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Gamer Tuesday

March 8, 2011

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Epic Mickey

Developed by: Junction Point

System: Wii

Not since the release of Square's Kingdom Hearts has a Disney video game caused so much hype among gamers and Disney fans like Epic Mickey, developed by Junction Point and released exclusively for the Wii video game console. Designed by famed developer Warren Spector, Epic Mickey marks a notable moment in Disney history. Not only is this the first big Mickey game in years, it also marks one of the first times Disney has used Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in any form of media since the company acquired him from Universal a few years ago.

The first hints of this game’s existence were leaked in 2009 when concept for the game first made the rounds around many video gaming websites. These series of sketches and concept paintings captivated the imaginations of fans as they portrayed the cheery Disney world as one that was dark, destroyed and even terrifying. Some of these included robot zombie versions of classic Disney characters and robot monsters with disturbing Disney elements thrown in. While the final game is not as dark as the original artwork suggested it would be, Epic Mickey did deliver on its promise of a Disney world that would be familiar to gamers and Disney fans, but one turned on its head in the most imaginative way possible.

The story behind Epic Mickey deals with the concept of creation and destruction. Yen Sid (the sorcerer from Fantasia, and often considered to be Disney's alter ego) has created a world where forgotten Disney creations can live at peace. One day, though, Mickey Mouse's curiosity got the best of him and he decides to meddle with the world, accidentally spilling paint thinner all over it and creating the Phantom Blot. Mickey leaves that mistake behind, and becomes the iconic character we all have come to love. Years later, the Phantom Blot grabs Mickey and places him onto the Wasteland, a world where all Disney dreams have been destroyed, and it is up to Mickey to undo all the damage he did.

Just the story alone is very ambitious as it places Mickey in the position of the hero trying to undo his mistake. Add in the brotherly conflict with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and you have an original story that feels like a classic Disney tale. Not only that, the game pays is a tribute to all things Disney, from short films to theme park attractions, to characters and movies. With the Wasteland being the home of the forgotten you can expect to see references and characters to very obscure Disney projects like Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar from the black and white cartoons, the Lonesome Ghosts, Smee from “Peter Pan” and much, much more. You can tell that this game was made by a Disney nerd for ALL Disney nerds to enjoy, regardless if you are into the whole mythos or just enjoy one aspect of the fandom, like the movies or the theme parks. It's been a while since a Disney game like this one was released, and even if you don't completely enjoy the gameplay the fan service is enough to satisfy anyone.

Speaking of which, Epic Mickey is a 3D platforming adventure title akin to Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy, also for the Wii. You play as Mickey as he holds the power of paint and paint thinner in his hands. Once again, the theme of Epic Mickey is that of creation and destruction. Using paint you can paint in missing parts of the scenery, opening a path to a new area or discovering a new item that was previously hard to reach. You can do anything away with paint thinner. These ties deep into another aspect of the game: PlayStyle Matters. This is a fancy way of saying that whatever you decide to do in the game will affect how the story develops. If you decide to become a destroyer, the story changes a bit and your rewards are different. If you become a creator, you yield another set of rewards. It is all up to the player to decide.

Epic Mickey's reception since its release in November of last year has been unfortunately mixed. Some gaming publications deemed the game slightly unplayable due to the camera system. But many others praised its ingenious design as well as loving tribute to all things Disney. Regardless, Epic Mickey is a game that should be experienced at least once just to see how the Disney magic can transform even the weirdest of video games.


If you are a big Disney fan and a collector of rare collectibles, then you might be interested in the Collector’s Edition of Epic Mickey. Sold at $60.00, the collector’s edition includes a Mickey Mouse mini-figurine, decals for your Wii console and Wii Remote controller and a “making-of” DVD.

In addition, two peripherals were released. The first of these is the Epic Mickey Paintbrush Nunchuck. It is a joystick shaped like Mickey’s paintbrush from the game. The second item is an Epic Mickey Wii Remote holder. It is designed to resemble a scene from the game, and has Mickey staring upon the Phantom Blot in an, well, epic manner.

These are not necessary for you to enjoy the game, but if you really want to extend the game’s magic you can do no wrong with these items.



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