I was one of those kids whose action figures always wound up in the same adventure. Some kids would never let He-Man encounter G.I. Joe or the TransFormers to clash with the Go-Bots. I, on the other hand, constructed a massive battle consisting of every toy I owned that took place over the span of about four years. In fact, it’s entirely possible that there are still some minor skirmishes taking place in secluded corners of my parents’ garage. But being the nerd that I am, it always bothered me that the figures weren’t in scale with one another. I had to come up with ridiculous excuses for why Lion-O and the Thundercats were so much bigger than Luke Skywalker, or why Duke couldn’t climb aboard Optimus Prime and ride him into battle as God so clearly intended.
I’m a weird kind of nerd. I love mixing things together. It’s why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so awesome to me, why I actually bought Archie Meets the Punisher when it came out, and why I have far-too-clear memories of that episode of Full House that guest-starred Urkel. I believe firmly that there’s a place for virtually everything in the realms of imagination, and that they can all coexist. And popular fiction bears it out — there’s no reason a horror-rooted character like Swamp Thing can’t encounter the high science fiction of Green Lantern or the fantasy world of Amethyst, and one of the things that makes Doctor Who such a long-lasting property is how quickly it can shift from a comedy to a thriller to a war movie, sometimes in the course of a single episode.
That’s why I like toy lines with a uniform scale that bring in characters from different worlds — Mini-Mates, Pop Vinyl, and ReAction figures among them. Looking at the shelves in my home right now I see versions of Superman, Harley Quinn, Mickey Mouse, the Incredibles, Yoda, the Avengers, Howard the Duck, Ender Wiggin, and Sam from Trick ‘R Treat, and they all match. In truth, it’s only due in small part to common sense and large part to my wife that I haven’t bought mountains of these things and filled every available space in the house.
And when it comes to toy lines that allow you to mix and match characters from all over the landscape in scale, nothing can beat LEGO.
Now let’s be clear — LEGO was already pretty awesome to begin with. But when they began licensing official Star Wars playsets in 1999, they launched themselves into the stratosphere. Their licensees grew over the years, and now it is entirely possible to have Harry Potter and Gandalf on the Millenium Falcon, Superman and Captain America teaming up with the Ninja Turtles to save the Simpsons from an attack of the Indominous Rex, and a fender-bender between Doc Brown’s DeLorean and the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1. Like the Pop Vinyls, I have to limit myself from buying more and more of these things every time I go to the store.
Oddly, as much as I’ve always loved toys, I’ve never been much of a video game guy. I’m at exactly the right age to be a veteran of the Nintendo Wars, but I haven’t had a console since the Sega Genesis my parents gave my brother, sister and me when I was in middle school. And while there have been games that cropped up from time to time that interested me (including several LEGO games) I’ve found that any time I get a game I play it for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then I drift away from it as other things command my attention.
The first game that’s actually tempted me to get a console in years is Disney Infinity. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, but just in case, here’s the appeal: Disney releases a game that requires you to buy different figurines. Each figurine allows you to unlock different levels and in-game items specific to that character. If I’d given in to the first wave, it would have been entirely possible to have Mike and Sully or Anna and Elsa meet up with Sorcerer Mickey or Phineas and Ferb. (Disney also made a major push for The Lone Ranger in this first wave, which no doubt they quickly grew to regret. But I digress.)
Despite the obvious appeal to a nerd like me, I held off. It got harder when Disney Infinity 2.0 came out and added the Marvel characters. It will get harder still when this fall’s Disney Infinity 3.0 throws Star Wars into the mix. If Disney Infinity 4.0 finally gives us the Muppets, I may just break.
That is, if LEGO Dimensions doesn’t break me first.
By now, I assume you’ve all seen the latest trailer. If not, allow me to share it with you:
Yep. LEGO is doing their own figure-based video game, which will allow us to merge the worlds of Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Simpsons and DC Comics. Other properties that have been announced but not seen in the trailer include Portal, The Wizard of Oz, Jurassic World, Scooby-Doo and Ghostbusters. As far as their big licenses go, the only ones missing are Marvel and Star Wars, and that’s pretty much because they’re already tied up in the too-similar Disney Infinity.
What’s more, the figures for this game will include actual LEGO Minifigs, as well as mini-builds for vehicles and locations, like the Delorean or the TARDIS. This game is combining pretty much everything I love.
And yet… still… $400 to buy a console for just one game?
Even if it’s really a lot of games?
I must resist. I must.
If I can handle this, I can beat anything.