Mickey Mouse gets a mischievous makeover

Mickey Mouse gets a mischievous makeover


Now, however, concerned that Mickey has become more of a corporate symbol than a beloved character for recent generations of young people, Disney is taking the risky step of re-imagining him for the future. The first glimmer of this will be the introduction next year of a new video game, Epic Mickey, in which the formerly squeaky clean character can be cantankerous and cunning, as well as heroic, as he traverses a forbidding wasteland.

And at the same time, in a parallel but separate effort, Disney has quietly embarked on an even larger project to rethink the character’s personality, from the way Mickey walks and talks to the way he appears on the Disney Channel.

“Holy cow, the opportunity to mess with one of the most recognisable icons on Earth,” said Warren Spector, the creative director of Junction Point, a Disney-owned game developer that spearheaded Epic Mickey. In Epic Mickey, the title character still exhibits the hallmarks that younger generations know: he is adventurous, enthusiastic and curious. “Mickey is never going to be evil or go around killing people,” Spector said. But Mickey won’t be bland anymore, either. “I wanted him to be able to be naughty — when you’re playing as Mickey you can misbehave and even be a little selfish,” Spector said.

In many ways, it is a return to Mickey at his creation. When the character made its debut in ‘Steamboat Willie’ in 1928, he was the Bart Simpson of his time: an uninhibited rabble-rouser who got into fistfights, played tricks on his friends and, later, was amorously aggressive with Minnie.

In the game, players can either behave in an entirely happy way and help other characters or choose more selfish, destructive behaviour with a harsher outcome, including a Mickey that starts to physically resemble a rat. “Ultimately,” Spector said, “players must ask themselves, ‘What kind of hero am I?’ ”

Comic books ‘good for kids’ learning’

London, PTI: Parents, please note: comic books are good for children, says a new study. Researchers have found that children can benefit from tales about the caped crusader, Superman and even Dennis the Menace in the same way they can from reading books, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.

According to the researchers, reading any work successfully, including comics, requires more than just absorbing text. Lead researcher Professor Carol Tilley of Illinois University said comics are just as sophisticated as other forms of reading, and children benefit from reading them at least as much as they do from reading other kinds of books.

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