I didn’t so much play The LEGO Movie Videogame as I did gently prod it toward a conclusion. I pushed the buttons that appeared on screen to automatically transform scattered pieces into spaceships and trampolines, performed mindless quick time events, and beat up enemies, though there was never a reason to use anything but the jump attack.
Oh phew. After the news drought of the last few days, I'd assumed an evil wizard had cursed digital entertainment, ensuring no new game releases would ever be made. Thankfully, the spell has been broken by the aptly prolific Traveller's Tales and their unstoppable Lego series. Lego: The Hobbit is to be the latest in their catalogue of blocky retellings of all things cinematic.
Lego Lord of the Rings is an emphatic reminder of just how many iconic moments there are in Peter Jackson’s fantasy epics. Recreated in blocky form – as simple puzzles, short platforming sections and quaint cutscenes – and lifting the trilogy’s score and dialogue wholesale, the Helm’s Deep siege, Balrog showdown, and, er, bit where Gandalf bangs his head on Bilbo’s lamp all make the cut.
Since it's been a couple of busy days for various reasons, what with big announcements, launches fireworks, a presidential election, and that secret alien invasion they're covering up at the moment, the recent Lego Lord of the Rings demo may have slipped your notice. Is it the same basic game as ever? Yep. But with one interesting twist to make it closer to the films than you might expect...
Animator Forlorn Creature tweeted me last week with his latest Minecraft animation, which tells the sad tale of Lego Minecraft Man and his struggle to eke out an existence on a tiny cube populated by Creepers. He builds a hut, but is it enough? Where else can he go? What happens if he falls off the edge? WHAT HAPPENS THEN? Learn the answers to all in part one of The Adventures of Lego Minecraft below.
Remember the prototype for a Portal 2 Lego set that we mentioned a few weeks back? It was submitted on Lego Cuusoo, a site that hosts idea pitches for future commercial sets. If an idea gains enough followers it's forwarded to a "review stage" where giant Lego men poke it to see if the idea's viable, and then gradually rotate a huge, C shaped fist to deliver a clumsy thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the project.
Portal Lego has now reached that stage! Will it succeed? Who knows. It's impossible to know what's going on behind those fixed ever-smiling faces. It's out of our hands now, but we can still look at pictures of the prototypes, which are probably the cutest thing on the internet right now. Take a look.
UPDATE:Rabbit Island is in fact the cutest thing on the internet right now, but Portal Lego takes a close second place.
From the Perpetually Tantalising Initiative comes this amazing looking plan for a Portal 2 themed Lego set - in much the same vein as this equally-crowd supported Minecraft set that all the cool kids are playing with. While you won't be able to shoot little blocky portals, you will be able to build your own Test Chambers, set up gloriously in-appropriate photoshoots involving Chell and GLaDOS, and be the envy of all your friends for more reasons than having parents and some semblance of dietary control.
But it'll only happen if enough people support it. And if Valve says yes, obviously. But why would they be so mean as to deny the world something that so obviously has to happen? Here are a few pictures in case you need any further convincing of this incontrovertible fact...
LEGO are now in the process of developing Minecraft sets to be sold worldwide. Last month Mojang launched a pitch through the LEGO CUSOO site. Pitches that pick up more than ten thousand visitor votes are passed on to the designers and decision makers at LEGO for a closer look. Mashable mention that Minecraft Lego has now received a big fat APPROVED stamp after picking up 10k approvals in two days, a CUSOO record.
Lego say "we are now developing a concept that celebrates the best aspects of building with the LEGO system and in Minecraft and we can’t wait to show it to you — but we aren’t ready just yet." Mojang will receive 1% of any profits gathered by the Lego sets bearing its branding, which they plan to give to charity. It's odd to think that Lego-influenced Minecraft should inspire Lego sets. We caught up with Notch recently to see what he thought. "Yeah, it's weird," he said.
According to details Warner Brothers Interactive just sent over, the first Lego Batman sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. No surprise then that the blocky Bat should return for a second swing at the crooks of Gotham City. The sequel will contain more characters, an "expansive Gotham City environment" and vehicles, like the Batmobile and the Batwing.
Even though Lego Lord of the Rings has been announced, we reckon they’re fast running out of franchises to render in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Lego James Bond is the one we always mention when we see the Traveller’s Tales guys, but so far we’ve had no luck convincing them that squashing a plastic version of Sean Bean with a giant satellite array would be a very good thing.
Shut the shops down, people, Christmas is solved. Mojang have successfully pitched the idea for Lego Minecraft on Lego Cuusoo, a site that lets visitors vote on their favourite Lego prototypes. The sets aren't in full production yet, but the idea has been so popular that the Cuusoo site has been struggling to deal with the traffic since Mojang man Daniel Kaplan tweeted about the project.
There haven't been enough genuinely unique MMOs released after World of Warcraft saw its huge success and publishers started chasing its profit margin, but LEGO Universe is one of the rare exceptions that offered something truly different. That's why I'm so sad to see the LEGO Group announce that, just barely one year after the launch of LEGO Universe, they'll be shutting down the imaginative, kid-friendly MMORPG on January 31st of next year.
Lego Harry Potter was great. You could take control of the world famous wizard-kid and all his mates and zap the shazam out of almost every object in the world. Whether it was a pot plant or a ghost, targeted items and people would react in hilarious and unpredictable ways. The pot plant would grow to a monstrous size and swallow a nearby student, the ghost would start singing opera. Mix that sense of playful exploration with the Lego games' trademark brand of silent, slapstick humour and you had something rather wonderful.
It's great news, then, to see more Lego Harry Potter heading our way. In fact, RPS mention that a small chunk of the upcoming Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is already available in magically shrunken demo form. Grab it now from Gamershell. Years 5-7 covers the events of the last three books, and the final four films, culminating in the big magical show down with He Who Must Not Be Named, aka Voldemort.
How good can Lego men really look? They're little low-polygon men that live in a world of cubes. Somehow, in spite of this, Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars looks fantastic. You'll find the latest selection of screenshots below, packed full of Jedi riding giant Lego lizards, and lightsabers aplenty.
Remember the middle ages, where lopping off your enemy's head was a good way to spend an afternoon? Lego: Pirates of the Carribbean makes decapitation fun again. When little Lego Jack Sparrow has his little Lego head sliced from his little Lego body by a little Lego sword, his little Lego hands go straight to his little Lego neck-hole. It's the cutest example of horrible murder I've ever seen.
I don’t know who Redboy31 is, but I want to be his friend. His player-built property, The League of Engineers, is everything I wanted my treehouse fort to be when I was a kid. It’s got a high wall guarded by big guns, friendly robots, a secret meeting room at the top of a huge elevator, and a prank lever that playfully zaps anyone who touches it!
It wasn’t until I began exploring the player-owned properties – the plots of land where players can build freely – that I understood what Lego Universe really is: an online realm of imagination where kids (and kids at heart) build secret forts and craft huge castles guarded by pirate boats in the sky; where ninja hideouts are protected by giant samurai robots and pirates who find cursed treasure are transformed into skeletons.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Amateur architects, mad-scientists, and children everywhere--come forth, and help me find a yellow flat-top two-by-two brick. It's just the piece I need for my planet rover. You'll understand when LEGO Universe launches on October 26 this year.