Lego Dimensions: 1) cute, 2) duh?

At risk of starting a habit of posting dorky and nostalgic video clips, I want to leave a brief comment about this promotion for “Lego Dimensions.” (Thanks to The Outhouse for the pointer.)

This is a hoot, obviously. Doc Brown doesn’t seem exactly as I remember him, but 1) neither does 2015, 2) a whole lot of fun is had here, all the same.*

Watching for a second time today, though, I gave a bit more attention to the 20 seconds or so of super-quick-cuts near the end which promote “Lego Dimensions” more directly. For the video-allergic, this is basically a CGI visit to Mashup City, featuring Batman, Gandalf, Sauron, the Old West and, naturally, Dr. Brown, among others. And it occurred to me: isn’t this, at a basic level, much of the point of playing with Legos?

I think it was just the tagline at the end of the promo, “Break the Rules,” that took me by surprise. What rules are they talking about? When was this kind of wacky crossover not part of Lego play?

As I have posted elsewhere, I was here more than 25 years ago. But, in all humility, I can’t have been alone. Even if I was a bit ahead of the curve in manufacturing my own pseudo-licensed Ghostbuster, Ninja Turtle and Marvel figures, the fundamental concept of Legos as a “worlds collide” super-universe has to be decades old, at least. I’m guessing that within about five minutes of the first sale of the first “genre” Lego set, some kid was staging the first mashup, probably Lego knights besieging a medieval castle in helicopters or something along those lines.

By my late childhood, I know that at least pirates and spacemen had joined the castle and contemporary town offerings. (Plus, as noted in that other post, many Transformers were more or less to scale with Lego figures, and I cannot have been the only one to figure that out either.) The odds that any but the most frightfully repressed children were respecting some sort of boundaries or “rules” dividing one genre from another are, approximately, zero.

I’m going to presume that the good people at Lego are not actually ignorant of this, that “Lego Dimensions” is consciously more a celebration of the crossover play that has long been inherent in Legos than an attempt to claim its discovery. “Break the rules,” I expect, can just be chalked up to chirpy marketing copy that as always should not be taken internally.

If they get to toot about their own brilliance one way or another, however, thenā€¦ I guess I do as well.

Or maybe in both cases it’s just an excuse to join Christopher Lloyd for one more spin in the Delorean. Which is also entirely valid, I think.

* It makes me feel a bit bad that the most likely 2015 commemorative post from me, if any should issue, is going to be fairly negative and unpleasant. Fair warning.

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