Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Optimus Prime Day

30 years ago today.
So, it's Optimus Prime Day. A Transformers fandom holiday dating back to the days of Transmasters fanzines. What makes today so significant? Well, on February 24 1987, The Return of Optimus Prime part 1 was first aired. Marking the return (it's in the name) of Optimus to lead the Autobots in the cartoon (which was in it's third season, post the 1986 movie).

Now, obviously Optimus first returned from the dead in the episode 'Dark Awakening', however in that episode he was basically a reanimated corpse thanks to the Quintessons. His consciousness gained control over his evil zombie ways and saved the day, but ending as the episode drove in that he was still super dead. Somehow astronauts recued him from that ending at the beginning of TROOP (it's a reach) and Optimus Prime was officially brought back to life as he lit another darkest hour.

At some point during the more early fandom years the date got turned into a holiday of sorts, more as a day of remembrance. It's mostly forgotten in todays fandom aside from the few of us who still get that email reminder from the Transmasters list. The relevance isn't lost on me. Tomorrow I've got a planning meeting for Botlanta (the Transformers programming track at Joelanta). I guess it's the little things sometimes that make you smile.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blaming it on Throwback Thursday

It's kinda a big deal to me.

Real talk: Wanting to talk about McDonald's Beast Wars is a contributing factor for me finally start making Zone Base. Like, I knew what I wanted and all. But the desire to write all sorts of posts on my beloved McDonald's Beast Wars basically made me 100% decide on this site. And then I didn't write anything about it after. I'm not going to lie, there's a reason Under 3/Unit 3 has been all over the site in one way or another.

So, I decided as I inch towards the 1 year anniversary of the first post (can't even remember when I first started sitting on the space) I've decided to spend more time on not just McDonald's Beast Wars, but my admittedly strange association with McDonald's and Transformers. So, since Throwback Thursday is a thing, let's take a minute to appreciate the McDonald's Beast Wars Transmetals commercial. It takes a second to get past Ronald's malarkey, but woo boy it gets better.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: OTFCC 2004 Megazarak

Functioning is a privilege, not a right.
The sudden appearance of Megazarak on Cybertron's political and military landscape shifted the planet's balance of power forever. This new warlord had a thirst for destruction and chaos unlike any other Decepticon leader before him. With no tolerance for weaker species, Megazarak went on a genocidal rampage throughout Cybertron, beginning with the Destruction of his reality's Matrix-bearer. The remains of the Autobot army were soon dispatched with ruthless efficiency and in a short period of time, Megazarak became the most feared despot throughout the galaxy. In both modes, Megazarak fires a wide variety of lethal electromagnetic attacks from his side-mounted cannon. His Micromaster partner, Caliburn, doubles as a lightning blaster - discharging 60 kilovolt bursts at his opponents, Although immensely powerful, Megazarak does have a weakness - his preoccupation for hunting down the remaining Autobot who had eluded his wrath - Defensor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Stalker

Hate till it hurts and then hate some more.
The only land-based Predator. A truly twisted mind that's capable of the purest evil. The master of the double bluff. Uses supertech 'Garble' system to protect Predator signals from Turbomaster spies. Then slyly scrambles their communications to wreak the havoc and confusion he loves. As vehicle, stands solid as a four tracked armored satellite station and rocket launcher with five missiles. As robot, towers above the battle wielding impressive hand held fighting power.

Monday, February 13, 2017

One step over the line, sweet Primus, one step over the line

Eating at McDonald's in a Walmart, One Step over the line.

I love One Step Changers. They're great little figures that change quickly from one mode to another. When they were introduced in the Age of Extinction toy line, I went nuts. I went close to completion, only slowing down towards the end. When the RID 2015 line started up and One Steps were part of the line, well, I've certainly bought my share.

I enjoy small toys. This isn't a secret. Honestly, there's a slim margin of chance that's keeping me from buying almost exclusively smaller toy scales. I'll miss a deluxe or a voyager, but I won't miss a legion. It's just one of those things that eventually, nothings going to make me buy more than the occasional larger TF toy while I switch most of my focus towards smaller toys. Right now, I'm pretty close. But things like wanting to build combiners in Combiner Wars, or being nuts about Titans Return (which is smaller toy focused as is). I buy the occasional warrior in RID, but don't miss a legion or those awesome smaller figure packs like the armor figures or Crash Combiners.  I buy plenty One Step Changers (I really wish they'd call them Hyper Changers, a name that looks to be going towards those twist and change TF's from the AOE line) and love it.

I've never been too concerned with a difficult transformation. I'll admit a novel or unique transformation will get my attention and appreciation. The One Steps change pretty quickly (despite the name, there's an occasional 2nd or 3rd step) and usually serve as a decent enough representation of a character for my liking. Honestly, I find simpler toys to be extremely similar to older toys. Something I don't mind at all. When they first came out, I bought Drift and found myself carrying him around with me for a few days. Just switching back and forth. My wife talked me into buying more and I got a Grimlock. I literally sat in bed watching TV next to her as she slept, changing the two back and forth. Just great little toys. If anything, I kinda wish they were smaller. I remember when they were first coming to stores, I had a misunderstanding that they were Hot Wheels sized. I still swear making them smaller would improve their overall neat-ness.

Now that The Last Knight movie toy line news is starting to leak out, I'm finding myself getting more and more excited for new movie One Steps. Like, I'm extremely excited to get my hands on them. Part of me wishes they came in blind bags or boxes with wacky color variants. At their size and price (10$ each), that's a hard bargain. But at my wished for Hot Wheels size, they could be sold that way for much less. While I'm not complaining about the class being sold in movies and RID toy lines, I'd love to see it in the Generations line. I could see G1/G2 characters working really well as One Steps and probably be extremely close to their original toys in the class. It could be packaged as a novelty retro thing and I'm pretty sure that would move pretty fast. In fact the more I think about it, the more I want it.

Damn, I really want that.

*Edit* A week later from when I posted this, at this year's Toy Fair, Hasbro showed off their new bling bag Transformers toyline called Tiny Turbo Changers. Which are small simple changing toys. They probably have more in common with Legion figures than One Step Changers. But considering that the one step is mostly gear driven and legions have one big step and a few smaller ones, they aren't too different. So basically my general idea here seems to be happening. So, I guess someone else had a similar idea.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hooray for Specific Jim!

Resetting the clock.
When Pacific Rim came in 2013, I was enraptured. It was this wonderful movie that captured and paid homage to the various super robot cartoons and kaiju movies I grew up watching. It was effectively a live action Saturday morning carton and I loved it. It quickly rose to replace Halloween (1978) as my number 1 favorite movie (don't worry, Halloween is still pretty high on the list).

Following seeing it, I'd approach people and talk to them about the movie like it was a new religion I had found and wanted to spread. It was just so wonderful I couldn't stop gushing over it.

So of course, I've been following the on again/off again news of the sequel. For a while they were calling it Maelstrom, which would have been a damn fine name. However, it's ultimately been named Uprising, which is a great fitting name for a follow up. Maelstrom implied an onslaught of kaiju and just a pure storm of hell on earth. Uprising is an more ominous title. It can imply both bad and good themes. The Kaiju have returned, but so have the Jaegers!

When the art first popped up, everyone was quick to figure out the new form of Gypsy Danger. The other two were a mystery. Lots of folks speculated they were new versions of Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha, others (like myself) thought they were new Jaegers. Just a day later the Pacific Rim Facebook page confirmed they were version 2.0 Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha (after I had already recorded my podcast episode for the week speculating they were new bots *sigh*). Making things more exciting, that's not just Gypsy Danger 2.0, it's now named Gypsy Avenger! Which is just an awesome name and really fitting for a new version.

I'm bubbling over with excitement and not being very patient waiting for this new movie to come out. I literally cannot wait, and ... you know that particular feeling of excitement you get as a fan? That mix of euphoria, excitement, and bewilderment into a feeling of joy that's next to impossible to express? Well right now I could bottle it in bulk and sell it.

I see this and want a game by Konami for my Super Nintendo.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joy Con colors and the great undecidedness

This is going to drive me crazy.
So, the new Nintendo Switch is coming out soon and I'm all set for getting one launch day. Fortunately, with my work schedule, I'll get off in time to take a nap and run out to get it as the store opens. I'm super excited for this. Nintendo is my favorite game company and the hybrid of a console and portable is exactly the kind of thing I've wanted forever now.

Here's the problem.

There are two packages available at launch. One where the included Joy Cons are grey and match the console. The other, the Joy Cons are two different colors to avoid confusion. In fact, Joy Cons in different colors are going to be a thing and available individually at stores. While I much prefer the standard grey package, as it looks a lot better and more sleek, I can 100% see why the colored Joy Con set would be a good thing to have. Not only to simplify things when using the Joy Con outside of the gaming grip, but also for when it's time to slide them onto the console.

It's probably super easy to accidentally try and put the wrong Joy Con on the wrong side. Much like no matter how many times you've inserted a USB cable, you'll get it wrong the first time. I can see myself in the living room on a Saturday night and the wife wanting to move into the bedroom to stretch out on the bed and watch tv instead of on the couch. So, I'd walk over, slide those Joy Cons onto the Switch to change into portable mode, and... crap ... ok got it. With the colored ones, that'd probably not be an issue. Red right, blue left. Easy.

Not to mention, the buttons do stand out more on the colored Joy Cons. I can see myself playing in the dark, going only by TV light and wanting to share a screen shot of myself dying again to social media and hitting the home button. Then getting frustrated and not bothering sharing that screenshot that I thought was really funny. I mean, sure taking a pic with my phone of the TV is easy, but usually takes an extra bit of focus and as pictures here can prove, I'm not the best photographer.

Also, those colors are super charming. They look neat. But, you know what. That grey is super sharp. It's a very sleek looking device and in grey almost looks a little sophisticated. I'm hardly the GQ type, but I do like my personal devices to look nice. Even if nobody else is seeing them but me, I vastly prefer that bit of coolness that comes from a sharp looking electronic. It's very satisfying to me to have something nice looking. My wireless mouse matches my laptop. Nobody but my wife and myself ever see's my wireless mouse that I use at home. But, I'm very pleased with that little touch of sharpness in form. I know it's silly, but I get to be silly. It's my Switch, it's my money, it's my decision.

So here I am, just under a month until I get my Switch, in a personal battle on what color of controller to get. Honestly, the decision will probably be decided on what's available in store. If I ultimately decide I'd like different Joy Cons, I'll just buy the other ones. It's not even an issue. I'm ridiculous.

Just so you know, I'm going to have just as hard of a time in the store picking out a case for the thing. Sure, it's just so I don't crack the screen when I put it on the nightstand before going to sleep or taking a break, but...

Look, the right case is super important.

I swear.

*edit, a few days after launch day* I got the gray one. Fortunately it's all Toys R Us had on launch day, so I didn't have to ponder, make a rash decision, and later ask myself if I made the wrong decision later. I don't regret it, it looks spectacular. I also got the right case. I may have spent several hours researching it, but I got the right one. BTW, I love this system. Just a bunch of wonderful awesomeness made into reality by Nintendo.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Turbofire

Never give an inch!

Utterly dependable and stolid. Not quick-witted, but works away at a problem until he finds a logical answer. As a vehicle, his engine block converts to a powerful weapon. As a robot, uses it to defend with Super-Autobot courage!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Gotcha! Gotcha!

I'm pretty sure, the ending theme music for Transformers Adventure is the best thing ever. Ok, I'm not pretty sure, I'm completely positive that it's the best thing ever.

Just look at Fixit go.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Polarclaw

A foot soldier with a hunter's instinct, this ballistic bear is equipped to command front-line infantry battles against the evil Predacons. Along with his savage teeth and ferocious fangs, his most devastating weapons include a quick-firing robotic bat, which features sonar sensors to detect enemies and alert Polar Claw for combat at all times--and at all costs!