Epic Mickey: High Hopes
The Nintendo Wii is a great family console. From Wii Resort to De Blob to Lego Star Wars, the Wii seems to be packed with entertaining and wholesome games. There are a few titles that are adult themed like Madworld for instance but, for the most part, it’s all kids games, and it’s very G rated (Okami is an exception – it’s not R rated, yet it’s not exactly a kid game. Oh, and it’s awesome). We own an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii. My boys play both. We play graphically superior shooting games like Call of Duty on the Xbox when we’re in that sort of mood. But, as a family, we play with the Wii more. Mario Kart is one game in particular that we can all laugh with while playing together. All this being said about wholesome games, I realize I don’t have any Disney games in my stockpile. Well, at least not any featuring the traditional Disney characters, Mickey, Donald, Goofy etc… . And, when I think about it, I realize that my boys probably don’t even know who those characters are. We’ve never been to Disney Land (because I hate amusement parks and crowds) and my kids don’t watch much TV so they wouldn’t see the Disney shows that are on. But, the main reason my kids don’t know the Disney characters is because those characters are meant for babies and they’re overly simplistic and silly. I find their 21st century incarnations unpalatable. Well all that is about to change. There’s a new incarnation of Mickey Mouse that looks really promising.
Mickey Mouse hasn’t always been the one dimensional character he is now. Who’s interested in anything Mickey does these days besides toddlers? Nobody, because we all know all he’s good for is helping old ladies cross the street and reminding us to brush our teeth. Mickey has turned into a characature of himself, a one dimensional do gooder who sings songs to infants and makes everyone feel cuddly inside. When kids get past 5 years old they aren’t interested in Mickey anymore. He can’t offer them any depth. This new game aims to take Mickey back to his roots, his roots as Steamboat Willy when he got into trouble and was interesting even to adults. This new game takes a fresh look at Mickey and turns back the clock on some old Disney history that I was previously unaware of, but I’m glad I now know.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit:
I read the write up on this new game in Game Informer magazine (to which I subscribe and which is an excellent source of all things gaming) where they shed light on some long forgotten Disney History. Walt Disney created a character before Mickey. He was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But, because of a feud with Oswald’s distributors (who was not Disney because Disney was not yet a household name). Walt was forced to ditch Oswald and go with Mickey. Epic Mickey reintroduces Oswald as well as other forgotten characters in the Land of Forgotten and Irrelevant Cartoon. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s been done with Oswald since he’s been gone for 80 years or so. I hope they use his original template (character development) so we can get a real look at him as he was originally intended.
Yensid is a sorcerer (Disney spelled backwards) who creates a separate world for forgotten and irrelevant cartoons. His first resident is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It’s an idyllic world where all the characters are happy. Unfortunately though, Mickey shows up in the sorcerer’s study and starts messing around with the model (the world is apparently a desktop model imbued with magic to contain the lost characters). He hears Yensid returning to his studio and, in his hurry to escape, spills paint over the display. Time passes and Mickey is unaware that he has turned this idyllic land into a nightmarish place where “The Phantom Blot” is turning everything distorted and uninhabitable (sort of sounds like what Disney did to Mickey in real life). One day Mickey gets sucked through a magic mirror and into the Land of Forgotten and Irrelevant Cartoons. His mission is to find Oswald and team up with him to defeat the Blot. Players use the Wii controller to manipulate paint and paint thinner to battle the Blot and to reshape the Land of Forgotten and Irrelevant Cartoons.
I’m holding out high hopes for this game. I want my kids to know the Disney characters as something more than toddler toys and silly songs. We might ask ourselves why the heck Disney is so popular if they only appeal to babies, little girls who like princesses, and very small children. Well, it’s because they weren’t always so stupid. There was a time when Mickey wasn’t such a pansy and when kids and adults alike appreciated his mischievousness yet good natured personality. Epic Mickey aims to un-reinvent Mickey and turn him back into the character that made him so popular in the first place. It was his depth that people loved, not his irreproachable altruism. This new game seems to be just the thing for the Nintendo Wii and for Mickey’s image. I hope it complements other thoughtful games like Okami while also carving out a new place for Disney apart from the toddler merchandising market. I’m looking forward to its release.
Realease Date: Fall of 2010