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LEGO unveils augmented reality-enhanced haunted play sets

By James Comtois

Everything is truly awesome now that LEGO has unveiled new augmented reality-enhanced ghost-themed play sets, where players can return a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time.

Launching this summer, LEGO Hidden Side integrates tactile, manual construction (which LEGO is famous for) with AR game play to add an extra level of interactivity.


The LEGO Hidden Side theme includes a series of eight “haunted” building sets to be constructed manually. Once the sets are built, users can activate the AR app on their phones, which brings the models to life and reveals a series of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve.

Tom Donaldson, senior vice president, Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group, said in a statement that “kids expect exciting play experiences that move seamlessly between physical and digital worlds. At our core we focus on tactile building, but AR presents opportunities to enhance physical LEGO play with new action and mastery elements.”

Donaldson added that with the LEGO Hidden Side play set, “The physical world actually influences the AR layer, instead of the other way around.”


LEGO Hidden Side building sets provide detailed models and figures playing characters in a story-driven set. The models can be built as they appear by day – a schoolhouse, bus, or graveyard, for example – and can be transformed into the haunted versions of themselves.

The app lets users assume a first-person perspective to join lead characters Jack and Parker as they explore their hometown of Newbury, using their mobile phones to see and solve paranormal mysteries. It also prompts users to hold their phones up to the physical LEGO models and interact with various elements, which release virtual ghosts that players must then capture in the AR game to stop the haunting.

The app also provides multiple scenarios that require players to keep one hand in each world to move forward with the games. It also consists of a short digital game that kids can play independent of the building set.


Donaldson added that the “physical manipulation of the LEGO models alters the AR experience, and the AR experience prompts new things to discover in the physical models.”

After LEGO Hidden Side launches, the app will continue to expand, with the addition of new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomization of gameplay so the experience is different every time kids play.

AR technology is becoming increasingly popular at a rapid rate, so much so that even a toy company famous for tactile, manual construction is incorporating it into its play-themes, and even Apple has hired an executive solely dedicated to the technology.


LEGO Hidden Side will be shown for the first time at the New York Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19.

LEGO Hidden Side will be available this summer. Physical sets will range in price from $19.99 to $129.99. The LEGO Hidden Side app will be available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play.

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