The long-term universal popularity of the LEGO Star Wars theme – a phenomenon that doesn’t look to settle down any time in the next 10 years – has meant that potential licensing partners have been clamoring to get a slice of the action, and the handful of years following the release of The Revenge of the Sith was no exception.
One interested party was Deutsch Bensussen & Associates (BDA), who for years have held the license to produce video gaming accessories for Nintendo, as well as a number of the Japanese company’s IPs (including Donkey Kong, Mario Brothers and Zelda).
Founded in 1984 by high-schooler Jay Deutsch and college student friend Eric Bensussen, the pair of entrepreneurs started out in a garage by making and selling sweatshirts and buttons for local Seattle sports teams while in their late-teen years. In 1997 they branched out into less niche markets by joining the bean-filled crush craze that characterized the late ’90s with a range of plush toys of popular Nintendo characters.
Encouraged by the success of their Nintendo license BDA, in 2004, expanded the company into China, where they could manage their own direct-to-factory relationships and give them more scope to produce licensed goods for their partners. This led BDA to extend their Nintendo license and create BDA Gamer, a brand intended to support their range of video game accessories – including a limited line of LEGO Star Wars bundles and skins – in 2007.
First to arrive on the video gaming accessory scene in 2007 were three LEGO Star Wars video game
Ultimate Starter Kits. These bundles of add-ons included two silicon game cases, a Nintendo DS Lite console wrap, a pair of headphones, three styluses (or styli if you prefer), and a charger for the cigarette socket in your car contained in a steel lunchbox that was tightly sealed in a plastic clamshell.
While they missed the 2005 and 2006 release of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game (a game was never developed for the NDS) and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy by a narrow margin, they were bang on time for LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga.
The following year, BDA released three NDS system wraps, each making use of key art from the three LEGO Star Wars video games: Yoda, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi from The Complete Saga, Darth Vader from The Video Game (presumably because the packaging graphics in 2005 depicted Darth Vader’s helmet backed by lava) and Yoda from The Original Trilogy.
With their growing focus on sporting merchandise, BDA transitioned BDA Gamer to PowerA between 2009 and 2011, leading to a few products with cross-over packaging. Going forward their video gaming accessories brand (with the primary products being protective cases) was known as PowerA, and under this guise, the last handful of LEGO Star Wars video gaming products were released in 2010/11.
Two protective cases, released in 2010 and 2011, utilized BDA/PowerA’s patented Armor Case technology and featured mosaics of printed tiles – the 4504 Millennium Falcon and three 6212 X-wing Fighters to depict LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and a scene with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Yoda in a corridor to mark the new LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. Included with the latter was a unique Clone Trooper minifigure with Anakin’s battle-scarred face underneath the helmet, a custom stylus and two cartridge holders that could be attached to LEGO bricks.
Also released in 2011 to coincide with The Clone Wars video game were two Character Build & Play kits. Packaged in a blister card with the Star Wars-branded graphics used in 2011, these cheap and simple accessory kits included Obi-Wan Kenobi (Clone Wars) and Anakin Skywalker (Clone Trooper Head) minifigures, a custom stylus, and two cartridge holders that could be stacked using the LEGO studs on the surfaces. Branded as a Nintendo DS accessory, there was nothing about it that made it limited to this console and could easily be enjoyed by Nintendo DSi owners.
Long since disappeared from the primary market, fans wanting to add these to their collections will have to turn to marketplace sites like Bricklink and eBay, where they’re available – in most cases – for less than their original retail price.
Check out all the facts, figures, and details of all the BDA/PowerA accessories in our database:
- BDALSW001 LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game Nintendo DS Lite Ultimate Starter Kit
- BDALSW002 LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy Nintendo DS Lite Ultimate Starter Kit
- BDALSW003 LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga Nintendo DS Lite Ultimate Starter Kit
- BDALSW004 Nintendo DS System Wrap (Anakin Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi/Yoda)
- BDALSW005 Nintendo DS System Wrap (Darth Vader)
- BDALSW006 Nintendo DS System Wrap (Yoda)
- DScaseSW1 LEGO Star Wars Armor Case
- DScaseSW2 LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Armor Case Kit
- 330081 LEGO Star Wars III Character Play & Build Kit (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
- 330082 LEGO Star Wars III Character Play & Build Kit (Anakin Skywalker)
Including their PowerA brand, which they divested in 2020, BDA produced a total of ten video gaming accessories between 2007 and 2011 under the Nintendo brand for LEGO Star Wars video games.
Relatively abundant at the time and available via mainstream retailers, their current lack of popularity means that surviving stocks are only slowly drying up. These days fans of LEGO Star Wars video games will need to look to after-market sources – such as Amazon and eBay – to add these to their collections.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.