Sunday, January 19, 2014

There is a force stronger than LEGO.

Based on my kids' behavior since the holiday break, I would have to say that there is one force in the world stronger than LEGO.

It's Minecraft.

For those of you unfamiliar with Minecraft, it's a 3D adventure game with whimsical low-res graphics with an emphasis on building structures, crafting objects from mined materials, and basic agriculture. While the graphics look like they came from 1995, I'm not sure you could have built a world as large as Minecraft's back then.

I got LEGO Marvel Super Heroes for PS3 this Christmas. Like most of the other LEGO games, they take a simplified storyline, infuse it with LEGO sets and characters, and have you play through it with the main characters, and then go back later for additional playthroughs with the other characters to find secrets and unlock even more characters. The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes story takes us to Manhattan just after the Avengers have saved it, only to find that the Silver Surfer has crash-landed on earth and Doctor Doom is hot on the trail of the broken bricks of his surfboard. Naturally, when the Silver Surfer appears, Galactus can't be far behind. With a possible grab for cosmic power and the fate of the Earth at stake, a lot of heroes and villains start coming out of the woodwork. All of the major characters from the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy make an appearance, along with some unsurprising additions. You know Stan Lee has to be there, since he's everywhere else.

Normally with that many days off from school my kids (or at least my older one) would have completely torn through the game by now. They had LEGO Batman 2 at 100% in a matter of days. However, they spent the majority of their gaming time during the holidays playing Minecraft, with Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS coming in a close second for my older child and Scribblenauts Unlimited coming in a rather distant second for my younger one. It's even gotten to the point where they're playing with actual LEGO less than Minecraft. Luckily, one of the LEGO sets my older son got for Christmas was a Minecraft set.

More so than for any other game, my kids are watching a lot of things on Youtube pertaining to Minecraft, and even sometimes while playing the game at the same time. I recall watching a few things for Resident Evil 4 in an attempt to improve my Mercenaries scores, but once I got the info I required I went back to playing the game. They're watching Minecraft videos like me binge-watching Community.

As a result of watching all of the videos, they have downloaded some of the texture packs for the game, but they haven't quite figured out the full mods yet. I suppose I'll have to work on that.

Over the last couple of weeks, they have played some of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and have completed all of the levels in Story Mode, but they haven't obtained all of the characters yet. My younger one still thinks that the hub area (Gotham) in LEGO Batman 2 is more fun than the Marvel hub area (Manhattan including the Statue of Liberty, The Baxter Building, the Daily Bugle, Central Park, and Grand Central Station), but he has fewer characters unlocked. It's nice that in addition to things like my kids finding out about Howard the Duck without having to watch the questionable film version, I can find out about oddball things like Superior Spider-Man without having to set foot in the comic book store to be berated about not reading enough titles.

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