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LEGO under the influence?

Are all 2016 LEGO sets influenced by video-game’s, well, are they? Let us inspect the evidence we’ve gathered at this year’s Nuremberg Toy Fair. There was a time when the go-to game in the home was Lego, a time almost all children went through the rite of passage with the small plastic bricks. Now however this hallowed ground is shared between toys and video-games. The modern Danish brick not only has to punch its weight against other toys on the living room carpet but also versus video-gaming and tablets. On  offer in Nuremberg it appeared to be more the case than ever, even Lego sets not specifically tied to a video-game, seemed to include some game-y play mechanics.

Mixels is the first set I looked at, and not only includes the collectability of gaming but also brings with it a related Cartoon and app “Calling all Mixels”. This year we have Series 9, 8 and 7 being added to the existing characters which will filter down to both the TV show and the game.

Angry Birds is another big gaming franchise making an appearance on the Lego stand. Although this is via the upcoming movie there is still plenty of video-game love on show here too. Not only to the packs revolve around the different projectile flipping antics of the pigs and birds but they also relate back to specific characters in the games themselves.

Lego Nexo Knights is another interesting video-game cross over with the physical sets offering scan-able items that grant new abilities and powers to the in-game characters. This is also a nice way up updating the Lego Castle line without muddying the water for fans of the classic sets.

Of course there were more traditional sets on show as well. The Lego City Airport additions and the Volcano Explorers don’t have direct gaming tie-ins and lean more heavily on classic Lego play schemes.

Finally, there were more Lego Elves this year. To my eye this takes a leaf straight out of the gaming play-book. Not only are there different elemental keys to collect, but the fiction requires you to do this to open the magic portal. This year the Elves are joined by rideable dragons. Certainly these will appeal to a Minecraft generation.

Overall the Lego sets on display were impressive and it was clear to see that video-game mechanics had been considered in each. Sensibly these have been applied in different ways as appropriate to the audience. This ranges from Nexo Knights almost Skylanders-like approach to the light touch of Lego Elves. Of course there are other still to be seen in more detail like Minecraft…..all eyes now on New York.


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