Lego (Games): A History


Written by: Amanda Martin

Everyone knows and loves Lego. They've been an absolutely timeless creation, and they also appeal to all ages. From the simple bricks themselves, to full on scene creation sets, the little bricks truly are a wonder. And it seemed like only a matter of time before the brand made the jump from a physical toy, to a digital creation.

Lego itself came into existence in 1932, originating as simple wooden blocks built in the Danish workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen. In 1949 they changed the material to plastic, and eventually included the tops and bottoms required for them to interlock. They became so popular across Europe that an entire theme park, simply named LEGOLAND, was built around the concept, with other parks opening in the following years. And at home gaming consoles would also have access to Lego, from as far back as 1995. Since then, there have been many different titles released across many different platforms, allowing any kind of gamer to enjoy them.

Most likely every gamer has experienced the joy of a Lego game, be it through a solo play or multiplayer. Just like how the bricks themselves can bring people together, the games offers drop-in drop-out couch co-op, meaning that you can always have a friend along for the ride. It would be almost impossible to play a game without an avatar to play as, and the famous yellow minifgures make themselves useful in that capacity. These minifgures can be dressed like some of our favourite characters, but most games also include the option to customise a character to play as, from their clothes to their hair.

Lego games have found their way into many different titles. Most people will probably be familiar with the Lego versions of their favourite franchises. They range across a whole spectrum, from Jurassic World to Star Wars, The Incredibles to Indiana Jones. But there are also some independent original titles such as Lego Worlds and Lego City Undercover. Whilst the movie-based games come with a story already, the creators have shown that they are also able to create their own original content. Even if you're not much of a gamer, you can still enjoy Lego in movie form. And you can't say 'Lego Movie' without immediately have the chorus of Everything is Awesome stuck in your head.

Every game has the same principle at its core. You can break apart items in the environment to obtain studs, which is the currency used in Lego games. Sometimes these individual pieces are required to build something new that will allow you to progress through the levels. Just like the toy the games are based on, you can take apart pieces to put them back together into something new. It encourages creativity, even if you can only build certain things within the confines of the game.

The production company of most Lego games, TT Games, certainly hit upon a winning formula, and they have been sure to make the most of it. Whilst you a can simply play through the levels, I find the most satisfaction in watching my completion percentage rise. Levels need to be replayed in a free-play mode, which gives you access to other characters with the abilities required to collect bonus studs and collectables. There is often a hub world full of quests, challenges and even more collectables. True completionists will always get their moneys worth from a Lego game.

Speaking of completionists, a Lego game is a trophy hunters dream. Trophies will unlock for playing levels and completing the story. They will unlock after you've completed a full set of collectables, whether it be characters you can buy or treasures you can find. They do sometimes contain trophies for certain challenges within the game, but they never seem impossible to achieve. The platinum trophy of a Lego game is a nice little addition to anyone's collection.

Not every game can be a success story however. Lego games are not without their bugs and glitches, and this can be show in different forms. Characters can become stuck, doomed to run in place until you reload the game. Actions prompts may not appear when they are supposed to, leaving a level incomplete. There may also be the dreaded missing collectable , locking you out of your 100% completion. I've noticed a few games that do not use a map for their hub world, making navigation difficult if you don't have a good sense of direction.

In the end, no one can resist the lure of the Lego. From toys to movies and to the games, there truly is something for everyone. 

Written by: Amanda Martin