Much like the joyous little bricks on which they base themselves, the appeal of Lego-themed games has transcended age, gender and culture – all under the auspices of a being a ‘child’s game’.
The Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti once famously said that “simplicity is not simplification” – or in other words: making something seem simple is actually very hard. It’s a talent that Apple have long-since nailed yet one that Lego had mastered long before Steve Jobs was even in diapers.
British developer Travellers Tales is arguably one of the most significant and consistent studios in the modern gaming era – up there (in my humble opinion) with the likes of Bungie and Valve. Yet unlike their red carpet, bright lights brethren, TT plug away in a quietly studious and self-deprecating manner, eschewing indulgent documentaries or smoke and mirror tactics for an honest day’s work and a release schedule that makes Gabe Newell blush. They basically couldn’t be more British if they tried and have worked wonders with all manner of rich source materials – whilst at all the times maintaining an identity and style that’s all of their very own.
No mean feat.
But what stones have been left unturned? What franchises – available in real Lego or not – would make superb Lego games for the future? Let’s find out, shall we?
Lego Dr. Who
Whilst genuine Lego Dr. Who sets don’t exist, Mega Bloks have produced a small range of toys based on the iconic British sci-fi series. Feeling like a cheap substitute on every level, Mega Bloks have, to be fair, managed to secure a number of high-profile licences over recent years and present as a cheaper, more ‘throwaway’ alternative to the Danish masters.
Demand is clearly there, then, and what an ideal universe Dr. Who would make for a TT Lego game. With more villains than you can shake a stick at – many of whom are as iconic as the Doctor himself – there would be an almost limitless number of scenarios and settings to explore, with the time-travelling mechanic adding further depth and breadth to the palette. Even the Doctor himself has had numerous re-incarnations so it’s not as if we’d be short on heroes either. I’m convinced that TT could riff brilliantly off this franchise, not to mention capture the spirit of the different eras from levels made in pure black-and-white from the Doctor’s earliest adventures, through to the delightful 70’s kitsch of the Tom Baker era and beyond. And just think what an amazing ‘hub’ the Tardis would make, with the possibility of exploring all of its many rooms and levels being a fan’s wet-dream come true.
Oh and the sound effects! Just think of the bloody sound effects!
A pioneer of CGI films, the Tron franchise remains as potent today as it did in the 80’s. The fact that it took almost three decades to make a sequel and that fans, old and new, were just as eager to lap it up is testament to the core narrative of the franchise. I mean: who wouldn’t want to get lost in a computer world?!
Whilst the character-set beyond the mighty Flynn and the menacaing Sark is a tad thin on the ground, the universe is simply dripping with Lego possibilities and crying out for some light-hearted TT humour. The prospect of Lego disc-wars and light-cycles make me quite giddy and I’m sure there’s plenty of scope for tapping into the films’ real-world scenes and making some great levels from those. Flynn’s arcade would make a worthy hub and, perhaps, each coin-sucking cabinet could be playable in some zany Lego-inspired way.
“Forget it, mister high-and-mighty Master Control! You aren’t making me talk!”
Lego Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Now this, I can actually see becoming a reality.
TMNT has re-imagined itself once again in this last year – on-screen and in-stores – with kids (including my own) going mad yet again for the old heroes in a half-shell. There’s just something quite perfect about the balancing of turtles, pizzas, rats and ninjas that makes for a timeless mixture of fun and madness. With Lego TMNT already in stores, I really don’t see it being too long before a game is actually made of this cherished franchise.
Combat? Check. Good vs. evil? Check. Hub world? Sewer check. Open world city? Check. You name it, TMNT has it with regards to making a successful transition into a TT Lego game, with the key characters having their own strengths and talents that could be put to good use in level-specific puzzles and features. And would four-player be too much to ask for?
With TMNT being perhaps the first franchise for TT to tackle that’s already dripping in humour, just imagine where it could go in their mischievous hands!
It just rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it? A match made in Lego heaven, wouldn’t you say?
With talk and rumours of a third film / reboot circulating for some time now, it’s easy to forget how important Ghostbusters was to kids in the 80’s. With two superb films and more mad-cap cartoon adventures that I care to remember to go at – not to mention a great cast of characters and iconic music – Ghostbusters is simply ripe for the Lego picking.
Everything from the fire-station to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and even Slimer would make a fantastic transition to Lego, with New York City offering up the tantalising prospect of open-world ghost-hunts in-between levels taken from the main narrative. You can almost see yourself starting out as the group explore the library basement in the first film, right the way through to navigating the evil river of ooze. Genius.
Oh, and remember folks: when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES”!
So, what would you want to see in a Lego game, Voxelites?