In LEGO Inspiration today, we will show you what we found interesting in LEGO set number 71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course. LEGO Mario has a lot of advanced features packed into his small little body. As kids learn to understand his features, they will have a lot of fun along the way! In a future continuation of this article, we will combine the Mario set with the LEGO SPIKE Prime to have a longer running track for Mario.
Even though some people may see these LEGO Mario sets to be only for playing, there are complex sensors and pieces that help teach about robotics. We really like that sets like these help even younger kids to consider different ways to ‘program’ to tell Mario what to do, as well as learn about different sensors. Maybe these sets will help all kids, girls and boys, become interested in robotics!
The Interactive LEGO Mario
This new interactive LEGO Mario is both very compact and cute. It also has some very cool sensors, as well as built-in sound and visual effects (on LCD screens). LEGO Mario has a color sensor on his feet, a gyro embedded inside, LCD screens for his eyes and chest, and an embedded speaker. You can play with Mario with or without the app, however the building instructions are unfortunately only on the app (which you can download on tablets and phones).
The color sensor connected to Mario’s feet is used for detecting when LEGO Mario is on different colors (green, yellow, blue, or red for different effects), and also for detecting being place on action brick stickers (we will talk about action bricks below).
We have also talked about color sensors on the LEGO Duplo Train. Just like on the train, we like that LEGO Mario introduces color sensors to kids who might not be old enough to play with LEGO Mindstorms or LEGO SPIKE. These early introductions to color sensors show kids that these sensors can be fun and powerful!
In the new Mario sets, there are four different colors that Mario will react to differently (with his eyes, sound, or screen). He knows which color that he’s on by using his color sensor.
When he is on a yellow plate, a sandy area shows up on his screen. When he hops on the sand, it makes the sound of walking in sand.
When he is on a green plate, a grassy area shows up on his screen. When he hops on the grass, it makes a pop sound.
When he is on a blue plate, water shows up on his screen. When he hops on the water, it makes a splash sound.
When he is on a red plate, fire shows up on his screen. When he hops on the lava, it makes a sizzle sound. His eyes also start looking worried, because he is worried the lava plate may be too hot! Ouch!
If he stays on the the lava too long, he will scream and his eyes will turn to Xs. He then cannot earn any coins until a couple seconds later. Poor Mario!
Action bricks can give you coins, extra time, etc. The main starter course comes with seven different action bricks; you can collect more of them from the various expansions sets. Most of them are smooth 2×2 plates (although it may vary); they all have pre-placed stickers when you get them from the sets. It is nice that LEGO does not make you apply the stickers yourself, especially since they are so important to playing with Mario! Some action bricks are the equivalent of landing on mystery power-ups. Others can signal that you are jumping on an enemy. Some action bricks may enter you into a mini game (discussed more below). There are also action bricks for the start and end of your playing run. Each action brick uses a bar code with different color stripes that can be read by Mario’s color sensor.
Here are the different action bricks that you can get with the starter course…
As mentioned above, some action bricks can enter you into a kind of ‘mini-game.’ In the starter course, there is one on a plank which is on a turn-table that has a ‘mini-game’ scanning plate (see big orange piece above). Mario stands on top, and he can ride on the plank as you turn the plank to collect coins (and get to the other side). Don’t turn too fast, or then you will fall and can’t collect coins until a couple of seconds later. There are other ‘mini-game’ plates that just slide forward (such as in 71368 Toad’s Treasure Hunt Expansion Set), as well as mini-games that use Mario’s gyro sensor (such as in 71365 Piranha Plant Power Slide Expansion Set). Also, most ‘mini-game’ action bricks have music playing (from Mario’s internal speakers)
Start and End Action Bricks
There are start and end action bricks to signal when the game starts and ends.
According to the instructions, the starting scanning plate is supposed to be placed in a pipe. However, you can always put the plate somewhere else. When you place Mario in the pipe, it starts the countdown from 60 seconds (however, time bonus bricks can be bought in other sets).
The ending scanning plate is on a grassy plate with a Bowser flag on it (similar to the starting scanning plate, it can still be moved). When Mario lands on the plate, Mario plays an ending song, and also says how many coins you collected in that game. However, if you run out of time, it does the same thing except for that it doesn’t play the ending song. Try to rearrange your Mario set(s) to get the maximum amount of coins!
As we have mentioned earlier, Mario also has a gyro sensor. He will make different laughing sounds when he is being flipped in the air. Also, if you leave him laying down for too long, his eyes will close and he will start making snoring sounds.
One of the sets that his gyro sensor is used in is LEGO set 71365 Piranha Plant Power Slide Expansion Set. There is a straight roller coaster track connected to a hinge, with piranha plants on the sides. There is a scanning plate on a ride vehicle, that starts the mini game (which also starts the game’s music playing). The point of the mini game is to move from side to side as long as you can to collect coins. However, staying in the middle will not give you coins; Mario’s gyro can tell him that he is not tilted, so he is not moving side to side. The point is to make Mario move! If you bump into a plant on one of the sides, it will make you unable to collect any coins until a couple of seconds later (which seems small, but since each game is only 60 seconds, every moment counts!). Aren’t gyro sensors pretty neat!
New Pieces from the Mario sets
These new Mario sets have some brand new LEGO building pieces. With our FIRST LEGO League team, we are always on the look out for new pieces, since we never know which ones might come in handy on our robot!
There is a new ‘turtle shell’ piece (piece number 67931) used for the back of Bowser Jr. They also made a version without the spikes (and in other colors) in other Mario expansion sets.
There are also new plates (that come in: green, yellow, blue, and red/ the basic colors) that have indents on the bottom to make it easier to connect them to other plates. They come in three sizes (piece numbers, large: 66790, medium: 66789, and small: 66792)
Top of new plates…
Bottom of new plates
LEGO also sells ‘Power-Up Packs’ which are essentially different outfits that can give Mario different power-ups.
The cat suit allows Mario to walk on walls and collect coins (on the wall). When wearing, Mario will also make cat sounds.
The propeller suit allows Mario to fly and collect coins in the air.
The fire suit allows Mario to gain ‘fire attack’ power, which can help attack enemies and collect extra coins.
The builder suit allows Mario to stomp and get extra coins.
The original Mario outfit that the starter course comes with doesn’t have any extra power-ups. You can also mix and match the outfits and hats, because the pants make the certain power-ups work. Mario has metal switches (see below) that can be pushed by certain notches in the pants.
Here are two examples of the notches…
See how the notches differ, between the yellow cat suit (left), and the blue regular pants (right).
We hope that you enjoyed this article, and learned a lot about LEGO Mario!
In a continuation of this article, we show how we used the LEGO SPIKE Prime to create a moving track for Mario.