Fantastic LEGO video game exclusives from the 1990s to now

What’s in a game? Sometimes, it’s a bundle of LEGO bricks. LEGO video games have often had desirable bonuses – like a Blue Milke Luke Skywalker LEGO character or a unique version of Iron Man – and these special gifts go back further than you might expect…

Often taking the form of a small LEGO model or minifigure (but not always), these gifts with the purchase of a video game are unique and almost always exclusive. Each gift is the perfect topper to a fun time, even if your mileage may vary with some LEGO video games. While the 2010s are perhaps the most iconic decade for video game exclusive sets, fans have enjoyed these gifts with purchase for almost three decades, going back to the late 1990s. What was once a successful marketing technique has now resulted in exciting and often valuable collectibles. Here’s a rundown of three decades of LEGO video game exclusive gifts.  

The 1990s – the early days of LEGO games

All images courtesy of Brickset.

1997 was the dawn of the LEGO video game exclusive set – and to many, the dawn of the LEGO video game, too. Though LEGO Fun to Build would feature on the Sega Pico in 1995, the first real video game was the edutainment game LEGO Island in 1997 – one of the most beloved LEGO games of all time. In the USA only, copies of the game included an exclusive minifigure, 2181 Infomaniac, who featured game-accurate face printing (very exaggerated, even for the 1990s) and a LEGO logo on his back.

2584 Biker Bob from LEGO Creator, 2585 LEGO Loco Stationmaster from LEGO Loco and 2586 The Crazy LEGO King from LEGO Chess would ship with their respective games soon after in 1998. All are rather simple. Biker Bob’s flaming tricycle used a simple two-piece chassis as a base with added detail, while the LEGO Loco Stationmaster set included a basic pumping handcar and two minifigures. The Crazy LEGO King, on the other hand, offered a detailed throne and multi-coloured, brick-built staff.

Moving from the 1990s to the 2010s next, it’s necessary to skip the 2000s entirely. That’s because no LEGO video game exclusive gifts were released between 2000 and 2009. Truly a shame – with so many BIONICLE games released, it would have been the perfect opportunity for some exclusive Kanohi masks. Of course, the 2010s were anything but a shame for LEGO video game collectors’ items.    

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The 2010s – games… games everywhere

If the LEGO Group’s video game gifts were few in the 1990s and non-existent in the 2000s, the 2010s more than made up for both. With no less than 24 sets released, there’s an enormous number of great exclusive minifigures and sets. 2010 saw the release of two exclusive gifts for LEGO Universe, an unsuccessful MMORPG that still has a large following today. These were 2853944 Nexus Astronaut and 55001 Nexus Force Rocket in 2010. 30620 Star-Stuck Emmett set that released with pre-orders of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame in 2019 and the rare 30168 Gun Mounting System from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in 2013, the only set to include Iron Patriot, was released in 2013. Both were the only other video game exclusives to include a build.  

The long stretch of 2011 to 2018 was stuffed with exciting exclusive figures, starting with the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean 30132 Captain Jack Sparrow in his voodoo doll look. Though a scaled-down version appears in the cabin of 4195 Queen Anne’s Revenge, this version was a full-sized minifigure. The highly detailed 5000202 Elrond came paired with pre-orders of LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game, followed by an armoured 30164 Lex Luthor with pre-orders of LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.  

Other video game exclusives include 5000281 Chase McCain given with copies of LEGO City Undercover, 5002130 Good Morning Bilbo Baggins with LEGO The Hobbit, 5002204 Western Emmet from The LEGO Movie Video Game, the ironically named 5004081 Plastic Man with copies of LEGO Batman 3, 30320 Gallimimus Trap and a Dr. Wu polybag with the LEGO Jurassic World game, 30605 Finn (FN-2187) with copies of the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens game, a limited-run 71340 Supergirl from PlayStation 4 copies of LEGO Dimensions, 5002946 Silver Centurion from the LEGO Avengers game, 30610 Giant-Man Hank Pym from the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 game, 30609 Lloyd from The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game, 30614 Lex Luthor in his DC Rebirth Suit with the LEGO DC Supervillains game, and – phew – superhero suit designer 30615 Edna Mode with the LEGO Incredibles game.

The 2020s and future speculation 

We’ve only seen two video game exclusive sets in the 2020s so far – 30625 Luke Skywalker with Blue Milk included with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and 30630 Aquadirt Racer with LEGO 2K Drive. This continues the tradition of figures and models, begging the question – what could we see moving forward?  

If the LEGO Group’s main game design development partner, TT Games, ever releases LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 3, it’s important to give the supervillains more representation. Granted, the previous LEGO Marvel Super Heroes pre-order bonus Iron Patriot was often manned by the villainous Norman Osborn (usually appearing as the Green Goblin) in the comics, Rhodey pilots the suit here as he does in Iron Man 3. It would be great to see Dr. Doom appear as a pre-order bonus, especially if he is also the main antagonist.  

With the LEGO Group and 2K Games now working together to make sports games, seeing mascots featured in the game as opposed to main characters with simple designs could be a smart move. Costumed mascots or cheerleaders could bring exciting part recolours and would easily have wide appeal. While it’s unclear what we’ll see moving forward beyond mere speculation, there’s massive demand and love from fans for these video game collectibles, despite their frustrating exclusivity.

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