Last week I decided to make the large financial investment of picking up Lego Dimensions, a new game from Traveler’s Tales which takes the ever popular Lego series and adds the toy-to-life feature. It combines all sort of worlds and properties in order to make something, fun, original and crazy. But where do these worlds come from? What is the history and what made them so worthy of being Lego-ized. That is precisely what I intend to discover as we explore the rich history of each of these properties as well as get to know their Lego game counterparts.
But before all of that, let’s learn a little about Lego and how this game wound up getting made.
The Lego Group was started in Denmark by a carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen. He originally started out making wooden toys and two years after his first toys from the workshop were made in 1932, his company changed its name to Lego. The name itself was derived from the danish phrase for “play well” or Leg Godt. The company continued to make wooden products until 1947, when they added plastic to the roster, and only two years later they introduced the Automatic Binding Bricks which we now know as the popular Lego building bricks.
Lego was known for excellence. Their motto, still used today translates to “The best is not good enough,” and Ole Kirk believed that his employees should always be pushed to produce only the highest quality of products. By the 1950’s, Lego popularity had sky rocketed which led to several different Lego themed sets being produced. Vikings, Castles, under the sea. It was all here. It was only a natural progression to add in commercial themes such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
In 1997, someone at Lego had a brilliant idea. They would branch out into video games which were just another form of toy and were sky rocketing into success. They started simple with games like Lego Island and Lego Creator. By 2005, this popular media form went to the commercial successes again by having themed games, starting with Lego Star Wars. In this game, you could play through each of the episodes, I-III in Lego form which added a large amount of silliness and humor to an otherwise dark and dramatic series. I remember waiting for this game and playing it non-stop, needing to collect everything the game had to offer.
That’s the thing about the Lego games. They push for collection and fun, but also have a strong reliance on being for everyone and having co-op features, which means that two people, family members or friends, can play together. Get tired of playing? One person can easily drop out. It is so simple and elegant by design and yet, this feature was something almost entirely brand new to gaming at the time. Now, we’ve got Lego Harry Potter, Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego Jurassic World, a whole friggin’ Lego movie franchise and many more. This is a series that constantly finds ways to try new things and change the market, all while allowing everyone a chance to play and have fun.
So enters, in 2015, Lego Dimensions, which takes an idea, toys-to-life gaming, and revolutionizes it once more. Original Lego design was based on a patented inter-locking wood of the time. Lego may not come up with an idea first, but they have a knack for perfecting it. Toy-to-life gaming originated primarily with Skylanders, a series from Activision which required players to place real life toys on a base which was connected to a console. These characters would then appear in the game and had special abilities which opened new areas of the game. A few years later, Disney Infinity arrived on the scene with a very similar concept, except it was using collectable Disney toys. This game added the fact that you could build your own levels and worlds in the ‘toy box’ in order to play your own way.
Lego Dimensions takes it one step further, asking you to build every aspect of the game, from the portal which acts as the base that allows characters to appear in the game to vehicles and the lego figures themselves. What’s more is that each vehicle can be transformed into other forms of that vehicle, requiring you to pull them apart and rebuild. All of this adds up to a very fun experience which is both interactive as a game as well as from a real life perspective.
So what is The Lego Dimensions? What makes this series special? Lego Dimensions, as a game, blends all sorts of properties. In this series, we’ll explore the history and relevance of each of these series. From Ninjago to Doctor Who to Ghostbusters, we’ll dive into the history of each property while taking a look at their Lego counterparts, because what’s better than toys and learning? Okay, maybe a lot of things, but we’ll just have to find out.
Starting next week, we’ll discover our first episode of The Lego Dimensions.
Episode 1 – The Wizard of Oz
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Hi, I’m Jaysen and this is my site. I write about all sort of things, most of them nerdy.
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