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Monday, August 13, 2007

Childish 30's: Zelda and the Transformers

This week I have been regressing to childhood. It started when I received a Wii for my 31st birthday, immediately turning it into my 13th birthday. As a paid up member of Generation X I grew up with gaming culture, but I haven't had a console since my original Playstation died of dust poisoning a few years ago. Wii Sports is a lot of fun but it's The Legend of Zelda that's been soaking up my time.

Zelda is a beautifully crafted game - just stunningly well thought out - with a perfect pace, that ebbs and flows as the game mode changes between Link the Hero, Link the Wolf and a number of well-placed minigames that slot carefully into both the storyline and the environment. For once puzzles seem natural, and the solutions are pitched at just the right level of difficulty.

I've played this type of arcade adventure before, but none have managed to create such a structured experience without making it feel linear (the only example I can think of is Knights of the Old Republic, but that didn't have the same pleasing variety of gameplay).

Now Zelda is worth regressing for on its own, but a few days after my birthday I had the chance to see the Transformers movie. When I was a kid Transformers were absolutely the toy of choice and god knows how much money I nagged out of my poor parents to build my collection of plasticy little alien robots. I watched the cartoon movie when it was on in the cinema, and even read the comic for a while, so the Autobots and Decepticons are imprinted on some impressionable part of my brain.

I'm a happy Britisher, but every now and again something comes along that makes me wish I was an American; the 2000 American election was one (in fact I wished I was 538 Floridians) and the new Transformers film is another. The reason being that if I was an American I could lobby for a new law that would force Micheal Bay to only ever make movies with giant robots in them.

Trust me - Micheal Bay was born to make this movie. Everything about his style: the ridiculous action shots, the hammy music, the slo-mo army dudes, and all the rest of the military pornography, everything is geared up to support giant robots in the best possible way. In fact, thinking back, Pearl Harbour would have been a lot better had the Japanese fleet been intercepted by a host of flying giant robots, and think how great Armageddon would have turned out had Bruce Willis been forced to put away his silly pimp-my-space-shuttle and fight some giant robot asteroids - for all mankind!

My one and only niggle with the ridiculous, testosterone fueled two hours that is Transformers, is that the new robot designs don't look that great when they're moving about, especially when Micheal Bay is having an attack of editor's Tourettes and fast cutting between fighting robots, giant guns and sweaty female midriffs. I mean look at Megatron, imagine that as a toy, you could have someone's eye out!

All in all its been a fun week being 13 again, sadly the mortgage needs paying and no amount of reminiscing will mow the lawn, so I better put the wii-mote aside and do some real work - at least until the next Giant Robot film, or they release No More Heroes:

1 comment:

rubberpaw said...


But I have no excuse either; although I didn't play the entire game (I started about halfway by copying a friend's savegame). Did you know that the wii version is a mirror image of prior versions, since the wii controller is expected to be held in the right hand, and Link is left-handed? It was the only way they could make the geometry of gameplay work properly.