Were I to look really closely at my hands, I’m sure I could find a lingering scar or two from a childhood spent painstakingly transforming robots into vehicles and back again — a process fraught with occasional pinched fingers. To my generation, Transformers toys were a challenge on par with those metal ring puzzles, but today’s kids need to do nothing more than smash their toys to get the job done.
This is Hasbro’s new Transformers: Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Dinobots Unite Smash Changer Optimus Prime figure, which only bears a passing resemblance to the heroic bot leader that was introduced to the world in the original ‘80s animated series. Since then there have been countless Transformers cartoons and movies, and to keep them all unique and marketable, the character’s appearances and vehicle modes have changed considerably over the years. What’s always stayed the same is the multi-step process of going from a robot, to a vehicle, and back again, which was especially enjoyable and challenging (and occasionally risky) for those who eschewed an instruction manual.
By comparison, it takes just three steps to transform the latest Optimus Prime toy from a truck into a robot, but it’s even easier than that. As the toy’s full name implies, instead of twisting limbs and folding body panels out of the way, the nine-inch tall Prime can be transformed using three smash motions. Remember the rage you felt as a kid when they killed off Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated movie? Hasbro is now letting kids channel that energy into the actual toys. After smashing the top of the truck, kids just need to smash the toy a couple of extra times on a hard surface to reveal Prime’s bot mode.
I’m all for every generation having an easier run on this planet than the last did, and I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t have moments as a kid when I wanted to smash a Transformer toy after failing to properly get it back into vehicle mode. But it was those frustrating childhood experiences that helped make me the curmudgeonly old man I am today with the wisdom and motivation to complain about modern Transformers toys.
The Transformers: Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Dinobots Unite Smash Changer Optimus Prime will be officially available later this year sometime in October for $US32 ($44).