When I first rode “Toy Story Midway Mania” a few months ago, I was really underwhelmed. I mean, it’s a good ride, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t get off going, “Wowee zowee! That was something I’ve never seen before!” You know that feeling — when you step off say, “Mission:Space” at Epcot and you’re like, “Holy CRAP! I’ve just been in friggin’ SPACE!” And at the time, I said to a lot of people, “It just feels like a Wii game.” And now it is one.
|From Midway Mania|
Yes, I like Wii games, but I don’t go to theme parks to play them. When I go to a theme park I want to have that “Mission:Space” or “Soaring” experience, where I get to do experience something, I get to have a rush of emotion and experience I can’t possibly recreate at home. “Midway” just feels like an annoying way to play a video game — what with the spinning and long waiting in lines with sweaty tourists. If I wanted that, I’d wait an hour to play Wii Sports with my air conditioner turned off and a packet of liverwurst open in front of me. And then when I played I’d have my wife spin my recliner in random directions between levels.
Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the folks who put together these rides. It’s hard and it’s expensive. There’s no question in my mind that it’s an incredible challenge if you’re trying to make something a game and interactive and entertaining and also make it a big enough experience that people walk out thinking, “I may never do that again in my life. That was incredible.” And maybe Midway isn’t meant to be that kind of experience. But it’s hard for me to accept that you would build anything nowadays in a theme park that wasn’t that for someone at some level of thrill.
My suggestions? For Midway — it needs a better story. The game is fun, but where’s the “Buzz has been stolen by the evil carnival owner and the only way for me to get him back is to score high on these games and win him!” And then where’s the total twist on that, where’s the point where I won Buzz, but the evil carnies realize what I’m up to and I have to throw baseballs and pies to escape the carnival before we’re all caught. Just a blue-sky, not perfect. But I really feel like there needs to be a more emotion-grabbing resonance somewhere. The story that comes first and engages me in the game.
Maybe they’ll give away some liverwurst free with the Wii version.