The Lego Life of George game at our house
George, the star of the new iPhone app game from Lego called Life of George, isn't too hard to love. He's a hapless software engineer who has been sent around the world to build various objects in various places including New York, a tropical island, and a pirate ship (he must have a heck of a travel office). The best part is that you and your kids can help him on his mission.
The $29 game consists of two parts -- the real and the virtual. The real is a kit of 144 small pieces as well as a play mat. The virtual comes in the form of a free iPhone app that controls the pace of play.
Using the app, you select a location and a mission. You then see an image of a 2D Lego creation and are given a few minutes to complete it using the parts provided. Finally you use the iPhone's camera to "scan" the item on the play mat. A special technology allows the app to tell if you've completed the mission successfully, and you get points for finishing quickly and accurately.
The game is surprisingly addictive: My son got a huge kick out of building the bricks up as fast as possible. It's also a great way for parents and kids to work together. Sometimes we'd split up the job, building half the item each and passing parts back and forth in order to speed things up. You can also play in multiplayer modes by passing the phone back and forth.
At almost $30, the kit is a little on the expensive side -- but it does offer a glimpse of what interactive possibilities can be enabled with smartphones. But if you and the kids are just fine with imaginative play, Life of George may be a bit too structured. As a game of skill, it's quite fun, but nothing beats taking a few big green bases, adding some wheels, and recreating Death Race 2000 by crashing them together.
Personally, my idea of a good time is not putting together a spindly, fiddly shape made of tiny Lego blocks. But if it keeps the kids happy and entertained for a few days, I'm all for it.
Are you planning to play Life of George with your kids?
Image via John Biggs