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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego 193

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the need-more-massive-lego-sets dept.
MBCook writes "The New York Times published an article on Saturday profiling Lego, and how tie-ins with movies have helped save the company. 'Even as other toymakers struggle, this Danish maker of toy bricks is enjoying double-digit sales gains and swelling earnings. In recent years, Lego has increasingly focused on toys that many parents wouldn't recognize from their own childhood. Hollywood themes are commanding more shelf space, a far cry from the idealistic, purely imagination-oriented play that drove Lego for years and was as much a religion as a business strategy in Billund.' The article also mentions coming Lego Stores, a Lego board game, how Lego now allows sets with violence (like a gun for Indiana Jones), and how since 2004 Lego has cut part count nearly in half by encouraging re-use of parts and stopping one-off pieces."
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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego

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  • 4 Pages? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Try this link [nytimes.com].

    • I, for one, welcome our Lego overlords [thekeltners.net]

  • Lego Star Wars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khan (19367) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:19PM (#29343595)

    That's the product line that has REALLY saved The Lego Group. The sales figures for that line alone are staggering. And as an AFOL, I can verify that the design quality and playability of their recent products have improved substantially. My kids continue to go back to their Lego collection to play with long after the novelty of the latest toy that they've received for their birthday\Xmas\whatever has worn off. As a friend of mine has always said, it's a thousand toys in one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steelfood (895457)

      And as an AFOL, I can verify that the design quality and playability of their recent products have improved substantially.

      That's because of the reduction in one-off pieces as described by the article. I've noticed it independently myself, that there are a lot fewer specialized pieces in the products. There are still a few piece I'd like to see go the way of the dodo, but its' much better, all in all. And piece quality has gone up since '04 as well, closer to where they used to be.

      The thing that killed Lego in the early '00 was the lack of creativity. The themes were stale and the individual sets bland. The large amount of spec

    • by afidel (530433)
      The problem is that such specialized sets are only furthering the problem of the helicopter parent generation, kids no longer understand how to participate in unstructured play. If everything is specialized and stylized into a specific role in a specific set then then how are kids supposed to come up with their own unique creations? Personally I've fought this trend by buying my son buckets of loose parts at garage sales, but at some point the huge piles of generic unstructured pieces will be gone, what the
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ripit (1001534)
        There's room for both. My kid builds Lego Star Wars sets. When he gets tired of them, he takes them apart and makes his own stuff.

        Loose Legos from garage sales or craigslist are great, too. Lego still makes "generic unstructured pieces;" a large part of current sets are made from them.
    • I'm a YAFOL (Young Adult Fan of LEGO) and I concure here.
      I've been a fan of the Star Wars movies (well, OK, except for Episode II), but I never ended up with much of the merchandise.
      The Star Wars LEGO sets are pretty much the only SW merch I've got - great idea, a product at a confluence of two things (LEGO and SW) that are each strong & popular for their own reasons.

      I have a feeling that the BIG Lego Star Wars sets (which I didn't have) would have been even cooler to monkey around with, but then again,

  • So, in short... (Score:2, Insightful)

    So, what you're telling me is Lego sold out. And for the Harrison Ford retirement fund--I mean, movie, no less.

    • Re:So, in short... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by InMSWeAntitrust (994158) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:26PM (#29343649)
      Hey, in the business world you have to adapt to stay ahead. It's preferable to sell out than to go bankrupt . It may blacken the CEO's soul, but if whimsical toys powered by imagination don't sell, why stay the course and become the next GM?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        why stay the course and become the next GM

        To get a ginormous handout from the tax payers and continue running your business into the ground, of course!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trepidity (597)

        There's usually more options, though. In a lot of cases, selling out isn't done to avoid going bankrupt, but just to make more profit than before--- the alternative would've been to be still-profitable, but smaller.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kell Bengal (711123)
        They're not selling out, they're cashing in!
    • Re:So, in short... (Score:5, Informative)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:30PM (#29343699)

      Actually, no; a) they still make in Denmark with one of the highest safety standards in the business b) reduced "one off" special parts actually is a return to the spirit of building it yourself c) all the build it yourself stuff is still available d) you can still buy basic kits and they are as good as ever.

      There is one thing; the violence and Star Wars shit but you don't have to buy that for your kids. I don't. This is a major change (the didn't make green bricks for a long time so that nobody could make tanks and so on) but it's not the main or nearly most crucial element of Lego.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Keen Anthony (762006)

        I grew up with Lego, and I can't express the joy it gives me to walk down a toy isle and see a healthy thriving Lego line. As you said, you don't have to buy the themed Lego sets (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Space Police, etc). They are awesome, and if you're going to spend money on toys for a kid, Lego toys allow a child to explore his imagination better than static action figures. My preference is still for the Lego CITY set which are more inline with the Legos I had as a kid. These sets are very elaborate.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zoney_ie (740061)

          They have more sets in the Lego "Creator" line than ever - i.e. basic building sets (many with *three* suggested models and instructions for each) and brick boxes/buckets. 42 sets in that section of their website, and my local store has an entire shelf section devoted to them - as much as Star Wars Lego has, possibly more (some large Creator sets on other shelves too).

          City Lego, while it is a theme, is obviously one of the major mainstays of Lego as ever though - again it's the largest product range (far mo

      • Re:So, in short... (Score:5, Informative)

        by icebraining (1313345) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:20PM (#29345343) Homepage

        How can they say that Lego sets have violence *now*, when I have a 1989 catalog with plenty of pirates models, with guns and canons?

        • by maharb (1534501)

          A journalist needed to write a story. The worst part is these types of errors are common in things that matter, not just articles about toys.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        'violence and Star Wars shit' ...

        God you are a fucking pussy. I'm flamebait, sure, but your kids are going to get their asses kicked so many times they turn into wife beating child abusers with that stupid mentality.

        You don't need green bricks to make a tank, kids have no problem with red tanks, blue tanks, white tanks and black ones. Its only retarded adults that think something like that is going to stop children from being children or somehow block millions of years of evolution which have made us into

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Not allow violence (i.e. real weapons)? Fort Legorado [brickset.com], 1996. Six shooters, rifles, swords, and cannons.

    • Re:So, in short... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:46PM (#29343803) Journal
      A lot of the tie-ins are kind of meh; but the "cut part count nearly in half by encouraging re-use of parts and stopping one-off pieces" aspect makes everything better, and the bad aspects pretty much irrelevant.

      "POOP"s(Piece Out of Other Pieces [blogsome.com] are, along with wholly inflexible merely decorative elements, pretty much the biggest enemy of Lego as a reconfigurable imaginative toy. Instead of getting a bag of bits that can be the model on the box, or any number of other things, you just get a snap together model. Might as well come with hobby glue. If that is the case, the quality of the model on the box really matters; because that is more or less what you get.

      With the sharp reduction in one-off overdetermined crap, the goodness or badness of the model on the box matters a whole lot less, you can always just treat it as a kit of parts and rebuild it. The only thing that ends up really mattering is whether the color scheme of that particular tie-in is close enough to what you want.

      If movie tie-ins are what it takes for Lego to stay solvent(and volume sales almost certainly are, I don't even want to know how expensive Lego sets would be if they went from doing high-precision ABS injection molding to short-run high-precision ABS injection molding), that may well say something unfortunate about the buying public; but(as long as the sets aren't made of worthless pieces) that doesn't really harm old-school enthusiasts. If anything, the more sets sold, the more bricks will show up in big Ebay lots, or on Bricklink [bricklink.com].
    • Hey, they can sell the family jewels as long as it lets them keep selling Technic.
    • Re:So, in short... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quothz (683368) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:12PM (#29344453) Journal

      So, what you're telling me is Lego sold out.

      I wouldn't say that. Lego is renowned as one of the best companies in the world to work for: They treat their employees well, pay them well, give them good bennies, and don't nickel and dime 'em. They don't shift jobs to countries where they can exploit workers. If selling out their brand name lets 'em avoid selling out their employees, then I'm all for it.

  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:21PM (#29343605) Homepage Journal

    My son is 6 and right smack in the middle of the kids they are shooting for. He is obsessed with Star Wars, and loves playing Lego Star Wars. He's collected a few sets now for birthday, Christmas, etc. We have a lot of fun building the kits to the directions, but spend just as much time figuring out new things to build. There are a lot of different shapes that go well beyond the idea of a 'block' and I think it involves a lot more imagination to figure new ways to connect them.

    It's something we can do together and have a lot of fun with it. When he's a little older we'll start working with the Mindstorm kit together.

    • When you mean "we"... do you mean "you" and your kid sitting on the side, watching? ^^

      • No - I mean he and I with big piles of legos around us and we are each putting stuff together. When he builds by the directions I help him find pieces if he gets stuck looking for them. We have all his kits in plastic bags, sorted by color which can make it tough to find certain pieces. He does a great job building.

        Over the summer his cousin brought some Bionical sets to a family get together so now he really wants some of those. He has one Indiana Jones set - but he's never seen the films and isn't rea

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi (719324)

      You might try sooner with something that strucks me a bit as "Mindstorm Duplo" ;) (yes, I know those aren't Duplo bricks...)

      http://www.ni.com/academic/wedo/ [ni.com]
      http://www.lego.com/education/news/default.asp?pagename=press_kit&l2id=17_1 [lego.com]

  • I wish they were around when I was a kid. When my kids were kids, I used to play with their Legos all the time. I don't play with them anymore. Maybe when I have grandkids, I'll play with them again. Playing with legos when you don't have kids is probably weird.
    • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:52PM (#29343873) Homepage Journal

      Not when you are playing with LEGO Mindstorms NXT [amazon.com]. I got my set ( the older version ) when Ed Nisley, writing for Dr Dobbs at the time, recommended them as a way to learn about embedded programming. Here is a great example [cnet.com] of how awesome the robots can be.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 07, 2009 @05:09PM (#29344021) Homepage

      Who gives a crap!!? Go out and buy yourself a set! Be a kid for a little while. Don't hold yourself back because of what others might think about you. And if you want to justify it to yourself in some way, then consider there are far worse things you can spend your time and money on... cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, porn, guns and on and on. Most "adult" things are also considered vices. I see nothing wrong with doing something fun that is harmless and nice.

      And if it helps you to feel less weird, "give it away" to some 'needy kids' or to a school, a day care, a church or some such place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pimpimpim (811140)
        Actually they now have some grown-up collector sets. The Eiffel tower, a Beetle. I found them in a recently-opened special Lego store in Frankfurt
    • by naoursla (99850)

      Playing with Legos as an adult is not weird. It is AWESOME!

      For one thing you can build really awesome giant detailed models because when you need a certain brick that you don't have, you can JUST BUY IT! You can either buy a new set or go someplace like http://www.bricklink.com/ [bricklink.com] to buy specific pieces (there are people who run businesses where they buy sets and break them apart just to sell on bricklink).

      There is a huge underground industry supporting adults who play with Legos and clubs made up of adults (

  • So they confirmed that in order to sell something you need to create a desire in the mind of the children. Welcome to the Marketing world.
  • Where's Technic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:26PM (#29343667)

    The tie-ins are tolerable even though they're still horribly dependent on using special pieces. What I want to know is why have they gutted the much more interesting Technic line? You rarely see the sets that are still produced on the big retailers shelves in the US anymore.

    • Technic has been pretty much completely overshadowed by Mindstorms. The good news is that you can still find some fantastic older Technic sets on line (ebay and the like) and Technic can play extremely well with Mindstorms.

      Mind you, the Architecture line is what has me the most excited lately, even if they are very much a linear Lego experience.

    • by British (51765)

      I'm 33 years old. My mom hid my christmas present from me in the house, which was the 8880 super car. I was 18 at the time, working on my first real car. I do miss hard core Technic. Gears, axels, levers and such are quite educational to a future mechanical engineer.

      • I lusted after that thing as a kid, and now it's rare enough I can't justify paying for one on ebay. It always looked amazing in the pictures!
    • That's a problem with retail, US retailers don't seem to try to get many of them. They only get so many kits, and Lego offers a lot more than what any retailer tries to offer.

      But they are available, I counted something like 24 kits currently available:

      http://technic.lego.com/en-us/Products/New/8258New.aspx [lego.com]

  • by IronMagnus (777535) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:27PM (#29343669)
    Wait... a gun for indiana jones is new? When I was a kid (20 years ago), we had pirate sets with guns in them... medieval sets with swords and cross bows... weapons everywhere.... how is violence in lego anything even remotely new?
    • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:34PM (#29343723)

      Space sets had those nifty bazookas too. But even so, with the large Technic guys I can make ninja swords out of an axel and a grey spacer.

      I've said too much.

      • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:55PM (#29343889)

        Space sets had those nifty bazookas too. But even so, with the large Technic guys I can make ninja swords out of an axel and a grey spacer.

        Bah, that's nothing. When I was a kid (in the late 60s) one of my friends had an old bazooka - a REAL one. Okay, no projectiles, just the launcher. We used to fight over who got to use it when we played Army.

        We also had old canvas army jackets (REALLY cool if it had your actual surname on it, versus the usual random surname), locking ammo boxes, stuff like that. Most of our dads were, or had been, in the military - and a lot of that stuff seemed to wander home. My dad didn't bring home infantry stuff, so while I had a camo jacket I was in awe of the kid with the bazooka.

        I also remember eating a lot of just-expired C-rations. Those, I think, were legit. We used to fight over who got the one with a particular dessert we liked (most of the actual meals were crap, excepting maybe the beans and franks). Didn't get to keep the cigarettes though.

        What's any of this got to do with legos? Nothing, but hey - you brought up bazookas. And I believe I still owned some Legos back then. Okay, well it's time for my medication.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tomfrh (719891)

        Space sets had those nifty bazookas too

        No, they were a "camera with side sight" (http://www.peeron.com/inv/parts/4380). See, those spacemen were just shooting film, not baddies.

        And this one (http://www.peeron.com/inv/parts/4349) is a "loudhailer" - you know, for making announcements on the lunar surface...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:56PM (#29343895)

      LEGO's policy for a long time was to feature no "modern" weapons, which allowed things like swords, crossbows, blunderbusses, and laser bazookas. I believe the policy went out the door some time ago with the Wild West themed sets and their revolvers and rifles.

      • I have to say, I respected Lego for its policy of "We don't make war toys". It was an admirable thing for a company in this day and age. I'm sorry to see they've stretched that pretty far, but I think I'd be sorrier to see Lego fade away entirely. I just wish they'd bring the old sets back.
        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          So pirates (with swords, pistols, and cannons), knights (with swords, catapults, and axes) and space marines (with bazookas, space-fighters, and massive laser cannons) are all OK, but an archaeologist with a revolver and a whip is not?

          I struggle to see the problem. If they were making Lego Abrams main armour, with infantry support armed with M16s, I might see your point.

          • That is entirely my point. It's stretched by pretty warlike toys they've made but they aren't selling you the Hind-D playset. Frankly, I'll take what I can get.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by zeugma-amp (139862)
            For M16s and other assorted modern weapons,go to Brickarms [brickarms.com]. Unfortunately, they can't seem to keep things from being horribly backordered.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      Sounds like the person who wrote the article didn't understand what they were talking about.

      Yes, little plastic weapons for the lego men to hold are nothing new. But the closest to actual violence in Lego sets was the pirates sets - there's never been a set, for instance, where you build a replica assault rifle that fires real projectiles.

      • by dkf (304284)

        there's never been a set, for instance, where you build a replica assault rifle that fires real projectiles.

        Of course there was! But you had to be really inventive to put it together right, and the muzzle velocity wasn't exactly that high even then. Not even enough to break a glass door. (Thankfully... :-)) The best approach was probably to do something a bit like a tennis machine, except with smaller projectiles. Lego men heads worked a treat!

      • There were also the medieval sets which included swords among other things. But as with the pirate sets, the box art still looked like the Lego men were having fun. The Space Police sets today look more serious.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BoppreH (1520463)
      Don't forget that every single child that has played with Lego have at least once ripped off the characters members apart.
      • I actually had a heck of a time trying to take the arms out of a few of my characters, the legs and heads on the other hand were made to change.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Try a dremel.

          (way back in college I took a course where we built robots out of lego - not mindstorms. We'd embed sensors in blocks modified with dremels)

  • by BaronSprite (651436) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:27PM (#29343671) Homepage
    While it is annoying to have 500 different versions of ____ summer movie theme represented in toy form, the best trick that lego has going for it is that you can usually rip it down and change it into something else when you are bored of it. LEGO recognizes that their product can still fit in with the imaginationland scheme while still appealing to a current market trend, so why not?
  • Yea, and Al Gore invented the internet. Sure....

    Could it perhaps be that marketing people took over and pushed up the price of what amounts to pieces of cheap mass-produced plastic that dragged down the company in the first place? To me there's something wrong in needing to jump through so many hoops to sell something so simple and appealing as building blocks.

    • Could it perhaps be that marketing people took over and pushed up the price of what amounts to pieces of cheap mass-produced plastic that dragged down the company in the first place?

      I'd love to buy some of the bigger pirate ship and castle sets from when I was a kid, but even if they re-released them at the prices they charged a decade and a half ago I wouldn't want to shell out that much for them. I know they have to pay real wages because they don't manufacture in China, but damn. I'd think they could e

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        They can't really lower their prices when 25 to 50% of the profits probably go to Hollywood for the tie-ins.

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Monday September 07, 2009 @05:16PM (#29344083)

        . I'd think they could easily cut their prices by 25-50% and still be making a tidy profit.

        Probably not whilst delivering the quality and safety that they do. If you look at some of the Meg@#$%# lego clones, have a feel at how they fit together; See how the bricks start breaking up and how Lego seems to last and last, you know what I mean. In the end the Lego is cheaper because it lasts and it still gets used. When I get told that my kid "needs" a rescue helicopter or something instead of buying it, we just build it together.

        When I buy random cheap Chinese toys I really feel I could be poisoning my child. I don't think the manufacturer wants to poison my kids any more than I want to do that to his, but I'm sure he has little way to control the quality of the quality of the plastic coming in and no come back if he does find someone has done something bad. Look at the chinese milk scandal [wikipedia.org]. The key thing there is not that the milk companies were cheating and failing to test. Someone was deliberately working around their testing. With that kind of garbage; better buy Lego.

        In this case; you get what you pay for.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kell Bengal (711123)
          You're absolutely right. My lego pieces from nigh on two decades ago still fit and hold. The very few occasional weak pieces have failed, but the rank and file pieces still fit and still hold their colour. Nobody but nobody can tell me that Lego bricks were shoddy. A toy that lasts, and is still played with, for 10-20 years is frankly worth paying the premium.
      • by Tweenk (1274968) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:32PM (#29344605)

        I'd think they could easily cut their prices by 25-50% and still be making a tidy profit.

        I'd rather have them keep the uncompromising, legendary quality instead. I encountered exactly 1 bad brick in 10000$ MSRP worth of Lego. I think the fact that the set will not break or wear out in 5, 10, 15 years is a big consideration for families which have more than one child. I have a lot of Lego bricks that survived my entire childhood and are still in very good shape, even though I used to play with them very frequently. The Technic line is essentially precision machinery made of plastic.

    • by Tweenk (1274968)

      Could it perhaps be that marketing people took over and pushed up the price of what amounts to pieces of cheap mass-produced plastic that dragged down the company in the first place?

      Making pieces of mass-produced plastic is easy. Making the pieces to extremely strict tolerances and ensuring that no set is incomplete or has broken pieces is hard. Making those pieces survive 5 years of heavy use with litle wear is really, really hard. That's why Lego is more expensive than the crap excreted by Chinese factories.

  • While it is true that movie themes have kept Lego afloat and even boosted its popularity significantly, once someone gets into Lego, it becomes something else entirely.

    When I was a kid, Lego was mainly for building houses for the little people to live in. Our cultures have changed significantly since those days. Our homes are constantly filled with sound and music and noise of one kind or another. Everything needs to flash, bang or pop to get our attention. Star Wars and even Indiana Jones movie themes

  • Hey-- why hasn't there been a Lego movie? Given the brand appeal and the richness of the settings possible, a Lego movie would kick brick-ass....

  • The movie tie-ins are pure genius and uniquely Lego.. They have a good sense of humor and the new Lego sets are fun. As a 35 year Lego guy, it find the new stuff simply awesome.

    The irony is that the Star Wars Lego sets are MORE Lego like than their 'original' sets they put out now. The piece on the Star Wars sets are more interchangeable while their "Mars" series has these HUGE molded pieces that can not really be used outside of the ship you are 'supposed' to build.

    However, if you want to find something t

  • Back in my days when there was knights lego, they already had swords...

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:04PM (#29344411) Homepage
    Pretty much everything I made out of Legos was war-related. Tanks and planes mostly, but I made some pretty cool howitzers back in the day. They'd fire the four-side black rods with a couple of rubber bands.
  • Just felt compelled to make another comment. From the article, there was one statement that really stuck in my craw. And it was the one that said with these Hollywood themed sets, kids will be playing out Hollywood's imagination instead of their own. It's true but it's not. With action figures and vehicle toys from the movies, that will definitely be true. But with Lego toys, it's not as true. Why? Because you can't make things with action figures and vehicles... not easily anyway.

    And here's a factoi

    • You couldn't be more wrong if you TRIED. There's nothing wrong with kids' imagination, the problem is that everyone from their parents out to are forcing them to spend every waking moment in some "structured recreation" style BS and nobody tolerates kids actually making noise and messes anymore. Creative toys are basically the exact opposite of this and encourage kids to ask "why" and not settle for "because I said so", that's where the real problem is.

    • I don't agree with you: most kids I know play videogames most of their free time and still have vivid imagination. Actually, I think many videogames are an excellent source of inspiration.

      But if videogames are the problem, just have them play LittleBigPlanet [youtube.com].

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowskyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @09:34PM (#29345863) Homepage Journal

    A lot of people complaining about some of these Lego sets seem to think that you can only really build the thing on the box when you get the set. There's a ton of parts for even the tiniest Lego model and you have a lot of options. If you have more than one set, you can genuinely make some really interesting displays. You need to think differently out of the box. My four year old autistic son taught me this. I buy them for them and he puts together all sorts of stuff. At first, I put the sets together and then let him have at them, but I had gotten lazy and just handed some stuff to play with, and felt pretty bad about it, so I bought a fairly complicated set to put together with him, and found that, by the time I'd got the basics of the first page done, he'd already built something very cool. For him, the picture on the box isn't the thing to build, but is representative of a sort of world he plays in with those pieces. I think right now Princess Lea and Han Solo Lego people are wearing pirate hats and are carrying knight swords on top of a steam engine (sad end for a Bachmann set).

    Still, if you must have the ultimate in "suggestionless" Lego design, you need to go to a Lego store. Lego stores have all the theme sets, for sure, but they also have a huge wall in the back where you can just fill up a big cup for $15 and get anything you want. Wheels, different shape blocks, they are all there.

  • by speedlaw (878924) on Monday September 07, 2009 @09:38PM (#29345871) Homepage
    Lego is clearly in charge of the business. Here's how it works. A kid sees a lego kit. The branding (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc) sells the kit. The child assembles the X wing fighter, or the Pirate ship. The toy then flies/sails to the corner of the room with all the other legos. The pirate ends up in the X wing. The cannons from the pirate ship end up on the x wing fighter but the nav console from the x wing becomes part of something else. The Ferrari mechanic is wearing a horned helmet and in the battlements of the castle. By the time the child is done, the "branded toy" has morphed and blended with all the other legos. Our lego chess set is guarding a castle. Bits of X wing and Imperial Walkers are outbuildings. From the children I've observed, the branded lego kit is a way to sell the blocks at the highest possible price. To the adult. The kids play with the blocks like kids. Lego is still one of the few toys with real play value, not just a prepackaged fantasy with no where to go. Also, for those of you worried about the "gun" issue, kids can make guns out of anything....and do.
  • Legos On Mars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:11AM (#29347299) Journal

    My scientist's heart sinks when I remember the hopes I had and that the following would re-popularize the space program as well as science in general, then lost when nobody noticed...

    So you've got these guys who built these robot car things and they're going to send them to Mars. One of the cool things they did was collect peoples' names and messages to the New Planet to send along. They burned the messages to CDs and then started looking for a way to attach the CDs to the 'dashboards' of their robots. How about... oh, I dunno... maybe some interlocking plastic blocks with the CD trapped between a pair of them, and a screw or two to hold each of the 3 pairs in place? I'll bet some of these guys even have some of these things laying around and would be glad to donate them to the cause.....

    From the left science panaorama camera on each Mars Rover, taken on Sol 2 of each mission:

    Spirit:
    http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/p/002/2P126556804EFF0200P2205L1M1.JPG [nasa.gov]
    http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/p/002/2P126556727EFF0200P2205L4M1.JPG [nasa.gov]

    Opportunity:
    http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/002/1P128365194EDN0100P2205L5M1.JPG [nasa.gov]
    http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/002/1P128365248EDN0100P2205L6M1.JPG [nasa.gov]

  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @03:59AM (#29348281) Journal

    Otherwise I wouldn't have enough pieces that are in grey to make Star Trek Starships out of LEGO.

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

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