All my life I’ve had a love affair with Lego building sets but my obsession reached fever-brick when Lego and TT Studios started developing licenced videogames in 2005 with Lego Star Wars: The Videogame. To date, 18 Lego videogames have been made and I’ve been giddy with each release.
The basic premise of each game is that you play the Lego versions of various pop culture creations. Also, these games are mainly designed for kids so the stories are slightly adjusted through that prism. For example, Lego Indiana Jones doesn’t present the bad guys as Lego Nazis (not cool). And instead of melting skulls in the final showdown in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a disco ball rises out of the Ark that starts a dance party and Lego people explode due to excitement. It’s bizarre, but part of the charm of the kooky universe.
The game mechanics is where the addiction bites hard. The basics are that you play through a level, beating up bad guys and fighting a big boss at the end. Simple, but there are all these little tasks you need to complete that unlock characters and perks. The genius of TT Studios’ programming is that when you finish the story mode of each game you’re only about 20-30 per cent complete. You have to replay levels with new characters, complete quests and aim to get that sweet, sweet 100 per cent badge of honour. If you thought the Pokemon cry of ‘gotta catch ‘em all’ made you scratch your skin with the desire to own everything, the Lego games may produce a full body heave of addictive bliss.
The part when you start frothing at the mouth the most is when it comes to collecting Lego studs. Each level requires you to collect a certain amount of studs in order to properly tick the boxes on the path to attaining that glorious 100 per cent. Studs are also used as a currency in the Lego videogame world and you always need more. My wife has often woken in the morning to find me sitting in the living room, as the run rises behind me, babbling over the acquisition of studs. I freaking love collecting everything in these games and it reminds me of the golden era of trading cards and the mission to fill each plastic sleeve with a full set of Marvel cards; even the rare holographic ones.
Getting into the Lego videogame world can be a little daunting so there are a few gateway games that have just been released to ease you into the fun. To coincide with The Lego Movie they released one of those videogame tie-ins, but luckily, it’s not one of those horrible rushed into production jobs. You play through the basic plot of the movie and most of the characters from the film are playable including Unikitty, Batman and even William Shakespeare. Yes, you get to smash Lego buildings as Shakespeare; it’s quite surreal and educational.
Also, while I’m plugging Lego videogames harder than a leak in a submarine, Lego The Hobbit has just hit the shelves, and it plays through the events of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s first two films in the series. TT Studios have done open world Lego videogames before with Marvel Lego Superheroes (amazing) and Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes (to quote Keanu Reeves ‘woah’), but this is open world Middle Earth (this is where you start breakdancing). Lego The Hobbit is the brick based equivalent of Skyrim with lots of questing, unlockable characters, crafting and a ridiculous amount of loot to collect.
So join me on the epic journey to full completion in the Lego videogame universe and proudly say to your significant other ‘these games aren’t just for kids, they’re for life!’
Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @MrCamW