Video games are perhaps one of the least praised and least respected medium of art and entertainment. Whilst they remain loved and enjoyed by niche fans and younger generations, they are never looked at in the same way as movies and television. Even within larger gaming communities not many kinds of games are popular aside from first-person shooter games like the Call of Duty franchise and sport games like the NBA 2K franchise. Additionally, video games and gaming is frequently looked down upon by those outside of gaming communities for various reasons, some being more true than others.
However, there is one franchise of video games that no one can look down upon; one that is enjoyed by people from all ages and backgrounds; one that has stood the test of time and has over 80 games in it. Being owned and created by perhaps one of the most well-known toy companies in the world, LEGO video games have been viral sensations ever since their conception.
The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Denmark. The company was passed down from father to son and is now owned by the grandchild of the founder. The name LEGO comes from an abbreviation of two Danish words “leg godt”, which means “play well”. LEGO has been designing and producing their LEGO sets for over 70 years. But in the 1990s, LEGO recognized the growing popularity of video games.
The first LEGO video game produced was “Fun to Build” in 1995 but was only released in Japan. The first widely available LEGO video game was “Lego Island” in 1997 where players were a citizen on LEGO Island as they defeated crime and raced cars. Though LEGO kept creating original games, their most lucrative and popular games were yet to be discovered until 2001.
In 2001, LEGO made their first video game based on licensed content: “LEGO Creator: Harry Potter”. This video game was based solely on the first Harry Potter movie and was quickly a customer favorite. LEGO hit their jackpot when releasing “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” in 2013 as the Marvel movies were rapidly gaining popularity. “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” remains the LEGO video game that sold the most copies despite now being released almost a decade ago.
In 2017, LEGO expanded what their video games could be with their first LEGO sandbox game: “LEGO Worlds”. LEGO also had their first video game made by a spin-off studio in 2019 with “LEGO Builder’s Journey”.
Now, LEGO’s current major project is their most ambitious video game yet: “LEGO The Skywalker Saga”. This final culmination of the LEGO Star Wars franchise is set to come out in April this year. With the first LEGO Star Wars game coming out in 2005, fans of the LEGO video games will feel a sense of nostalgia as this final space operatic game is released.
Other popular franchises within the LEGO video games include: Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings and Batman. Essentially, if you have a favorite movie franchise, there’s a LEGO game for it.
The fact that LEGO video games have remained so widely popular across all ages despite being in a highly competitive pocket of media says enough about them. While battle royale games, sport games and RPGs (role playing games) tend to dominate the field, LEGO has stood its ground. While game companies have sold out to specific gaming consoles or even created their games around their own console (Nintendo), LEGO has opted to simply keep pumping out fun games for all to play on any console.
New LEGO video games remain fairly high-priced but if you ever get the chance to own or even just spend a little time playing one I can guarantee you will have fun.