Lego Nintendo NES Interview Set – Brick Retro
GameCentral talks to the designer of the new Lego Nintendo set about the NES console replica and other future collaborations.
Nintendo and Lego always seemed like a perfect match, from the moment they announced they were teaming up. And the line of customizable The sets for Super Mario, which were their first announced project, are just as imaginative and unpredictable as you’d expect from such a team.
But Lego has always hinted that this isn’t the only thing that will come from their partnership and while we’ll have to wait and see if other franchises are immortalized in Lego as well, for now there is this. a brick-built Nintendo Entertainment System.
The set comes with an old-school console, controller, cartridge, and TV playing Super Mario Bros. But rather than just being a static set, the entire TV screen moves around, as it does. it was animated, and even creates the right sound effects if you attach the Super Mario figure to the top of the TV.
The set is big, with 2,646 pieces and a price of £ 209.99, which is what you would expect from a licensed set with so many bricks.
Lego is never cheap, but this set is one of the best we’ve ever seen and the effect of Mario’s movement, as the level scrolls, is super smart, especially since all you do to get it to move is turn a side crank.
It looks fantastic and we had the chance to talk to designer Maarten Simons about how he did it and what it’s like to work with Nintendo.
As always nowadays, the interview was to be carried out via Zoom, but Simons showed us how the TV mechanism worked. It uses an elongated cylinder with the level on the outside, which fits into the top of the TV and is then flipped over by the crank, which in turn moves the Mario “ sprite ” up and down as it moves. moves on the ground.
The cylinder also has colored bricks at the top, so when the Super Mario figure is on top of the TV, it can detect what they relate to (a goomba, a coin, etc.) and then create the appropriate sound effect.
While the Super Mario playsets were a direct collaboration with Nintendo, they played a more advisory role to the NES, after Lego pitched the idea to them. But even then, they were apparently very insistent on details, especially the Mario sprite piece.
“It took us a long time to be correct. They were very special, and rightly so, ”said Simons. “ We tried to make it pixel perfect just like some of the other decorations. But this is something we really needed their advice on and we got quite a few curls, more than we expected.
“ This is where their attention to detail was very evident, they even looked at the print and element shapes down to the millimeter, which we don’t always do with a partner. ”
Although the controller is almost exactly the same size as the original, the console itself is a bit smaller, although apparently even Nintendo didn’t notice the difference unless the two were placed side by side. next to each other. And despite what it looks like, there are only a very small number of unique bricks made for the set, with the controller cable being a black pneumatic tube used in other Lego models and the antenna also being used. previously in Technics sets.
The great thing about how the moving image works is that, because everything is Lego, it is fully customizable. So anyone can change the layout of the course or change it to represent any other side scrolling game.
“It’s actually a moving mosaic,” says Simons. “ I don’t know if we can say that we are the first to do something like this, but it is something that we found when we came up with the idea for the NES, when we knew we had to create a moving screen. .
“ When we were building this we knew that the thousands of super talented Lego fans that we have around the world would be able to create their own versions. We just created a section of a game, but in principle with a little creativity, a lot of time and passion, you could create your own and even have an entire game.
Even without talking to Simons, it’s obvious that the two companies have a lot in common: They’ve both been around for decades, both are loved by both young fans and the elderly, and both are well known for their attention to detail and their creativity – and their obsessive secret.
“I’ve been involved in quite a few licensing projects over the years at Lego and each partner is different. But I think what we realized when we were working with Nintendo was that they could almost be Lego colleagues. It was this feeling after we started this project, that their philosophy is also “only the best is good enough”. [Lego’s company motto – GC]
“ If they had something that they felt needed improvement, they wouldn’t let it go until we worked on it. Although at first we might not give it the same attention. And that’s what they brought to the team, their very, very deep level of experience.
“ The gaming experience that they have is a different kind of gaming experience than what we’ve accumulated over the years, but the merger was … I’m not saying it was always easy, it ‘was definitely an exercise for both sides, but I think it worked really well.’
The question for many fans is what other collaborations could be considered in the future. So far, all Lego sets have been based solely on Super Mario, with no other games represented and no traditional Lego figures… but that won’t necessarily be the case forever.
“I don’t know exactly what’s in the contract between the two companies,” admits Simons. “ But I know we wanted very specifically to work on Super Mario first and do it right, get that out and not clutter things up, even with none of the side games in the Mario universe. But obviously there are a lot of opportunities. We have a ton of other great ideas that we could work on as well.
What those other ideas might be, Simons won’t say, but he admitted that the idea for a Famicom – the Japanese version of the NES with a completely different exterior design – had been pitched, although there was no apparently had no serious thought to release it as a set. Other consoles could be a possibility, however.
“When we looked at all the consoles, there are, of course, a lot of very iconic Nintendo consoles, from Game Boy to SNES to new formats.
Although when we implore him not to make the grotesquely ugly American SNES, which looked very different from the Japanese and European versions, Simons chuckled in agreement, “Let’s see, there might be better choices out there. “
The Lego NES releases August 1 – the same day the Super Mario line launches – and is available direct at Lego stores and the official site.
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