Mnemosurgery Is Fascinatingly Underutilized

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by BoltBoi, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. BoltBoi

    BoltBoi Member

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    The idea of having the ability to not only view but alter someone's mind is such a brilliant plot device it just blows my mind that its never been used more often in the mainline series. Besides the off mention in Transformers Prime, the only time its been in spotlight was in the IDW comics of Lost Light. The series did a good job of explaining what it is and giving us both good and bad examples of Mnemosurgeons. Not to mention it also explored how it can be used for good and twisted evil.

    The morality of the profession alone is worthy of praise. Despite your intentions is it even your right to dive into the minds of individuals even with formal consent? What do you do if you operate on someone and discover something you weren't suppose to see? Do you retain the information or do you make a report? Or even better do you use the information for your own sinister gain?

    I can understand some series not using the concept "although IMAGINE a mnemosurgeon in Rescue Bots" but I think we can definitely use more plot devices that involve this profession.
     
  2. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

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    Oh, it totally is. I'm surprised that we only got reprogramming Transformer minds as a major plot focus as recent as MTMTE. It's a reminder that, as robots, despite being sentient, they still acquire this sentience through software, and like any software, there is an objective way to reprogram them in various ways. You could argue that humans can be reprogrammed from conditioning and experience, but with Transformers it gives them a certain vulnerability and reminds you how they are different from the rest of us. It's just neat.
     
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  3. Agamus

    Agamus Not an Iguana

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    Honestly it's so horrifying that only someone who's dedicated to putting horror themes into Transformers like Roberts was could pull it off. Unless you just need to "scan someone's memory banks" or whatever it's a bit... much. For most series at least.
     
  4. Tekkaman Blade

    Tekkaman Blade Professor of Animation

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    Reprogramming bots has been a long time plot in various series.

    The constructions used to be friendly till megaton reprogrammed them.

    BlackArachnia was originally a maximal. Tarantula reprogrammed her to fit his needs.There was an entire episode where they try to fix the reprogramming.

    Rhinox had it done to him twice.


    That was the entire plot of the Vechicons in Beastmachines.
    Rhinox,Silverbolt, and Waspinator were reprogrammed. They made waspinator into a cool biker bot which is quite the accomplishment considering they started with waspinator.
     
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  5. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    Messing around with minds... since robots are between machines and individual beings, it sounds like something that can be done.

    The question is how much should it be done.
     
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  6. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    It definitely is, I'd like to see it played with more.
     
  7. gregles

    gregles quintesson

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    As well as messing with individual characters memories the information creep concept that over millions of years the information that makes up their memories becomes corrupted and unreliable is interesting as it means the ancient stuff from their origins whether it be tied with Primus, Unicron or the quintessons can remain mysterious and unproven with lots of different conflicting theories being allowed to exist as when you think about it Rung and those others might not really have been Primus and the guiding hand but rather a group all with outlier abilities who had their memories altered during institute era into believing they are Primus and the guiding hand.

    I would say that idw got a nice balance with the use of shadowplay/memory altering stuff as it could become a bit tiresome if nothing was ever canon and nearly everyone was a Memosurgon. I felt like Star Wars during the prequel era overdid it with giving nearly everyone a lightsaber and making them a Jedi with abilities and I hope they don’t ever do the same with memosurgons in transformers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  8. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP My personal sense of scale

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    It certainly is a plot device, but I wouldn't call it brilliant. Eventually it was just used as a Deus Ex Machina to have characters heel-turn in personality or be "revealed" to be someone else. It really opened up the idea that Transformers can look, act, or be literally anything and who they are and what makes them special doesn't really matter.

    I'm glad it hasn't been used more, since it's incredibly damaging to a story when used incorrectly. It's just an excuse to change personalities on the fly or make up twists later on, without opening an actual discussion of what makes a character that character. "Reprogramming" is the same exact thing, only less pretentious sounding, and I've always been iffy on that for the same reason. It robs characters of agency and sapience if they can be so easily "over-written." The only series to really tackle the implications and drama of reprogramming was really Beast Machines, where the central arc of the Vehicon generals was their past as Maximals and the struggle to re-awaken the over-written personalities and the fallout such mental tampering leaves a character with. It was just handled well enough to not steer off the rials, but even then it trod the line of "it's really character X, and they've been reprogrammed! What a twist!" (the fact that it only did that twice, and then later subverted that very notion probably helps it feel less gimmick-y)

    That also helped the BM reveals to feel more poignant, in that every character revealed was the polar opposite of their previous personality, and those conflicting natures seriously damaged and haunted them. (well, with the exception of Waspinator, who had zero reservations with his new life)

    Beast Machines also took what I said above, where reprogramming and rebuilding basically means you can turn any character into anyone, and used that as the backbone of its philosophical debate. Are these characters mere machines, disposable things to be disassembled and modified in whatever way possible, or are they beings with sentience, individuality, and a soul that defines them? It paralleled the more overt question of technology vs. nature, and like that conflict resolved with a balance between the two.

    Mnemosurgery felt like far more of a gimmick. Initially interesting, eventually a plot device with the implications becoming less and less serious. And "reprogramming" is much simpler and more robot-soundy, which I prefer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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