Mega Bloks (MB) is a Canadian clone brand produced by Mega Bloks, Incorporated (previously named Ritvik Toys). As such, Mega Bloks can refer to either the company or its products. In 2014 the company was acquired by Mattelmat, makers of Barbie and Hot Wheels brands.
When referring to the products, there are four major groups of Mega Bloks, varying in size: Maxi, Mini, Micro and Nano. The two sizes most interesting to LEGO fans are the Mini and Micro sizes, which are compatible with DUPLO and LEGO bricks respectively.
Mega Bloks and LEGO
The LEGO Group has frequently pursued legal action against Mega Bloks. However, in November 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mega Bloks in a dispute over copyright infringement and brand differentiation ().
In general the two brands are highly compatible. Studs are the same dimensions, plates are 1/3 of a brick in height, rod system parts are interchangeable, and so forth, although there are minor areas of incompatibility.
Criticism of Mega Bloks
Many AFOLs believe that Mega Bloks do not meet the high standard for quality set by genuine LEGO -- that the precision of molding and quality of plastic in the manufacture of Mega Bloks are not as high as that of LEGO bricks. Mega Blok figures use construction slightly different from LEGO minifigs, leading to the inability to share some components. Mega Blok baseplates are slightly larger than corresponding LEGO baseplates, but are available in both longer and wider shapes. Also, some Mega Bloks do not bind to LEGO bricks as well as they do to each other, leading to issues of where they can and can't be used.
A particular complaint by many is the perception that many Mega Bloks themed product lines contain a higher percentage of juniorized elements. Highly detailed figures in such MB product lines as Dragons or Pirates of the Carribean are accompanied by very few, highly specialized pieces that do not allow for many alternate building opportunities.
Mega Bloks and AFOLs
Mega Bloks can sometimes be bought in bulk at lower prices than genuine LEGO Bricks, leading to some AFOLs using them for structural or framework elements of creations. This allows them to use genuine LEGO bricks for the visible portions of the creation while taking advantage of the lower-prices of Mega Bloks. Other AFOLs (for example those with a high purity level) will not use Mega Bloks at all whilst others will use them freely alongside LEGO bricks.
Some LEGO forums have even taken to using the word "Mega Bloks" (or variants on that: megablocks, megablox, etc) as a swear word to further demean this "clone brand."
Recently Mega Bloks have begun to appear in different shapes and shades from LEGO, such as 2x4 bricks with curved edges or creatures such as dragons.
Additionally Mega Bloks makes specialized sculpted panels as architectural units for medieval and modern buildings, so that realistic stone curtain walls can be made for castles, and brick masonry and cement lintels are available for modern building sculptures. These elements bring brick structures closer to being plastic models than construction toys. "Weathered bricks" are also produced in a variety of colors, so that ruined buildings can show the effects of exposure to the elements.