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The History of Junkbot


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Season Three of the Bits N' Bricks podcast has begun! Hosts Ethan Vincent and Brian Crecente kick things off with Episode 29 - Junkbot: The Lovable LEGO Garbage Game, where they talk to Naomi Clark, who worked on LEGO.com in the early 2000s, as well as Eric Zimmerman, Frank Lantz, and Ranjit Bhatnagar from Gamelab, the studio that developed Junkbot, its sequel, and several other LEGO web games. It was interesting to learn that the success of the Mata Nui Online Game was a catalyst for the green-lighting of Junkbot! There's a lot of other great stories about the early days of the Internet and developing games for it, and of course just about everything you could want to know about Junkbot. Go give it a listen!

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Although I remember playing quite a few of the web games on Lego.com back in the 2000s (especially all of the Bionicle games), somehow Junkbot was not one of them, probably because it just didn't catch my interest like some of the other games did. Looking back, I certainly would be interested in trying out the game, if it's possible to even play it in some form these days. Anyway, this week's episode was interesting to listen to, especially the fact that Mata Nui Online Game was practically the very first web game ever on Lego.com (somehow, I had always assumed there had been at least a few others prior to that game), and that its success actually inspired the Lego Group to develop several more web games, with Junkbot being the first and ultimately one of the most popular of all, so to learn about that timeline of online game development for Lego.com was really fascinating for me. It was also fun the hear about how the various game mechanics were created (because as I said, I never got to play the game, so I was never familiar with how it worked, and now that I do, I now actually am interested in trying it out for myself, if it's still possible to somehow play it in some form these days). Overall, another excellent episode in this podcast series, and I look forward to what else will be coming up.

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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9 hours ago, Chronicler06 said:

(because as I said, I never got to play the game, so I was never familiar with how it worked, and now that I do, I now actually am interested in trying it out for myself, if it's still possible to somehow play it in some form these days)

It's probably up on the BioMediaProject somewhere, although the demise of Flash will mean you have to download and play it locally.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I played Junkbot quite a bit as a kid and replayed it recently, so this was a fun listen. The most interesting parts to me were how the game's aesthetic was inspired by the NYC game dev scene, and how much the team payed attention to the experience of manipulating the bricks to make it feel "real". Looking back at the game you can really see how good of a job they did with that, the "sticky" effect of the bricks combine with the sound effects capture the feeling of building with LEGO even better than something like LDD.

If anyone's looking for the download link, it's hosted by the BioMediaProject here: http://biomediaproject.com/bmp/files/LEGO/gms/download/ClubGames/. I was able to download, unzip, and play it without any special steps (no need to install Flash separately) on my Windows 10 machine, but no promises.

I really need a better signature.

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