I couldn’t let this pass without commenting on it. The Gears of War action figures that have been talked about for a while now have finally been revealed in box form, one of them is shown on the right-hand side there (click for a larger version).
Now, men have always been reluctant to grow up, and gamers are probably the least willing of all camps. But surely this takes the cake - action figures specifically designed for a product that is targetted at 18+ year olds. In fact, the packaging on the action figure specifically says ‘ages 17 and up’ - seems an odd age to pick anyhow - so we’re talking specifically about the collectibles & geek-chic market I guess. What’s really, really odd is that despite carrying that age recommendation, the packaging still sternly warns of a ‘choking hazard’ - I wasn’t actually aware that 17+ gaming enthusiasts took to eating their themed action figures, but then I can’t claim to be an expert. So what we have here is a pseudo-toy product aimed specifically at grown men. Am I the only one to find that just a little creepy?
Now, bear in mind here that my desk is cluttered with all sorts of junk, and I have a small collection of desktop adornments - specifically a Bender, a stuffed monkey, a squeezy Eric Cartman, and an Alien queen made entirely out of welded machine parts. Therefore, I can somewhat relate to the wish to have a gaming figure stuck on top of my printer or something. However, there’s a subtle difference in my book between an action figure, something designed to act out imaginary heroic adventures with, and an inanimate desktop ornament. If it were just a model or something, it wouldn’t feel weird, but an action figure? I can’t help but think of Space Balls. Nevertheless, it seems to be all the rage. Personally, I think I’ll stick to virtual toys.
Which reminds me, I’m enjoying Gears of War - I’m only playing it co-op with my wife, and hence intermittently when we’re both free (and not playing Lego Star Wars), but it’s fun. The cutscenes are not as intrusive as I’d feared, the marines are not that annoyingly voice acted, and I like some of the touches. In particular, I think the ‘press Y to look toward interesting item / event’ is a very good idea - it means they can draw attention to something important without lurching out to a cutscene in the middle of the action to show it, which I always despise. The action is fluid and well-designed, and I find the whole thing much easier to follow than Halo 3 - but that that’s probably because there’s no history that the designers assume you’re up to speed with. So overall not as big and dumb as I’d expected.
Random thought: is it just me, or has Marcus got a DJ mixing desk on his chest?