LEGO Unveils New Ghost Hunting Theme, Bringing Augmented Reality to Brick Based Play [Preview]

In the run up to this weekend’s New York Toy Fair, a surprise announcement: the release of a new theme: LEGO Hidden Side

On display for the first time at the NY Toy Fair, this new theme takes the physical play of a brick built set, and combines it with an augmented reality game, while our heroes Parker and Jack explore their hometown of Newbury, solving puzzles with the aid of their mobile phones. There will be eight new sets, due for release around August, which can be used in conjunction with the phone app to enhance the play experience.

Kids, LEGO bricks and puzzles to solve: what’s not to love?

What do we know?

Jack and Parker: I love the new hoodie/cap element as well as the beanie/purple hair. New tile prints for the phones are also good to see. And a new dog! I can’t wait to see what else the sets will bring!
  • The LEGO® Hidden Side universe takes place in the fictional town of Newbury
  • The main characters, Jack and Parker, are teenage bloggers; through an app on their mobile phones, they can see the unseen
  • The play mission:LEGO Hidden Side challenges children to join a fearless team of ghost hunters, ​who dare see the unseen ​and help turn a haunted world back to normal​ one ghost at the time. 
  • Through the game, children can explore the hidden, solve mysteries and catch the ghost
  • Ages: 7+
  • The product launches globally, though launch dates may vary depending on markets .
  • iPhone 6s and up; Also on Android
  • The app works on both mobile and tablet devices. However, the play experience has been designed with mobile in mind, to facilitate children’s ability to play with one hand in each world – playing with the LEGO set and holding the device at the same time.
  • More information, as it comes to light on the new theme’s web site: https://www.lego.com/en-us/themes/hidden-side 

Details of the sets, as well as the press release follows the break.

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Duplo 50: Taking the Lead with Characters.

This year, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of LEGO DUPLO. Basic brick sets first appeared in 1969, but figures were not introduced until 1977. They provided a way to introduce role play into the way that children interacted with DUPLO bricks. These first figures appeared ahead of minifigures, and there were then several ways in which DUPLO figures have led the way with regard to character design compared with minifigures. In this article, I will cover the changes in shape of the basic shape of figures seen in DUPLO sets since they were first introduced. I will not cover the introduction of each colour or hair/helmet mold, but I will cover the important changes that occurred in body design, as well as touch on some of the licensed figures that have appeared over the years…but only some!

1977

While DUPLO debuted in 1969, the first Duplo figures did not appear until 1977, a year ahead of minifigures. These figures were simple, finger puppet style figures, which would fit comfortably over 2×2 DUPLO Studs. With no moving ares or legs, they were similar in some respects to the ‘stage extra’ figures in use in the regular system sets at the time.

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Sydney Brick Show 2019: Last call to exhibit.

Sorry for the late notice ( and the irrelevance, if it’s not in your part of the world)…I’ve just heard that there is just a day or so left to get your applications in order to exhibit at the Sydney Brick Show. The Sydney Brick Show is on 6th-7th April 2019, at the Penrith Panthers Pavillion

If you haven’t got your applications in, NOW is the time to do it. You can find the application form here. Applications close 5pm 8th February.

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Countdown to the Year of the Pig: Dragon Dance 80102 [Review]

As we approach the eve of the Year of the Pig, I would like to look at another of the sets released for the Chinese ‘Spring Festival’

The 80102 Dragon Dance has been enthusiastically awaited after the initial images arrived last November, and the set has been hotly sought after, in part due to its relative scarcity outside of Asia. In Melbourne, both this set and 80101 Chinese New Year Family Dinner have literally flown off the shelves, with long queues, household limits and disappointed customers being frequent occurrences at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre store.

I can see the appeal of this set on many levels: as a seasonal set, it is one of the first sets released, outside of the ‘Year of the…..’ series, for this significant day in the Asian Cultural Calendar, touching on subject matter rarely covered previously, featuring bright colours, and a movement function, coupled with limited global distribution to the Asia Pacific Region – this set has very little to be negative about.

This set has 622 parts, and costs $AUD79.99 new. The retail channels for this set have been limited in Australia. Certainly, demand for this set has been high in the rest of the world, and it will be interesting to see what approach might be taken with this type of set in the future.

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Countdown to the Year of the Pig: Brickheadz Dragon Dance Guy [review]

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, I though I might take a look at the Dragon Dance Guy, the first Brickheadz character to be released for this particular seasonal event. The dragon dance is a frequently performed at Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, traditionally to celebrate a successful Harvest. The dragon is thought to bring prosperity and good luck. It is also believed that the dance will scare away evil spirits.

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News from Nuremberg: Technic Control + (Rampant Speculation follows, again)

About a year ago we heard our first information about the new Powered Up wireless control system, incorporated in the latest generation of LEGO City Trains, as well as the App Controlled Batmobile. The Bluetooth controller/phone app interacting with the wireless hub has met with a mixed response, especially in the LEGO railroad modeller community, with concerns about the number of outputs, range and interference from other Bluetooth devices. One thing that was conspicuous in its absence last year was a hub solution that was compatible with LEGO Technic.

Today, we have received news from Spielwarenmesse – the German Toy Fair – of a new control hub to be incorporated in two new Technic sets this year LEGO Technic Control +. One, 42100 – the second half year Flagship model based on the Liebherr R9100 Excavator, the other: 42099, based on a 4×4.

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Countdown to the Lunar New Year [Year of the Pig 40186 – Review]

We are now counting down to the start of the Year of the Pig. This year, we have seen a number of sets released to commemorate this event, as the LEGO Group seeks to increase its market share in Asia. We have previously mentioned 80101 New Year’s Eve Family Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance – these APAC exclusive sets have been in high demand: literally flying off the shelves as soon as they arrive. We have also seen the release of the Brickheadz Dragon Dance Guy, and the Year of the Pig 40186.

This last set is one I would like to look at today. The fifth in the series – following on from previous sets Year of the Dog, Year of the Rooster, Year of the Monkey and Year of the Sheep – 40186 The Year of the Pig is available as a Gift With Purchase at selected locations now. In Australia, it is available through the LEGO Certified Store (GoldCoast), LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Store (Melbourne) and selected Myer Stores (including their online store). Before you get to take it home, however, you have to spend $88 in store. I found mine at Myer Doncater, during the closing days of their stocktake sale ( which meant that most LEGO® sets were selling for 20% off).

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