Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

LEGO : The Video Game Series

Posted: December 5, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
Tags: , , , , , ,

LEGO LOGO

LEGO entered the video game world years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that the name has come to be a reliable brand for quality licensed titles. The turning point was LEGO Star Wars by Traveler’s Tales. This game, released in 2005, was not only the best LEGO video game at the time, but arguably one of the best Star Wars video games as well.

LEGO Star Wars

The game supported two players and minimal penalty for “dying”. Your character would lose some Studs (the games currency used to by extra characters and other add-ons) and you would re-spawn. This made it great for not only younger players, but for people who didn’t necessarily play video games very often. The comedic approach also made the whole thing more approachable and accessible in comparison to most “hardcore” gaming titles then or now. The familiar Star Wars trappings did nothing but favors to the whole proceeding. Kids and adults could enjoy interacting with some of their favorite characters in familiar locales told in a comedic fashion with no voice-work, just pantomiming and general grunts. Win all around!

LEGO Star Wars 2

Of course, success, especially in the video game world, always breeds sequels. The followup, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy followed the story of the original movies and refined the formula subtly. No large changes were made, but the formula was still fresh and it still worked. Good thing because it didn’t change through Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Batman and Indiana Jones.

LEGO Batman

One thing that remained consistently entertaining through all of these early titles is the sense of humor. For example, Batman feels like Adam West trying to be Micheal Keaton. The silliness was enough that we had to stop to laugh at the game several times in the first level. You are given special suits for environmental puzzles. Batman makes himself a glide suit. For Robin…magnetic shoes. That look like trash can lids. Yeah. This kind of silly humor is all over the series and makes it very much worth playing through the back catalog.
The first innovation in the series after this point didn’t come until LEGO Indiana Jones 2, the 6th game in the Traveler’s Tales LEGO series. This was the first title to support split screen play. Early games relied on fixed camera and players were forced to stay within a fairly close proximity. The split screen shifts and adapts to the characters position relative to each other on the map and lets the players explore individually while still being able to figure out where they need to go to get back together. This allowed for larger levels and more exploration leading into the Harry Potter games and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Each of these follow ups added a more extensive and interactive hub area where the players could unlock items and select what levels to play next. Harry Potter focused more on exploration, the levels all branching out from a central hub in the middle of Hogwarts school. Pirates of the Caribbean had a dock area with two extensions where there were further puzzles to play with and being a hub for all of the unlock-able characters to play in. Some unlocked characters were even required for some of the hub puzzles!
The next innovation was added in Star Wars III: Clone Wars. It was the first LEGO title to include voice acting in addition to the pantomimic comedy of the early titles. Batman 2 followed and is considered the first fully voiced LEGO title.

LEGO LOTR

Following on that was Lord of the Rings. This one stretches across the whole trilogy and includes voice samples from the movie in addition to the usual pantomiming. You would think that something so very dark in subject would be difficult to make funny, but you would be very, very wrong. The other thing that Lord of the Rings added was a fully realized over-world. You travel all over Middle Earth and interact with towns that have their own puzzles and unique interactions. That is broken up by the more action oriented scenes from the movies in their own scene that then leads you back to the next part of the over-world. This is (according to Wikipedia) the first “open world” game in the series and I would not disagree. This open world has lead into the latest game in the series; Marvel Super Heroes which (I am told) also features a narrator in many parts in addition to the voice-work.

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Once these games get their hooks into you, they stay there! You want desperately to unlock every hidden gem. They become engaging on a level that most “kid oriented” games do not. Noccie and I just recently beat the story mode of Pirates of the Caribbean (review coming soon!) and are still going back to finish of those missing bits we missed. It simply has not gotten old yet. We are also working our way through the first Batman title and first Harry Potter. Highly recommend all of them to anyone who has kids or is in touch with their inner kid. Thoroughly enjoyable and a TON of fun!

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SPOILERS! Don’t even read further if you don’t want to know what happened.

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This past Saturday an amazing event took place… Season Four of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic started!

YAHOO! PARTY CANNON! The episode was a two part adventure with the whole gang.

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Princess Twilight is helping Princess Celestia and Princess Luna prepare for the summer solstice festival. This will be the first time Princess Luna has been able to help her sister with the ceremony since she returned from the Moon. On the eve before the ceremony Luna and Celestia go missing. Twilight heads back to Ponyville in the midst of the mystery because the Everfree forest is attacking. The herd looks for clues, questions the usual suspects and seeks advice but it takes a little magic to get to the bottom of the matter. The a few moments in the history of Luna and Celestia holds the key to what’s happening all over Equestria.

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The episode is great! It’s a wonderful return to a great show. My only wish… was that there had been a song. The story is complex and uses the old adage, learn from you past or you are bound to repeat it. Using a potion they look into the past and you get to see the history of Equestria first hand. It’s pretty neat to see Luna, Celestia and Discord in action. Discord is in the episode too, he’s brought in as a suspect.

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What did I like about this episode? The in depth look into the past was awesome. They also set up a great story arc for the season. I love seeing Twilight get help from her friends in the way of flying lessons. There were some nerdy moments, like when Discord is holding a poster that looks just like a Harry Potter wanted poster of Sirius Black. I made a squee noise. It was hilarious to see Discord back in the picture. Its nice to know that he’s still friends with Fluttershy.

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They also had a throw back to the OLD My Little Pony movie.

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Haha.. yes that is SPIKEY WIKEY in the Gen 1 movie.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the new episode. Pinkie Pie was really annoying at times. Her character was written a bit more immature than normal. Oh yeah, I also didn’t like that there wasn’t a song. I WANT MORE MUSIC!

Those are small gripes. I loved the episode and I’ve watched it several times already.

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Kane and I went to the public hours for Brick Con. We have been very into Lego’s lately.  My favorite moment of the day was walking into the hall and seeing so many people. There were armies of children and adults all milling around excited for Lego’s.

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The tables are set up by themes. They had Castles, Sculptures, Battle, Vehicles, Light up, Portraits, Moving, Space, Pirates and other random stuff here and there. There were so many things to see, I took around 300 photos. I am not going to post them all here. I am setting up a Flickr later. Next year we want to go to the four day convention to see what goes on.

Everyone who knows me well knows how much I love Tolkien. Right in the door, off to the left of the Space Needle, in the castle section, was a huge set of Lord of the Rings scene. Then around the back was a model of Hobbiton with a full sized Bag End. The pieces were from all different sets, including some of the Star Wars sets. They came together to make Lothlorien, Rivendell and Hobbiton.

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Here is Miley Cyrus and Robin Thick.

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Here is the crew of the Enterprise from Next Gen and a few impressive Borg.

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Someone made a fantastic Gamorra, Mothra and Chuthulu.

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We found Ecto 1 and Slimer in the vehicle section. Then the guys and the fire house were in the micro block section.

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The space section had two gigantic starships from Star Wars, the Millenium Facoln.

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There was Sputnik.

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The Aurora was amazing. There were scenes inside and out.

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Here is a space octopus.

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This is Red vs Blue.

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This is a scene from the new game, The Last of Us.

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World War 2 Russians, note Santa is in the distance. I guess he’s a Red.

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In Monoland, they had the Disney Carnival Cruise ship.

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The battle section had a WWII vs Zombies scenario going on. The custom minifigures were pretty impressive. They are very expensive though. There was a booth selling them.

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The Tiger’s Nest Monastery was impressive. The builder is scene in a few of these photos. She was amazing; I didn’t get any shots with her name though.

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Next to the Tiger’s Nest was Lhasa. It’s much smaller but also very impressive.

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Facing the monastery was Hogwarts. They built the full castle, quiddiche fields and everything. Parts of the buildings would open to show different parts of the book.

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Easter Eggs were included in most of the big scenes. There were several obelisks with monkey’s, Santa’s and Doctor Who’s included in various scenarios. There was a ship in a bottle in the Pirate section. I was so confused by how this was made.

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Here is the Doctor Who section. They had a Dalek.

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Patrick was dressed up as Slave Leia in this scene. Very disturbing.

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