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Fun With Official LEGO NFC Tags
Posted by Richard on April 21, 2018 at 04:27 PM CST:
The last two years at BrickUniverse, some vendors have been selling pre-assembled LEGO® Dimensions characters and vehicles (minus their NFC tags) as souvenirs to the public. One vendor this year was selling JUST the NFC tags for a buck each. While I was tempted to buy out all figure tags to get their unlockable in-game content, it seemed like it would spoil the fun not to have the physical figures and vehicles to accompany them.

LEGO Dimensions is a game with a similar premise to Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and to some degree Amiibos from Nintendo. The toys are intended to activate in game content when placed on an NFC reader/writer peripheral.

Before I go any further, I should note the following could stop your Dimensions tags from working properly in-game. I recommend only doing this with expendable tags. It may or may not be possible to restore gameplay functionality after you have altered the tags. Not all phones will work with this, even if they have an NFC reader/writer built in. Android phones with NFC are usually compatible, while Apple products may use NFC strictly for tap&pay

First off, there are two kinds of LEGO® Dimensions Toy Tags. They are powered by the same chip, but have different programming to function differently. At their core, they are really just modified off-the-shelf NFC tags you could order yourself if you really wanted. As these are encased in an LEGO branded plastic, they are "legal" LEGO elements. You will need third party software to modify or make use of them outside of the LEGO Dimensions videogame however. I have only experimented with NFC tools for android, you may find other better featured programs out there.

The character specific tags (with printing on them to match their respective minifigure) are not intended to be rewritten, and locked data sectors prevent them from being rewritten into other characters. I hear its still possible to rewrite parts of their data, but doing so may corrupt it's in-game functionality, more or less permanently if you don't know what and how to write back onto it. As the character tags are not rewritten throughout the game, you can use this to your advantage by using third party software on your phone to perform certain read-only tasks whenever it sees the Batman character tag. You can set Batman to turn your wifi on and off for example, instead of hunting through menus whenever you get home. Maybe use Gandolf to turn on bluetooth and connect to your wireless speakers? There are all sorts of tasks you can set you minifigures to trigger when your phone reads them.

The vehicle and equipment tags on the other hand, have no printing and are intended to be rewritten throughout the game to save upgrades. There are even in game exploits to clone vehicles and equipment so you can have each of three variations at your disposal. In theory, if you reprogram these tags, you can simply activate the instructions for a vehicle in-game and overwrite it back onto the tag to make it playable again. Even if you can't fix it, you can buy replacements fairly cheap on Bricklink. Vehicle tags are good for writing text messages onto, or linking to social media and personal websites to use as a business card. I think they pose the most utility when built into a MOC. You can write a link to an audio file, or a youtube video to make the character "talk" through your phone when scanned. As the tags only come in blue or orange, you might find it harder to fit into a color scheme, but since the tags are wireless you may have enough range to hide it behind a plate and still scan it. I'm sure our readers can come up with some incredible ideas to implement with these, so be sure to send us photos and a description if you come up with something interesting!

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