Friday, August 17, 2012

Two Great Things That Go Great Together

It doesn't happen very often, but every now and then, Lego makes a product I'm not entirely excited about.

Take, for instance, the whole line of Ninjago sets.  I readily accept that they are popular.  They continue producing sets, adding new ninjas (or the same ninjas in new outfits) and have a successful cartoon based upon them currently on television.  When the minifigures were first released and it looked to be more of a card/role-playing game where you could construct your own ninja weaponry, I thought it had potential.  Fast forward several months to ninja jets, tanks and motorcycles and you've lost me.

Occasional flops aside, Lego does a pretty stellar job of choosing wisely which products make it to the toy store shelves.  Today, while checking out the Lego CUUSOO site for the first time in a while, I was reminded of just how savvy the world's greatest toy company is at selecting other franchises with which to affiliate itself.

Lego Star Wars might very well be the greatest sequence of three words every uttered.  The sets are phenomenal with all the overwhelming down-to-the-last-detail of the original Star Wars toys from the seventies and eighties (remember thinking "Was that character even in the movie?" when you saw the blister pack with the action figure on the rack and always finding out that, yes, he was in the movie?).  The video games have been some of the best produced I have ever seen, not to mention the closest things you can get to actually playing through the two trilogies.  They even make Episodes I-III relevant.

The Lego superhero lines have also been a success.  The DC versions are heavy on Batman, but I'm not complaining (stick with the date that brought you to the dance, I say).  The Marvel sets have some of the best minifigures in recent memory.  I'm waiting for the Lego Avengers video game to be developed.

Lego Lord of the Rings sets have already hit the stores and each trip I make to Target allows me to claim I'm letting my sons take a stroll through the toy aisle when really I just want another opportunity to linger in front of the Battle of Helm's Deep (#9474) set for a few moments and drool.  I secretly wonder if there is a handle on the Gimli minifig so that minifig Aragorn can throw him at the Uruk-hai.  Speaking of waiting for a video game, I've heard rumor this one is already in the works (fingers crossed).

And today I realized that the long awaited Lego Minecraft Micro-world set has already been released.  When I first heard about this, I thought it was a great idea, but my sons and I had not had the luxury of becoming completely and hopelessly addicted to Minecraft yet.  Now that we have traveled down that very shaft in what has resulted in a much more indoor summer than I originally planned, we are all just waiting for the set to become available again.  Wouldn't you know, it's sold out.

Overall, Lego has their stuff together when it comes to choosing their relationships.  They pick winners to collaborate with.  In fact I believe that Lego's official press release regarding such projects reads something like, "We are awesome and we know it.  Still we recognize that there are other awesome things out there and if you want to make sweet corporate love with us and see what our offspring look like, give us a call."

Of course, I'm sure that while every company with any kind of toy product out there is salivating over the chance to get in Lego's corporate pants (I know the anology is getting a little racy, but stay with me, I'm almost done), it must be pretty intimidating to think you might have a shot with the brick giant.  Which is why the rest of the statement reads, "But, again, we know just how awesome we are, so if you think you can hang, hot shot, you had better be sure that you are awesome.  And we don't just mean awesome, we mean really f***ing awesome."

Of course, I'm paraphrasing, but you get the picture.

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