Ready Player One: A Short Book/Movie Comparison

Let me start by saying that Ready Player One, The Book, is my all-time favorite book.  I have read it twice in print and I think I’ve listened to the unabridged audiobook 8-10 times.  Yes, that many.  I’m not sure exactly why.  Maybe because I connect with the era and nearly all of the hundreds of 80’s references it includes.  Maybe it’s just the way Wil Wheaton reads it to me.  Maybe a combination of all of this.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’ve just thrown it on in the car driving to and from work many times–just for a quick fix–and whenever I do that, I get caught up in it and end up listening to it from start to finish again.  I always realize new things that I didn’t catch before, new connections between one part and another, one character becomes more clear in my mind, etc.  Simply put, I love the book a lot.

Today was opening day for the movie Ready Player One, so Kevin, Matt and I went to see it.  Shockingly, the theater was nearly empty.  I guess it hasn’t “caught on” yet.  I went in knowing that things would be different in the movie.  The screenplay was written by Ernest Cline though, the author of the book, so I figured he’d keep it as much like the book as he could.  Nope!  Not a chance.  The movie is completely different than the book.  So much so, that I think it should be viewed as a completely separate work.  It’s not the Ready Player One I knew.  I don’t really see how it could have the exact same name as the book, it’s that different.  The statements they’ve been using–“Based on the novel by Ernest Cline” is just not true, and using the movie’s logo and screenshot for the audiobook, which Audible changed right before the movie came out, is just plain wrong in my opinion.  They are two entirely different stories.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie.  I liked it.  But I think a lot of the biggest fans of the book, especially those who grew up in the 80’s like I did and enjoyed the hell out of all of the deep references and atmosphere of that time, are going to be very disappointed.  For one thing, the movie doesn’t stick to the 80’s anywhere near as closely as the book did.  But it was very amusing and fun to see all the “new” references–like seeing Chucky, the psycho doll from a few of my favorite campy horror movies, fighting right alongside Iron Giant, King Kong, and hundreds of others.  But that’s only a part of what was different.  The biggest difference was the puzzles required to obtain each of the three keys needed to reach the final Easter egg.  Almost nothing was from the book with these, and I thought they were pretty key to the story.  I understand that the need to cut a 12-hour story down to 2.5 hours requires a lot of changes and cutting of content, but the story was completely changed to the point where only small elements and “pieces” of the book remained in the story.   Even the Wade’s totally insane plan–which I thought was brilliant, and worked out for him in the end, in the book, was totally cut from the movie, and instead, Art3mis ends up being the one to sneak into “IOI” (Innovative Online Industries) and save the day.  Like I said, the vague elements were there, but blended up to make something totally different than the book.

Even one of the most important elements–the reason for the title “Ready Player One” itself, was nowhere in the movie at all–not even so much as an explanation.  The three words, “Ready Player One” are the very last thing every player sees when they put on their VR gear, leave the real world, and enter the world of the Oasis.  The movie should have been named “OASIS”, or “Anorak’s Game” or something like that, but not “Ready Player One”.  They could have even added the tagline “Based loosely on the novel, Ready Player One”, and that would have made much more sense to me, and probably many others.

In conclusion, if you haven’t read the book, go ahead and see the movie.  I recommend it.  It’s a fun, crazy, non-stop effects-fest you’ll probably enjoy.  It’ll definitely make you want to try out a little VR tech, if you haven’t already.  That technology certainly seems to be evolving quickly and we could end up with an “Oasis” of our own, for real!  But the movie also barely touched on the most important message in that regard:  The Oasis becomes so addictive that everyone started neglecting the real world in favor of the virtual one, so all of society was falling apart.  And if you HAVE read the book, just know that the movie, though it has the exact same name, is totally different.  The book had slow parts, explained all of the details and workings of everything, and took it’s sweet little time.  It was an awesome roller-coaster ride for me.  The movie was non-stop, hardly ever pausing for more than a moment so you can catch your breath, all the way to the end.  To me, this made the excitement and satisfaction of acquiring each of the three keys seem like much less of an accomplishment.  The book really put a fine point on these elements, and even gave you a frequent update on the scoreboard.  It even explained why Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto were referred to as “The High Five”–the movie didn’t even mention it.  It only showed the scoreboard–very briefly–and I guess the viewer was supposed to make that connection automatically.  I’m not sure I would have…at least not the FIRST time I watched the move, had I not read the book.

Maybe reading and listening to the book so many times jaded me too much, and I ignored other, much better, stories in favor or experiencing The Oasis myself again and again… I don’t know.  I have heard some reviewers even complain about how horrible the writing is in the book, but I certainly didn’t get any sense of that at all.  Of course, I was so thrilled with all of the references to tons of things I grew up with myself, I was reveling in so much nostalgia, I might not have even realized it was actually crappy writing.  I guess I’ll just have to re-read it one more time… Perhaps after I see the movie once or twice more, just to catch everything I missed in it the first time.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Boogie Board Sync 9.7 – A review posted on Amazon

I recently bought one of these “eWriters” when Amazon e-mailed me a recommendation.  At that time it was $69.99.  The price, as of this writing, is now $81.17 on Amazon and the list price is $99.99.  It is also sold from other places for as high as $120, so I figured $69.99 was a pretty good deal.  Here’s my Amazon review:

Excellent eWriter for the price – just a couple issues keeping it from a 5-star rating

This is a nice “notepad” replacement. I only have two small issues with it: 1: If you forget to look at the LED to make sure it’s lit and green (ON), you can fill the entire display with your notes only to find nothing has been saved, even when you turn the power on and press the SAVE button. Anything written on the surface BEFORE you powered it on is lost forever (you might as well take a photo of it with your phone if you need to keep it at that point). It would be awesome if there it had a simple auto-power-on feature built in that would automatically turn it on as soon as you started drawing on it. 2: It occasionally “skips” portions of letters and drawing strokes in saved documents. This seems to be at random times and doesn’t happen very frequently, but the drawn letters and lines are clearly on-screen and not shown in the saved copy once it awhile. This is fairly rare though. I would have given it 5 stars if it hadn’t been for those two issues.

I work in a Help Desk position, taking phone calls for PC issues all day long. Aside from the two issues mentioned above, this device has saved me from using a lot of paper already, and will save me a lot of money in notepads, which I used to go through very quickly taking call after call. I normally write down the details of each call and issue, then as time permits I’ll create tickets for those calls in our ticket system using my notes. It seems a little different to flip through my notes on my phone instead of flipping through all of my notebook pages, but I think that’s just something I’ll need to get used to over time.

Overall, I must admit that I still continue to search for that “perfect” ewriter solution that will provide what this does and fix the two issues I have with it, but this is pretty close and is definitely useful, and well worth the price. My co-workers seemed a bit disappointed that you can’t “recall” saved pages directly on the device, but they understand once I explain how and why the technology is “one-way” and only records keystrokes. The functionality of being able to recall pages would require more “tablet” or “notebook” technology, which would increase it’s thickness, weight and pricetag, I’m sure. Compared to all of the other options I’ve managed to dig up online, this one is “it” for now. Most others don’t allow you to save your pages outside of the device, let alone save in different formats to different services.

Also, I haven’t read anything about file formats other than saving as PDFs for this device, but I was happy to see that the Boogie Board Sync app on Android allows me to “share” any note as an image (png), PDF, or video (plays back your saved page as it was written, stroke by stroke). You can even select MULTIPLE pages (for example, an entire day of notes) and export them as a single multi-page PDF! Very nice!

Lorex – A Rant

Something’s been bugging me lately.  It’s nothing big, just a geeky thing, but it’s bugging me nonetheless.  Lorex.  Lorex is apparently a security camera company, and it seems they may have a financial problem, because they are apparently using their existing customers to provide free advertising on Facebook instead of advertising the proper way everyone else does it – by PAYING for it.  Maybe they do advertise, I’m sure they do if they want to stay in business, I just don’t feel this is the way to do it.

In my case, I only recently heard of them…when my cousin first started posting photos of his cameras on Facebook.  After he had done this several times, over that many days, I finally asked him “why all the security camera spam?”  All of his posts included no text, only a simple hashtag with the company’s name in it and a closeup photo of a security camera or the recording box they’re apparently attached to.  I asked him if he’s trying to tell would-be burglars that he has security, trying to advertise for the security camera company, or what?  He responded explaining that it’s a sweepstakes entry.  Each time he posts one of those with that hashtag, he is apparently entered into a sweepstakes for something. ” Wow, this is quite the advertising scam”, I thought at first, but does it work right?  After I thought about it a bit, I think not.  After seeing these same photos appear over and over, day after day, in my Facebook feed–often making me think there’s a lot of activity going on with my friends at first–then finding out 80% of the post messages in my feed are just more of these camera photos, it only makes me dislike this company and, as a result, I would never even consider them as a source of security cameras.

I certainly have nothing at all against my cousin, but it irritated me so much over many weeks of these posts that I have ended up unfriending him on Facebook.  This is really sad, and makes me dislike this camera company much more.  That might seem like a pretty drastic move on my part, but the way I see it, Sandy (my wife) still has my cousin on her Facebook, and she’ll certainly let me know if he posts anything important (and if the security camera posts stop), so I don’t feel I’m really missing anything.  I just hope my cousin understands my reasoning.  I do consider Facebook a tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, and that’s about it.  There’s enough paid advertising on Facebook already, without tons of these “sweepstakes” posts.   I can certainly understand someone posting a genuine message saying how much they like their security camera system, and even including the hashtag that would get them entered into a sweepstakes contest, maybe even multiple times over a period of time, but this is just over-the-top, in my opinion.  And maybe this posting even gives them more advertising, I don’t know.  Yes I do, I shouldn’t flatter myself–I have about 6 readers total. That’s it.  I check my hits.  Heck, I won’t even post a link to THIS posting on Facebook, just to keep it low profile… I just felt like bitching about it his morning.

Update on my Lego Worlds addiction

I certainly haven’t stopped playing Lego Worlds.  In fact, it has gotten a bit out of hand.  I now have it on 4 platforms: X-Box One, PS4, Switch and Steam.  Crazy, right?  I only mention it now because I just completed another milestone.  I just made it to 100 gold bricks on the PC version.  Here’s my stats for each system:

Switch – 985 items, 106 gold bricks
X-Box – 1175 items, 115 gold bricks
PS4 – 1194 items, 127 gold bricks
PC – 830 items, 100 gold bricks

With that goal completed, my next goal is a bit more challenging and probably only requires a bit of time:  Acquire all building block types on each platform.  On PS4 I’m actually at 100% already.  I’m not sure how, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t coincidence.  The game seems to just “give” you another piece you need when you either tackle the troublemaker in any world or open a chest.  This is completely random though, and most of the time you’ll get other items, including gold bricks, tools, or actual brick builds.  It just seems to be very random, so it only takes time to eventually get there.  It should be interesting to see how long it takes.  I’ll keep noting my progress here once in awhile.  Not that anyone’s actually interested though.

 

 

 

 

 

Bring it, 2018

Here comes 2018. I’m looking forward to this year, but at the moment things are still bleak. We’ve been in a deep freeze for the past couple weeks. Too cold to walk anywhere, everything’s frozen solid. Fortunately we haven’t had any issues at home or with the cars….YET. Except for my windshield washers. They are either frozen or I blew a fuse or something… they won’t squirt anything, and this can cause serious issues when driving. Aside from that, so far we’re hanging in there this winter. Not even any falls (again, YET).

A very controversial book just came out today about the Trump White House, called Fire and Fury, and I’m kinda excited to read it. I’m not very political though, I try to stay quiet as I’m horrible at arguing, debating things and taking any kind of stand, even on my blog, so I won’t even say I’m in any particular political party, but I am very curious when it comes down to how things really work. I know many top officials, including Trump himself, have claimed everything (or most things) in this book are lies, so this book will be picked apart word-by-word. I’m very curious to see exactly what it’s all about.

I was in the middle of reading “The Woman in the Window”, a book Stephen King highly recommends, before I found out about Fire and Fury, and it was getting quite interesting itself, so I sure hope this one doesn’t turn out to be a waste of my time. But if it does, I’ll be back to The Woman in the Window in a heartbeat.

Low

There’s been a lot of depressing stuff going on lately. Our dear adopted mother, Rosemary Wood, passed away recently (nice Kenosha News article about her life here), then my brother-in-law Bob Brackney passed away suddenly, there’s my wife’s medical issues, mass shootings all over the place, President Trump gets more depressing with every one of his goofy un-president-like Tweets, and on top of all of that, Fall has arrived in force, and it’s freezing outside.

The weather, of course, is to be expected, but it’s still depressing every year at this time–at least for me. It’s beautiful, at least when the fall colors arrive in the trees and the temperature drops to the 50’s and 60’s, that part is actually my favorite time of year. Very comfortable for walking and spending time outdoors, having a nice fire going, I love it. But then, always much too soon the temperature drops down to the 20’s and 30’s and the snow and slush arrive, as well as my annual sinus issues and a cold that also settles in for the winter, and the days get shorter and shorter until I’m going to work in the dark and also coming home in the dark. Once that (this) happens I don’t feel right again until some time in the spring.

Socks gets so confused walking in the dark, so now our walks are limited to the weekends for several months. I think this depresses him as well. But this is all just part of the cycle. All we need to do is hang in there and things will eventually turn around again. Even with Trump. I am little reassured knowing our government has so many checks and balances in place that should prevent immediate catastrophe, but how much of that has really been put to the test? Trump is sure pushing that envelope. But I’m not political. so enough about that.  Except this:  I found this in a recent book I read:  “Voting is a lot like driving… ‘D’ takes you forward, ‘R’ takes you backward.”.  I got quite a kick out of that one.

On another note, my blog has clearly become a one-way outlet for me–Just a place for me to vent, post some notes, happenings, etc., so I’ll try (my famous last words, I know) to post more often, whether it’s news, reviews, complaining, or even just a little fiction I’ve written, I’ll try. But I know that this site has recently lost it’s #1 fan (Rosemary), and that saddens me even more.

Old Kenosha

This week’s Happenings magazine has a section called “It’s Your Hometown Memories”.  It includes a lot of old Kenosha photos and businesses from way back when.  It’s pretty surprising to know some of them have survived for so long!  I thought it would be interesting to list some of them along with a few of my related memories of them.  Unfortunately I can’t include photos from the magazine due to legal reasons, but I’ll try to describe anything I found interesting in them as best I can.

Brat Stop started up in 1958 as a tiny little place that looked like a drive-in restaurant.  It was located on Highway 41 long before I-94 even existed.  I saw Oceans at Brat Stop with Hans D long ago.

Javelin Restaurant was located on the corner of 22nd Avenue and 60th Street, was started in the 1980’s when AMC was the big manufacturing giant in Kenosha, and was obviously named after the AMC Javelin.  I don’t recall ever going to this restaurant, but it was fairly close to our family’s home, which was 6611 20th Avenue, very close to uptown Kenosha.  It was owned by Vasilios (Bill) Anastopoulos, who apparently later moved on to build the successful Anastos Motors car dealership in Kenosha.  I’ve watched this high-traffic corner location change hands many times over the years

Bernacci’s Drug Store was located uptown where Fire Station #3 is today, at 63rd Street and 22nd Avenue.  This business wasn’t mentioned in Happenings at all, I just remembered it when I was thinking about Javelin Restaurant (those darned “member berries” again…)  I remember, as a kid, the huge fire that occurred there, burning the store to the ground.  Since it was only a couple blocks from home, my friends and I all ran and biked there and watch the firefighting & chaos as it unfolded.  My attempts to find more information about Bernacci’s on the web have failed.  Am I spelling it wrong, maybe?

The Music Center, now located on Green Bay Road, opened up in the 1940’s.  I had no idea it had been around so long.  Where it was originally located, I have no idea.

Happenings Magazine has been around for 40 years – since 1977.  It’s a free local magazine we usually pick up at local restaurants and gas stations.  It is currently located in the old American Brass Administration Building, 1420 63rd Street.  Gotta include a little self-promotion in their own magazine, so there it is.  It’s funny how the entire section is mostly ads (as the magazine always is), but a lot of the ad content for each business contains their historical significance, and Most pages of ads “interconnect” with each other and the photos in the pages near them, making it more like one big article you’re reading.  Nice work, I enjoyed it.

Chester Electronics was located next to the train tracks on 60th Street, and I remember going there many times with my dad (both of us were gadget geeks) as a kid, buying CBs, police scanners, crystals–one crystal was need for each scanner frequency you wanted to listen to, so they had to be hand-made (or tuned) for that frequency.  This took a week or two after ordering, then you could come in and pick up that crystal and install it in your scanner.  This was way before today’s scanners, which provide entire bands and you just electronically tune in (or scan entire bands) to listen to them.  Chester’s eventually moved to it’s current location, where National Foods once was–7709 Sheridan Road.  Chester Minkowski is the owner.  I’m not sure what year it opened, or whether Chester is still alive, as that information wasn’t included.  Oh, and do you want to see the worst website ever?  Check it out: http://chesterelectronics.com/

Lou Perrine’s gas station (aka “One Stop Shop”) has been around for 62 years – Since 1954.  It is now located on 52nd Street and Sheridan Road.  I noticed a YouTube logo next to this one, so out of curiosity I had to check.  Very nice!  It contains video ads, as expected, and they’re interesting… I had no idea they even did home delivery…$5 delivery charge, but they insist on NO TIPS!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jppVnBhbVik

Thomas B. Jeffery Company was founded in 1902.  It evolved into Nash Motors in 1916, American Motors in 1954, and Chrysler in 1987.  Later it was reduced to just the Chrysler Engine Plant.  It closed in October 2010 and was demolished in 2013.  I worked there for 5 years–1985 to 1989–as a Security Guard.  Looking back on it, those were some interesting and fun times, I must say.  I was hired at $4.50/hr and worked my way up to the maximun $6.50/hr by the time I left.  I was hired after a bunch of restructuring of the Security department and mass-layoffs of the “old guard” who were still unionized and paid much more money as a result.  The restructuring ended up with most of those guard either quitting or retiring and the wages being more than cut in half.  I wasn’t looked upon very favorably by most for taking the job, but for me I had just graduated from Tech College and had been looking for work, and figured any job is better than no job.  I was surprised it lasted as long as it did.  I was looking for PC Tech work (and doing side PC work) pretty much the entire 5 years…though not very aggressively.  I was laid off during another of the many cutbacks they did in those days leading up to the final closing.

Guttormsen’s Recreation Center, now located on Green Bay Road and 52nd Street, began in 1919 on 6th Avenue downtown, where the KVNA building now stands, across the street to the North of the Municipal Building.  As a kid I remember a friend working there as a pinsetter.  And I also remember “someone” obtaining a large quantity of soap and dumping it into the large Municipal Fountain located on 6th Avenue one evening, and watching as the fountain overflowed with soap suds!

The Elk’s Club, located at 5706 8th Avenue, is now The Heritage House, and is a historic Kenosha building.  I don’t think this one was was even mentioned in the Happenings section, but I just remembered it now, having worked at the Elk’s Club as a dishwasher for two years, part-time, while I was in high school.  Here’s the history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenosha_Elks_Club

I think that’s about half of the section so far.  I’m finding it pretty interesting myself.  I’ll probably post the other half soon, if time permits.  Thanks for visiting!

Lego Worlds – A review

Hello, my name is Jim and I’m an addict. Yeah, I’m a grown-up… And still I play with toys. Legos are all the rage these days–even in the movies. So when Lego Worlds was recently released for the PS4, I jumped on it almost immediately. I’ve had the Early Release version for the PC on Steam for quite some time, but I only played it once in awhile. It was a really cool open world system, and you just dove in and started playing around with objects and characters, building and breaking things, etc., etc., much like Minecraft. I find many games a bit difficult to play on the PC unless I have my Steam controller optimally configured for that particular game, and in the case of Lego Worlds on Steam, I just wasn’t able to get it working to my liking, and often gave up trying to get it to work properly for me. So when the PS4 version was released, I knew that, finally, it must have a controller configuration good enough to work with on the PS4, so I gave it a shot.

I don’t know if the Steam version ever received the same treatment that the PS4 version now has, but there certainly wasn’t Tutorial levels and gameplay like there is on the PS4 version when I was playing it on Steam! My initial experience with the PS4 version was totally new, and it’s really interesting how it first teaches you the basics, giving you lessons along the way, and as you progress through the tutorial levels you learn more and more about how everything works, more items are given to you, and you basically (at least in my case) become addicted and want more and more eye candy, game candy, object builds, blocks, gold bricks… The tutorials end after 3 or 4 different worlds are “completed”, then you unlock the main “game” that in-turn unlocks everything else. The ultimate goal being to reach 100 Gold Bricks, which unlocks the ability to create NEW worlds of your very own. So this is all sort of a huge “training ground”, or a giant tutorial if you will, to prepare you for the open world creation freedom that is to come–which then, I imagine, works somewhat like Minecraft, where you can either start with a blank world, scarcely populated or completely blank, and build upon it whatever you will. Except that with THIS game, the tools at your disposal are far beyond anything I’ve ever seen in Minecraft!

But getting that far (100 Gold Bricks) is still on my horizon, so I can’t really say for sure how that part of the experience is yet (hence the “incomplete review” title). I’m at 71 Gold Bricks as of this writing, and climbing daily. The pace at which you gain bricks varies quite a bit, from what I’ve seen though. What happens after the tutorials is the ability for you to generate random worlds, then travel to them, explore and plunder them, all in an effort to gather everything you can from the world. This includes completing quests the characters on that world ask of you, finding chests filled with objects (including Gold Bricks), exploring, tackling troublemakers (who will come up to you and taunt you with the game piece they’re holding, then run from you as you try to tackle them to get the piece) and just plain trashing everything you can to gain studs (every Lego game’s currency). When you “Discover” an object in the game it gets added to your inventory, but you can’t actually “use” the object until you purchase it in the game using some studs. The value of each object in the game is pre-defined–for example it might cost 2,500 studs for a particular in-game vehicle–so if you pay that to unlock it, you can then deploy that vehicle anywhere, on any world, and use it in whatever way suits you. Or, perhaps an object is needed to complete a quest, and you have it… Use it and get rewarded with even more studs to use in the game. Added to all of this is the expansion of world sizes you can play in. You start out with just small worlds (as if that doesn’t overwhelm you enough), but after obtaining so many Gold Bricks you unlock Medium-sized worlds and everything is a lot bigger. Then, further on you unlock Large-sized worlds, and then, finally, Huge-sized worlds.

This very open-ended random-world generation makes things pretty interesting, and definitely a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone, and your own personality and tendencies come into play quite a bit. For example, there’s some really neat dungeons in the game, which are filled with traps, puzzles and monsters… Get through those successfully and you’re rewarded with many huge piles of studs! This is all really fun to play around with, but a smart kid just in a hurry to reach the end-game knows that with all of the tools available at that point in the game, one could simply pull out the landscaping tool and level the entire dungeon in one fell swoop.. or use to bazooka to blast right through the walls to the treasure. I considered this myself, briefly, before deciding to take the high road and experience the dungeon like I assume it was intended. Maybe later on I’ll come back and play around with leveling it, even if only to see how it was built and to possibly use some of it’s traps in the free world-building part of the game that I haven’t gotten to yet.

The game isn’t without it’s little quirks and bugs though. But I’d expect as much for a project this vast. There will no-doubt be updates to fix it up, I’m sure. One complaint I have might be a bug, but I’m not really sure. Right now it’s just an annoyance for me. Another family member found an awesome random world and wanted me to try it out. There’s an option to enter a random world “seed” on the main world selection screen, so I assumed this would allow me to enter the number he provided and I could then play that same world. So I entered the number, it appeared to show it in the mini map, but when I travel to the world, it’s a completely different random world! I can’t seem to get it to accept that exact number sequence, though it does allow me to see a preview of it. Very annoying. I can’t find a solution (or others even complaining about the same thing) on the web yet, so I think it’s just a bug that hasn’t been discussed yet.

So that’s the game, in a nutshell. I’ve been through the desert, the old west, a few very hot lava-filled planets, a few made of candy, some desert islands with interesting surprises, many caves containing buried treasure among other creepy things like spiders, scorpions and even zombies and swamp monsters, cloud cities and have even found many underwater treasures–including sunken shipwrecks, sharks, fish and even a few underwater cities. I can tell that the creators sure spent a lot of time either manually building whole areas brick by brick or wrote one heck of a procedural engine to generate worlds! It seems they are endless in their quantity, somehow. Like Minecraft, it boggles the mind. And, in the process, it feels like by the time I’m up to the 100 Gold Bricks needed I will have amassed hundreds of “discoveries” consisting of vehicles, characters, animals, insects, weapons, objects, and even whole “brick builds” (one-click mass-builds of large objects that assemble themselves before your eyes, instantly), and I will have learned quite a bit about the Lego world and what I am capable of as a “Master Builder”. I can see there’s also a lot of artistic skill needed as well, so for me things are going to take a lot longer to get right if I’m going to create any Lego Worlds of my very own. I’m sure going to want to, after spending this much time working through the entire game.

I’ll be sure to come back and complete this review or write a completely new one after I have completed the 100-Gold-Brick goal and am able to create entirely new worlds in the game. At that point I’m sure I’ll know even more about it and have much more to say. Now I’m going to head back into this Atlantis-looking underwater world I just found… I sure wish I could hold my breath for longer though… maybe I’ll find a or earn some scuba gear soon.

The Finish Line – Update added 3/24/2017

I made it. Last night, after sitting at 98 Gold Bricks for a day, I jumped in and made the push to 100 and made it. I saved the last 7 minutes of my gameplay if you’d like to watch it: https://youtu.be/NFaPjYGQ39c. As a subtext to the video: I had a trapped, frightened gingerbread person stuck on a rooftop. He/She had a gold brick, and if I could save them I would get my 100th brick. I had previously tamed several pigs, so they were following me around at this time. After some playing around with the landscape tool I managed to get the character to drop to the ground. As the gingerbread character pulled out its gold brick to throw it to me, he was attacked by my pigs and killed! NO BRICK FOR ME! Nazi Soup Pigs. But soon it happened again–another frightened gingerbread person in the same area… So I immediately took action, usied my scimitar, and sliced me up some tasty bacon to get that elusive last gold brick!

Obtaining 100 gold bricks gives you the rank of “Master Builder” and also unlocks the option to “Create custom worlds” in the game. So I played around with that option for the rest of the evening (and this morning before work) and I must say, the options are nice. I was a little disappointed at first when I couldn’t find an option to just start with a completely “clean slate” – just a blank, empty world, flat, with nothing in it – but I soon found that this was probably not an oversight, it was most likely done on purpose. You can, as they say, “create the Lego world of your dreams”, and if you desire a blank, flat world, well… go for it! It’s doable. Just do it.

Technically, you can’t actually “Create a new world”, as the voiceover announcer describes it at the end of obtaining 100 gold bricks (as you hear him say in my saved video). That’s deceiving, and I think it was actually a mistake. the game itself shows the option as “Create a custom world”. This is a bit more accurate, because you can only choose the individual Biomes, Animals, Characters, Vehicles and the world size you would like, then click the “create” button, and what it does is give you a world seed of that size, with those options set. It’s still a pre-defined world, with a seed you can share with any other Lego Worlds player. Your version of it might be just initially populated a little differently than anyone else’s, based on your preferences.

But this was a very interesting design choice for the game, as you’ll see. I set out, then, so create what I just mentioned above: A flat world, like a clean slate to start with–no animals, objects, or anything–sort of a complete beginning–so I know exactly what’s in that world, and everything in it I know came from me. The various tools available in the game are very fun to learn and use, so it’s not a problem at all. I chose the smallest world size, and just one “open prairie” biome, so the world would be as easy to flatten as possible, with the least number of objects to have to destroy and clean up. I used the “flatten” landscaping tool to level everything down (or up) to the same level, making it all flat. I guess I should say “am using”, as I’m still actively working on this world as I write this. My initial world came with many vehicles, animals and characters spread all over it, including a quest area or two, so I have plenty of work to do. As I level the landscape, animals on it will shift up or down to meet the ground and keep travelling on it, and I’ll select them and “remove” them to pop them out of existence. Sometimes I’ll run into a character or animal I haven’t discovered yet, requiring me to complete a quest first, before I can work with that particular animal or character. This is a fun side-objective, and it also provides you with more characters, objects and animals to use in the game. It even makes the dullness of simply flattening everything on the entire map much less so.

So create the Lego world of your dreams is fun, and there’s plenty to do along the way, so get busy. There are even plenty more gold bricks I can obtain as well as secret “Legendary” puzzle pieces which can be assembled to reveal even larger “Legendary Gold Bricks”, as well as many other things. It also seems like I will never have every single object, animal, character or vehicle in the game, so opening chests and completing quests can always earn me something new and unexpected along the way–especially with the possibility of downloadable content and add-ons that are sure to come later on. So I’m heading back in now, gotta keep flattening. Haylie wants an empty landscape to build her dream world on the next time she visits. This concludes my review.  I really like this game.