Dear Traveller’s Tales, please pay attention to me.

Posted on by

Yeah, hi there. I’m just some twit who plays some of the games you’ve released – pretty much just the Lego Games, and not all of them. I have no interest in Lego Rock Band, for example.

You had a good thing there with Lego Star Wars. Lego Batman and both of the Lego Indy games…don’t exactly recapture it in all it’s entertaining awesomeness, but what is? When you introduce something this awesome with a game that includes magical fucking powers the force, everything else is going to feel strangely inadequate.

I have hope for Lego Harry Potter – though…slightly less hope than I previously had, now that I’ve played Lego Indy 2.

Oh…by the way – and you had to know this was coming – I have some suggestions. Before you say anything, fictional voice of Traveller’s Tales, I’m not deluding myself. I’m not expecting anything. I fully understand that posting something to my own website [and only half-jokingly addressing it to you] is about as useful as knitted socks for fish. However, it’s no more passive-aggressive than most things you’ll find on the internet. I get that I’m just someone muttering while the rest of the world uses sound amplification methods concerts would envy. And that I’m doing this muttering from another galaxy, possibly in a completely separate universe.

I’m cool with that, though. I wouldn’t know what to do with your attention if I actually had it. I barely know what to do with my five and a half actual readers.

So, anyway: suggestions. I have a few.

1. Dropping in is easy, but….

Let’s start out with an…easy-ish one. I won’t pretend to know what sort of coding goes into making these games work. I get that it’s complex, and takes multiple teams of individuals to hammer out such huge, glorious messes [and then another team or two to fix half the bugs before foisting the beta testing on an unsuspecting, paying market]. I doubt this is all that difficult, though.

I’m having pronoun issues, aren’t I?

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Lego games let a second player ‘drop in’ by just activating a second controller and pressing ‘start’. Dropping out, however, takes a bit more effort. You have to disrupt Player 1 by pausing the game, and scroll down the list to get to ‘drop out’. This is just wrong.

See, there are a lot of times where you want to drop out, but it’s inconvenient. And I’m sure there’d be a way to do it that wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the game. A combination of buttons that wouldn’t normally be pressed except to drop out, or one of the unused buttons. I’m sure there is one.

Make it conditional, if you have to. Player 2 can press ‘start’ to drop in and drop out, and that’s all start does for Player 2. Player 1 has control of everything else – the pause screen, whatever. I’m fine with Player 1 being in charge, and I’d be able to drop in and drop out to take care of all those basic bodily functions that seem to plague me more often than my usual gaming partner.

2. The Split-Screen.

This is new to Lego Indy 2, and I kinda like it. Or, I would, if it weren’t so…oddly conditional. There are some levels where it just doesn’t activate at all. I can’t really guess why, but it kinda hurts the whole ‘working together to beat something by tackling half of it while the other guy gets the other half’ thing.

Go ahead and keep it. But…don’t make it so damned…conditional. Let us wander. If we’re supposed to be in the same spot, we’ll figure it out, okay?

3.Preservation, perfection, and the badness that is progress for the sake of progression.

Did I mention you had a good thing going? You did. And you integrated them nicely into other themes. However, there are some changes you’ve made to Lego Indy 2 that I really, really hope won’t be in Lego Harry Potter.

3a. No hot-swapping? What the fuck is that about?

And, before I get into this….

3b. Dude, where’s my free-play?

You’ve replaced the awesomeness of free-play with bonus/treasure levels? Really? Ugh. No, really. What I loved most about Lego Star Wars was the ability to pick a favourite and stick with it, while knowing that I’d get a shortie and a jumper and a bounty-hunter that I could left-trigger or right-trigger to without much thought. I miss that. A lot.

3c. Really? Spread out spawn points creating an epic, map-wide scavenger hunt for the mystery skill?

Instead of hot-swapping for these specific little no-longer-freeplay missions, you’ve stuck me with having to search all over Liberty fucking Island for that one unidentifiable wrench guy. And you’ve crammed him onto an island I can’t parachute into from my flying thingie.

Yes. I’m annoyed.

If you want to have special ‘take the right guy in’ short levels for extras, put them in. But it can’t really be that room-consuming to code for free-play and special extras, can it? You can give us both; we won’t complain that the game will take longer than six hours to complete.

Unless, of course, you make it longer by forcing players to go on between-play not-really-sidequests looking for the fucking WrenchGuy.

3d. That really says it all. 3D. And perspective.

I ran into some serious issues with Lego Indy 2. It combined the weirdness of the shadows of previous games with an interestingly forced perspective, leading to platforms that looked like they were aligned a certain way, but they actually weren’t. If you’re going to create a weird, almost side-view platformer, you don’t get to fuck it all up by placing objects out of alignment. OR, you have to get the shadows right. Those are your two choices. Alignment, or proper fucking shadows. And, as good as you are, I don’t think you’re ready for shadows.

3e. Driving levels are wicked fun, but….

No, really. They are. I love them. Mindless, bumper-car fun. Stop trashing the fun with annoyingly difficult puzzles.

You know which one I’m talking about. The jeep, the truck, the horse, and the motorcycle? The switches? The nearly impossible jump over the burning books, and onto that teensy little platform that you somehow have to keep your overly-bouncy jeep from bouncing off of?

Yeah. I thought you’d remember that.

Which brings us to another problem with the vehicles. The phrase ‘independent suspension’ does not mean that the wheels are entirely without physical relation to the vehicle they’re supposed to be attached to. I know, I know: they’re Legos, right? But…do they have to be so pointlessly bouncy and yet so completely incapable of getting over a bump? When I wasn’t having fun destroying things, I was either waiting for my car to land, or wondering why the hell I couldn’t get out of the ditch I finally landed in.

And then, the bounciness never actually worked to my advantage. While I could, without trying, accidentally send a truck flying by running over a random Lego stud, I couldn’t get the same lack of gravity to apply when hurling the truck off a cliff to collect one of the balloons.

4.While you’re thinking about the rest of this, here’s a few even-more-unlikely suggestions.

Okay. I’m being harsh. Lego Indy just wasn’t the continuation of the fun-fest I wanted it to be. But you’ve got a working theme [starting with the tried-and-true Lego Star Wars template, with that interesting good/evil Lego Batman thing that could probably be worked with]. Let’s go with that.

You don’t have to stick with movie franchises. Really, you don’t. There are so many properties out there that have so much Lego Potential. Harry Potter was one of them [though, I’m not entirely sure what you’re going to do with Deathly Hallows. So much of that book is ‘camping’….]

Since I’m pretending that you’re reading this at all, I’ll pretend you didn’t stop reading the instant I said ‘fuck’ and got all critical, and that you’re willing to listen to my suggestions for potential future Lego games.

Lego Resident Evil

Not the movies. Fuck the movies. I’m talking about the original games, re-worked into a LegoStarWarsian funfest. Take the first three games – you wouldn’t really have to do much. Rebuild the levels to fit into a Lego world, keep the puzzles, because, really, they’re not that different, and…have fun. The second and third kinda take place in the same area, so you could reuse things, but in unique ways.

C’mon. Little Lego zombies? Little Lego Nemesis? A Lego Plant 42? A Lego Neptune? Having to go back into a level as Lego Nemesis to unlock certain things? C’mon. Talk to Capcom about it. It’ll be fun.

Okay. If you have to, get your lawyers to talk to their lawyers. You’re owned by Time Warner now, right? They should have a few. If it helps, promise them you’ll look at some of their crap for another game while you’re at it. Lego games could continue to be instant money if you just remember to keep it enjoyable.

Honestly, that was the only serious suggestion I had. I can come up with a few more, though. Less serious, and potentially problematic if you’re looking for cross-platform releasing. Personally, I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to the potential fun of a Lego Legend of Zelda, but I can see Nintendo not being pleased with their boy showing up on another console. Especially after that Philips CD-i fiasco….

Also, I can’t really think of a lot of ways to make that into something like Lego Star Wars. Not much for swapping there, so, really, I think you’d be looking at something more of a Legoified remake of the initial game [which could be fun, but probably not something you want to do].

Not that you really need all those elements for a game to be fun. Or even Lego. I just don’t know how well it’d go over.

Oh! There’s always Pirates of the Caribbean. That could be fun.

If I may wander completely outside of reasonable and find myself in the land of ‘rather insane’, how ’bout something really strange, like Lego Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Yeah. That’s kinda not likely. But I bet it makes Lego Resident Evil look like a good idea, now, doesn’t it?

Just think about it, won’t you?

What am I going to do? Well, I’ll be watching for these games, or any of these other suggestions to show up in your future Lego games. I figure, I’ll see them right around the same time that I see a new EarthBound game released in the US, or perhaps a non-paper, non-sucky sequel of Super Mario RPG.

First, though, I should wrap this up. Can’t exactly pretend it’s getting read if it’s just sitting here where nobody can see it, can I?

This entry was posted in Rants and tagged , .

2 thoughts on “Dear Traveller’s Tales, please pay attention to me.

  1. The obvious ones come to mind, I suppose: LegoJamesBond is a cinch; LegoMatrix could probably happen; LegoJurassicPark, maybe; LegoGodzilla [Toho may have more characters than Lucasfilm]; LegoTerminator could just about happen, and might be amusing; Lego Alien/Predator/whatever; LegoH2G2 could almost make up for the film; LegoTransFormers seems likely….

    I suppose the real question is whether Tt can secure the rights to do any of these. LegoBuffy sounds like it could happen; LegoResidentEvil sounds less likely, if kinda cool. LegoHarryPotter is already announced, isn’t it? So we’ll see what comes of that.

    You know what I really want, of course. Lego Alice in Wonderland. Not Disney; probably not Burton; just: the novel itself. No one’s ever really managed to do it right. This might be another chance at it.

    ‘There goes Bill!’ [shatter]

Go on, say something....