Our Blog

Six Other Works Of Literature Worthy of a LEGO Video Game

I was pretty excited when the announcement regarding the latest LEGO video game dropped back in December. I mean, I already have the fantastic Lord of the Rings LEGO video game, and I adored all of the Harry Potter LEGO video games… but now there's going to be a Hobbit adaptation?

And the LEGO minifig looks like Martin Freeman? YES! 

Okay, okay, I get it. The game is more of an adaptation of the movie and not the book. It specifically focuses on the first two films, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, and chances are the third game will end up being some standalone title or (evil) DLC. But you know what? I'm okay with that.

Because Martin Freeman minifig

But let's talk about others works of literature that might make for amazing LEGO video games. Because I want them, and because several people have already gone ahead and made projects inspired by these literary masterpieces. Let's go! 

Image via Flickr

MOBY DICK: A thrilling adventure on the high seas! LEGO minifigs running around a ship, whaling, floating around on rowboats, and oh yeah, chasing after a massive white LEGO whale?

And can you imagine the beautiful brick waves of water? Yes. Yes you can. Let's do this, video game developers. 

SHERLOCK HOLMES: Remember when I went crazy over the Martin Freeman minifigs? WELL I'M NOT DONE YET.

Someone went ahead and made Sherlock inspired LEGOs. Let's hire this person to be the designer on the Sherlock Holmes LEGO video game. Do some serious sleuthing around a brick world. Also, more plastic block shaped Martin Freeman. 

Image via Eurobricks

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS: A LEGO video game adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's classic work of literature? I'd play it. Perhaps, just perhaps, we could get Daniel Day Lewis on board to reprise his role, and provide the voice over for Nathaniel. A boy can dream.

THE ODYSSEY: Someone already went to the (amazing, incredible) trouble of recreating this scene in LEGO, and seriously, the epicness is pretty astounding. Seeing as how Homer's works are frequently getting new films, TV series, and are the inspiration for countless other works, a LEGO video game just feels right, you know? 

Image via Flickr


You know, I'm actually really surprised this doesn't exist yet. Maybe it's because the whole teenagers killing teenagers thing wouldn't gel with the whole "rated E for Everybody" ranking LEGO games get. That's probably it. Whatever, I'd play it.

Bonus, watch this trailer done up in LEGOs. Awesome. 

Long John Silver via Flickr

TREASURE ISLAND: Robert Louis Stevenson's classic would make for a great LEGO video game. And LEGO is almost there! There's already a LEGO Treasure Island… although it isn't quite what we're looking for. And there are plenty of pirate playsets. Come on guys, let's do this. 

Alright guys, I've gone on long enough. What are some pieces of literature YOU'D like to play as a LEGO video game? 

Posted by Eric Smith

Everything You Need To Know About Being a Terrible Writer You Can Learn From Family Guy’s Brian Griffin

I watch a lot of Family Guy. It’s one of my favorite shows to unwind with at the end of a busy day. Good for a quick laugh, with pop culture references that tend to skew a little older and geekier, which I love. And it’s the perfect show to load up on Hulu while I’m cooking in the kitchen, or leave on in the background while I’m busy writing.

Ah yes, writing. Out of all the wacky characters and bizarre plotlines on Family Guy, my absolute favorite has to be Brian Griffin and his wonderful “I’m a writer” story arch. He’s had a disastrous time over the course of his writing career, despite releasing an enormous bestseller (Wish It, Want It, Do it) and a book “selected” by Oprah’s Book Club (Faster Than the Speed of Love).

But why? Why do things go so poorly for our anthropomorphic friend? Well, let’s discuss. Because everything you need to know about being a terrible, terrible writer (and probably a terrible person), you can learn from Brian Griffin.

1. Don’t Steal Other Peoples Ideas: Brian’s first novel, Faster Than the Speed of Love, doesn’t only have a terrible name. The plotline, which Brian explains to Lois in Brian’s Song (Season 6, Episode 2), is the plot of the Iron Eagle film series. He claims he hasn’t seen them… but yeah, I’m not buying it.

Be original! It’s okay to be inspired by other ideas, obviously. But flat out stealing a plot? Don’t do it. Not only is it wrong, it’s plagiarism, you guys.

2. Don't Sell Out: So Brian isn’t having much luck on the publishing front, which really, should come as no surprise. When he successfully rallies for the legality of marijuana in 420 (Season 7, Episode 12), he turns his back on his campaign, and sells out everything he believes in to get his book published, complete with an Oprah’s Book Club sticker on it.

The result? It sells zero copies and is slammed by the media.

He also comes close to literary success, in a genuine way, with the pilot for his television show What I Learned on Jefferson Street (Season 8, Episode 15). Instead of standing up for his values, he lets the producers of the show walk all over him, creating an absolutely horrible product in the process.

The takeaway here? Stand by your values, your beliefs. Write what you want, and stick by your work. Don’t sell yourself out just because you want some measure of success. It isn’t worth it if you’re not proud of what you’re doing.

3. Keep Trying, Don’t Give Up: Right before Brian goes on to finally write that bestselling book (more on that in a bit) in Brian Writes a Bestseller (Season 9, Episode 6), he makes plans to give up on his dreams. Not just because his first book was a disaster, but because the publisher sends back 300 boxes of the book. To his house. Stewie makes a fort out of some, pictured above. 

They even used shredded copies of the novel to pack the boxes of the returned book, which is easily my favorite moment in all of Family Guy.

I get it. But one literary blunder shouldn’t lead you to throwing in the towel. Writers face rejection all the time. It’s part of the gig! Keep at it.

4. Don’t Belittle Your Audience: In the episode Dog Gone (Season 8, Episode 2), Brian believes he’s been awarded a literary prize called the Special Literary Excellence award… but it turns out his book is a pick for a book club of mentally disabled people. Instead of embracing this and these newfound fans, he gets drunk and ends up running over another dog. Good job man.

Someone’s embraced your book? Great! Embrace them. Don’t be a monster.

5. Don’t Write For the Wrong Reasons: Now, in that episode Brian Writes a Bestseller, Brian pens Wish It, Want It, Do It, a self help book that he writes simply to try and make money. It goes on to become a huge success, and in the process, he loses the respect of people he admires. He also openly admits it’s the worst thing he’s ever written.

A colleague of mine, Joshua Ignard (author of Conquistador of the Useless), once told me that if you’re writing to get published, and that’s all, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write because you enjoy the craft. 

6. Don’t Be Jealous of Your Peers, Support Them: Brian has another brush with success when his play, A Passing Fancy, becomes a sensation in his hometown. Unfortunately, the literary elite think its awful. And hey, it probably is.

Inspired by Brian, Stewie decides to write a play… and it’s amazing. Better than anything Brian ever could have done. It causes a lot of problems between the two, and Stewie ends up sacrificing his work to make Brian happy. Which is terrible!

Don’t be jealous of your writerly peers. Don’t talk them down or try to discourage them. Be supportive. They are your people!

7. Be Kind to Your Team: In that same episode, Brian treats Stewie, who joins in as his publicist absolutely terrible. Doesn't matter how hard he's working, he yells and belittles him at every turn. 

The lesson? Don't be mean to your team! Seriously. Your publicist, publisher, etc… they're all working for you. Look at poor Stewie's face in that picture up there. Poor guy.

8. Don’t Use People: And in a recent episode Brian’s a Bad Father (Season 12, Episode 11) which inspired writing this post, Brian finally reconnects with his son… only after discovering he’s a famous teen actor staring on a Disney-esque television show. He uses his son to get a job as a writer on the show, is promptly fired, and further fractures his relationship with his son, Dylan.

The lesson? Don’t do that! Seriously. Just as you shouldn’t be jealous of your peers, you shouldn’t use them either.

Man, Brian sure is terrible. Can’t wait to see how he continues to be an awful writer in future episodes.

Posted by Eric Smith

10 Life Lessons from Super Mario Bros

1. The princess will always need saving.
No matter how many times Mario saves Princess Peach, she’s captured again in the next installment of Super Mario Bros. Life’s annoying like that too. The moment you finish one thing, something else will appear. Just keep on playing.

2. Dinosaurs really aren’t that scary.
Ever since Jurassic Park, we’ve lived terrified that dinosaurs will somehow resurface on Earth and take over. I understand why people are frightened (dinosaurs are huge!), but Mario teaches us that all we have to do is grab that T-Rex by its tail and swing it around a few times. Dizziness will mess with anyone, no matter how big or reptilian.

3. Traveling to the unknown usually results in rewards.
Half of Mario playing time is spent frantically looking for tunnels where the down button works. And what do we find 9 times out of 10 in those underground spaces? Coins! Free men! Power-up mushrooms! Take a random path and see what happens.

4. Red is cooler than green.
This is so obvious that I can’t believe I wrote it down. I mean, come on.

5. When you can’t solve a problem, jumping around like a maniac will lead to a solution.
We all get frustrated. Instead of sitting at a desk, over-thinking all possibilities, get up and jump around. I promise it will help. Mario’s jumping often leads to hidden vines that carry him above the clouds. A little bit of movement might help to clear your head.

6. You can only hold your breath underwater for so long.
Mario’s not a very good swimmer. Those pie pieces disappear before you can get anything accomplished. Chances are, you know the feeling (or aren't such a hot swimmer yourself). You can only force yourself to do hard things for a limited amount of time, so don’t procrastinate and get them out of the way fast.

7. Ice is dangerous.
Seriously, be careful on that stuff. If you don’t have ice skates or a penguin to carry you to safety, you’re probably better off avoiding it altogether.

8. It’s ok to live in a bubble sometimes.
Floating in a bubble can be a lifesaver, especially when you’re in multi-player mode. Strategic planning turns bubble seclusion into an art. In life, it’s also ok to hide in a bubble. Until two people bubble at the same time and you’re kicked out of the level, anyway.

9. The best way to avoid a bullet is to duck.
This applies to both figurative and literal bullets. Avoidance is key. Watch that bullet soar on by. Now stand up and brush off those unharmed overalls.

10. There’s a fine line between confident and cocky.
You’re running as fast as you can possibly hold down the buttons, doing flips in the air, tackling every Goomba and Koopa in your way. The music starts to fade and the warning bells go off, but you’re determined to get rid of that last fire-jumpy-thing before the star is gone for good. …And now you’re dead.

Maria Vicente is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency. She likes books, coffee, design, & magic. You can find her on Twitter (@MsMariaVicente) or her blog, ibelieveinstory.com.

Posted by Maria Vicente

#TwitterFiction Festival: Tweet Your Novel!

Posted by Rick Chillot

Where To Spot Quirk At Midwinter ALA

Appropriately Philadelphia themed image via Accessible Archives

Believe it or not, convention season is already upon us. No, we're not talking about Comic Con. We're talking Midwinter ALA. And we don't even have to leave our backyard! 

Posted by Eric Smith

The Geek’s Guide to Dating Webseries: Matt & Stephanie

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From local bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet Matt and Stephanie. Click play to listen to them talk about making movies, falling in love, and how Myspace is responsible for their relationship.


Posted by Eric Smith