—The LEGO Group's motto in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
The LEGO Group, founded in 1932 in Denmark
, is world famous for its connecting plastic bricks. The company's name comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt", which translates into English as "play well". While not an influence on the name, the fact that "LEGO" can also mean "I build" in Latin
has been embraced by The LEGO Group. The product is legally identified as LEGO bricks, not "LEGOs"
, and the fandom will be unfailingly quick to remind you of that fact
. Experts on children have called them the ideal toy — they're easy to use, are infinitely expandable and foster creativity. And by infinitely expandable, they mean
infinitely expandable — even the earliest bricks made in the 1960's, when they first started their construction toy business, are 100% compatible with bricks manufactured today.
Over the decades, in addition to selling basic boxes of bricks, LEGO has produced a vast array of "themes", collections of related playsets devoted to a general setting and concept (and occasionally, an overarching story), exploring a diverse range of time periods, places, jobs, characters, genres and even styles of building. See LEGO Themes
for an index of trope pages for these themes.
Since 1997, LEGO has given the licence to make Video Games
based on various themes to innumerable game developers, and as such there is a very sizable array of LEGO-based games. These include:
The LEGO Group has also released a feature-length DVD movie, LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers
The LEGO Group started a ninja-themed Ninjago
set in 2011. A four episode pilot was created and Cartoon Network
greenlit two 13-episode TV seasons based on the set. In 2013, after the conclusion of the Ninjago
series, a anthropomorphic animal
-themed Legends Of Chima
set and corresponding cartoon were introduced, followed by another season of Ninjago
premiering in 2014. Mixels
, a set and corresponding short series, began the same year. Some don't realize that it has anything to do with a Lego toy line, at all, though
and Chris Miller
(the 21 Jump Street
movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
, Clone High
) penned and directed the first live-action/animated theatrical LEGO movie
, called The LEGO Movie
, released in 2014. And, as the first trailer reveals, the movie itself takes from both classic Lego characters as well as its newer licensed success; Batman
is a main character (with cameos from Superman
, Wonder Woman
, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
, and others) along side one of the generic Builder dudes. Here's the first trailer. And Universal picked up the rights to produce the first movie based on Hero Factory
, the Spiritual Successor
Prior to 1999, the Lego Group avoided adapting licensed properties, reasoning (logically), that Lego was its own
very successful property. In 1999, that changed, with the Lego Star Wars
line, which was insanely
successful. The Lego Group now has a myriad of licenses. (It's almost easier to list the ones they don't
include: those owned by other toy companies (e.g., Transformers
), those not age-appropriate (e.g., James Bond
), and Star Trek,
which is thoroughly locked up by Hasbro.)
Here (to be representative) are five of their big licenses, and five of their small(er) ones:
In addition to those, there are many, many others.To say it's popular is an understatement.
Now if only one could afford those high, high prices...
Tropes for LEGO itself include:
- Actual Pacifist: The creator of LEGO, Ole Kirk Christiansen, having lived through WWII, was one. It is for this reason that LEGO does not make military sets, and even the first gun pieces for cowboys and the like were controversial within the company. This is also why LEGO bricks initially came in bright primary colors that didn't include green or brown; Christiansen didn't want kids to make realistic military vehicles and gear out of them.
- The company itself is more of a Technical Pacifist that allows for Family-Friendly Firearms. Depictions of medieval or futuristic warfare are apparently fine (consider the Castle, Pirates and Star Wars sets). It's just the modern and World Wars era that LEGO firmly refuses to cover.
- Agony of the Feet: Let's just say it's a good thing LEGO and carpet manufacturers seldom use the same colors...
- Amusement Park of Doom: Two in the DC line; a small funhouse featuring attractions for Joker, Harley Quinn, and the Riddler, and a much larger park with rides for Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, and the Penguin. Both sets have several traps for Batman and Robin (and Beast Boy and Starfire) to face.
- Call Back: The Scooby-Doo sets feature stickers that depict Johnny Thunder and the Prospector (from Minifigures Series 12) on them.
- Double Meaning Title: See above.
- Epic Fail: The DC Super Heroes line introduced the Super Jumper, a stand for mini-figures that worked like a jumping frog toy; push the tab on the back, and the release force flips the stand and mini-figure into the air. However, soon after the sets' release, fans noticed that the locking system the stand used (studs to stand the figure, combined with an insert between the legs, and two inserts that snap into the back of the legs) actually damaged the plastic of the mini-figure legs. Due to the intense force necessary to attach and remove the figure, the plastic inserts scraped, warped, and occasionally cracked the plastic. Many are upset and sending complaints. Apparently, the jumper is supposed to be bent backward to insert the figure more smoothly without damage, but there are no instructions for using them.
- Everything's Built with LEGO: Naturally, and especially at a convention by fans.
- Fan Nickname: Cheese slopes are the most well-known, but other parts, mini-figs and themes have been nicknamed.
- Fun with Acronyms: AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego), TFOL (Teen Fan of Lego), MOC (My Own Creation), SNOT (Studs Not on Top), and lots more!
- Others include BURP (Big Ugly Rock Piece) and POOP (Piece Out of Other Pieces).
- Official Fan-Submitted Content: Lego Ideas, previously known during open beta as CUUSOO. Fan-submitted models with 10,000 user votes will be considered for production. Currently, sets based on Back to the Future, Minecraft, and Ghostbusters have been chosen.
- Monster Clown: In the DC line, Joker counts, but so does the clown-face archway on Jokerland.
- Mukokuseki: LEGO have yellow skin for this reason, however many people think of them as being White. There are minifigures with more realistic skin colors.
- The Tetris Effect: Possibly the oldest living example.
- The Wiki Rule: Brickipedia.
- You Don't Look Like You: The clown archway in Jokerland only shares the green hair, white skin, and red lips with the character who owns it. The archway has a red nose, two tufts of green hair, and a bowler hat.
Appearances in fiction:
- In a MythBusters "viral" episode (read: they got all their ideas from highly-watched YouTube videos), they tested the plausibility of a LEGO ball the size and rough shape of the boulder seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. Didn't work, because they could not easily transport the thing, getting all the bricks was nearly impossible, they only needed a fifth of the LEGO bricks mentioned by the myth, and it broke up when it rolled. They way it bounced in the video they watched was no way near plausible for how the real ball acted.
- One of the minor mons in the Digimon franchise is ToyAgumon. I think you can guess the toy from which it appears to be made. It also has a few Palette Swaps. Similarly, there's Omekamon, a Digimon resembling a LEGO minifigure who's drawn on himself to try cosplaying as Omegamon.
- The card Blockman in Yu-Gi-Oh! is pretty clearly made out of LEGO bricks.
- In Time Bandits, at least part of Evil's Fortress of Ultimate Darkness is clearly shown to be made up of giant LEGO blocks. This is one of many times that Kevin's toys appear in his adventure through time.
- Blocken from Shaman King is a disfigured man who hides his appearance in a suit that looks like a LEGO figure and manipulates LEGO-looking blocks (which are really the spiritual energy of many rats) into various deadly shapes.
- The bonus stages in the obscure Amiga puzzle-platformer PP Hammer And His Pneumatic Weapon are made of LEGO-like blocks.
- When LEGO sculptor Nathan Sawaya appeared on The Colbert Report, he presented Stephen a lifesize LEGO Colbert. LEGO is also a popular medium for entries in the perennial Stephen Colbert Video Challenges.
- The "free to play" MMORPG MapleStory has Ludibrium, a world made of plastic bricks and whose residents have that vaguely LEGO/Duplo/whatever-esque look.
- The demolition derby scene in the third Futurama movie had some LEGO participants. Much as you'd imagine, their vehicle fell apart when it was destroyed.
- Corner Gas had one episode with Hank building a model of Dog River out of LEGO, and a Dream Sequence with a LEGO Corner Gas.
- The first question Sophie's World, a mystery novel about philosophy, asks is: Why are the LEGO bricks the best toy in the world?
- The seventh, eighth and ninth levels of the Tom and Jerry game for Super NES is a Toy Time world where the foreground is made entirely of LEGO bricks.
- The children's book Adventures in LEGOLAND is about a kid who visits a LEGO-themed theme park which comes to life at night and saves the day. Lucky kid.
- In the episode To the Lighthouse of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John Henry is seen building a mountain out of LEGO bricks. However, he talks about Solek on Voya Nui, when it's supposed to be Karda Nui, and the Toa protecting the Mask of Life, when they were actually trying to claim it before the Makuta do. Since John Henry is a robot with Internet access (and in fact commented that there are no ducklings on Voya Nui in that episode), it/he should know better.
- The Viridian City Gym in Pokemon Gold And Silver looks like its walls were made of giant LEGO bricks. Sadly, the remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver don't keep this.
- EVE Online features a building material and loot item called "Construction Bricks", with an icon resembling LEGO pieces in a small pile.
- Block Town, the first world in Pac-Mania, is made up of LEGO blocks.
- In the Family Guy episode "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou", Man Child Peter envies a kid's LEGO collection:
Aw, sweet! You got LEGOs, aw sweet. Lois only buys me Mega Bloks
Lois: They're the same, Peter.
Peter: You know what, Lois? They are not the same. And the sooner you get that through your thick skull, the sooner we can get this marriage back on track.
- In the old Amiga Populous game, one world your worshippers could conquer was made of LEGO. (Others included a lava world and France.)
- In February 2010, Kingdom of Loathing added an item that let you summon BRICKO bricks, which could be used to build equipment or monsters to fight.
- In Kira Is Justice, Near seems to like LEGO bricks.
- The Servbots from Mega Man Legends resemble LEGO Minifigs.
- The Simpsons has a fictional theme park called Blockoland, being a parody of LEGOLAND. Of course, now the series is getting its own LEGO sets. The episode "Brick Like Me" features a LEGO version of Springfield.
- Some parts of Zoetopia in Monster Tale seem to be made of LEGO blocks. Justified in that the area also features lots of other toys, such as jacks, dominoes, and wind-up windmills, and Zoe generally follows a toys theme in her presentation.
- In a Norwegian family TV series, based on the Danish Olsen Banden, the protagonists build a LEGO robot to climb a set of stairs and open a lock.
- In a One Piece colourspread, the Strawhats are building a small castle out of bricks that can easily be identified as LEGO.
- A pair of minifigures actually serve as the flight attendants of the backpack in which Barbie and Ken arrive in the Toy Story short "Hawaiian Vacation."
- A LEGO rabbit appears in Toy Story of Terror. Notably, it's able to use the bricks it's made up of to shapeshift into objects the characters need, like a stairwell.
- A Black Comedy sketch from Robot Chicken wrings plenty of horror from the Perpetual Smiler expression typical of LEGO minifigures. Just a few of the show's other LEGO-themed sketches include "The Great Pyramid", "LEGO My Pieces", "LEGO Babel", and "LEGO Star Wars" (with Billy Dee Williams reprising his role of Lando Calrissian).
- In Super Mario Land 2, the last stage in the Mario Zone is made of N&B Blocks, Nintendo's own long-forgotten knockoff brand of LEGO, made back when Nintendo was a toy company.
- In Ultimate Comics All New Spider-Man Miles Morales best friend Ganke Lee loves building LEGO toys.
- The Brazilian blog and webcomic Irmãos Brain is starred by Ego, Superego and Id, three Lego minifigures who are brothers.