Category Archives: LEGO Products

Honest Game Trailers – LEGO Star Wars

While they gloss over the fact that they are referring to three different games, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Star Wars II – The Original Trilogy, and LEGO Star Wars III – The Cone Wars (or four if you want to count LEGO Star Wars – The Complete Saga which revamped and combined the first two games and is actually my favorite), but the essential point is there, that the LEGO Star Wars games are some pretty decent fun, if not exactly challenging.  My general strategy is, when in doubt break all the stuff.

And, of course, there is now LEGO Star Wars – The Force Awakens, which I just started playing.

Also, a comment on the video; if you want to become the master of character names in the Star Wars movies, these games are great because you have to unlock every damn character they could find.

Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount

Amazon announced a while back that Prime members would get some sort of discount for game pre-orders.  I saw it… Keen posted about it even… but it sort of flitted past to be forgotten.

We have Amazon Prime.  While we get some benefit out of it on free shipping… which was the initial hook back in the day… we mostly keep it for the Amazon video.  It is sort of a backup to Netflix streaming and about the same price per year.  Just last night we watched Amy on Amazon, and I watched all of The Man in the High Castle series a little while back.

This past weekend my daughter and I took the coin jar, which we use to pay for video games, down to the Coin Star machine and dumped all our coins in exchange for an Amazon gift code.  You get full value for a gift code, as opposed to taking cash, from which they skim some off the top.

We ended up with a little over $120 on the gift code to match up against what we had on our list of games.

On the top of the list was LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is headed for release around June and which is actually going to be supported on the PlayStation 3, something I noted with some surprise a while back.  (Granted, the PS3 doesn’t get any of the bonus content that the PS4 gets, but whatever.  I don’t own a PS4.)

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released...

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released…

The other item on our list was a copy of the World of Warcraft Legion expansion for each of us.

Single word expansion title? Really stretching so far!

Coming at some point this summer…

However, each title was listed at $50 on Amazon, so we were a bit shy on funds.  But I figured we would have plenty of time to collect more coins before the WoW Legion ship date loomed.

So I just put in a pre-order for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  But when I went to check out Amazon popped up with their Prime discount and took $10 off the price, 20% off being the pre-order benefit.

The discount appears

The discount appears

20% off would put all three titles within our grasp.  So I ordered two copies of WoW Legion next, which added up to $100, but then there was the 20% discount, dropping the price to $80.  Yes, I was a little over when the sales tax was added in, but I had some gift card money left over from the holidays which covered that.  The idea is to get out the door without putting anything on a credit card.

So that worked out pretty well.  We were going to buy all of that at full price anyway, so getting $30 back… especially when I didn’t even remember the Prime discount… pretty much off-set nearly a third of our yearly Amazon prime subscription.  And we still get to stream movies and TV shows.

Of course, I wonder who the discount hits.  In the case of LEGO Star Wars, the traditional retail channel was likely going to be the main source of revenue.  But for the WoW Legion expansion, getting 20% off a pre-order means that I will not be ordering it directly from Blizzard, which means that they don’t get to collect all the profit, having to share it with Amazon and having a bite taken out via cost of goods sold, since they will be shipping us two boxes with discs.

Of course, I don’t get my game code and level 100 boost RIGHT NOW.  There is that.  But I am not so interested in playing WoW right now either.  Come the expansion launch though I should be ready.

Quote of the Day – Your Name May Not Be a Name

Your user name may not be discriminating, unethical or otherwise offensive and may not contain a name.

-LEGO, on changes to their terms of service.

The fine people at The Lego Group dropped me a line to remind me that they have changed their terms of services.

LEGO_Logo_300

They were concerned apparently because I had not yet read and accepted them.  Literal truth.

You are receiving this email because we have changed our user terms for your LEGO ID and we can see that you haven’t read and accepted them yet.

I haven’t read or accepted them because I haven’t logged on to anything LEGO or LEGO related in a while.  My daughter is now a teenager and far more interested in makeup, clothes, and what her friends are posting on Instagram than getting plastic blocks and building things.  She does occasionally get wistful when she  sees the LEGO minifigures… she keeps the golden C3P-0 on her desk… but not enough to actually dust them off and do something with them.  I should go do another minifigure roundup this year and drag her along.

Anyway, The Lego Group was kind enough to append a short list of the items that they felt were the most important of the changes to the terms.  Number one on the list is quoted at the top of this post, and it makes my head hurt.

I get “discriminating,” though through the quirkiness of the English language and custom, we tend to use that word to indicate a positive.  If you have “discriminating taste” it is a good thing, right?  So I might have phrased that differently… maybe “promotes discrimination” since “discrimination” is the usage that is always negative… but I get what they were shooting for.  Marketing and legal probably spent hours on that word alone.

I can also see “unethical.”  If you pick a user name that makes you look like an employee of The Lego Group, that would be well on the way towards “unethical,” though I still think you have to try and use it to misrepresent yourself intentionally before we get fully in the zone.  Whatever, I get it.

“Offensive” is a minefield in this day and age.  I dare anybody to come up with a workable definition of what “offensive” means in a world where people are offended that somebody has the last name “Lynch.”  But they have to cover themselves, and now they can site this statement if somebody complains about.  Yet again, I get it.

But then we get to the last phrase in that sentence (which should be separated with an Oxford comma dammit) and I start to think that they are trolling me.  My user name, the name with which I identify myself on the LEGO site, must not contain a NAME?

I might understand “must not contain your real name” or “must not include your surname” as stipulations, but they appear to be literally saying, “Your name… it may not be a name.”  That quote at the top, it is directly from the section of the terms to which the user is specifically required to agree.

If I go with all numbers, will that still be a name?  It all seems pretty silly to me.

LEGO Legend of Chima Online – A Second Try at a LEGO MMO

LEGO Universe is just a memory, some random screen shots, and a painful timeline at this point.  But that doesn’t mean LEGO is out of the MMO business or that a LEGO MMO isn’t a good idea.  LEGO has a new MMO going, LEGO Legends of Chima Online.

LEGOChimaOnline450LEGO has teamed up with Warner Games for to take another run at the whole MMO idea.

I am not sure why they haven’t gone with Traveller’s Tales on this plan, as they are the people who have made pretty much ALL the good LEGO games, from LEGO Star Wars forward.  Then again, TT does seem to have a pretty set formula, one that might be getting old by this point.

Anyway, with lessons learned from LEGO Universe, things have a new flavor.  The game will be web based, using the Unity Plug-in as a platform.  It will be free to play, with premium options.  And it will be focused on a single, LEGO owned property, the Legends of Chima, which LEGO is starting to roll out as building sets, games on the DS and Vita platform, and a television show on Cartoon Network.  So a big cross channel cash-in is being attempted here, and it looks even more ambitious than the Ninjago campaign.

The site for Legends of Chima is up and running and the game is in open beta and seems to include all of the standard MMO features from levels to combat to inventory management.  The critical game features that LEGO is calling out are:

Free to Play – LEGO Legends of Chima Online is a free-to-play online game! Membership and Premium currency are available to further enhance the experience but are never required!

Build – As the new commander of your Outpost, it is up to you to decide what you want to build and where you want to build it. Every building provides benefits from generating and collecting studs, creating weapons and armor, or providing your hero with special skills and abilities! You can also build and destroy LEGO creations within the game world.

Create & Customize – Be the hero you want to be. Your skills depend on what kind of Outpost you choose to build! There are no classes, no restrictions – you can play the way you want to play! Customize items by picking which color brick you want to build them with!

I suppose we will see how a new LEGO MMO stands up in world that already has Minecraft and EverQuest Next Landmark on the way.  But this time around, the goals seem to be more modest and the focus a lot more concentrated for LEGO.

Items from the Mail Bag – In the Material World

Another visit to the mail bag, which for some reason features a lot of actual things.  It also shows that press releases will go out to just about anybody these days.

A Love Letter to DOOM

I am always a fan of people who tackle gaming topics in actual printed book form.  Being over a certain age, getting somebody to publish that sort of thing lends legitimacy to the whole genre, even if it isn’t likely to make any best seller’s list.  So I was interested to see a press release for DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST.

DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST

DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST

According to the press release, this 200 page book covers the creation of DOOM, how it impacted the industry, pushed online multiplayer and modding, and spawned many imitators.  The book jacket quote:

This book is a love letter to DOOM and its various creators, written by a highly educated and devoted scholar and player. The book offers a well-grounded sense of the game and does an excellent job working its way through a range of topics: from the software company to the graphics engine to the story to the sound to the final game.”
—Katherine Whitlock, California State University-Chico

Never having actually played DOOM (I was working on Mac OS at the time, so Bungie’s Marathon kicks off first person shooters for me) and not being a particularly dedicated shooter fan, some of this will no doubt be lost on me, but it is nice to see it getting recorded somewhere.

D-Link Router for Gamers

D-Link sent me a press release for their new router for gamers.

Available in August

Available in August

This one interests me because we have to share a rather small pipe to the internet at our house and the tools available for apportioning out bandwidth seem to be to be rather primitive.  Looking at the we page for the router, it looks like they are headed in the right direction.  And, frankly, things like Quality of Service shouldn’t be rocket science at this point.  I am not going to run out and pre-order one, but I will look for reviews to see if it actually works as described.

FitDesk for the Happy Family

FitDesk is a company that sells equipment that allows you to use your electronics while you exercise.  A noble calling, or at least one with some merit.  I recall a story from a few of years back about a guy who bolted his laptop to a treadmill and spent all his World of Warcraft time walking.  He lost weight and got into shape while raiding.  So I have nothing snarky to say about the idea really, except that the picture they attached to the press release they sent me is a bit… odd.

Happy, happy family!

Just like no family ever

The thought process that lead to this would be interesting to map.  Put dad in the chair.  Have him smiling, happy that his son is getting exercise. Hand him a laptop to show he is tech savvy.  Give him a smiling trophy wife about his son’s age.  Have those two gaze fondly at the son while he plays his game completely undisturbed by this attention.  And no sweating!  We don’t need to remind people that exercise makes they moist and smelly.

Life in the world of advertisements.

LEGO Middle-earth Rolls On

And the people at LEGO continue to send me pictures of their latest and greatest stuff, like this Tower of Orthanc set.

LEGO Saruman

LEGO Saruman

Unfortunately, the age of LEGO seems to be pretty much over at our house.  My daughter is in the pre-teen stage and becomes quickly bored when forced to do things like assembling LEGO kits with dad.  Time marches on.  Now we’re worried about paying for college.

The Decision is in – No LEGO Rifter for You!

Remember the LEGO Rifter from last year?

10K Votes Achievement!

10K Votes Achievement!

It got proposed.

It got CCP support.

It got the votes.

It got reviewed.

It got shot down.

The official word from LEGO CUUSOO last month:

Results of the LEGO Review for EVE Online Ships – Rifter

2012.12.20

First and foremost, congratulations again to czar for reaching 10,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO, and toward everyone for all of the support of the EVE Online Ships – Rifter project! The Summer LEGO Review has concluded and the LEGO Review Board has arrived at its decision about the four projects in review.

The supporters we received for the EVE Online Ships – Rifter project allowed us to examine the feasibility of another niche gaming-related product. However the Rifter presented a more challenging business case when considered alongside other potential products in this Review period. Therefore, the LEGO Review Board has decided that this project does not meet the requirements for the business case.

czar has been a pleasure to work with throughout this process and has shown a lot of passion and enthusiasm for his idea and LEGO bricks. We also recognize the intense interest of all of you who supported this project, and we are sorry to deliver this disappointing news.

For further details on the results of the LEGO Review visit the LEGO CUUSOO blog at http://legocuusoo.posterous.com

Ah well.  It was something of a faint hope, given the size of the model and the relatively small audience EVE has compared to other properties LEGO could pursue… like that Minecraft set, which was in short supply over the holidays.

Still sold out in the LEGO online store!

Still sold out in the LEGO online store!

I suspected that Jester might have been right in his prediction on the whole thing, though the statement from CUUSOO reads more as a lack of economic viability than a statement that EVE Online is full of bad people.  The target audience age range, 6-11, was not mentioned as it was with the proposed Firefly themed set.

Still, we can dream.

Still Want

Still Want

Maybe some day.  Meanwhile, can we blame CSM7 for this too?

LEGO Lord of the Rings The Video Game Announced

Back in December, when LEGO announced that they would be doing Lord of the Rings based kits, my first thought was, “And a LEGO video game as well, right?”

LEGO Kits Coming Summer 2012

Well, now I have my wish.  Traveller’s Tales, LEGO, Warner, and a series of other companies involved in the whole thing have announced LEGO Lord of the Rings The Video Game!

A LEGO Fantasy!

There is also a video… ahead of which YouTube has placed a 30 second ad.  They know what people want I suppose.

Direct link to the video here.

Now all that is missing is a date.  I did not see one anywhere.  Maybe it will be something for the Christmas wish list.