Remembering BIONICLE on the Web
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 9:48am by Sean, BZPower Reporter
Remembering BIONICLE on the Web
Call it what you will. The last nail in the coffin, the final chorus, the end of game seven, the fat lady's aria. BIONICLE.com and its sister site, BIONICLEstory.com will be shut down in favor of new LEGO websites with newer technology. To many, this represents the end of what we currently know as BIONICLE, sets and story alike. BIONICLEstory.com's closure in particular is saddening, because this closes the medium that was meant to carry on BIONICLE's story from this point. Now, even if Mr. Farshtey were to finish the remaining story serials, there would be no official site upon which to release the content.
Whatever you think of this news, the one feeling almost everyone seems to show is nostalgia. People want to think of the website and point out, "Hey, remember that, and how much fun it was?" That's what I aim to do in this piece. I want to bring to your mind those things from the past that we all used to have fun with on BIONICLE.com, and if there's anything I miss that you folks find particularly memorable, go ahead and post it in the talkback, for your instance of "Remember that?"
I remember the Bohrok Animations of 2002, when Flash animations illustrated the story of the Toa and Matoran as they fought off the Bohrok swarms. I remember the sight of Hafu, that fun, pompous little carver from MNOG sacrifice his work to save Po-Koro from the Tahnok. I think of the shock of seeing Le-Koro under the power of the Krana, and then the rescue of Le-Koro when Kongu, Tamaru, and Nuparu arrived with the new Boxor inventions that I also saw take back Onu-Koro from the Gahlok. And lastly, I remember the siege of Ga-Koro as Hewkii, Macku, Hahli, Jaller, and Takua helped hold off the Pahrak until the story we read offline in the comics brought the fall of the Bahrag.
I remember the MNOG II in 2003--or actually 2004 for me, when bugs kept me from progressing to the Onu-Koro game, though I didn't let that keep me from exploring as much else as I could of Mata Nui. I remember fiddling around with the Krana, Kanohi, Krana-Kal, and Kanohi Nuva mask section and trying to get my nine-year-old head wrapped around the word "telekinesis". (I preferred "matatu" myself)
I remember in 2004 the launch of the Kanoka Club, and the myriad of downloads and videos of the Vahki and Toa Metru, and the "Ask Greg" feature--my first exposure to the great relationship Greg Farshtey had with the fanbase until the coming of COPPA.
I remember the return of online story animations in 2005, as the Toa Hordika's side mission to retrieve the Kanohi Avohkii from the Rahaga's hiding place played out on BIONICLE.com. That year's primary online game, the Rhotukua Spinner Challenge, was also a fun time-consumer, though it didn't actually come out until the following year, or even before 2006's primary online game.
The Voya Nui Online Game was quite a departure from the original name-of-island-online-games in that instead of a point-and-click adventure, this game was a turn-by-turn RPG, and didn't adhere to the storyline of 2006. As a matter of fact, very few of 2006's online features followed the story. The Piraka Animations followed their own drumbeat, and the online ad campaign "Free The Band" threw story under the bus entirely, centering on the fictional kidnapping of the All-American Rejects by the Piraka.
I remember when BIONICLEstory.com launched in 2007, masquerading as the Toa Terrain Crawler in those days. While the site did contain bios and games featuring the Toa Mahri, the primary draw came from the story serials, which provided alternate looks at the story of that year through the eyes of Lesovikk and Matoro, as well as a story keeping us up-to-date with what the Toa Nuva had been up to ever since they were freed from the Piraka Stronghold.
This remained the most memorable online feature of BIONICLE in 2008 for me, as new serials were introduced to replace the others, this time with less focus on the story in Karda Nui. Dark Mirror told of Takanuva's memorable adventure in Tuyet's Toa Empire universe, and in the latter half of the year was replaced by Destiny War, which focused on the Order of Mata Nui and their war with the Brotherhood of Makuta. The Mutran Chronicles provided insight on the Brotherhood's history through the eyes of the last of the seeing Makuta in Karda Nui, followed by the history of Mazeka and Vultraz's feud in Brothers In Arms. And lastly, the story serial entitled Federation of Fear focused on a "Suicide Squad"-style ensemble of characters led by Brutaka including Roodaka, Takadox, Carapar, Spiriah, and the unforgettable Vezon (with an "n", for all you gardeners out there), and was replaced by Dwellers in Darkness, which followed the rest of the universe while the Mistika battled in Karda Nui.
Bara Magna stole the show from the Matoran Universe in 2009, leaving the story of the "Makutaverse" to the online serial Reign of Shadows, featuring the heroes and villains of the Matoran Universe working together to survive Teridax's tyranny--with a healthy dash of Vezon tossed in, because it just wouldn't do to leave the seventh Piraka out for too long. Like in The Mutran Chronicles, Empire of the Skrall, brought insight to the enemy, putting a much more respectable spotlight on the villain who is probably still better known as "THE MIGHTY TUMA". (I suppose there are some things that are just irredeemable) Riddle of the Great Beings followed the adventures of Tarduk, Crotesius, and Kirbold as they journeyed to northern Bara Magna to solve the mystery of something that had stymied BIONICLE fans since 2001: the Red Star.
Of course, the story serials are not the only online feature I remember from 2009. That year also brought "Glatorian Arena" an online fighting game that took up a considerable chunk of my time on summer break. There was also the My LEGO Network BIONICLE campaign, which was probably closer to the original Mata Nui Online Game than the Voya Nui Online Game. It followed a nameless agori as he traded with Glatorian and Agori to eventually acquire the information that helped Ackar and the Fire Tribe prepare for the Bone Hunters' attack in the book Raid on Vulcanus.
My memory doesn't need to be perfect to remember the BIONICLE.com of 2010. Almost the entire story of 2010 took place online through The Mata Nui Saga, and through the release of Journey's End. A side story looked into the Iron Tribe and the Dreaming Plague that wiped out all but a few in Sahmad's Tale, but unfortunately, that was the only one of the serials for that year that reached its conclusion. The Yesterday Quest introduced us to Chiara, Orde, and Zaria, and their mission to find the Great Beings, but we never saw the fourth chapter, let alone the end of their story, though the revelation of Velika as the infiltrator Great Being was given to us somewhat anticlimactically by Mr. Farshtey. The Powers That Be, a murder mystery that led to the Red Star, but also was cut short after its fourth chapter. By the way, Velika was the mystery man there too, also revealed by directly questioning Mr. Farshtey. An online tower defense game was also released in 2010, and for me, that was the last thing I did on BIONICLE.com.
Of course, I know there's plenty to talk about besides this--I wasn't online in 2001, and I never really visited BIONICLE.com regularly until 2005, so there's plenty I didn't mention, and of course, I'm sure many of you others that have fond memories of things I left out of the later years. Feel free to post them in the talkback. Tell us what you remember from BIONICLE.com and BIONICLEstory.com.
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