Lego Island

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Lego Island
Lego-island.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s) Mindscape
Publisher(s) Mindscape
Director(s) Wes Jenkins
Producer(s) Scott Anderson
Designer(s)
  • Dennis Goodrow
  • Wes Jenkins
Programmer(s) Dennis Goodrow
Artist(s)
  • David Patch
  • Jan Sleeper
Writer(s) Wes Jenkins
Composer(s) Lorin Nelson
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release
  • WW: September 26, 1997
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Lego Island is a Lego-themed action-adventure video game developed and published by Mindscape, and released for Microsoft Windows, worldwide, on September 26, 1997. The game is the first entry in the Lego Island series, and the first Lego video game to be released outside Japan, following 1995's Lego Fun to Build. It was followed in 2001 by Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge and in 2002 by Island Xtreme Stunts.

Gameplay[edit]

Lego Island as it appears in the game, including the Information Center (top-left) and the Brickster's jail cell (top-right)

Lego Island is a nonlinear video game played from a first-person perspective. The player can choose to roam around and customize the island, build vehicles with the help of a mechanic called Bill Ding, or complete a series of missions including pizza delivery, jet ski racing, and catching an escaped prisoner known as the Brickster. It features five playable characters—protagonist Pepper Roni, his caretakers Mama and Papa Brickolini, and police officers Laura and Nick Brick—who each have their own unique abilities. There are also Easter eggs.[1][2][3]

Plot[edit]

While there is no necessary objective to Lego Island, a special mission will occur if the player has built the police helicopter and is playing as Pepper Roni. Pepper's caretakers, Mama and Papa Brickolini, who run and own the Pizzeria, receive a call from the island's jail. Mistaking the caller for a police officer named Nick, Pepper is sent to deliver a pizza to the jail, which allows the Brickster to escape from his cell by using the pizza's fumes to melt the lock. He escapes in the police helicopter and steals the power brick from the top of the Information Center before heading to the residential area on other side of the island. If the helicopter is not built, the Brickster will not be able to escape and rejects the pizza. Once the Brickster escapes, Nick, Laura, the Infomaniac, Papa, and Mama Brickolini discover what happened and Pepper then embarks to recapture him.

After Pepper, Nick and Laura reach the residential area, they discover that the Brickster has stolen an ambulance from the hospital and is planning to disassemble the town with a laser gun powered by the stolen power brick. Pepper chases after the Brickster, collecting individual helicopter brick pieces that the Brickster has dropped while he stops in random areas to disassemble any buildings and plants that are nearby. After obtaining five pieces, the Brickster quickly heads for a cave entrance where he drops one more piece and disappears into the cave. After the Brickster has gone into hiding, Pepper searches around the island for the remaining four pieces of the helicopter. Once all pieces are recovered, the Infomaniac sends Pepper to rebuild the stolen helicopter. Alternatively, if the Pizzeria, Information Center, and Police Station are the only remaining buildings and all five pieces are not collected, the Brickster will instead dissemble the Pizzeria and the player immediately skips to the part where they must rebuild the helicopter. Once the helicopter is rebuilt, the Infomaniac, Nick, and Laura advise Pepper to use it to help them catch the Brickster using pizzas and donuts before the Brickster (who is now driving a stolen police motorcycle) can disassemble the remaining buildings.

Two different endings can occur, depending on whether the player succeeds or not. If all the buildings have been disassembled (except for the Information Center), it will trigger the ending that shows the Brickster standing on the power brick, gloating about his victory with pieces of buildings scattered all around him. However, the Infomaniac then reassures the player that they can rebuild the island and the Brickster will be returned to his cell. The other ending unlocks if the Brickster is reached by the police, leading to the Brickster being caught and thrown back in jail, the power brick returning at the top of the Information Center, and everyone celebrating Pepper's success. The Infomaniac thanks the player, who is once again free to roam around the island.

Development[edit]

In 1996, The Lego Group invested nearly US$2 million in the development of video games featuring their famous brick-based models.[4] Toy manufacturers like The Lego Group were increasingly threatened by the video game industry,[how?] motivating them to get a foothold in it.[4] Lego Island was developed by American software house Mindscape, using Microsoft's DirectX technology, which enabled the team to design 3D environments.[1] The game was announced under the title Lego Town on January 27, 1996, based upon and named after the "Town" theme from the Lego System line.[5] In September 1997, at E3 1997, it was announced that Lego Island would be released worldwide on September 26, 1997.[6]

Originally, the game was set to be the first in a six-game series, with another game titled Beneath the Phanta Sea (eponymous to the sea Lego Island is located in), as well as an archaeology-focused game called Dig.[citation needed] Creative director Wesley J. "Wes" Jenkins later went on to work with The Lego Group on a pilot episode for a Lego-based television series featuring Lego Island characters.[citation needed] Jenkins passed away on September 24, 2017, at 2:13 CST.[7]

Reception[edit]

In the United States, the game sold over 909,000 copies between 1997 and 1999, making it the 15th best-selling computer game of that period.[8] It was the country's 11th best-selling computer game in 1997, with 323,085 units sold and almost $12 million earned in revenue.[9][10] In 1998, it reached eighth place on the United States' chart for the January-November 1998 period.[11] It ultimately placed seventh for the full year, with 404,858 sales. Its revenue in 1998 alone was over $10.2 million.[12] The following year, it dropped to the 15th position on the annual sales charts, with 309,698 units sold.[13] The success of Lego Island revived Mindscape's business, which was in trouble at the time.[14]

In 2016, Digital Spy ranked Lego Island as the 14th best Lego game in a list of 15.[15]

Awards[edit]

Lego Island won the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' 1997 "Family/Kids Entertainment Title of the Year" award.[16][17] It also won the "Best Kid Title of the Year" award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[citation needed] It won several awards from family publications, including Family PC's top-rated virtual toy award,[citation needed] Family Life's "Critic's Choice" award,[citation needed] and Home PC's kid testers' "Reviewer's Choice" stamp of approval.[citation needed]

Sequel[edit]

In March 2001, Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge was released as an indirect sequel to the game. The games was developed by Silicon Dreams Studio, with a Game Boy Color conversion developed by Crawfish Interactive.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bertoli, Ben (June 3, 2017). "The Influence And Legacy Of Lego Island". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ Porreca, Ray (October 2, 2016). "Lego Island is nineteen and vaporwave approved". Destructoid. ModernMethod. Archived from the original on January 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ Uhl, Will (September 28, 2015). "The adventure game devs that challenged kids to think and learn". PC Gamer. Future US. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Svensson, Christian (September 1996). "Lego Builds Game Block". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. p. 24. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ "The LEGO Toy Company and Mindscape® Team Up to Create CD-ROM Game". Mindscape. January 27, 1996. Archived from the original on November 11, 1996. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  6. ^ "The LEGO Group & Mindscape Offer Sneak Preview of First LEGO® CD-ROM Game". Mindscape. September 1997. Archived from the original on January 21, 1998. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Wesley J Jenkins died at 2:13 September 24, 2017". Facebook. September 24, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  8. ^ Dunnigan, James F. (2000). Wargames Handbook: How to Play and Design Commercial and Professional Wargames (Third ed.). iUniverse. p. 16. ISBN 9780595155460. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. 
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19980218070304/http://www.pcgamer.com:80/news/news-1998-02-02.html
  10. ^ Staff (April 1998). "The Best-Selling Games of 1997". PC Gamer US. 5 (4): 44. 
  11. ^ IGN Staff (January 4, 1999). "Best Selling Games of 1998". IGN. Archived from the original on September 1, 2000. 
  12. ^ Staff (April 1999). "The Numbers Game". PC Gamer US. 6 (4): 50. 
  13. ^ Staff (April 2000). "Shake Your Money-Maker". PC Gamer US. 7 (4): 32. 
  14. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19980204072747/http://www.next-generation.com:80/news/020498j.chtml
  15. ^ Loveridge, Sam (December 22, 2016). "Which is the best Lego game? We rank the top 15". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on June 15, 1998. 
  17. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on June 15, 1998.