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Hapori Tohu

Learn How LEGO Island Came to Be

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If you're of a certain age, commonly referred to as being a 90s kid, you probably remember playing LEGO Island on PC CD-ROM back in the day. On the latest episode of the Bits N' Bricks podcast, documentarian Ethan Vincent and journalist Brian Crecente look back at the creation of this watershed moment in both LEGO and gaming history, talking to a number of the people involved in the project to get the ground truth on the game. There were a lot of interesting things covered, like Tormod Askildsen's 'Elvis report,' so named because videogames had The LEGO Group 'all shook up,' the fact that Mindscape had a physical version of the entire LEGO Island that they brought kids in to play with to get ideas for the game, or the unceremonious way in which the company closed to avoid paying its employees bonuses. This podcast continues to be an amazing look back through the past at the stories behind the games we all know and enjoy.

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Now this is the kind of episode I've been really looking forward to. It was quite amazing to learn about how everything came together to create such a groundbreaking video game concept. I was especially amazed that they actually had a full-sized Lego Island physical mock-up in their studio to help them design the game (which does make me beg the question of what happened to that giant model after the game was completed, as I'm sure a lot of fans would love to see it for themselves). Not to mention what a real tragedy it was that most of the people who worked so hard on that game were simply fired just before they could actually be payed for their efforts. Of course, since this episode is done in a podcast format, I wish there was some other way for me to actually see some of the videos that were mentioned, such as the trailer from when the game was first announced at Toy Fair in early 1997.

 

I definitely remember playing Lego Island back when I was a kid, though I'm sad to say that I never really got to experience that one story aspect of it, as I always tended to deliver the pizza to the jail before building the helicopter, so rather than the Brickster breaking out of jail, he would just complain about being given the wrong pizza. I eventually managed to start off that story event during what was probably one of the last times I had ever played that game, but unfortunately I was playing it on a rather faulty system that didn't have any audio, so I had no idea what was really going on with only the visuals to go by, and as a result, I only made it as far as the point where parts of the helicopter ended up scattered along the streets before I decided to just give up and quit the game. To this day, I still wish I could've had a better opportunity to finally actually try that one story aspect of Lego Island, so I sure would appreciate any possibility of attempting to play that old game on a modern computer (I do still have the original CD, but I'm a little hesitant about trying to use it after it's been siting around for twenty years).


Formerly known as Takanuva's Symbol, I rejoined BZPower on October 10, 2012.

These days, I am perhaps best known for my obsession with all Lego video games.

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