What crosses your mind when you think “LEGOS”? Yes, I get nostalgic too anytime I think about them; reminds me about the early 2000s when we could stay up for hours trying to create different things from our box full of Legos.
Let us not go back to time, do you remember the Bionicle games? They were a dozen, but just pick one Bionicle game that you remember. In this article, we will remember Bionicle in general, from the toys, all through to the video games. I found Bionicles to be awesome. Almost 20 years later, I can still spend time assembling a Bionicle character.
If you have no idea what the heck Bionicle are, don’t worry. This article is meant to shade some light on what Bionicles are and also details what I wish everyone knew about Bionicles back then.
Let’s Jump in....
What exactly are Bionicles?
Bionicle were a series of Lego like action figures back in the early 200s with different generations an a crap ton allure attached to each iteration to give them that extra depth and edge that every 10 year old would crave for at the time.
The Bionicles could get real at times like low key. Do you remember that All American Rejects commercial with a move along blasting in the back and it was super dark and tense, and everything was exploding? Thanks to YouTube; here is the commercial if you missed it back then
This advert will hit you over the head with nostalgia of the early to mid-2000s. Bionicles were more than just Legos action figures since they covered literally every single medium you could ever think of under the sun including video games. And as much as I would like to talk about all the Bionicle games from the DS titles to the few cancelled games that will never see the light of the day, we cannot explore everything. But I will try as much s possible to fill you in on the most important aspects of Bionicle that made us love them back then. The most outstanding at the time was the Bionicle the PS2 game and Bionicle Heroes form Nintendo game cube.
There were six toe heroes representing and protecting their respective elements. They all lived in a big old hippie dippie land called Mata Nui and they keep the piece and fight off the bad guys and save the day with the power of light because darkness is gross. Bionicle lore is surprisingly absurdly long and complicatedl, so much that there was a small factor as to why they were first discontinued in 2010. It was what the kids called an overkill.
What about the Bionicle games? Well, the Bionicle games were not as good. Ok, they were playable, functional games, somehow adorably charming and aren’t too offensively bad. You could totally enjoy playing them if you have never played a good game before or you just don’t have alternative games. Besides, Bionicle were very safe. I played and beat both of these games as a child. I am not sure how I did it but I remember playing these games. These games were unforgettable. I was at the time addicted to Bionicles. The Bionicle games were a massive haze of forgotten times. Back in the 2000s, when the PlayStation2 was still the go to console.
Bionicle and Bionicle heroes were totally different from each other but they both suffered from one core problem and then a bunch of smaller one like the first game Bionicle game that came out in 2003 was a standard level base action platformer with collectibles where you played each Toa and they did something that their element would do, like the ice dude with snowboard and an oar in the underwater tower. The gameplay was simple and kinda jerky. The levels were small and the bosses were just rinse and repeat. It had some story though, but they sounded boring. You could technically bat the levels in about 2 hours. But it seemed like most of the game was cut along the way for time and budget reasons.
The game was so basic, it just seemed like those things that was wheeled into existence. Its like it just appeared with little or no input from experts. But surprisingly, the simplicity and creativity of the game was what amazed me. I loved it that way. And gain, back in the early 2000s, most games were still on the development stage and you would not expect anything better than that.
The Bionicle games were made by the same people behind the Harry Porter PS2 games and people seem to love the Harry Porter series. But Heroes, which came out in 2006 changed everything about Bionicle. I had an upgraded everything. With smooth transition, better scenes, display sound, background music and literally everything was on another level.
Bionicle Heroes was totally flashed out from the original Bionicle release and its pretty decent. I liked it while growing up. I guess it is because of the fact that it was made by the people who made the Star Wars Lego games. Bionicle Heroes was longer than the predecessors, with a ton of heroes’ abilities, weapons types, extras and replay ability. If you play one level, you played the whole game. You would walk around and shoot anything that moves. You switch to the hero that can hit the button, you hit the button and collect pieces until the PS2 begs for sweet release from the number of graphics on the screen. You could go into hero mode, you kill a boss, you shoot more stuff, collect more stuff and then you win!! You do that over and over again and you beat the game. It was repetitive.
I found it easy to play it while on hero mode, because I was invincible. And dying just meant losing one of the characters and then replenish it in a short while by shooting more stuff. I found it had minimal challenges and repetitive.
The History of the Bionicle
Let us take a brief walk back in time to the original Bionicle. Where the whole Bionicle franchise started from. Bionicle was a line of Lego building toys, which were mostly market for the 8 – 16-year-olds. Styled as Bionicle. Initially a Lego Series subsidiary, the line debuted at the end of 2000. It was initially launched in Europe and Australasia in the later 2000.
It became one of the bestselling properties in Lego for the following decade. It became a franchise and was the line of products that was meant to save Lego from its financial crisis in the later 90s. In 2010, the theme was stopped but rebooted for another two years in 2015, despite the expected 20-year term.
In comparison to Lego’s previous theme, Bionicle had an original story in a digital spectrum. It portrays the accomplishment of Toa, heroic biomechanical beings who have inherent elementary capacity to preserve harmony all over the world.
The Concept behind Bionicle.
After the 10-year decline, the Lego Company was persuaded that the gamers would love a theme with a story behind it. The first attempt was the Star Wars Space opera franchise, which was an instant success. However, Lucasfilm’s royalty fees marginalized Lego’s advantages, which inspired here to invent her own historical themes. First attempts were short-lived Slizer/Throwbots in 1999 and the RoboRiders of 2000 which made Lego famous and led Lego to follow the concept of a new theme that would last for at least two decades continuously.
The revised ideas were welcome and Swinnerton was charged with the responsibility of expanding his first pitch. The project was accepted and titled “Bionicle” on his second visit to Billund at the interim Lego meeting ( a name derived from “biological chronicle”). Other names that were considered included: BioKnights and Afterman.
To join in these collections, Lego has collaborated with Swinneron and Advance, a new creative agency, to create an intricate tale that includes red herrings, arcs and detailed storylines, based on half organic and half-robotic chracters. Sizler/ throwbots and Roboriders used tropical worlds and characters based on classic elements.
The method of Lego Technique designs in these sets was also introduced. The then-innovative system of “Ball and socket” that produced free joint mobility would be a special feature for Bionicle and extended in subsequent sets.
Cancellation of Bionicle
The cessation of development of new Bionicle sets was announced by Lego on 24th November, 2009. Its final wave was released in 2010. This decision was reached because of the recent low sales and a lack of interest in the issue, probably due to its 10-year long backstory. Hero Factory, which was introduced in the mid-2010 took over the theme. It used Bionicle’s building system before developing the CCBS (Character and Creature Building System) which would later be moved to other Lego sets and ultimately re-introduced by Bionicle in 2015.
Farshtey remains active in the community of Bionicle and regularly provides new details of the story through online forums and message boards.
The Reboot of Bionicle
Ork started in 2012 with a reboot in Bionicle. A junior designer at Hero Factory, Matt Betteker, was promoted to the project’s top designer. The latest storyline, which is know as Generation 2 b fans has the same concept as the original, but with condensed lore and a smaller media outlet. It was relased on September 19, 2014. With the first row of sets and historical detailing unveiled at the New York Comic con on 9th of October.
Bionicle’s reboot in January 2015 was released to mixed reaction of toy critiques and fans of Bionicle franchise. The new collection was playable and was really praised by gamers and the borrowed a lot from the original Bionicle. In 2016, Lego discontinued its redesign due to low selling amid plans to introduced new Bionicle by 2017.
Bionicle: Generation 1 (2000 – 2010)
In a universe with a diversity of cyborgs, the main story is the adventure of the Toa, an elementally driven heroic being whose sworn duty is to save the Matoran – the world’s main populace -and reawak the Grand spirit Mata Nui, their godly guardian pushed by the action of bad Makuta into a coma state.
In the tropical Isle of Mata Nui, named after the Great Spirit, the story starts with the arrival of six Toa Mata (later the strongest Toa Nuva) and their adventures, while guarding the villagers of Matoran from Makuta. The kanohi masks used by Toa are highly emphasized and complement their basic powers by skills such as super strength and super-speed.
The first is prelude to the second arc, which is situated on the island town of Metru Nui (2004 – 2005). It describes the history of the Matoran and their position on the island of Mata Nui. A new team of Toa is set to locate the mask of life in the Third Arc (2006 – 2008) and can save the life of the dying Mata Nui. Initially intended as the beginning of the new age of franchise, a for the bow (2009) presents Bara Magna’s desert world and its people.
However, the rest of the plot was scrapped following Lego’s cancellation of Bionicle later in 2009. The whole saga was concluded in 2010. Characters like the Toa and the Matoran are traditionally divided into tribal groups based on 6 elements namely: Water, Fire, earth, air, ice, and stone. Other elements like light, gravity and lightning were added later in 2003.
A team of Lego employees led by Bob Thompson had set up this whole story on a digital network, covering online animation, comic books, consoles, and online games, guides, novels, short stories and a variety of live-to-DVD films – like:
- Bionicle: Mask of Light (2003)
- Bionicle 2: Metru Nui Legends (2004)
- Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows (2005)
- Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (2009)
In 2010, the release of these series continues until 2011 when it suddenly stopped due to the other Farshtey commitments. The serials were discontinued.
Generation 2 (2015 – 2016)
- Earth and
Is Bionicle still relevant?
Bionicle remained relevant to the target demographic into the late 2000s. Even with the slowed down development of new plots or games, Bionicle still played an important role. After the crazy licensing deals brought to the masses Star Wars and Harry Potter sets in 2003 seemed to be riding high.
However, many unknown including those inside the company- sales dropped and only conjectures came up as to why. Some would blame poor strategic decisions by Lego in the 90s. This is right from selection of Legoland theme parks, forays into digital products – for Lego’s hemorrhaging.
In the mid-2000s Bionicle was the top performing LEGO toy line, but this dipped immediately the following year until it was discontinued in 2009. It was really hard to let go, but it as necessary anyway.
Bionicle toy conventions still exists to this day. The unique design of the toys that combines the invigorating combination of articulate LEGO figures and the intricate, story resonated with the Lego company and the LEGO fans for many years.
Did you get a chance to play with the Bionicle Toys or Video game?
Would you support a revival of Bionicle?