A Deconstructor Theory – LEGO GAMES

LEGO history dates back to almost 100 years ago, so I guess each and every one of us has played, at least once in his/her life, with those colorful, marvelous, little blocks. Probably though, just a fistful of that amount of people keeps playing with LEGO now, be it the “real” thing or its digital incarnation.

Nonetheless, throughout the past few years, LEGO-themed video games have grown in numbers like mushrooms after a rainfall and, surprisingly, the quality of these games has increased day by day. Personally, I am not a LEGO addicted, but since my son keeps “stealing” my PS3 to play it (and consistently chase his platinum on it), I decided to give it a try. Here is what I found.

Why do you play a LEGO game? This is the question (I’m going “Hamletic” here). Is it because it reminds you of when you were young? Because it is a colorful game? Because of its inspiration to famous worlds/characters? Because it has loads of characters to play with (over 150, usually)?

Is it because you can share a local co-op game with a friend (or relative)? For its story, its graphic and its humor? Because you can spend countless hours tinkering with it in the post-game, without getting bored? Or is it for the secret pleasure of destroying everything you see?

Well, I guess it is for all these things altogether, but there is more than meets the eyes here. After careful thinking, I came to the conclusion that the point is not destroying, but DECONSTRUCTING. It may appear trivial (and maybe it is), but it is not a matter of just tearing things apart: it’s rather a matter of finding the right way (and the right thing) to deconstruct in order to rebuild. Breaking a crate in one spot can give you spare pieces to build a ladder somewhere else; creating a loudspeaker can force someone into a dance so frantic that will end up in collapsing a wall, thus opening an escape way. And while you are interacting with the environment (a tree, a fire, an ancient painting … ), you understand that creating is better than destroying and that all is part of a bigger plan to reach the illumination.

In other words, without even noticing, you are not destroying but SHAPING your world. And you can do it only if you have the patience to think before acting if you can use the right character at the right moment since each and every one of them has his/her personal abilities,
required to reach the end of the level. Only putting all your efforts into it you will complete the story, or get that collectible that you were so desperately craving for, or achieve that last trophy that makes your platinum pop out!

Despite its target audience, LEGO games are not easy games to play. Sure you can just skim through them only to have some fun and complete the main story in just a few hours, but if you take them seriously they will give you a fairly difficult challenge to overcome. I platted Tomb Raider in a much “easier” way than what took my son to platinum LEGO Batman 2, and I see how hard he is striving to get the same result with LEGO Marvel Superheroes.

For all the reasons mentioned above, I think this game is really cool, and wonderfully succeeds in merging “block” and “real” graphics. I hope the following video will give you an idea of what I mean.

The demo is available on PSN, and I suggest you give it a try. As said, I never bought a LEGO game for myself and probably never will, yet I would like to see developers “dare” a little more, as Traveller’s Tales does. These games prove that you don’t need a jaw breaking graphics or a bestsellers story Every single time, neither you need the same old story on politics, warfare or conspiracy theories, as long as the player gets what he/she needs: fun, challenge, the opportunity to share an experience with a companion and something nice to remember. Of course, this is only my personal opinion.
Would you care to give us yours?

Thank you for reading.

PS: my 44th birthday is coming up, so I asked my son a gift: a real LEGO Spider-Man !!!!

This article was partially inspired by an old PlayGeneration Magazine article (Sept. 2012). A few images were taken from the internet. All the rest is another AmigaGuru’s blog exclusive! 🙂

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