Engaging young gamers

Last Week, Cineplex Entertainment announced that they were launching a first of its kind family-friendly program geared towards younger gamers. In a purely genius move, Cineplex Entertainment has chosen Warner Bros. Canada’s massively popular LEGO toy and video game hybrid, LEGO Dimensions to launch its family-friendly program. In preparation for this family-friendly series, Cineplex Entertainment hosted a LEGO Dimensions Live launch event from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at 12 theatres across Canada this past Saturday and I had the esteemed pleasure of attending.


Living in Ontario and in the Greater Toronto Area, I promptly arrived by 12:30 p.m. at the Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough location at Scarborough Town Centre—this massive facility was impressive to say the least. As my 12-year-old son and I made our way to the registration table, we were greeted with a huge display advertising the day’s event. Registering to play was easy, and took a matter of minutes to get signed up. As one of the first 50 people to register for the event, we were given a free LEGO toy.


Once we made our way to the theatre, we signed out two LEGO Dimensions figures and quickly found a seat in the theatre, which filled up within a matter of minutes.

The first ever head-to-head fighting LEGO game

As the event got underway, the emcee asked the crowd of 200 or so people a question that I found myself often wondering about. “Have you ever wondered what LEGO character would win in a match against each other”? Who would win, when popular pop culture franchises such as Harry Potter and the Ghostbusters battled it out?

Luckily we would no longer have to guess as we were going to be playing LEGO Dimensions: Battle Arena, which was shown at E3 2016 this past June. Needless to say, the crowd of younger and older gamers alike were ecstatic.


Multiplayer mayhem

It was explained that LEGO Dimensions: Battle Arena allows up to four players to battle it out cooperatively or competitively in four different games modes. The game modes include: Capture the Flag, Base Bash, Objective, and my personal favourite Tick, Tag, Boom. Players were called down in groups of four players with a total of 12 players altogether playing in three different games of the particular mode; each game was shown on the screen for several minutes.

Capture the Flag is just as it sounds, you have to capture an enemy’s flag, and the longer you have it the more points you get the player with the most points wins. In Base Bash, you must use your weapons as fast as you can to destroy your opponents base. The objective mode gives each player a certain objective to complete in a short time such as defeating a certain enemy or collecting studs.

If you succeed, then you are rewarded with points. On the other hand, if you fail you get no points at all. Tick, Tag, Boom is just like a game of hot potato, except this time you have a bomb you must stick on your opponents in hopes of it exploding them into tiny little pieces.  As you can see each mode offers a different style of play that kept things diverse and interesting.


Loads of fun

At the event I had the opportunity to try one round of Capture the Flag, and for this I was able to play as Lumpy Space Princess, while my opponents were Joker, Jake, and a Ghostbuster.

The Battle Arena contained tall, narrow buildings in each of the four corners. These buildings served as the main bases that housed the flags, and my goal was to defend my own base flag while also attempting to breach my opponent’s houses to snag theirs. I loved that not only could you use your character’s powers for attack and defense, but the levels also had a bunch of power-up items that you could grab and unleash to swing the battle in my favour. The match was a lot of fun with plenty of back-and-forth action, and there were lots of cute/charming LEGO brick busting moments.


Fun contests, incredible prizes

In between the four different game mode rounds, and the crowd cheering on players—Cineplex gave away some amazing prizes. Tickets were handed out at the beginning of the event and ticket numbers were randomly drawn. Prizes included LEGO Scooby-Doo Mummy Museum Mystery packs, LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes packs, and a grand prize of LEGO Jurassic World – Indominus Rex Breakout. I’ll tell you this, there were some very happy gamers by the end of the day.


LEGO Dimensions: Battle Arena League

During the entire month of March 2017, each Saturday—for 2 hours—gamers have the chance to participate in the family oriented gaming league. By singing up, each player will receive a t-shirt, lanyard, playing cards, and the chance to win some amazing prizes. In addition, gaming experts will be on hand to help out and show players how to play if they need help.

Each of the locations are limited to 36 participants, and tickets can be purchased at the box office or online. Gamers can bring their favourite LEGO Dimensions character from year 1 or year 2 to compete with. If you don’t have a character you can simply use one of the available characters supplied by Cineplex. The new LEGO Dimensions: Battle Arena league is centred around younger gamers and is all about fun.


Post-game fun

It was amazing to see such a positive turnout and response for Cineplex’s first foray with engaging young gamers. I love that you can use any of the LEGO Dimensions characters, thus allowing you to play out some of the most wacky dream matches like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial vs. Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Lord Voldemort vs. Newt Scamander, and other wacky combinations. Don’t forget to check out Paul’s review of LEGO Dimensions, he found it to be one of the greatest game mash-ups of all time.

I can hardly wait to see all the action come this March, head on over to Cineplex’s website and get signed up—you won’t want to miss out on all the action.

Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.