Thursday, June 11, 2015

TRON One and a Half

#tronlives #tron3
Rumblings recently came from Disney that Tron 3 was a go. WOO!

This was followed by news items which indicated many cast members from Tron: Legacy were returning and the inevitable, “Yori Lives” movement springing up on the internet, pointing out that Cindy Morgan is still appearing on the big and small screen.


I got so overexcited for the Tron: Legacy announcement I didn’t realize it was a year too early.
I attempted to connect most major action/ Sci Fi franchises of my youth to Tron to give it greater livelihood in the first post that totally got away from me in scope.
I wear this shirt as often as possible.

You could say I was excited.

Unfortunately, the inevitable happened proving my “Woo!” was premature.

Someone at Disney noticed that between Star Wars and Marvel, they completely own the Seven to Seventeen year old male market and have zero reason to spend money on another franchise for them.

Tron 3 derezzed cold and alone before being officially green lit.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Therefore, during this time of morning, I’ve chosen to revisit the little bits of extra life on the Grid remaining to us that surged when Tron: Legacy was released.

They're all set between the first and second adventures of Flynn’s family and friends. While they don't contradict each other directly, they handle separate times and don't tie together or reference each other either. I’m guessing the reason for both of those things is even with Tron 2 locked in, Disney had no CLU (hah!) where they could go next.


I know I’ve read (Marvel) Disney Comics’ 2010 Tron: Betrayal multiple times in efforts to spend more time in that neon lit land. 

I know its about the origins of Clu and the ISOs, plus some stuff about Flynn’s life.  Yet, I still can’t remember all the details. 

The look of the art is Tronly and clean.  However, the story mostly glosses quickly over events, everyone kind of looks the same, and it feels like it ends mid stream. All of these add to the confusion. 

I’m pretty sure that some of the pages were bound out of order, but the story is so convoluted, it’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate assessment.

It was worth the bargain bin price I found it for, but not much else.

Here’s hoping now that Disney has owned Marvel long enough to pull it into the family better, a high end Sequential Art series of life in the Grid will come our way.

Once they get tired of the eighty gazillion new Star Wars comics…
And updating the Marvel Universe to more closely match the films.

Yeah. Not holding my breath for this one, either.

Tron: Uprising was an odd bird detailing the growth of Clu's power and the resistance against him.  The backgrounds, vehicles, sound effects and music were a complete recreation of those appearing in the films.

The writing gave some exciting short stories, and more intriguing, overreaching arcs.

The cast was phenomenal:
Frodo, Rapunzel and Sergeant Al Powel battling against Sloan McQuewick, Pee Wee Herman and Bishop.

Plus occasional appearances by Olivia “really Quorra” Wilde

And, most awesomely – featuring Bruce “FREAKIN’ TRON HIMSELF” Boxleitner.

The character animation, however?

For some reason they went for a failed sketch art for Aeon Flux inspired look. 

Every individual was overly elongated and hyper emaciated looking.

It made me want to scan a pile of cheeseburgers into the digitizer for them.

Still, it was enjoyable for this aging Tron fan.  Sadly, I never got to see the end. 

Made and shown between Disney’s previously mentioned purchases of Marvel and Star Wars, it got kind of abandoned. The final few episodes were shoved to summer Mondays at midnight, where my DVR failed to track them down during a vacation, and the show’s Netflix deal expired before we subscribed to it.  It was never even given a proper funeral, as there was no cancellation announcement. Disney released it with huge fanfare only to stick it in the middle of the night and ignore it until it ran out of episodes and faded away.

With the amount of design work and research that obviously went into it, the deluxe edition Blu Ray release could have hours of amazing extras.

Aaaaaaand…still not holding my breath.


The 1982 Tron Arcade Game was one of the best early adaptations of a movie into the land of the arcade. This is likely due to arcades heavily influencing the aesthetic of the film to begin with.  The “multiple games in one” format was way cool at the time too.

Tron Deadly Discs, also from 1982, was one of only a few of my Intellivision games I can claim to have achieved excellence at.  (Speaking of that, I’ll still kick anyone’s butt at Astrosmash. I must find out where Cisco got that shirt on the Flash.)

Once I discovered the joys of third person parkour in Assassins Creed 2 getting a copy of Tron: Evolution for the Playstation 3 was a no brainer.  It takes the story up to right before Tron: Legacy

Unlike the other similar viewpoint games I tried, this (yet another) Tron midquel from 2010 isn’t free roaming.  The story is completely linear.  That inflexible order is combined with non-automatic controls for free running, mechanically difficult jumps that require precision aim to prevent death plunges, and puzzles which are hard to execute even after figuring out what’s required.  The boss levels are also crazy hard and require tactics different from the rest of game play.  This leads to frustration about not being able to make the character do what I intended to along with constant repetition as the checkpoints are spread out.  Those are two of my least favorite video game elements.

Honestly, though, I am ridiculously lucky Tron: Evolution was not designed with a fully explorable, open world environment like The Godfather or Assassin’s Creed.

If it was I would ABSOLUTELY NEVER stop playing.

Despite the above downfalls, the graphics on the new generation (or now, the previous generation) console allow it to look exactly like the world that captivated me in my youth.  The sounds and music are also direct replications.  The battle and vehicle levels capture the excitement and intensity of those sections of the movies, but there are also slow down moments to allow for the “ooh look at that” factor, which both the original and sequel excelled at.

Finally, the voice cast again contains Olivia “really Quorra” Wilde and, most awesomely – features Bruce “FREAKIN’ TRON HIMSELF” Boxleitner.

Being able to exist in this vector inspired environment allows me to overcome my normally miniscule patience and hatred of running the same level over and over again. Through any frustration, being able to enter this digital realm overwhelms the negatives and creates an immersive and addictive experience.

From subtle background lights and motions to the dread becoming real when a Recognizer shows up vibrating both the subwoofer and the hand controller, this is the game experience I’d been hoping for since I was twelve.

If that weren’t enough awesome, there’s an online component of the game in addition to the compatible in tone and details to the films single player storyline.  It’s the typical individual or team death matches, but with Discs, Light Cycles and the occasional Light Tank.  Woo!

Oooh, there were some epic battles near the boarding points for those tanks.

An amazing and unbelievable thing happened after only a few journeys into virtual Tronish combat.

In other games I’ve joined player vs. player competitions in (such as Rainbow Six: Vegas 2) I am inevitably near or more usually AT the bottom of my team’s (more often the whole group’s) scoring list.  Normally my kill to death ratio lacks the significant figures to be detectable.

In Tron: Evolution  I almost immediately moved to the top of the leaderboards in every battle I joined, whether it was an open plain, largely light cycle based map; or a vehicle free, multi-level jumping and climbing playground.

Returns to disastrous performances at other games quickly destroyed any hopes that my reflexes were getting better. 

There’s far too much three dimensional thinking involved to credit my Intellivision experience.

I haven’t gotten far enough in single player to unlock the devastating discs and vehicles.

After some careful thought, I realized the reason for my sudden virtual prowess.

Even the older PlayStation games have a core audience in their teens and early twenties.  These are folks at the height of their video game reflex effectiveness years.

But I’m betting the majority population for a Tron based game is a bunch of guys in their forties, like me, who had to wait twenty-eight years for a “cartridge” that could replicate the brightly lit, imaginary land we fell in love with in our early teens.

They are the older, slower gamers; running more on nostalgia than “mad skillz.”

These are my people!

Hopefully, with the film franchise being unceremoniously flushed down the old cybernetic commode, out of a sense of sheer loyalty to us old guy fans of the movie that put Disney on the digital animation map all those years ago, they’ll release additional download content for our virtual meeting place.

I know…no breath holding here either.

Still signing that petition though


longbow said...

I don't believe in the users.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you, Sark.