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By Paul Meekin
You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. – Emmet, ‘The Lego Movie”
Lego Worlds is a video game released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It’s an open-world sandbox game about a world of building blocks. It tasks you with collecting gold bricks, helping others to obtain them, and also provides you limitless options of what you can build – much like the real life. And like real life, Lego Worlds is what you make of it.
Take for example the traditional Lego set. It comes with instructions, and you’re welcome to build the model, play with it, and be satisfied. In life, there are things traditionally expected of you and beaten paths to tread. But the beauty of Legos and life is you can explore. Modify. Try new things. Build them up and break them down.
You can do nothing, or you can do anything. Is there anything more Libertarian than that?
Initially, The game is a bit of a mess. After an initial tutorial narrated by Patrick Stewart, you’re given quests by various Lego characters that range from building houses to copying animals via a ‘discovery’ gun, to defending characters from enemy bandits and monsters. The goal is to collect Gold Bricks. The more bricks you collect, the more special items you get, and the more robust your creation tools become. Think of them as sweat-equity rewards.
The items you receive range from uselessly charming to absolutely necessary. A jazzy saxophone will cause every creature in the game to start a dance party. A jack hammer will drill down to the caverns underneath the surface of the planet you’re on where treasures lie. A carrot gun will, well…I’m sure you can guess.
I cannot stress enough how delightful this all appears. It’s bright and colorful and if you’ve ever played with Legos, creating stories and characters and buildings and space ships – this is your imagination realized. It’s beautiful – from dungeons to western towns to jungles to beaches, you smile a lot while seeing these worlds made entirely from Lego bricks.
And that beauty covers up some pretty serious flaws. Item selection is hard in the heat of battle, requiring multiple button presses, and occasionally those wonderfully charming items will not appear in your hands when selecting them, enemies you need to kill won’t spawn, and might just you need to restart the entire game to fix these problems.
Additionally the game is bad at telling you the parameters required for building structures for characters in the game.
There’s also a lack of a compulsory need to play – it’s not forcing you to do any of this – and collecting the gold bricks can become a little boring after you kill your 18th bandit or dig underground for the 30th time. If you’re not playing with them, small children could find this game frustrating.
But eventually you gain the ability to create your own world, and build your own home, and that, my friends, is Liberty realized.
Look, Lego Worlds is obviously not explicitly about any sort of political ideology – as opposed to Dallas Buyers Club which is very obviously advocating for something resembling a Libertarian Agenda. It’s a game for all ages based on the timeless building blocks. But the fun of subtext, especially implicit subtext is it can inform and educate and entertain in a whole new way.
I am of the mind it is the responsibility of those in media and those in politics and those in a position of considerable influence and thought to try and educate others – else risk becoming insular and isolated and appearing to be yelling at clouds.
When it comes to Libertarianism, beyond the basics (free weed, yo) there are questions about the platform and the ideals behind it. It’s sometimes hard to illustrate those ideals and concepts in the real world because our government and society are so turned up in one another that it’s hard to provide concrete examples.
So here’s an abstract one. A game that shows the joys and strifes of Libertarianism. It gives you the freedom to do anything. But that freedom sometimes results in a lack of direction. It is beautiful, but occasionally fraught with perilous bugs and hiccups that pockmark that beauty that you need to work through.
But in the gaming space, where games tend to tell you what to do, and urgently – shoot this, kill that, blow these guys up, do this, upgrade this, Lego Worlds is charmingly lackadaisical. If you have a kid and are a kid at heart, you can actually play this game with a buddy on the same console – talk about an opportunity for family bonding.
That said, I say give Lego Worlds a try if you’re looking for something low key, fun, relatively unique (There’s a game called Minecraft you’ve probably heard of that does a lot of these things differently), and charming as hell.
Hell, you might just say Lego Worlds contains the building blocks of Liberty.
Lego Worlds was provided to me by TT Games for review. I want to thank them for taking a chance on a guy writing for an outlet about a concept not traditionally associated with gaming. I appreciate ya’ll.
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