For Lego, it was a question that clearly needed an answer: how to build an interactive iPhone app that involves playing with real Lego bricks?
With "Life of George," the iconic Danish toy company on Thursday unveiled its solution: an iPhone app that challenges users to quickly build small models using real bricks and then take pictures of them using the device's camera.
The game features 12 levels, during each of which players will be tasked with building a series of models based on images provided within the app. Each time they finish a model, they will place it on a special pad and take a photo of it with their iPhone. The app then determines their score based on how quickly and accurately they finished the piece.
The main character in this saga in George, a fictional technology worker who lives a secret life traveling the world, said Lego spokesperson Kristin Greene. Each of the game levels is based on some of George's travels.
The retail box, which sells for $30, comes with 144 Lego bricks which can be used to build small models of things like board shorts, pineapples, a crab, or many others. Lego incorporated pattern recognition technology from a company called EyeCue for the game's capturing and scoring elements.
For the most part, players will attempt to replicate the models presented to them by the app. But there's also a "My Life" component that allows them to create and place their own models into the game. At launch, said Greene, it won't be possible to share such models, but the plan is to eventually allow that via Facebook.
Greene said that Lego expects that players will take about 20 minutes to finish each level.
For now, the "Life with George" app will work on iPhones and 4th-generation iPod Touches. Greene said that it's likely that this will be just the first product of its kind, assuming that people enjoy it and it sells well.