More Than Meets The Eye, Part II

Over 25 years, much has been made — even on this very blog — about the poor marksmanship of beloved Hasbro characters. While GI Joe and Cobra are only human, with their apparently limitless budgets to create futuristic vehicles, armors, weapons, and undersea bases you would think a little of that money could go towards target practice and making helmets that survive being knocked together. The Transformers, though…Well, I think they’re getting a bad rap. Let me ask you:

Can you find Soundwave in this picture?

Operation: Where's Waldo?

Of course not! Quite frankly, I’m surprised that our friends from the planet Cybertron can see anything at all. First off, the Transformers are robots composed completely of digital components. That means they don’t have eyes at all, they’ve got two head-mounted digital cameras for stereoscopic vision. Now, assuming that here in 2009 a top-of-the line digital camera is 20 megapixels, using Moore’s Law (which roughly says that processor speed will double every 18 months) we can work backwards and determine that in 1984 the Transformers’ eyes would be roughly 0.078 megapixels. When that’s your entire field of vision, it’s barely There he is!enough to make out colored blobs, much less be useful for precise targetshooting. The Cybertronians were doing the best they could with what they had! Also, keeping in mind that they could turn into everyday vehicles, it would be impossible to tell Starscream from Pan Am Flight 103 (not that I’m pointing fingers). Even giant Autobot or Decepticon symbols would be impossible to make out at a distance.

Of course, this is all working on the unlikely assumption that they got immediate upgrades upon waking up after crashing on Mt. St. Helens in 1984. In reality, their last major upgrade was probably FOUR MILLION YEARS EARLIER! I’ll leave it to a better (read: any) mathematician than I to trace pixel numbers back that far.

I'm sure Hound just can't see Spike.  I'm sure that's it!The point of all this, though, is to beg Earthlings (or fleshlings, if you’d rather) to be a little more symapthetic to the Cybertronian plight. They did not have the advantage we did of being born with perfect analog visual receptacles. They do the best they can with what they have, and we should be congratulating them on their 15% hit rate rather than focusing on the collateral damage produced by all of those errant laser blasts.

5 comments on “More Than Meets The Eye, Part II

  1. Hoyt says:

    I’d also posit that given their poor visual acuity, they didn’t even WANT to hit anything lest they hit friend instead of foe. Consider their laser-fire as a series of warning shots for allies and enemies to identify themselves.

    • Jesse says:

      I see! So they really had an 85% successful miss rate. Interesting…

    • Matt says:

      Quite. This would certainly explain why their “weapons” fired different colored energy beams. Their eyes could not distinguish at distances so they fired off pink and yellow beams as an identification. It was an introduction so to speak. They weren’t fighting with each other; they were shaking hands!

  2. Ben says:

    Fascinating. I only have one question. How would you explain the Transformers’ new found targeting prowess in “Transformers: The Movie”? And this raises even more questions. How did they go from delivering kill shots in the film to not being able to hit the broad side of a Metroplex in Season 3?

    • Jesse says:

      Targetmasters? Powers granted by their god Primus to defeat Unicron?

      I hadn’t thought to incorporate TF religion, but I see now that I’ll have to write a Part III.

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