LEGO Junkbot – an enduring legend that’s ANYTHING but trash

If you’ve ever heard the term ‘Junkbot’, you might be thinking ‘Like a Battlebot that ended up as metal scraps?’ In terms of the LEGO Group’s efforts to bring games online, however. It’s a much different story.

What is LEGO Junkbot?

LEGO Junkbot is a puzzle platformer browser game that was playable on In other words, you could solve brain teasers while literally building solutions – all while browsing the Internet. Its very creation is owed to the wildly popular Mata Nui Online Game (MNOLG), which helped to convince the LEGO Group that online games would help elevate their brand, and of course, their e-commerce platform.

Unlike MNOLG, the orange and grey character Junkbot was not controlled by the player – instead, the goal was to direct Junkbot where he needed to go, all while avoiding dangerous bots and treacherous obstacles. The only place Junkbot was needed, naturally, was in the direction of the nearest trash can, which he happily gobbled up before seeking the next one.

In Episode #29 of Bits N’ Bricks, a podcast commissioned by the LEGO Group to commemorate LEGO Games’ 25-year history, it’s clear that Junkbot was a project made with love and ample experimentation. The lasting and wide appeal of the game is in part because, though Junkbot was intended for children to understand, it never talked down to them or held their hand too tightly. As the core mechanic of the player is building the world around Junkbot, there was a level of strategy and thinking involved. It was anything but empty calories … or garbage.

The happy-go-lucky character even spawned a successful sequel, Junkbot Undercover, in late 2002. Junkbot’s popularity is due to both games’ exceptional design and tricky puzzles. Nostalgia runs deep for many fans, but this simple game really does hold up to this day.

Upgrade your LEGO hobby! If you take out a subscription to Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine, you’ll get each issue first and at a discount, plus other perks including a free digital subscription and the chance to win LEGO prizes every month.

Did Junkbot ever have an official minifigure?

The game and title character’s endearing and enduring popularity never seemed to fully fade, something that the LEGO Group wouldn’t respond to until 2018. The LEGO Group never seemed to release a Junkbot minifigure – such a simple, sloped shape made of exactly four LEGO pieces – even as fans created spectacular creations and art centered around this lovable character. Some were even disappointed in the fact that Collectible Minifigures Series 23 wasn’t centered around the LEGO Group’s own in-house characters for their 90 Years of Play celebration, which would have been a great opportunity for a printed Junkbot.

Thankfully, direct references to Junkbot appear in 70657 NINJAGO City Docks and 10273 Haunted House from LEGO Icons’ Fairground sets. In the NINJAGO City Docks, an arcade machine running Junkbot can be found, while four unprinted parts that can be used to construct Junkbot can be found in the attic of the Haunted House. If you own both sets, you could have Junkbot playing his own game – we wonder how he’d enjoy it. It’s just a shame his signature side-leg printing and constantly judging eyes weren’t replicated.

Why is Junkbot more relevant today than he ever was?

Junkbot hasn’t seen a new game since Junkbot Undercover in 2002, yet his cause is more important now than ever. As garbage overstuffs landfills, Junkbot’s mission to swallow trash and remove it is a positive message for children. It’s even more potent when you consider the LEGO Group’s quest to make their products environmentally friendly and environmentally sustainable.

A sequel to both Junkbot and Junkbot Undercover would continue the trend for child-friendly, simple games that differ from modern video games. After all, if you’re too young to play Fortnite, you’d be the target age for a hypothetical Junkbot 3. At the same time, Junkbot 3 would appeal to all ages – just like its predecessors.

LEGO Builder’s Journey by Light Brick Studio follows the same principle of moving the world around the characters instead of moving the characters themselves. Though Junkbot 3 could be a repetitive addition to the game developer’s portfolio, its very premise is something that should be honoured by developers making LEGO games – even without the side-eying orange robot.

Where can I play Junkbot and Junkbot Undercover?

Courtesy of Brickset.

Both games are downloadable NOW as part of the BioMedia project, an internet archive of the LEGO Group’s long-abandoned online Flash games and other LEGO materials, with a focus on BIONICLE. It’s just few CLICKS AWAY.

Leave a Reply