Lego Star Wars and granting permission.
"Hey Dad ..I've got General Grievous". I've been spending a lot of time, in the last few months with Lego Star Wars. . So enamoured has my son become with the thing, I've already had to have it replaced once (a scratch) and last month bought a second copy after it mysteriously suffocated from too much handling after a friend came to visit.
"having" General Grievous actually means having him by the way. My son can now whip about as the evil General turning droids into tiny bricks with two lightsabres thrashing away at once jumping preposterously high in the air.
What impressed me almost immediately was as Iain Simons puts it in the New Statesman (reg required) this week is how the "project works its two brands with energy". .Well yes but paradoxically, more crucial to its success, is perhaps the way it combines the consistency of the lego and star wars worlds we know and love with that now familiar but tough leap to let go. And despite the flexibility, those flat faces and moulded hair, it still feels right. Lets face it, as an idea, it still sounds more like a creative experiment in fandom being endorsed heavily on Boing Boing because the community just received a cease and desist rather that a sanctioned MSM product. How on earth did they let it happen ?
Simons goes onto explain...
"Central to "Lego-ness" is the concept of permission - to build, to experiment, to play with the infinite possibilities of reconfiguring plastic bricks. Equally the Star Wars element is about using George Lucas's characters and iconography with the freedom of movable bricks."
To be fair Lucasfilm aren't always so relaxed, as BB are better placed to point out but this is a rare tie in, that starts with the audience. (Under tens and their Dads), and thinks that to succeed you give them control and (oddly rare for a videogame) the tools to be playful with the brand/characters. Now how do I apply this splendid liberal approach to the challenge Mrs Common User has set me. How do I prevent the the poor fella from playing it five hours a day. I'll get back to you on that one. That PSP at christmas is starting to look most unlikely indeed.