These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

Last week the folks at Hasbro sent out a box of new Transformers: Age of Extinction toys, several of which feature simple, one-step transformations. I’ve taken to calling them Transformers for Dummies, and they are so disappointing.

I write this on the third day of Botcon 2014, the annual convention for the lovers of transforming robots. Hasbro is, as I type, hosting a panel detailing all of the amazing new toys coming out over the next couple of years — new versions of classic combiners, classic female robots, a dozen different versions of Optimus Prime. I’ve been following along with Mr. Benson Yee, and my hopes have been soaring. Then came this:

That tweet worries me. Lately Hasbro has been leaning moving towards easier transformations. Some of their latest Transformers Prime line toys were just the smaller, micro-sized Transformers blown up. It’s crazy.

And nowhere is that crazy as evident as it is in the new Transformers: Age of Extinction toys, now lining store shelves in anticipation of next weekend’s movie release. While there are several rather cool figures coming out of the movie, most of what I am seeing on shelves are the horrible one-step Transformers for Dummies.

These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

Take the Optimus Prime One-Step Changer, for example. For $US9.99, you or your children can enjoy a truck with arms coming out of the cab. You know, like all modern trucks, except for the arms.

These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

At least the $US9.99 Lockdown One-Step looks like a car. A loose, flimsy car with a robot underneath it.

These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

Pretty horrid, but not nearly as bad as the $US19.99 Flip-Change Optimus Prime.

These New, Simpler Transformers Are The Worst

This toy transforms by smashing it against a table. I suppose a firm hand works, but I prefer the table. I find it therapeutic.

Look, I realise Hasbro isn’t leaving collectors in the dust here. From what I’ve been reading today, there are some really amazing toys coming out over the next couple of years that will have collectors and adult toy fondlers thrumming with joy. These are the toys for young kids, so they need to be easier to handle.

But they really don’t. When I was growing up, Transformers were like puzzles to figure out. They were simultaneously brain exercises and manual dexterity development tools. When my nephew was five, the recommended age for these toys, he was playing with my Beast Wars toys. My sister fondly remembers him toddling up to her and begging her to help him “change it”.

We’re losing that with toys like Smash-On-Desk Optimus Prime and Throw-On-Table Lockdown. Thank goodness I’m well-stocked with originals.


  • *dons old man hat*

    Back in my day transformers toys were an unholy union of plastic and die-cast metal that required multiple points of manipulation to change it’s form!! It’ something kids should be able to do while parents fumble clumsily trying to help, not the other way around!

      • :/ That looks simple as all heck to transform. Even my Beast hunters shockwave looks harder than that

        • Heh, maybe complex wasn’t the right term, though there are quite a few more moving components than is immediately obvious. Keep in mind I’m also coming from 80s transformers which might have had one rotation axis for the entire leg or arm if you were lucky.

      • Yeah, the thing is, these are the really new ones (like the most recent set), even some of the ones before this were more complex and not stupid.

  • It’s a bit like My First Vegemite. There wasn’t any problem with the proper stuff being given to kids back in the day, so why is there one now? 😛

    • So then u have 2 buy two jars of the bloody stuff. Money in the bank for Vegemite

  • I remember they had some quick transforming ones back in the Beast Wars days (I think the first Rattrap was one?) and transformed with a little lever thing. I never knew anyone who owned those, and the shelves always had tonnes of those stupid things.

    I think I ended up getting one after my mum bought it at a garage sale for 50 cents.

    This is just dumb.

    • At least Rat-Trap had a nice bunch of fully articulated joints. Not to mention that nowadays the plastic they use seems to looks so shoddy.

  • In all honesty I just spend my transformers allowance on G1 re-issues. Wanna know the best bit? My kids get to play with them 🙂

  • I also love the more complicated Transformers, but these are designed to be played with. In the movies the Transformers transform instantly, same in the show. If kids are trying to play a game they don’t wanna spend 10 mins everytime a character transforms.

  • Maybe these are so the kids whose parents can not afford to buy them the $50 badass transformers can still get them something transformer related?

  • Looking through this Transformers booklet I grabbed from work showing the various Transformers toys available, the most complex ones are the Voyager class which only includes Prime and Grimlock, they are 18 step changes and look decent enough, Optimus has his more classic G1 look.

    Then you have Leader class which include, Optimus, Grimlock and Bumblebee, they are also 18 steps except Bumblebee is 22, and Prime has his movie look.

    Everything else looks very basic and simple. There is even a Transforming remote controlled Bumblebee and Optimus, but they are just so half arsed. Even worse than when KARR turned into a Transformer in the 2009 Knight Rider series.

  • If i may add something, My 2 year old loves transformers (prefers the classic stuff to the new stuff) and considering he likes putting small parts in his mouth these toys are perfect for him, He doesn’t complain about his Optimus prime not taking 5 minutes for him to transform into a robot/truck. I need to find the desk smashing optimus because once again my 2 year old would love it although i get a feeling it would be used as a hammer at some point.

    So for adults yes they may be simple and easy to transform but think about some of the younger fans of the series who want to join in with their older brothers (or dad) who are playing with the bigger more complex ones.

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