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Opinion // LEGO video games, children and cooperative play

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored only in the sense that I was asked to write about LEGO videogames – the content and opinion is completely my own.

My eldest son loves the LEGO video games. To be fair he loves video games in general, but the LEGO games are a firm favourite in our household, partly because it’s LEGO (and who doesn’t love LEGO?) and partly because they’re games that we’re quite happy to play cooperatively with him.

I’ve written about other  LEGO titles before, but I have good reason to revive the topic right now. Recently he’s been playing LEGO Marvel Avengers and with the knowledge that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming to our consoles in June, (I might be more excited about this than him at this point), I’m more than happy to encourage this!

Just a quick note about this post – this is not a review of LEGO Marvel Avengers. I’m pretty sure you’ve all read those already – this is more a discussion around LEGO games in general and why I like playing them with my son. If you haven’t played it however, here’s a quick trailer so at least we’re all on the same page.

One of the things I’ve always loved about the LEGO games is the humour. It’s something that makes it more entertaining for adults to play as there are often a number of subtle puns and double entendres that make it that much more appealing for the older audience. Of course for my son he’s just excited that it’s LEGO and in this case the fact that it includes superheroes is an added bonus.

My son might not get all of the small details and jokes, but he enjoys the gameplay and the storyline, which is really the most important thing.

In this case, if you’re an adult playing with your kids (or just playing the game because the LEGO games are fun), then there’s the added appeal of the inclusion of characters from the movies. If you’re a comic book geek like me, this is really what makes it that much more interesting to play. My son might not get all of the small details and jokes, but he enjoys the gameplay and the storyline, which is really the most important thing. Granted, you might notice some of the flaws in the game, but when you’re playing with kids this is really something that can be forgiven very easily. That said, my son also hasn’t seen all the movies – mainly because he’s young and I’m cautious as I feel they’re a bit violent for him (he’s not quite 5 years old yet). LEGO Marvel Avengers however, gives me a way to get him involved and get a sense of the characters without being exposed to the violence that is much more prevalent in the films. In fact I would argue that this is the strength of many of the LEGO titles – it gives the younger market exposure to characters and stories that their parents can enjoy with them without the exposure to the violence of a live action film.

Anyone who has played a video game with a child will understand the frustration of cooperative play, especially when you have a child such as mine that stands back while you do all the work and then collects the coins afterwards because “he needs the money!” It’s pretty damn annoying, and I’m just going to highlight that if you are a selfish bastard who doesn’t like sharing your rewards, then you’re going to have a hard time when you have children! Or at least you’re going to need to learn to change pretty quickly. There is nothing like the wrath of a pre-schooler who gets upset over the fact that you’re beating them in a race or have collected more coins than them. Luckily (for me) I’ve learned to share my toys and am very generous when playing LEGO co-op. (Yay me!) At least it’s fun and it gives me a reason to play with him without being bored. The advantage of co-op play in the LEGO universe is also the split screen. Unlike some other games which bind you together so that you can’t move too far away from your partner, the LEGO games allow you to pretty much move independently so this is not an issue. If your child goes off and leaves you to deal with the bad guys yourself, your movement isn’t restricted in any way and the frustration will only arise when trying to get them to come back to assist YOU.

In any case, the gameplay, combined with the witty dialogue and the puzzles (which really aren’t all that easy, especially if you haven’t been paying attention!) make for the kind of games that I really enjoy playing with my kids. I’m not the kind of parent that keeps my kids away from video games, but I am the kind that monitors what they’re playing and games like this are ideal. We have a number of the LEGO titles, and almost all have them have been an instant hit.

And now, because I’M excited about this title – eeeep! here’s a LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.

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About Pippa Tshabalala

Tattooed Gamer. Writer. VO artist. Work in TV. Sony Xperia Brand Ambassador Bookings: unexpectedpippa@gmail.com

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