It’s been a few months now since another video game icon did his streak Lego Debut with the release of Lego set 21331 – Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Green Hill Zone. Sonic might just have a set where Mario has many, but it’s one hell of a set.
Sonic actually made his real-life Lego debut in a video game – he appeared in Lego Dimensions via a small expansion pack that unlocked a small tribute to Sonic in the game. But now he’s made the jump to Lego, courtesy of Lego Ideas, the site where fans can submit potential set designs for review by Lego’s bigwigs, the same service that gave sets hope (and then fast killed) based on Zelda, Among Us and Metroid. Lego eventually loved the Sonic set idea, took it to Sega and got a full release.
After a limited release exclusively on the official Lego Store, the Sonic set is now available in a wider version from what the TV adverts of my youth used to say “all good toy stores”. Basically, you can buy it anywhere now. Just in time for the theatrical release of the Sonic 2 movie.
Lego Sonic and Lego Mario are oddly similar, sitting on opposite ends of the same spectrum of Lego creativity. It’s in the design of the sets themselves, both of which are geared towards creativity, but in very different ways.
I think I would call Lego Mario “guided creativity,” the sort of thing Lego does a lot to help kids get into their sets. Lego Mario provides a framework of modular pieces that can be used to build elaborate levels, and you can then use the electronic Mario figure and a paired smartphone app to save the level layouts, record high scores, and so on. It encourages kids to be creative but with parts and level elements that fit together in a deliberately simple way. Creating these sets only takes five minutes; What you do after the sets are built is what makes Lego Mario so special.
Lego Sonic is more about open, unguided creativity. You get the core set based on Green Hill Zone and if you want the fun can end there. Fun to build with Sonic, a few Badniks, Robotnik, and lots of iconic level elements. You get a small stand for Sonic, and at the end of each phase of the build you add one of seven Chaos Emeralds to the stand. It’s clever, cute and ideal for Sonic fans who don’t know their Lego.
But if you know your Lego? Oh boy, this set is clever. What it does is pretty similar to what Lego’s modular buildings did in the Creator Expert line of sets, which have since been renamed Adult Lego – they provide a framework from which you can build a lot more.
You see, the Green Hill Zone set is actually a series of smaller modules that snap together to create a level layout. Like Mario, this means you can rearrange them to create your ideal layout – but it also means you can get even more creative. The set even features prominent attachment points at each end, clearly placed by the Lego designers to signal builders that this set is viewed as the starting point and not the end of the Lego Sonic adventures.
That creativity was demonstrated in part by Lego fan Viv, aka Toastergrrl – the fan who designed the original Lego Sonic pitch that eventually became the final set. Viv posted alternate instructions so those who own two copies of the set could build alternate pieces of the Green Hill Zone design and then incorporate them into their overall build. That was cool and set the tone. Other fans rode it.
If you hop onto any Lego MOC database (that’s My Own Creation btw) you can find a growing community of fans making alternative or even brand new Lego Sonic builds. Lego takes on various iconic Badniks like the Buzz Bomber or Burrowbot (the real ones better known as the Grounder), and best of all, all new zones.
I was so amazed by the Chemical Plant Zone and Star Light Zone builds that I had to order the parts to build them alongside my Green Hill Zone. I think Spring Yard Zone is next, but I’m also considering Aquatic Ruin Zone.
That kind of creativity is Lego at its finest, for my money, and I’m thrilled that it’s manifesting itself so thoroughly in a video game set. Of course, it also makes one wonder what else the official Lego designers could come up with given the time. Hopefully, Lego Sonic has more official adventures ahead of it – but even if it doesn’t, this one set has sparked some brilliant fan designs.
https://www.vg247.com/lego-sonic-fan-creations Lego Sonic is brilliant and produces incredible fan creations