Whether you follow a design and instructions, or make your own creation, LEGO blocks have stimulated imaginations in children and adults since their introduction in 1958. These simple bricks join together to form millions of combinations, and have left a significant impression in popular culture and the way we play. Thanks to television and video games, users are not limited in the ways they choose to interact with LEGO pieces; they can build, control characters, and take part in interactive stories without ever leaving the couch.
Electronic Arts released the first LEGO video game in 1997. Entitled "LEGO Island," this computer game allowed players to explore a world made entirely out of LEGO pieces and complete different missions. "LEGO Island" received excellent reviews and led to the creation of two sequels, as well as many more LEGO games. Along with original worlds and storylines, LEGO also released video games that tied into popular franchises, such as "Harry Potter," "Star Wars," and "Lord of the Rings."
In 2001, LEGO Media released "LEGO Creator: Harry Potter," followed by "LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" in 2002. These two construction games received negative reviews from critics and failed to spawn anymore "LEGO Creator" games based on the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. However, in 2010 Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released "LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4" for multiple gaming consoles. The game received positive reviews from critics and revived the LEGO Harry Potter genre. Warner Bros. released its sequel, entitled "LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7" in 2011. Based off the final three books in the Harry Potter series and playable in either single-player or two-player mode, "Years 5-7" follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their quest to defeat Lord Voldemort. Along the way, gamers can unlock other characters from the books and explore Hogwarts in ways they have never seen it before.
"Years 5-7" received positive reviews from critics, who praised its use of the characters and plots introduced by the Harry Potter book series and films. Justin Davis of IGN wrote that the game "is a light and breezy way for fans of all ages to experience the world of Harry Potter in a new way," and called it "loads of fun."
In 1998, the National Toy Hall of Fame, calling the blocks "an ideal toy," inducted LEGO into its ranks. Two years later, "Fortune Magazine" named the LEGO brick "Toy of the Century." Thanks to computer animation, LEGO figurines appear in multiple television series, as well as a full-length movie. More than 50 years after its initial release, LEGO's interlocking plastic block remains popular and continues to evolve.