Hasbro is completely changing the way Transformers toys transform

Illustration for article titled Hasbro is completely changing the way Transformers toys transform

If you've bought a Transformers figure in the last 30 years, it came with an instruction book; the more complex the figure, the more instructions were necessary to transform it from vehicle to robot. But soon, the only thing it will take to transform your favorite Autobot or Decepticon may be a flick of the wrist.

Illustration for article titled Hasbro is completely changing the way Transformers toys transform

The Transformers: Age of Extinction figures will be the first series in a brand-new look and design for the toys, which will lose their complicated transformation procedures. According to The New York Times:

Enthralled by the special effects in three big-budget "Transformers" movies that enabled the robots to convert in a matter of seconds, Mr. Goldner decided the toys needed to return to their roots. So he challenged his design team to reconceive them. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the brand, Hasbro is revealing a new look for the toys, including simple maneuvers that will complete a transformation with the push of a button or flick of the wrist. ...

The new look should help bolster retail sales, said Jaime M. Katz, an analyst at Morningstar, adding that redesigns are expected these days. "Toys were much simpler 30 years ago," she said. "Everything has to keep evolving."

The toys' streamlined transformations also address the need for instant gratification sought by children today, she said. "A toy like this gets them where they are going faster."

Mr. Lamb conceded that the brand had gotten a little off track over the years. "As new designers and engineers continued to work on this brand, it got more complicated," he said. Hasbro will continue to make complex Transformers for adult fans who have collected the toys since their inception 30 years ago. But the new design is intended to re-engage parents and children, who found the transformations too challenging.

I have nothing against the change — the Transformers have basically had the exact same play feature for 30 years, so even merely trying to shake it up is probably a smart move — but I do take exception to the idea that " toys were much simpler 30 years ago." I had some of the first wave of Transformers toys, and they were not simple. I know my parents would agree, because they could never figure out the damn toys either. Hell, I just bought the Masterpiece Soundwave figure, and at age 36, I still don't know how to transform the damn thing without looking at the instruction book.

But whatever. As long as these "automatic" transformations work and work well, it sounds cool to me. The first wave of the new Transformers are due in May.


But, but but... what about the original Ironhide toy...

...that thing taught me about physics, patience, gravity, expectations, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance of how badly it sucked.