Without a doubt, the release of the Downtown Diner(10260) as the latest modular has brought about a few interesting discussion points, from the reintroduction of teal, the change of the faces from the Classic Smiley, to the change in the architectural style not being in keeping with the other modular buildings.
I personally like the change, and particularly adopting a look from 60 years ago, in line with the 60th anniversary of the LEGO® Brick, which we celebrate this weekend.
I am looking forward to taking on this set in real life, however the queue for building is long, and time is poor. So I did what anyone would do when confronted with this conundrum.
I went to check my social media.
Now, Twitter is an interesting medium, and not one I engage with effectively for social commentary or witty observation. I personally announce new posts from the blog or Instagram there. And get useful tidbits from other postings. One I probably get the greatest benefit from is the LEGO Worlds account (@LEGOWorldsGame).
I was quite excited when a week ago, this appeared:
And this brought me joy. Now holidays and Brickvention building/garnishing have been occupying a lot of my time as well, so it took an extra week to get around to playing the game and downloading the Diner from the Showcase Gallery. And to my surprise I discovered a 50’s garage and a Drive-in waiting for me as well. Next time I log in, I expect to be able to find a dance hall (available from 26th January). These downloads will be allegedly available until the 5th of March.
A Whole New World…
To access the builds, give the content a chance to load from the servers when you sign in: you will find downloadable content in the menu:
Once downloaded, you can use the Discovery Tool to place the Downtown Diner in your landscape. I started by placing it initially in my fantasy world, and followed up by installing the garage, and completing the tasks to unlock the characters provided…
I then entered sandbox mode to set up a town. It resembled a Japanese LEGO Paradise, with Ninja and Kimono ladies from the Collector Minifigure Series at every turn, with cherry blossom blooming. I then got out my landscaping tool, and paved a paradise to put up a parking lot. Well, at least to level a large area for my buildings to go.
The Downtown Diner
The first thing that grabs my attention, every time I look at this model is the teal arch. The sheer height from ground level to the top of this sweeping line of teal is impressive in its scale. It tells you that this is a modern building. It feels full of hope and optimism, of exciting times to come. But before we go inside, lets look at it in the street.
One of the concerns voiced by people about the Downtown Diner is whether or not it fits into a street of modular buildings. Fortunately, in sandbox mode, we have access to a variety of modular buildings, including the town hall and brick bank, as well as the Creator corner deli.
I lined them up, and got something like this…
So. While the Streamline architectural style of the Diner may be a little discordant compared to the rest of the street, I feel that it can sit in between these buildings well. In many areas around modern cities, we have buildings from a variety of periods lined up together. While often it is only the lower level looking out of place, the phenomenon is common enough for me to think that this is not entirely improbable, and consistent with the appearance of many cities around the world. While the diner has stairs reaching up to the top from the left hand side, I do not feel that it needs to be located on a corner block: there is adequate laneway beside the building to allow the fire escape to function as stairs to the upper levels, readily accessible from the street, to the back door of the cafe.
As we enter the cafe, you are struck by the number of fittings present, as well as the detail present in them. The back wall is filled with our favourite resurrected colour for 2018, teal, and the floor has the chequered tiles you would expect to see in a diner of this vintage. A juke box plays Rock’N’Roll, while burgers wait to be eaten on the table in one of the booths. The counter is lined on one side with red cushioned stools and has a soda dispenser. A coffee percolator sits in the corner. All of these items can be captured for further use with the discovery tool.
Before long it became obvious that there is inadequate lighting in this building. It turns out you need to install your own lighting for effects in the digital Diner too. So I picked up a torch to bring out some of the details in the building.
Our waitress is behind the counter, and sends me out on a quest (it turns out that all of the weights being used in the gym have damaged the ceiling of the diner: fix this to get a prize.). In return, the waitress is unlocked, and becomes a playable character, and you receive a pair of roller skates, which allows you to move faster than if you are trying to get around by foot alone.
I move from the diner, to exit by the back door, and climb the stairs to the second floor. This houses the Gymnasium. Here we find a boxing ring, weights of various sizes, the benchpress and the punching bag.
I called up another character, and got into a bit of a fight…
It is possible to access the roof outside the gym, and perform pirouettes next to the sign. I was unable to redesign the sign however! Miraculously, I never fell. I suspect a real minifigure may not be so lucky.
Returning to the back of the building, stairs lead further up to the top floor, where we find the recording studio. Here there are lots of items to discover such as furniture and the mixing desk, and recording gear. The mixing desk and recorder look remarkable sophisticated. My inner builder plots to use the mixing desk in the near future.
You can even try out your singing skills in the recording studio!
As always in the modular building series, the level of detail to be found in the furniture and fittings enhances the experience (well with the exception of Cafe Corner). from the drinks dispenser, to the burgers and seating. To say nothing of the mixing desk, and gym equipment, I find the level of detail impressive. The rendered brick, however, gave little away about the structure of the boxing ring.
Here you can see some of the objects available for discovery in the Digital rendition of the Downtown Diner and Garage:
Now I don’t know about you, but it took me a couple of months to work out what I needed to do in order to be able to download free building from the Showcase Gallery. As if as a proof, I have not successfully loaded any other prior free content for LEGO Worlds. If you are still looking for instructions on how to download this new content from the showcase Gallery, try this one from LEGO Worlds on Youtube:
Easter Eggs in the Drive In?
I have downloaded and completed the quests from the diner and the garage. The latter also unlocked the Mechanic, and our trusty LEGO Spanner.
When investigating the Drive-In, I discovered the sign, the drive-in speakers and the concession stall. Then I looked up onto the screen (which was also waiting to be discovered).
While announcing only 5 minutes to the start of the main feature (which, sadly, never appeared), you were encouraged to visit the Concession stall/Candy bar by a couple of characters playing on an onscreen see-saw. Here we see one mascot we are well familiar with: Hot Dog Guy, from the Series 13 of the Collectable Minifigures. However, I am unfamiliar with the other. Could they be the unannounced mini figure from series 18? Or will they be a figure in a future series? Who Knows? However, until now I had no idea how much I crave a Milk Shake Figure!
But what does it mean for me?
The target market of LEGO Worlds is, I suspect, a lot broader. Aiming at both older and younger LEGO fans, with an interest in gaming, LEGO Worlds can act as a marketing tool, by providing access to sets that you might not otherwise see on store shelves, and by providing additional related content (in this case the Garage, Drive-in, and Music Hall) it can provide inspiration to build around the feature model. In an era where completionism for modular building collectors is becoming increasingly difficult due to the magnitude of the investment in the secondary market, providing alternative inspiration for incorporation of the set in your personal town layouts. The inclusion of Collectable minifigures (mechanic and waitress) in the downloadable content also reminds us of other period appropriate figures we might already own. Personally, I am a set builder with a tendency to build my own models from time to time. I like the inspiration provided here, and could be tempted to attempt to reverse engineer the garage or music hall facade. But would it tempt me to purchase the diner itself? I am going to pick it up at some point anyway. I do feel that I would be interested in building related content as well.
I enjoyed this dive into the world of the 1950’s design in LEGO. LEGO Worlds may not offer you the same building experience as physical bricks. (If you use the PC/Steam version, the Developers tell me you can upload LDD files into the game.) However, it does give you the chance to experience builds from a mini figure’s eye view. The Downtown Diner, as well as the other matching 1950’s buildings certainly whet my appetite, and make me keen to get it built, sooner rather than later. As I said earlier, I have been unable to find the time to get the Diner home and built. LEGO Worlds, However has given me the opportunity to experience the environment, experiment with neighbouring building and experienced the atmosphere of the era.
I give the experience four out of five Arbitrary Praise Units, and look forward, with interest, to seeing if anything comes of our milkshake mascot minifigure in the next couple of series. Do you play LEGO Worlds? Which downloads have you enjoyed interacting with? (Don’t forget, these one’s are available until March 5th) Would exploring the set in a game environment influence your purchasing decision?
Are you looking forward to the next series of Collectable mini figures? How many different anniversaries are the LEGO Group CELEBRATING this year? Why not leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Until we find out what is happening with the milkshake mascot,