Tag Archives: Lego

MOBILE LOOK AHEAD: A Year of Gaming

Introduction

I started this month of reminiscing about my year of gaming with a mobile look back. (Note: I’m so far ahead of my schedule right now that I can’t link that phrase yet. I’m writing this on Thursday and Friday December 3rd and 4th.) In this article (and for the next three Wednesdays), I’m going to take a look forward in each genre of gaming. Honestly, though, I’m not sure how this mobile look ahead will go.

My phone isn’t quite this bad, but give it time

Seeing as how I’ve finally paid (yet another) price for my Hearthstone tantrums with a broken phone, I haven’t played a single mobile game in at least two months. I think I mentioned in the previous article that I also just ordered a new laptop and I’m eyeing a PS4 bundle for after Christmas. I don’t think a new phone is in my future any time soon. We will see if I end up getting a check for my stipend work. In any case, let’s start this mobile look ahead with the possibilities I’m considering if I can ever afford one.

New Phone Possibilities

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Funny story about my current phone. While it is true that several pieces of electronics have ended because I didn’t properly take care of them (including my current S10), my previous phone was not one of them. I was at a friends house and I left my S8 in my car because I was visiting with a friend.

Well, it was summer and the phone got very hot. As I drove home, I took the phone out of the case and held it out of the window so that the breeze would help cool it. As I was doing so, the phone fell out of my hand and skittered along the ground. I drove back to look for it with no success. I immediately ordered an S10 to replace it. Because, we all need phones these days, right? Right?!

Perhaps before Covid, you could make that argument. Now, maybe not so much. Long story short, I got an email from someone who found my S8 lying on the side of the road. I went to get it from the local police department. Here’s the ridiculous part. Other than some cracking on the back, the phone was fine and worked perfect. So, I could downgrade for a few months. If only I could find the dang gone phone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 – I could just buy another version of the phone I already have. Not very exciting, but money efficient at least. Plus, I really like the phone and have been playing Hearthstone exclusively on my PC, so no danger of it being thrown into my bedpost this time.

Google Pixel 4a – When I was looking at phones before I got a crazy deal on a new laptop, this one was on the list. We’ve already all sold our souls to Google for convenient search results, so why not give them back the cash that they didn’t pay me for that soul. It is about a third of what the Samsung phones cost and seems to have the same game functionality. This will probably be the phone I get when I finally relent.

BlueStacks – This is the most likely interim solution. Aiden discovered this little trick a couple of months ago when his phone started doing funny things due to cracked screen. I used it a bit a few years ago. I’m sure there have been improvements since then.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Might Play

Plants vs Zombies 3 – I mentioned the first one in the previous article. I also said that I never played the second one or any of the console versions. I just got bored with the same set up each time basically beating every single level. According to the preview I found, the 3rd game is supposed to offer more “complex strategy and game play”. Okay.

Batman: Arkham Underworld: When I first saw that it was a Batman Arkham game, I put it in the definitely play category. Then I saw it was basically a mafia game with a Batman wrapping. So, I might give it a chance. But, it’s not likely to last very long.

League of Legends: Wild Rift – I have a short and checkered history with League of Legends. I tried playing the game for 5 matches. In one of them I got a player on a smurf account who was willing to work with us noobs and help us win the match. The other four were the entire team fighting among themselves while the other team steamrolled us. It was a similar experience in Blizzards Heroes of the Storm. At least in that game, you can queue bots.

I do like Teamfight Tactics and will probably download it on my new laptop. So, I’m not sure if I will play this game very much. I’m sure to try it and see if simplifying the game for mobile makes it more user (and specific to me, noob) friendly. If so, it might make it into the rotation.

Marvel Super War – If I’m going to play a mobile MOBA (that’s silly to say), then it will be this one. The likelihood of that even happening is quite low actually. Granted, I’ve never played a MOBA on mobile, but I don’t understand how the mechanics are supposed to work. Besides, there are just too many other games out there that I definitely want to play.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Probably Play

Pokemon Unite: Another MOBA game? I know I said I would most likely play the Marvel MOBA just mentioned. This one is Pokemon, though. I feel like they will provide more variety in their play styles than the Marvel Heroes. At least, that’s what I’ve found in Pokemon games vs. games based on Marvel. They’re both fun, but Pokemon are more interesting in my opinion.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! – I have to be honest. I’m surprised it took so long for this game to happen. The old third person “behind” levels are identical to many of these run style games. I do enjoy these types of games as quick diversion. So, if this one is any good at all, I will probably end up playing it.

Warhammer Odyssey and Total War Battles: I already own a few Warhammer games through my Steam account that I’ve only played a little bit. I like the idea of Warhammer and would love to play the miniature game. I don’t have the time or money for that, so the next logical step is playing the video games. Maybe some day.

Fallout Shelter Online – Well, I guess I got an answer to why support for Fallout Shelter fell off at the end there. They’re developing an online version of the game. I enjoyed the gameplay of the original. If they make the online capabilities decent and support it for longer than a year, it will be worth it to try.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Definitely Play

Lego Star Wars Battles: Tower defense game set in Lego Star Wars. I’m not sure about it being a tower defense games. I mean, they can be fun on mobile. But, Lego Star Wars is a fun setting, so I will definitely find time to play this game and convince myself that I enjoy it.

Diablo Immortal – As they do, fans crapped all over this game as soon as it was announced. What was the whole issue that people had? I remember that there was an issue. Started playing Diablo 3 on the XBox One again this year. I will be sure to play the hell (no pun intended) out of this one, I’m sure.

Minecraft Earth – This one has been in Beta for at least a year and probably longer. Some of my students last year were playing it during free time in class. I think Aiden might have downloaded it, too. I loved (and rediscovered that love this summer) Pokemon Go as an augmented reality game. This one offers so much more variety than Pokemon. I will lose months of my life to this game.

The Verdict

The games announced so far for mobile next year look great. There are a ton of games that I will at least try. Whether I buy a new phone or simply use an emulator, I will be busy with these games plus catching up on what I’ve missed over the last month in my already established games. Minecraft Earth will definitely push me to get a phone, though. Also, think of all the Pokecoins I’ve missed.

Building Heroes

Introduction

Several years ago, Lego ran three or four Kids Fest events across the country.A� We visited the local one in Connecticut three years in a row.A� Then, they moved that one to Ohio for a year.A� It must not have done well there because they brought it back.A� We missed that revival, but no big deal.A� We figured that we could just catch it the next year.

Surely, by now, you must know us well enough that when a paragraph ends like that the next one is most likely going to begin with the tragic story of how we did not get to go the next year.A� And, so it was.A� After that event, Lego killed the Kids Fest.A� We have our suspicions that they stopped sponsoring the event because they put one of their Discovery Centers in Boston.

Besides, if the Sox have taught us anything, it’s that “next year” often doesn’t come for a long time.

I can’t confirm that it’s true that the Discovery Center is the reason for no more Kids Fest.A� However, Aide, Quinn, and I ended up visiting the Discovery Center one day during the spring and it doesn’t compare at all to the Kids Fest.A� Don’t get me wrong.A� They had a blast and there was plenty of Lego fun to be had.A� However, we often spent the entire day at Kids Fest.A� We covered the Discovery Center in less than three hours.A� We could have stretched it, but not by much.A� A�Second, we went to several times to the Kids Fest.A� I don’t foresee us ever going back to the Discovery Center.A� Of course, we might.A� I just don’t see a reason.A� Perhaps over the winter when we are all in full “Shining” mode.

No Legos makes 2 Generations Gaming something something….

The reason that I even mention all of this is that Kids Fest introduced us to a wide variety of new products and may have gotten the boys started on their interest in the toy.A� Yay, Capitalism!A� We learned about Ninjago during that first Kids Fest.A� Aiden and Quinn both still love the show and sets to this day.A� We went to the movie in the theater on opening weekend for family movie night.A� However, more relevant to this article is that is also when we discovered Heroica.

The Good

Lego sold the game as a family event with the strategy of a board game and the creativity of Lego.A� You probably think that this is where I counter argue against the claim.A� First, you will probably never hear me disparage Lego.A� Second, this is the “good” section and those are both very goo things about the game.

At the heart of Heroica is a board game.A� You roll dice and move pawns.A� Aside from that, there are RPG elements to the game.A� You collect weapons and armor.A� Enemies guard treasure chests full of gold and potions.A� Ultimately, the winner is the one who defeats the “boss” of the level.

Just do whatever you are supposed to do 3 times in a row, right? Easy Peezy.

While those added elements alone give Heroica a leg up on traditional board games, I haven’t even touched on the Lego aspect of the game.A� We have three or four of the sets.A� They come with instructions to build them and all of the pieces just like all Lego sets.A� Also, like Lego sets, you can choose to build them differently or set them up in a different order.A� Quinn, most recently, took the opportunity to show off his creativity by building his own levels for his own game.A� Usually, though, we set the game up as indicated by the instructions.A� Still, it is nice to know that the option exists.

The Bad

It appears as if we were only of only a few families that thought the game looked intriguing enough to buy because it was discontinued shortly after release.A� I remember looking for new sets and finding that there were new sets and the old sets were only available on eBay.A� If there’s one thing I know about Lego, it is that they will not pass up an opportunity to make money.A� So, unless there is a secret underground of Lego builders that has been developing new Heroica levels, the game is most likely dead.A� Come to think of it, after I finish this article, I might take a look to see if that exists.

It’s a shame that the game got killed so early.A� Because, it really is a fun game.A� We haven’t played it for a few years, but after buying it, we were playing one every other week.A� I already mentioned in the previous paragraph that we liked it so much that we wanted more only to make that terrible discovery that it had been killed.A�A�(Note:A� I couldn’t even make it to the end of the article.A� Homebrew Heroica may exist!)

That development makes the sting less severe.A� Knowing that there might still be life in the old game inspires me to dig out the other levels and see what pieces are still intact.A� As I mentioned, Quinn was playing with them a few weeks ago, so who knows the condition of any of the games.A� But, you may hear/see Heroica being played in the 2GG household soon enough.A� From every bad, there is a good.

The Ugly

I mentioned that before we play, I will have to make sure that all of the pieces are there.A� I have ordered replacements before and they were less than what people are charging on eBay for the sets, so it isn’t that big of a deal.A� That brings me to a thought.A� Perhaps people didn’t buy the games because they realized that they could build each set with Legos that they had lying around the house and didn’t need to spend the extra cash on the game itself.

Woah! I think I might have stumbled on something here. This thing is big. It goes straight to the top! Lego killed Heroica by making their toys flexible enough to create Heroica without needing Heroica. I have to get to the bottom of this!

That may be why the game fell out of favor with us.A� We were going to Lego Kids Fest when the big boys were much younger and they didn’t exactly treat the games with the utmost of respect.A� Being around Quinn’s age, they lost pieces and as parents, we lost our patience more than once at opening the box and not having the proper pieces for the game.A� It’s the ages old story told in the Lego movie where parents easily lose sight of the forest for the trees when it comes to everybody’s favorite building toy.A� Still, the game isn’t as much fun when there aren’t enough potions to collect or ogres to defeat.A� It’s just built into the enjoyment of the game, in my opinion.

Having lost all of those pieces in such a short time, replaced them, and then lost them again was frustrating.A� We put the games up in the game closet, forgot about them, and I honestly haven’t thought about it until this weekend when I was digging through the closet looking for games to bring to our weekend away and saw them in there.A� At first, I though, “I should bring Heroica.”A� Then, I remembered the possible missing pieces and left them behind.

The Verdict

Heroica was a fun game.A� We got many hours of playtime from the game even as pieces went missing due to kids having too much fun!A� It has been a few years since we’ve played as a family.A� However, I got inspired to play it again when I saw it in the closet.A� That led me to write the article, discover that there are possible homebrew sets for the game, and this all means that what I said earlier was true.A� Keep an eye and an ear out for more Heroica coming soon!

 

Star Wars Potpourri

I have a couple of articles that ended with “to be continued”. A�While I, myself, hate the traditional cliffhanger, in this case it was unavoidable. A�”Okay, Buddy, that’s the argument that every hack writer makes.” A�You’re probably thinking at this point. A�”I really hate this hacky writing device, but I had no choice.” A�First, I won’t argue that I’m a hack. A�Second, you must understand. A�It is the end of the semester and things are insane right now. A�I am actually impressed that I’ve more or less kept up with my schedule as I can’t do that even during the best of weeks. A�So, while it was avoidable, I did not exert the extra effort to avoid it. A�Therefore, without further ado, I present the thrilling conclusion to 2 Generations Gaming Star Wars week.

Lego The Force Awakens

I have no update on this game because I haven’t been able to play it. A�Both our Wii U is not fond of the television in the playroom (it is an old tube TV, so doesn’t play well with the new fangled HD gaming systems) and the disc is behaving funny. A�I did watch some gameplay videos on YouTube to be able to discuss it shortly on the podcast, but I can’t report on my own experience right now.

I know, Chewy. Believe me, I’m disappointed, too.

Star Wars Battlefront

I’ve only loaded this one up once or twice since the original article, but I’m here to report that I still enjoy the game very much. A�I’ve gotten over my initial skepticism about the tutorial level that was only an FPS and the seemingly overly long X-Wing level to settle on a mostly positive impression of the game.

I played through some of the speeder level and it is even cooler than the Lego level. A�You don’t have the secrets (at least I didn’t find any secrets during my run) that you do in the Lego level, but the graphics are top notch and it really feels like you are in the movie. A�I want to play some more to try to finish the level as I was terrible at controlling the speeder and kept running into trees. A�So, I suppose, it was more or less canon.

The game does not mince words when you are bad.

I also did a bit of the escort mission to take the AT-AT to take over the rebel base in order to wait for Darth Vader. A�So, I guess I played those levels out of order. A�Oops. A�Well, really, who among us wouldn’t have done the same. A�You get to play as Vader or you get to escort an AT-AT? A�Really, that’s a no brainer. A�Regardless, I didn’t get very far in this level because the computer couldn’t handle the graphics. A� Wait, let me see if I can tune down the settings. A�Why didn’t I think of that earlier? A�And, nope, at the lowest level and only pulling 10 FPS. A�Well, this computer was never meant for gaming. A�Just a happy accident that some games are not as graphic intensive. A�Well, maybe if I get a full time job, I can pick up yet another gaming PC for myself. A�In the meantime, I’ll stick to what works on this computer.

X-Wing Miniatures

Of the games that I promised an update, I have played this one the most. A�First, I played against Liam to prepare for the podcast. A�Then, Chris and I played a game last Friday during our latest abbreviated nerd night. A�Even so, I might yet have to do another quick update on the game in the near future. A�You see, both games were played without the advanced rules because both times I was introducing the game to them. A�We may have been able to use the advanced rules in the game against Chris, but more on that in a minute.

When playing against Liam, the first thing he asked was how long a game might take. A�I found this a bit odd, as it’s not like he would have a hot date that night. A�He clarified by saying, “It’s just some games take a long time to play like Monopoly.” A�This time, I found his choice of simile odd. A�We almost never play Monopoly in this house. A�Perhaps he was trying to Muhammad Ali me with a bit of rope a dope.

Actual footage of my brain as Liam played his mind games on me.

If that was in intention, it worked. A�He beat me pretty handily. A�Maybe I just stink at the game and I’m making excuses. A�Granted, there is precedent for me being terrible at games. A�However, and this is the important part, I’m not one to make excuses. A�If i stink, I will fully admit that I stink. A�Besides, I beat Chris the next day, so if I stink, he’s even worse.

Speaking of Chris, I mentioned earlier that we probably could have played with the advanced rules. A�That’s because during our game, I found myself referring to the rulebook often to look up what a particular symbol meant. A�More often than not, my response was, “Oh, that makes sense” or “Yeah, I can see how that fits into the flow of the game.” A�So, while the basic game is fun, I think we’re ready to move on to the next level.

 

Bricks in Space!

(Editor’s Note: A�You got your Lego in my Star Wars! A�You got your Star Wars in my Lego! A�Two great tastes that taste great together? A�Actually, Lego taste gross, so, no.)

We are huge fans of both Star Wars and Lego here at 2 Generations Gaming. A�it stands to reason that we would be fans of the Lego Star Wars games. A�in fact, we are not. A�We find the games lacking in depth of story and character development. A�They are derivative and insulting to the source material. A�I would go as far as to say–I’m kidding. A�We love all of the Lego games. A�Since our topic on the podcast this week is Star wars, I will focus on them in this article. A�I promise that won’t be a problem. A�While I have played almost all of the Lego video games, I haven’t played any of them as extensively as the Star Wars ones.

In fact, the first game that I bought for the XBox 360 was the complete saga. A�That was even after having beaten the original trilogy on PS2. A�That was even in the face of a new, and in some ways, more interesting Lego game. A�Having purchased the “family” version of the XBox 360, it came with Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones. A�Don’t get your knickers in a bunch. A�I’m not saying that I prefer either the Indiana Jones movies or games to Star Wars. A�However, I had already beaten the Star Wars games, so I should have wanted to play Indy to try to beat the game and increase my nerd cred.

I don’t need to prove myself to you or anyone.

However, nerd cred be damned! A�I game what I want! A�Also, I’m pretty sure that they boys really preferred Star Wars at the time. A�So, in the name of one of our founding principles, I played games with my kids. A�I think that I mentioned in past articles what a nightmare that was. A�Those first Lego games required both players to share the same space. A�You were not able to break free and explore on your own as you now can. A�Therefore, half of the game was spent trying to convince your young child that he was the one hindering your progress through the level. A�The rest of the time was figuring out how to manipulate both controllers to solve the puzzles that required cooperation and, often fine motor or logic skills not usually possessed by the average preschool aged child.

Granted, preschool kids have their own versions of Lego in Duplo and now Juniors, but what lame kid wants to play with Duplo? A�All the cool kids play with Lego and Duplo are just there to suck up even more money from well meaning parents and grandparents. A�Kids certainly aren’t going to play a Duplo themed video game. A�Can you imagine how lame it would be? A�The mind boggles.

Forget what the Lego movie says. These things will probably just fall apart for no good reason and end up shoved in the far corner of the playroom closet.

So, much of my exploration (such as it was in those days) and enjoyment of the first round of Lego Star Wars games happened alone when the kids were in bed. A�Imagine that. A�I went from Fatal Frame, Skyrim, Resident Evil, Fallout 3, and Dead Rising to trying to find that last mini kit piece in level 2 of The Empire Strikes Back. A�Having children changes you, Man.

However, I can’t blame my kids for the fact that this game led me to many years of purchasing and playing Lego video games. A�sure, I can say that I’m buying the games for the boys, but we all know the truth. A�Don’t get me wrong. A�I love sharing these things with others, especially my flesh and blood, but just like Power Rangers, Star Wars, and Marvel movies, I’m ultimately doing this for me and I have the boys for company because Christine wants nothing to do with any of it.

Some parents dress their kids in designer clothes. I got mine involved in nerdy hobbies. Both acts are equally likely to get them beat up.

My kids, though, they’ve gotten my appreciation for the finer things in nerd life. A�I didn’t even have to buy Lego The Force Awakens because Liam asked for it for Christmas. A�Honestly, I wasn’t even going to get the game. A�Or, maybe, I’d have just ordered it from Gamefly to try it out, because I was going to wait for all 3 of the movies to be released and then the combination game would come out at half of the price of the single versions. A�I haven’t played it yet, but Liam and Aiden have and they seem to have had fun with it. A�Maybe I will play it over the next few days and add an addendum to the article with any new opinion on the game itself or the additions to the game.

Because, of all the game series I’ve ever played, Lego games are the ones that improve with every new game that is released. A�They included the ability to free roam away from the other character. A�They allow you to purchase characters by bumping into them in the world instead of having to go to the screen to do so. A�Some of the improvements are significant. A�Some are simply cosmetic or quality of life improvements. A�However, all are improvements. A�So, I’ll have to see how The Force Awakens has changed the series.

To be continued…

Sorry, I usually hate those, too, but it’ll get you to tune in next time!

65 Million Lego Bricks in the Making

(Editor’s Note: A�Rawr.)

We get back into the podcast game with the first episode of Little Kid Podcast, starring my youngest son. A�He wanted to talk about dinosaurs in the first episode, so this week’s theme overall will be dinosaurs. A�I will start the discussion with one of our favorite games over the past few months.

We’ve always been fans of the Lego games. A�So, naturally, after watching Jurassic World (more on that Friday), we had to try the game. A�I ordered it from Gamefly, as I do when we want to try before buying them. A�Hey, we’re cheap gamers!

It took me a while to finally get around to play the game. A�Aiden, Quinn, and LIam hogged it for the first month or so. A�More accurately, Quinn and Aiden played the game daily with Liam jumping in every now and then to help out. A�I didn’t start playing until they needed help on a particularly difficult mission. A�Once I played the game, I was hooked.

How can you not love a game that lets you stomp through the credits and collect coins as a dinosaur?
How can you not love a game that lets you stomp through the credits and collect coins as a dinosaur?

This should not come as a surprise. A�I have been playing Lego video games since I discovered Lego Star Wars on the Playstation 2 many years ago. A�However, the early games left much to be desired in the gameplay department. A�First, and they quickly fixed this, the original games had only one save slot. A�That became quickly apparent when the boys went to play the game and erased my almost 100% complete game file. A�I finally did finish the game 100%, but that’s still a pain in the neck.

As an aside, Pokemon games still only have one slot for save games. A�Numerous times I’v wanted to start a game only to realize that I will have to delete Liam’s or Aiden’s hard earned progress. A�Otherwise, I have to buy a new version of the game. A�And that’s really what they hope will happen.

Must catch them all. The Pikachus command it. Must put them all in a basket and apply lotion. The Pikachus command it.
Must catch them all. The Pikachus command it. Must put them all in a basket and apply lotion. The Pikachus command it.

Thank goodness that the Lego games learned from that mistake and fixed it. A�I will say that they are one of the best developers when it comes to fixing their games. A�The only other one I know of that tinkers as much publicly is Blizzard and their “balance” patches are sketchy at best for some of their games. A�Take Two doesn’t have that problem. A�Every change is necessary, in my opinion, and addresses a valid complaint.

First, these games are meant to be played cooperatively with your kids. A�I’ve already mentioned that they asked me and Liam to help them with difficult parts. A�Sure, you can plant them in front of the electronic babysitter and call it a day, but they will get to parts in the games that are difficult and frustrating for them. A�Hell, some of them are downright impossible because they were tough for me. A� When playing with a young child, the main frustration in the game comes from only being allowed to travel as far as the other player will allow you. A�When that player is constantly running into the “wall” at the other edge of the screen, you lose interest very quickly.

An artist's rendering of the offense, which used to be punishable by unplugging the controller.
An artist’s rendering of the offense, which used to be punishable by unplugging the controller. A�Then again, most offenses were punishable by unplugging the controller. A�The more serious offenses, of course, warranted a full reset of the console.

In order to prevent a plague of unplugged controllers and reset consoles, Lego fixed this issue by splitting the screen when one player gets to far away from the other. A�This broke the tether completely and allowed both players to explore the entire map independent of what wall your partner decides is his best friend. A�Makes the games infinitely more enjoyable and they were already illegal levels of fun.

The final quality of life improvement in the games is that they’ve made the main stage of the game more interactive. A�It used to be that they were mostly just for moving from level to level, occasionally hitting things for coins, or creating your character. A�But, they’ve added secret places, characters wander through the area and allow you to purchase them to play in the game, and even have their own missions to complete.

Overall, the Lego games have come a long way in the time that I’ve been playing them. A�Instead of resting on their laurels and pumping out game after game with the exact same graphics, story, and gameplay, Take Two continues to improve the game with each new release. A�The graphics get better, the controls get slightly more responsive, and the gameplay gets better by leaps and bounds. A�If you are someone who swore off the Lego games due to the limitations of the original releases, come back and play them again. A�You won’t be disappointed. A�And, if you are, go back to play some more Call of Duty: A�Good Luck with the VA department when you retire or whatever the latest version of that run down series is called.

Couldn't resist taking a shot.  Yep, we're back!
Couldn’t resist taking a shot. Yep, we’re back!

Literally (Figuratively) Go Into the Games!

(Editor’s Note: A�Christine and I are admittedly ignorant when it comes to these types of games. A�She asked the boys if they were playing Spyro, her quite dated reference since her only experience with that particular game is the original PS1 game, when she saw the game. A�I’m slightly more with it, but only barely. A�Keep all of that in mind as you read the article since ignorance has never stopped me from commenting on something.)

The boys were introduced to this new genre of games by friends. A�I believe it all started with Skylanders, but I’m not positive. A�That series is the first that I ever remember hearing about and certainly the most popular. A�However, never ones to be left out, Disney and now Lego have jumped into the huge pile of cash waiting to be made from this. A�I don’t even know what to call the games. A�Officially they are part role-playing, part action adventure, part weird immersive technology that let’s you play with your action figures in the game.

I have to admit that, in addition to being ignorant, I was also skeptical about these games. A�The past of video games, and our own home, is littered with the remains of previous attempts at changing the dynamics of video games. A�Sure, they’ve made them more varied, added pressure sensitive controls, and offered other advancements. A�At the end of the day, though, almost all controllers are simply a fancier version of the old arcade joystick. A�Only Nintendo, generally willing to think outside the proverbial box at the risk of alienating a large portion of the audience, has been able to successfully push the limits of what causes Mario to run across the screen and jump on enemies. A�Anyone else have a busted or working Kinect just sitting around collecting dust?

Not everything that Nintendo touches is gold. I have two of these things sitting dead in the basement right now. Because, I was going to get in shape, Man. Same stupid Kinect promise.
Not everything that Nintendo touches is gold. I have two of these things sitting dead in the basement right now. Because, I was going to get in shape, Man. Same stupid Kinect promise.

Nevertheless, the boys seemed excited about the games. A�Therefore, when I saw one of the starter sets at Wal*Mart on clearance, I bought it. A�Nothing ventured, nothing gained. A�In terms of another cliche, nothing really to lose, either. A�I thought the game was only a battle arena game and that they’d tire soon of playing it and that it would join the Kinect and Balance board in the purgatory for expired and forgotten electronics.

Unlike the Kinect, I’m glad that I made the purchase. A�As soon as the boys loaded up the game, they started up an adventure mode game with a decent story and pretty good voice acting. A�I was surprised when I heard Patrick Warburton of Seinfeld and The Tick fame. A�Watching them has me interested and I want to play. A�Liam even suggested that we do a play through to try to get more content for our Youtube page. A�Be on the lookout for that, hopefully soon.

Imagine this guy shouting "Spoon!" or "Devils! Devils!" and you have the amount of joy that I got from hearing his voice for the first time.
Imagine this guy shouting “Spoon!” or “Devils! Devils!” and you have the amount of joy that I got from hearing his voice for the first time.

Shortly after getting the game, they traded with their friends to get more figures. A�Because, of course, the game requires different “types” to unlock certain levels. A�I’m sure that they hope that ignorant parents will simply buy the characters to keep their little angels quiet, but we got lucky and the boys were able to borrow the figures needed.

More recently, they pooled their allowance money to buy a 3-figure set, which I suppose is an extension of the clueless parent phenomenon. A�However, since they earned the money, they made more of an effort to get a better deal. A�The figures were already discounted because they were at Marshalls. A�Still, the boys chose the 3 pack for 9.99 and took an extra figure that they didn’t want instead of buying the two figures they wanted at 4.99 each since both characters were in the 3 pack. A�It made me proud as a dad and a cheap gamer.

So, Skylanders turned out to be a good purchase. A�My cousin and his family have tried the Disney version, but I haven’t asked him if he likes it. A�I can’t see that it would be as fun or engaging to our boys as Skylanders. A�They like Disney, but given the choice, I’m almost positive that they’d want Lego dimensions instead.

Elsa - fun to sing along, but I'd rather tour Lego Gotham in my Lego batmobile, amirite?
Elsa – fun to sing along, but I’d rather tour Lego Gotham in my Lego Batmobile, amirite?

A commercial for the Lego version appeared in my Facebook feed several months ago. A�Everyone laughed at the Batarang joke at the end. A�If you don’t know that one, either watch the video or you can listen to my impressions of it in one of the “What have you been gaming” segments of the 2 Guys Gaming podcast. A�After watching the trailer a couple of times, we more or less forgot about the game until I recently saw that they have a “Back to the Future” set with a hoverboard. A�I mentioned the game to Christine and she responded with, “They’d probably like that.” A�In a monumental show of restraint, I haven’t yet gone out to buy it, but I keep looking at it and hoping for a price drop.

So, Skylanders hooked them and they’ve figured out a way to save money even as they build a collection. A�I don’t think Disney has enough to make it worth the investment. A�Lego, however, are always a big hit in the house. A�Lego games, too. A�If I can find a good deal on the starter kit for that one, I will probably pick it up in the hopes that it represents the best of both worlds.

Pretty funny that I still do this, since nobody ever responds. A�But, there’s always a first time, so here goes. A�Have you tried Disney Infinity? A�Lego Dimensions? A�Are either of the games as much fun as Skylanders? A�Either email, Tweet us, or leave your comments below.

Episode 5 – Marvelous!

On the Tabletop – We’re taking a break on the tabletop from Magic for a month to talk about our first impressions of Heroclix.  More on the game in a couple of months!

The Digital Playground – We might only be kids at heart, but we shower the Lego video games with plenty of love!

Stay after the credits and closing theme to listen to two old guys complain about how terrible comics are these days.  Get off our lawn!

2 Guys Gaming
2 Guys Gaming
Episode 5 - Marvelous!







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We Are Builders of (Lego) Worlds

(Editor’s Note: A�This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but it was VSL night and I crashed after that. A�Sorry.)

We recorded Episode 5 of the podcast this past weekend. A�I’m in the process of editing it and it should be live by next weekend. A�Hopefully, because it is a busy one with a Cub Scouts camping trip followed by a drive to Providence for the Star City Games event. A�Look for my article about that next week.

We discussed Heroclix and Lego Games in this episode. A�I already covered several of my favorite super hero themed games last week, so what better way to follow that and the podcast than with more Marvel Madness. A�Both the Lego games and Heroclix have DC counterparts, but I am an unapologetic Marvel zombie. A�Also, that alliteration at the end of the last sentence was so worth it, amirite?

I never used to be interested in the Lego video games. A�I shared the sentiment of a friend who said, “why play Lego games when you can just play Legos? ” (sic. A�I have since learned that there is no plural to Lego.) I owned Lego Indiana Jones as one of the XBox promotional combos and didn’t play it for the longest time. A�It wasn’t until they released the Lego Star Wars game that I gave them a chance. A�Almost immediately, I realized my earlier mistake of equating the games to actual Lego. A�I would say that Minecraft is more comparable, but even that isn’t the exact same thing. A�All three fit a niche nicely and can peacefully coexist.

The initial games were fun enough to keep me playing. A�Eventually, the boys caught wind of the game. A�It started with them joining me to play. A�I found this very frustrating because you were limited in how much you could move by the other person playing the game. A�When playing with young children, this often meant not being able to advance in the level because they didn’t understand this limitation. A�Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tried to explain to them, nothing changed. A�I’m not proud of this, but these gaming sessions often ended with me dropping out in frustration and coming back after they went to bed. A�How funny is that visual? A�Instead of playing Dead Rising or GTA as I had been, I got relegated to playing Lego Star Wars while they slept so that they didn’t mess up my progress. A�Alas, karmic retribution will find a way.

The boys figured out how to work the XBox 360 by themselves. A�As a consequence, they loaded up their new favorite game, Lego Star Wars, and promptly deleted my saved game. A�There was only one save game slot in the game. A�Luckily, the designers tackled that and now games have multiple files for saves. A�I was almost 70% completed, too. A�All things considered, I think that I handled the situation well. A�I did what any well-adjusted adult would have done, I complained about it on Facebook and disowned them. A�I wish them well, as always, with their new families.

Jokes aside, I got over the transgression and have visual proof that I beat the game 100%. A�It is one of only two games that I do so without help, so I’m proud of the achievement. A�(For the record, Jak and Daxter, not Ratchet and Clank, is the other.) A�Adding more slots for saved games is a component of one of the major selling points of the Lego series. A�Take Two could easily simply churn out decent game after decent game, slap the Lego brand on them, and people would buy them. A�They don’t.

Not only did they add the save games, but they make other quality of live improvements, too. A�Remember when I mentioned that playing with young children was frustrating because of movement limitations? A�No more. A�It started with a smart split screen that offered more range of motion, became a gameplay mechanic by adding a new puzzle type, and now offers both players complete freedom to move via complete split screen. A�On the topic of puzzles, the puzzles have been improved and made more challenging. A�Granted, the games are still mostly geared to kids, but there was at least one part in Marvel Super Heroes that had us all stumped for several days and maybe even as long as a week. A�The puzzles are varied, too, and often able to be solved in more than one way depending on the characters available. A�This is important because each successive generation of the game offers more and more characters. A�In addition (and this is one of the favorite things forA�Liam and Aiden to do) you can create your own characters. A�They made their own super hero team and created an entire story while playing through the open world map in Marvel Super Heroes.

I can admit when I’m wrong. A�It happens often enough that I’m used to it. A�I never thought that I’d willingly play a Lego video game. A�It seemed like a silly idea given that Legos (I know, not a word) are a thing and we have so many of them in the house. A�While we still enjoy playing Legos (there’s that non word again!) and other family toys (Lincoln Logs, Thomas the Tank Engine, board games, etc), the Lego games have become an integral part of at least our father-son game playing time. A�Christine even noticed the recent announcement of Lego Dimensions, so it is spreading to the whole family.

The Lego games are not only fun to play. A�They are also constantly improved in nearly every way imaginable. A�Like actual Lego, they can inspire creativity in players beyond the main game. A�They are kid friendly, sometimes challenging to adults, and encourage families to play together as a result. A�Even if you don’t have kids, there is plenty to enjoy about the games. A�I compared them to Grand Theft Auto in the podcast and there are many similarities, right down to the senseless violence of little Lego men exploding. A�There is no blood, drinking, drugs, or other elicit activity. A�If that’s your thing, then stick to GTA. A�Otherwise, pick up your favorite Lego franchise, convince someone to join you, and have an absolute blast. A�You won’t regret it.