You can build anything with Legos — even movies. The result of using Legos in a stop-motion animation is traditionally called a brickfilm in nerd-dom, which are usually constructed by fans, for fans. Creating even a half-decent one can be an exhaustive project, requiring thousands of pictures, hours of editing, and an indescribable amount of patience, to say the least. All that work can result in a film that lasts less than a few minutes.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of people who love Legos and possess those aforementioned skills, so today’s list features 10 brickfilms that celebrate, prod and remix videogames. It considers several genres and eras of gaming, and while it’s not a definitive list of the best brickfilms, it is a testament of Lego’s awesomeness across media. Hit the lights.
10) Metroid Vs. Alien
This French-language production, clocking in at about 10 massive minutes, isn’t exactly amazing, but it is awesome simply because it mixes the Metroid and Alien mythologies. In a story created by MrValgoku, Samus is sent to investigate the mysteries of a space station, which is, of course, infested with acid-spitting creatures. Never mind the paint-by-numbers graphics.
In other words, the film’s originality and fluidity compensate for its less-than-desirable cutscenes and backgrounds. You don’t need Google Translate to understand that.
9) Lego Arcade
Michael Hickox‘s ambitious undertakings with Legos have yielded some kitschy homages to gaming of decades past. Created with 1,000 pictures and exactly 1,395 Lego pieces, he says, this one covers Dig Dug, Centipede, Pong, Rally-X and Galaga. You might say the frame rate is a little questionable, but we say it’s acceptable given that we’re remembering Golden Age graphics.
For more nostalgia, check out his first “Lego Arcade,” which powers up smash hits like Frogger, Space Invaders and Asteroids.
8) Lego Pac-Man
The director known as LegoBuilder9000 lives up to its name by offering us a brickfilm that reimagines a round of Pac-Man – music, pellets, ghosts, chops and all. While it’s not an original film, it’s definitely a creative, well-planned reimagining of this time-honored legend. According to the builder, “It took us about 14 hours to film and edit the entire thing and there are 1034 pictures in this film.” It’s certainly more impressive than just sticking a quarter in the machine.
7) Lego Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2, while violent, s definitely more cartoony than most multiplayer-ready, first-person shooters out there, so it’s no surprise that someone – in this case, Migor1989 – gave it the Lego treatment. With custom guns and buildings, this one centers on a “payload map” and features larger-than-life characters like Heavy, Spy and Scout. As is tradition, we get to watch an explosive match between RED and BLU. Perhaps the best moments are Pyro’s flaming kills and muffled taunts, and Heavy’s Russian, bullet-spewing gibberish.
6) Lego Skyrim: Horse Ro Dah
With this short video, ZachMG combines a powerful meme with an oft-linked, oft-celebrated glitch of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In other words, those of us who seared our eyeballs playing the game know all about the Fus Ro Dah dragon shout, as well as physics-defying horses who can climb mountains and fly around uncontrollably, among other things.
5) Lego MW3: The Good, The Bad, and The Noob
Like the videogame, bionicle28‘s salute to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is an adrenaline-pumped production, complete with impossible kills and stupid gamer tags. Compared to others on this list, it’s a little more enhanced in terms of special effects and sound, blurring the lines between computer graphics and stop motion.
4) Cardboard Gear Solid
Stepping back a little in video game chronology, Keshen8 brings us a brickfilm that prods a guilty and ridiculous pleasure of the Metal Gear Solid series – sneaking around in a cardboard box and hoping no one notices. In short, it confirms our suspicions that the cardboard box is most useless piece of espionage, especially when guards are on high alert. That doesn’t stop us from using it, though.
3) Battle of the Brick: Built for Combat
Suffice it to say this is an exhaustive and impressive riff on Halo. In the wake of all the static-y garbling, explosions and deaths, one victor emerges in a brick-exploding battle between Red and Blue. We won’t tell you which team wins, but we will tell you that Kooberz Studios made the film, claiming that it was in production for six years and cost hundreds of dollars. We believe that. It clocks in at 27 mins., with the final minute showing us Kooberz’s true color… kind of.
2) Lego Bricks of War
Improving on his stop-motion craft, Alex Kobbs, the brain behind Kooberz Studios, has meticulously recreated the courtyard scene in Act 4 of Gears of War. As his mini-documentary shows, he spent hours of back-cramping time on the setting, characters, blood splatters and gear, yielding an animation that’s equal parts grisly and funny. Watching this, we don’t think a Lego Gears of War video game is a longshot away from reality.
1) Lego Portal
Let’s go ahead and say that we’d make a Top 10 list of Kenshen8’s works, some of the funniest brick-made parodies of modern video games and comic books – like his “Lego Black Ops” video that has more than 15 million views. With this 2011 brickfilm, he takes us down a new Portal, based on Valve’s addictive puzzler that rose from a side project to one of cult fame. In Kenshen8’s plot, “an antagonist steals a wallet-shaped MacGuffin from a protagonist, appropriately resulting in a chase involving a portal gun.” Translation: Chell rules, again.