You would think that LEGO and Minecraft would go together like peanut butter and jelly, but I’m not so sure.
The ultimate toy
By many accounts, LEGO could be the ultimate toy. Everyone has played with LEGO bricks at some point, either as a child or adult or both. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy, young or old, playing with LEGO is fun. LEGO has come a long way since my first set, which was before they had even invented the now iconic “LEGO Guy” minifigs. Now you’ll find LEGO sets of all shapes and sizes that come in all sorts of themes, even licensed themes like Star Wars and Harry Potter. By this point, LEGO sets based on big budget movies is old hat but then a LEGO set was announced that made perfect sense but no one ever thought would happen: LEGO Minecraft.
Block by block, brick by brick
I haven’t been shy about my love for Minecraft but this is a collision of two worlds that were made for each other. When someone asks me what type of game Minecraft is, one of the first comparisons is to virtual LEGO bricks because everything in Minecraft is square and blocky, and you build the same way. For a game that lends itself so much to being cast in LEGO, you’d think the result would be pretty awesome, right? It’s still too early to get your hands on a LEGO Minecraft set (you can pre-order), but the early product photos are less than impressive.
Looking at only the few product shots that exist out there, the Minecraft set looks incredibly small. They even call it “micro scale.” Most of the pieces appear to be 1×1 blocks and then almost entirely half-height bricks. However, the bigger issue I spy is that many of the pieces are flat tops, smooth and shiny but without a connector nub on the top…so these guys won’t stack. One of the best things about LEGO is that you can go on forever…up and up…but given this playset has so many “dead end” pieces it seems to limit you before you even start.
Even though the set at large might be a little less than hoped for, the one place where it seems to shine is in the figures. Highlighted on the product page is a Creeper figure that is simply adorable. Never in a game has one type of bad guy given you so much trouble but I’d happily put his figure on my desktop. Yet due to sets’ overall tiny size, we don’t get a normal minifig. No, instead it looks like we get some pint-sized figures that, while cute, just can’t measure up to a true LEGO minifig. Oh well, I guess we’ll take what we get. Let’s face it, we’re lucky to have gotten a Minecraft LEGO set in the first place…which brings me to the next interesting point: how did this playset come to be?
LEGO is listening
As you probably are, I’ve been a LEGO fan since I was able to stick things up my nose but even I admit that after a while I grew out of LEGO play and lost touch with the toy. I admired LEGO from a distance only as I saw the product evolve into massive playsets to construct everything from the Millennium Falcon to computer-programmed cyborgs, only wishing I had the disposable income to get all of them into my house. However, as I watched movie after movie being made into playsets, I found myself wishing for playsets that were a little more original and dependent on creative ideas rather than just converting established concept into brick form. Thankfully, LEGO seemed to acknowledged the state of things and started up a product line called CUUSOO that is driven entirely by LEGO fans and collectors.
The LEGO CUUSOO line is somewhat of an open-source version of LEGO that asks people to submit their own ideas for a LEGO playset. If the idea passes the first review it then goes out to the public for support. If at least 10,000 people support the idea, LEGO will then consider turning that idea into an actual LEGO set people can buy. This is how LEGO Minecraft came to be. Someone submitted the concept and within no time 10,000 people had vouched for it…and from what I found, the 10k requirement was reached in only three days. How’s that for dedicated fans? Had the CUUSOO concept been around when I was a kid, I can tell you they would have gotten a new idea every day! This seems like a great program but I’m betting it’s one most people don’t know about. Heck, I only learned about it because of the Minecraft set.
With this option to get your own idea turned into LEGO, it simply begs the question: what would you want to see be turned into a LEGO set? I’d then challenge you to come up with an idea that is not entirely based on a movie, TV show, or comic. I took a few minutes to think about that and I was saddened by my lack of creativity and was reminded just how powerful movies and video games are in our perception of things. A visit to the CUUSOO site right now has suggestions based on Back to the Future, Portal 2, Phineas and Ferb, Zelda and, of course, Star Wars. Isn’t there enough LEGO Star Wars?! There is but one “generic” theme in the lot: an old time Western town.
It’s not easy being original
I applaud the person that submitted the Old West concept for not caving in to established franchises and mass market ideas…I couldn’t do it. The playset ideas that came into my head right away were a Black Hole set based on the movie, a set for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and a set built around on the Metal Gear game series…and honestly, I think those are all kick-ass ideas. The Black Hole is one of my favorite unsung Disney movies that features a massive spaceship called the Cygnus as well as a great cast of robots including BOB, VINCENT, and Maximilian. The Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues just lends itself to something like a LEGO set with the idea of a super steampunk submarine, and Metal Gear is a no-brainer considering all the mechs and vehicles in the series. Sure, people have already made these creations with existing LEGO bricks, but how cool would it be to have an official playset? I also think some real world historical LEGO sets would be pretty awesome, like the Civil War and World War II, but I guess there’s always the world of custom, after-market LEGO for that stuff.
A toy that gets better with age
The world of LEGO is filled with endless possibilities; that’s what makes the toy so great. You can design and build anything you want. It’s great to have pre-made sets that go along with our favorite movies and shows because we’re thinking about them a lot anyway, but it’s really great to see some original ideas happening as well. Even though the LEGO Minecraft set is based on a popular game, the game itself is as open and limitless as LEGO bricks are themselves. It’s a good match even if the pieces are something to be desired. I’m not sure that I’ll be pre-ordering a box, especially not for $35, but knowing that LEGO is listening to its fans by way of the CUUSOO product is a great thing. Kudos to LEGO and kudos to all the people submitting their ideas. You can never have too many LEGO bricks.