If building blocks are still the first things to come to mind when you hear the word "LEGO", it might just be a sign of your age. LEGO video games have been hitting the market for over a decade now, and they've been good enough to appeal to kids and adults alike. Of course, if the brand has spawned games, it's also inspired television shows and movies. The latest LEGO app to enter the Play Store provides direct access to the official LEGO YouTube Channel and select downloadable movies, so you, or your kid, can stream and download LEGO content all day long.
Bad news, true believers: the Lego Bugdroid is not happening. Early this year we reported than a Lego version of the Android mascot had been submitted to Lego's crowdsourced Cuusoo platform and received the required 10,000 votes for consideration. Unfortunately the little green robot that could was denied in favor of another project.
The 10,000 vote threshold is only a requirement for Lego to evaluate a given Cuusoo project, and they produce the best subjective entry.
Lets get this disclaimer out of the way right from the beginning - video game adaptations of toys are rarely as much fun as the products that inspire them. The long-running LEGO series of movie titles may be the exception to the rule, but don't expect Pullback Racers to follow in their footsteps. The premise here revolves around crafting a game that matches the functionality of the plastic wind-up cars themselves, and like the inspiration it pulls from, the game is rather limited.
Finally, Android is not a second-class citizen. LEGO has released three new apps (okay, one of them is a game) for the Mindstorms EV3 robotics set in Google Play, just as promised back at CES. It's fitting, too. We're all just a bunch of robots around here.
The Mindstorms 3D Builder app is a handy 3D instruction booklet that tells you how to build the stock robots with the EV3 kit.
We like to feature at least one or two kid-friendly games in our biweekly roundups, but this one looks so good that we had to give it its own post. LEGO DUPLO is the famous company's line of brick sets for kids age 5 and under, with easy formations, bright colors, and big, swallow-proof pieces. The Android DUPLO game focuses on the branded train sets.
The game itself is a mix between LEGO's standard construction and a sort of "baby's first train simulator." Kids will start and stop the LEGO train, hook up passenger and cargo cars, and build bridges and tracks to avoid simple obstacles.
Surprisingly, the licensed LEGO Star Wars PC and console games (and most of the subsequent Indiana Jones/Batman/Harry Potter/et cetera games) turned out to be pretty good. They're tight, enjoyable adventure games with interesting construction mechanics, and humor suitable to both kids and adults. Though The LEGO Group has released more than a dozen Android titles already, their first tie-in game is LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, available now as a free download.
Lego and Android go together like an open-source operating system and an infinitely variable building toy. Lego engineer GLHTurbo agrees, which is why he submitted this 205-piece Bugroid design to the Cuusoo platform, Lego's Kickstarter-like crowdsourced idea farm. Builder submit ideas, participants vote, and the projects that reach enough votes are considered for a retail Lego kit. The Bugdroid model passed the 10,000 vote threshold late Wednesday night.
The Lego corporation reviews 10,000+ vote submissions four times a year, and according to their Cuusoo video, only selects one project to become a reality.
There aren't many things in this world that can be as purely amazing as LEGO. The only people who aren't fans of the world's best creativity toy are people who (mistakenly!) think the company has sold out and encourages kids to follow pre-made instructions instead of building something new. To that I say: Mindstorms EV3. With Android compatibility out of the box. Your argument is invalid.
The main part of the new kit, the Intelligent Brick (seen above as a glowing torso with a QR code on its chest) will have more processing power, more memory, and more on-brick programming capabilities.
Ah, LEGO... one of my personal favorite toys from my childhood. LEGO is arguably one of the best toys for children because it enables them to create and truly use their imaginations; instead of dictating what world the mind can play in, it encourages us to create our own.
So naturally when I found out that LEGO was releasing a game based on their build-a-board-game Creationary, I was a little excited.
Among all the Gingerbread waiting and Nexus S craziness today, this piece of news from the ARM Tech Conference in Santa Clara caught my attention and reminded me once again just how cool and versatile Android can be.
David Gilday, an ARM engineer, demoed a LEGO Mindstorms kit controlled entirely by a Nexus One quickly twisting and turning a Rubik's cube, solving it on average in 15 seconds. An even crazier demo of a 7x7x7 cube solver, this time using a Droid, follows as well.