There have been Lego games on Nintendo consoles for years, but the companies’ new collaboration works because it brings the world of Nintendo to Lego bricks. And we don’t just mean beloved characters and recognizable settings. We mean the actual experience of playing with a Nintendo Entertainment System, from blowing on the cartridge to plugging in the controller, to playing level 1-1 on Super Mario Bros.
The new building kit has three main components. There’s a grey rectangular controller, a console it plugs into (complete with cartridge), and a retro-style television with an assortment of dials and an analog antenna.
The details on the Nintendo hardware are impressive, from the cartridge door that opens and closes just like the real thing to the controller that plugs in just like the pre-Bluetooth days. But the TV is the real star of the show here, in terms of both its design and functionality.
The “screen” is actually a recreation of the first-ever Mario level wrapped around two columns like a scroll. There’s a crank on the right side of the set that, when you turn it, rotates those columns and actually moves through the level. Mario makes his way through the course just like in the real game.
On top of the TV, there’s a panel that you can remove to snap in something called an action brick of the famous plumber. This adds a new dimension to the illusion of gameplay with a tiny display that reacts to what’s happening on the “screen” and authentic sound effects, so it doesn’t just look like you’re playing Super Mario Bros., it sounds that way too.
All in all, it’s a very clever idea very well executed. Wahoo!
The Lego Nintendo Entertainment System kit will be available exclusively at Lego stores and LEGO.com starting August 1, with wider availability next year.