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More Than Meets the Eye

Posted 26th February 2010

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I never watched Transformers as a kid. As a now-28-year-old male geek, this is tantamount to sacrilege, but it’s true. I’d avidly watch Wacaday, and then lose interest in Transformers shortly after the opening theme tune. The only eight year old boy in the world who found giant robots and battles boring. And as for the toys, I was too busy playing offices to notice.

Transformers Logo

Luckily, as with every aspect of my life, I regressed in the next twenty years, and I find myself wanting to buy this little beauty. (And having as little as possible to do with offices.) So what changed my mind? A little site called TFWiki.net.

I first came across the site from a link on a great TV Tropes article on off-model animation. And I clicked around. I enjoyed reading about the Worst. Episode. Ever. I obsessed over animation errors. I was fascinated by the fucking deranged Kiss Players franchise. And then I started getting into the urban legends, the history of the very original toyline when it wasn’t even called Transformers – and the infamous saga of Floro Dery…

More than that, the site was funny. Just check out… oh, any random caption you care to mention.

The problem with a wiki is always tone. We tried to have our own Red Dwarf wiki on Observation Dome (a site later amalgamated into Ganymede & Titan), but it never really worked properly. A lot of that was to do with time – i.e. we never gave it any – but there was the deeper problem that we never figured out how to write it in an entertaining way. So obsessed were we in copying Wikipedia that it ended up purely factual, extremely dry… and no bloody fun at all to write.

TFWiki.net have nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. Factual, yes – it’s one of the most in-depth and comprehensive sites I’ve ever read about anything – but with enough flavor and attitude in the writing to make it a joy to read. The world would be a better place if every piece of media in the world was covered in the same way that TFWiki manage. The problem of tone, which I could never figure out how to make work, is beautifully solved.

A wiki that encourages someone to investigate a show they summarily dismissed 20 years ago? That’s got to be worth something.

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