There are a lot of huge, terrible things in this world. Like, a lot a lot. I don’t have the energy or strength to discuss those right now. So I’m going to rant about something that isn’t truly important but has made my life a sort of living hell. And that thing is LEGO Dimensions, or the worst video game in the world.
My oldest son is 14. Like most teens, he’s obsessed with video games. The autism might make this fixation a little more intense, but I’m sure a lot of parents can feel me on this. Video games for kids are terrible now. Not their content, but this new thing of buying a million add-ons for each game. There’s Disney Infinity and Skylanders. We have an extensive Amiibo collection, which, as far as I can tell, do absolutely nothing. You can unlock special suits and characters, but from what I can gather, you can also unlock those things just by playing the game. But, no, we need to spend $13 a pop for plastic figurines in a variety of characters and variations – Mario, Gold Mario, Fireball Mario, 32-bit Mario in classic colors, 32-bit Mario in modern colors, Mario with his arms in a slightly different postion. Seriously. It’s a load of bullshit. But Cal has always been a Mario freak and we indulge.
But I put my foot down when it comes to LEGO Dimensions. First, you have to buy the game and special game pad, which costs $100. Then you have to buy add on kits to get new characters and levels, and those cost between $15 and $45 each. So, yeah, fuck that shit. And while this could easily become a screed on consumerism and marketing targeted at children and the decline of society and the evils of capitalism, my real gripe with this game is purely on a nerd level. Because LEGO Dimensions mixes worlds in truly unholy ways that my purist heart CANNOT HANDLE.
Do you know how devastating it is to have your child mutilate one of your beloved worlds? We’ve spent years trying to get Cal interested in Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Who, even Harry Potter – every time being rebuffed. My husband and I are nerds to the core, proud of our obsessions. And we’d come to accept that Cal wouldn’t join us, as much as we want him to experience the delights of wizards and space and all the epic. And then fucking LEGO Dimensions comes along and throws it all in a blender, making an unholy milkshake of misinformation.
“Dad, did you like it when Batman visited the TARDIS?” is not a question a parent should ever hear. How do you answer that? Because Cal is trying to connect with us, trying to build a bridge between his world and ours and we want to encourage that. But, at the same time, NERDRAGE is a real condition and difficult to contain. Because Batman never visited the TARDIS. That doesn’t MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE. Why are you doing this to us, Legos? WHAT DID WE DO TO YOU??
The following is an actual conversation Cal and I had. I want to warn you, if you’re a Tolkeinite, take a few deep breaths. It gets rough.
Cal: Ms. Elizabeth, did you know that Frodo has a brother named Bilbro Br-
Me: Uncle. Bilbo Baggins is Frodo’s uncle.
Cal: Okay. Frodo has an uncle named Bilbro Braggins.
Me: Bilbo Baggins.
Cal: Okay. Bibro-
Cal: Sorry, sorry. BIL-BO Fraggins
Scott: I’m sorry, honey
Me: I’m going to take a nap now.
Every time he brings up the characters and worlds we love, they have been perverted by LEGO and their so called “dimensions”. There’s something called the Tri that combines Frodo, Robin (from Batman), and Metalbeard (from the Lego Movie). What the fuck is that? I just can’t even. We try to get him to watch a movie or read a book with us. No interest whatsoever. Why have a complete understanding of Middle Earth or a galaxy far, far away when LEGO is there, mutilating the worlds and characters and stories I love?
In a world filled with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things – fantasy realms are an escape I NEED. I need worlds with dragons and magic and space ships and clear cut good vs. evil. They are a delight and a refuge. There are true heroes and pure villains and swords and beautifully built worlds filled with nuance and wonders and history. Even in crossovers, there are rules. X-Men and Avengers can work together within the Marvel Universe. Batman and Superman can fight over in DC. But what LEGO Dimensions does is just wrong. I don’t want Homer Simpson and Gandalf interacting. The Doctor never teams up with the Ghostbusters. These are abominations.
Of course, Cal does not know this. Cal does not understand that LEGO Dimensions isn’t canon. He doesn’t even know what that means. He just knows that this is a popular game filled with popular characters. He can watch clips of the game on YouTube and fully believe that this is the natural order. He’s taken it a step further, creating his own versions of The Tri that become more insane. He draws pictures of the Joker in a Batman costume because he’s using his imagination, which I encourage(!!!), even though there’s no backstory or reason for this to happen. And I have to swallow my nerdrage and have conversations that make no sense and tell him I love each new unholy mashup that comes up because I know he’s trying to relate and I love him and want to nourish his creativity.
But through every conversation, my brain and my heart are screaming “FUCK YOU, LEGO DIMENSIONS. FUCK. YOU.”