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Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Epic Mickey

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  • Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Epic Mickey

    I'm horrible when it comes to video games. Over the years, I've lost track of how many adventure games I've never finished because I got bored, distracted by life, or just reached a roadblock in a game that I quickly gave up on. Killing bosses has always been more trouble to me than it's worth. Such are the joys of having an ADD personality.

    A slightly twisted version of the Disney universe may change all that.

    Disney Interactive Studios and game developer Warren Spector will challenge the perceptions many fans have of Mickey Mouse when they release "Epic Mickey" for the Wii in fall 2010. As concept art from the game has been leaking out over the last few months, gaming fans have been speculating wildly on what the desolate look of a Magic Kindom gone horribly wrong is all about.




    In an official announcement last week, Disney Interactive revealed the storyline of the game: Yen Sid, the powerful sorcerer from the "Sorcerer's Apprentice," has created this wonderful, mythical Cartoon Wasteland, where retired Disney characters live out an idyllic existence. Chief among them is none other than Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt's first animated star. Over time, however, he's become bitter that his successor, Mickey Mouse, has gone on to a stellar career in the "real" animated world (Personally, I think Oswald's just ticked that NBC Universal traded him back to Disney for Al Michaels, but I digress.), so when Mickey inadvertently stumbles into and wreaks havoc on Cartoon Wasteland, complications ensue. Armed with a brush, some paint and thinner, Mickey must then make things right and help restore Cartoon Wasteland to it's original glory . . . or not. That's the fun concept of "Epic Mickey." Mickey Mouse doesn't have to be the benign, easy-going everymouse most fans have come to know. In fact, the game may become a whole lot more interesting if he's not.


    In today's New York Times, Brooks Barnes called this new video game persona for Mickey "risky" and "radical." I disagree. If anything, it sounds like Disney is taking Mickey back to his roots: that of a mischievous, even naughty, little rodent with plenty of spunk and heart. Watch "Steamboat Willie," "Plane Crazy" and numerous other animated shorts from Mickey's black and white days and you'll see an industrious scamp, full of tricks, who wasn't above making the occasional untoward advance on Minnie. This side of Mickey is not lost on Spector. "Mickey is an adventurous and rambunctious mouse," he says. "I want to bring his personality to the forefront, place him in a daunting world and connect his spirited character with video game players worldwide. Ultimately, each player decides for him - or herself what makes Mickey cool."

    That Mickey can be cool again is a promising notion. His coolness factor dropped steadily in the decades since his meteoric rise to fame in the 1930s, even as his popularity remained intact. In order to continue being well received by a growing mass audience, Mickey's edgier personality quirks were gradually whittled away until this pleasant, mostly harmless character was left behind. Cute and charming, to be sure, but not much else--certainly not as entertaining as the clumsy, slap-happy Goofy or, especially, the irascible Donald. As animator Ward Kimball noted, "As we got more personality and character into the other cartoons, it became more and more difficult to cope with Mickey . . . Mickey was really an abstraction. He wasn't based on anything that was remotely real."

    Mickey eventually became more corporate symbol than character, his feistier origins largely forgotten or unnoticed with the passing years. He's still beloved by millions, but it's getting harder to explain why these days other than "he's Mickey Mouse."


    It's about time Mickey got to stir up a little mischief again, and there's nothing radical about it whatsoever. After all, he'll be taking on Cartoon Wasteland with a paintbrush, not a chainsaw. What's intriguing, though, is this gaming star-turn will likely portend bigger and better future projects for him. That can't be bad.

    Walt Disney himself said it best. "Mickey is forever. He'll have his moments in the shade, but he'll always come out in the bright lights again."

    I'm looking forward to getting Mickey back in the spotlight. Let's see what he does with it. Maybe this time I'll even finish the game.
    Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

  • #2
    Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

    Great review.

    There have been some games that I have started that I just haven't been coordinated enough to finish. Not that I didn't try. I did. This one about Mickey really looks different. I do own the Wii system, so I am hoping that I will be able to really enjoy this Mickey game when it hits the stores.

    I am presently struggling through the latest DS version of Kingdom Hearts. What's easy for some is just not easy for me.

    The Mickey game looks fun. I hope it is. Sometimes you just want fun not difficult.
    BarbaraAnn

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    • #3
      Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

      The artwork looks interesting. I'm sure I'll give this game a go.

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      • #4
        Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

        This looks BADASS, Disney's gone a little goth
        Don't think of a gun as a weapon.
        Think of it as a third arm that magically
        shoots bullets!

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        • #5
          Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

          This seems like the Mickey Mouse version of "The Divine Comedy".

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          • #6
            Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

            [removed]
            Last edited by stevo505; 11-08-2009, 12:06 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

              I totally love this artwork. It would make a great movie! Can't wait to buy this game.
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              • #8
                Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                Love it, can't wait!
                A signature should go here.

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                • #9
                  Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                  Great review. It gives me a good idea what the changes are going to be like. The only thing I worry about is that they don't make him so rambunctious and mischeivous that people are reminded more of Bugs Bunny than classic Mickey Mouse.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                    Preordering ASAP

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                    • #11
                      Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                      LOL! I think this is going to be interesting!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                        This really captures my attention. I'll definitely be buying this game. Just another reason to finally get a Wii I think.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                          I have been speaking to a reporter friend of mine about this game because he went to London to see the game as it is so far. He is not as big a Disney fan as I am but he said that the concept art and the gameplay for this game is just incredible. I am super excited for this game. I am already using some of the concept art for my wallpaper on my computer!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                            I've been following Epic Mickey since it was first announced with nothing but concept art... and the look of the game itself turned out to be disappointing.
                            The concept art is AWESOME.
                            Then the screenshots were released and it was like "wait... what happened to the gnarly Disney world we saw in the concept art that Mickey would have to fix?!"
                            I've still got high hopes for this game, hopefully it won't disappoint in the field of gameplay. (Which it might, considering the history of a lot of Disney games, which isn't Disney's fault - bad developers).
                            Last edited by Awesome; 11-06-2009, 11:35 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Meet the New Mouse, Same as the Old Mouse . . . Really

                              Definitely excited about this game, but can't help but feel the visuals BEG to be on the 360 or PS3...

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