suspicion that many current Transformers are too difficult to grab a new generation of fans. Having said that, your nephew is of the right age for Animated figures, which mostly have easier transformations and stylised designs to make them more expressive and appealing. Did he watch the show during its run and end up getting any figures? If he liked Sky Shadow, do him a favour and buy him Animated Wreck-Gar. It's a very simple and effective transformation, and it should be a delight to a kid his age.
     
  7. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Animated Wreck-gar seems like a great choice to me too, and it's also got quite the unique & memorable alt mode that could be used as a metaphor to get a kid to clean up his shit once in a while.
     
  8. Maetel

    Maetel Well-Known Member

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    it feels like the movie and the newer classic/generation transformation style, though complex, doesn't really add much to the table as far as 'clever' goes. all it does is add more folding panels wrapped around the bot limbs and a frustrating experience trying to line up all the panels in vehicle mode. i prefer the blocky energon/cybertron style where everything just fit together without much effort and not spend 20 minutes trying to line up the panels and twisting the limbs underneath just to line up the tabs and slots.
     
  9. Nymyzys

    Nymyzys Wailing Your Sorrow

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    That's what I love about the majority of the Classics/Generations figure. Nothing fancy or overly complicated, just a fun figure in either mode. Transformers don't need to be highly complicated feats of toy engineering like the RID line. I never did figure out how to put Omega Prime together.
     
  10. Boy Blunder

    Boy Blunder Hasbrown'd

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    Generally, I agree with the sentiment of this thread. However, I will point out one thing - my nephew (who was... I want to say seven at the time) was able to transform Alternators Grimlock with ease, while I sat there trying to divine the steps - even with the instructions.
     
  11. PlanckEpoch

    PlanckEpoch Just a regular old plumbus

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    Simple transformations are pretty nice, but I see things a little differently. I understand that adults are not the primary demographic for Transformers toys, but I for one very much enjoy the complexity of a lot of the stuff within the last few years. As I grew up I became more and more enamored with toy complexity, whether that be accessories store-able on the toy itself, higher level of articulation, detail, and/or transformation. I like where Transformers are at this moment. They provide a great level of complexity without going overboard, and still manage to look good and pack in a great amount of articulation. The only modern figure that I got that I was really frustrated with was MP Hot Rod, but I felt that was due to some poor engineering or design more than actual complexity.

    It's a matter of perspective here. When I was playing with Transformers, I also started dabbling in model kit building. Glue-and-paint models as well as snap together ones. I was really bad as expected as a kid doing this stuff, but what it instilled into me is an appreciation for complexity and intricate tasks. When I was a teen I was introduced to Japanese transforming toys thanks to my cousins, who have transformation complexities that modern Transformers toys are now JUST reaching. I'd actually like seeing Transformers toys get a bit more complex...I want to see what Hasbro and Takara-Tomy engineers can come up with next. But I do understand that I'm not the target demographic, so I'm still happy to see what we got now.

    I do think that there should be a line that isn't a cop out to kids though. As someone who enjoyed complexity in his childhood, these made-for-kids Transformers suck. Not that they're bad toys, but when you see Daddy buying a deluxe or voyager which is AWESOME and you get one that transforms just by standing it up or flipping over the hood? Lame. Animated really filled the void left by complex transformers, and it's a shame to see a lack of a similar line.
     
  12. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Villain

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    During a little G1 buying spree a couple months ago, I wondered what it would be like if G1 style toys were to return and what would be so wrong with that. Oh noes, kids would be able to transform something that didn't take 10 minutes! The horror!
     
  13. Shockwave9227

    Shockwave9227 I'm actually 16.

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    I do agree with what you're saying but I do like the complex transformations that are at the intermediate level and up as the transformation doesn't get boring and is actually fun.
     
  14. OCProwl

    OCProwl Autobot Dad

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    I do appreciate and marvel at the engineering that goes into the complex transformations. That said, even as an adult collector I gravitate towards the simpler ones just for a fun, quick transformation. The more complex ones I might transform once and then leave them as-is. My "most transformed" figures of 2011 were RTS Legends Optimus Prime and Megatron. Simple, fun, classic characters that sit on my desk and give me a nice, quick fix!
     
  15. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Rattrap Teabag

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    I like complex transformations but I can appreciate simplistic ones as well. Personally I absolutely love Silverbolt, Thunderwing and Black Shadow (though I wish the latter two were bigger...that's for a different thread ;) ) because they have great vehicle modes and robot modes despite being simple.
     
  16. Lumpy

    Lumpy Taylor Swift Actionmaster Super Mod

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    hell yeah! love the Duocons!

    and i agree with the OP, simple is fun, especially for kids. and without being a specific "little kids" toy too... As an adult collector, I like a good mix. sometimes it's nice to just have a quick transformation, sometimes it's nice to spend forever transforming one toy. I still get frustrated with some movie toys, because I just want something quick to do, not something that'll take me forever to line up panels.
     
  17. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Villain

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    That's another thing - current activators look like baby toys. The target demo isn't gonna want that, and the packaging even says 3 years I think.

    They kinda had the right idea with Armada...
     
  18. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    Different kids are different. Some handle super-complex toys with ease, others want Dad or Mom or whoever to transform their Rescue Bots for them.

    For me, while I appreciate the engineering of a complex design, I'm more about the simpler ones, or at least the ones that avoid the frustrating muscling of parts past each other and 'busy work'. In transformation, the line between "fun" and "chore" is often very thin. A favorite toy when I was much younger was Scamper, the little car that came with Metroplex. The reason was it was so simple I could transform it in 'real-time', which was a lot of fun for playing out action scenes at the time. The new Rescue Bots toys are appealing to me in a similar way - I must have turned that knob to transform Blades about a million times.
     
  19. Rewind

    Rewind Space Hipster

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    I agree with the OP. My 9-year-old nephew doesn't like Transformers because he can't transform them and ends up with a mess that neither he nor his mom can put back into alt or bot mode - so he loses interest entirely. He also doesn't like things like the Rescue Bots because they're too easy. He calls them "baby toys". :lol 
     

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