Lego Brand

May 10th, 2006, 10:06 am

Waxy
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i apologize in advance if this has already been brought up...

is it just me, or has lego really dumbed down their products? i'm 17 years old. i loved legos when i was a little kid. i recently walked into a KB TOYS for the first time in years and was disappointed by lego's new designs. the kits have way too many specialized pieces (the kind with irregular shapes, curves, etc, with paint according to the kits' theme).

half the fun of legos is taking apart the model that you built according to directions and making something altogether new and You. how can you make anything unique when all yo'ure stuck with are these specialized pieces that don't go together at all?

i used to love the challenge of creating my own curving staircases, walls, etc. now everything is premade, all you do is snap it on and create the endproduct in five minutes. this is so baffling because lego's history and the philosophies of its founder are those of integrity and value. and i feel they are doing kids a disservice when they make their kits easier.

what are other peoples' thoughts/comments on this? i'd like to hear.

May 10th, 2006, 10:41 am

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pezzy
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Lego has evolved. They needed to hit various markets, and use various licenses to stay competitive. The licensing is where the odd shaped parts you refer to came from (or at least when they became more common)

I do not think they have "dumbed" down anything... just made a range of products for different ages so you can “grow” with your Legos.

Look at their product line. They offer more technical challenges to a significantly more technically challenging modern-day lifestyle. Three words my friend: Programmable robotic Legos.

http://shop.lego.com/leaf.asp?cn=48&d=11&t=5
http://www.lego.com/eng/factory/design/ldd.asp
http://mindstorms.lego.com/?domainredir ... storms.com

May 10th, 2006, 11:06 am

Waxy
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Hi pezzy

I actually have the original mindstorms kit, and I love it. but mindstorms came out at least five years ago and i'm talking about more recently produced kits.

Lego has ALWAYS created a range of products for different ages, wasn't one of the first products a baby rattle?

I'm mainly talking about kits like these:

http://cache.lego.com/images/shop/prod/ ... x-13-1.jpg
http://cache.lego.com/images/shop/prod/ ... x-13-1.jpg
http://cache.lego.com/images/shop/prod/ ... x-13-1.jpg
http://cache.lego.com/images/shop/prod/ ... X-13-1.jpg
http://cache.lego.com/images/shop/prod/ ... x-13-1.jpg

...on that last one, I just don't get that giant shield. Lego characters are not six inch tall action figures with chisled biceps and tight uniforms. They are much smaller blocky figures who need only a cm long shield and a nice peg to place it on when are not fighting :)

May 10th, 2006, 12:31 pm

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I did an internship at Lego Boston a while back. The director of the studio clearly said, "kids now are not interested in building and re-building and making things up. They like to follow instructions, build a complicated model, and set it on the shelf to look at or play with in that form". Whether this is 100% true or not, it was their ethos at the time, and it was driving the decisions on what gets made.

I think while the percentage of the "specialized" parts has definitely gone up over the past 20 years, there are also more varieties of parts that allow for more flexibility in movement, motion, and structural design.

Lego 20 years ago was like building everything in a rational, Cartesian X-Y-Z format. To make a mechanical part work took much overbuilding. There are now more ways to do the same thing, and more elegantly with fewer parts.

However, the links you attached are indicative that the prevailing mindset for children's sets is much the same as when I worked there.

What a sweet office it was, too - right at the end of Newbury Street, above Sonsie. Hot eurotrash girls all day long to inspire your Lego dreams.
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May 10th, 2006, 5:30 pm

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pezzy
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Lego article posted before by CG.

http://www.fastcompany.com/online/50/lego.html

May 10th, 2006, 5:40 pm

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Not to get into one of those "when I was a kid" type of monologs.... but when I was a kid, the fact that everything was super simple in Lego's is what made it cool. You had to use your imagination. I think a lot of us designers forget that to a kid, anything that is red with a ladder like structure can be a firetruck, and that firetruck, after five minutes of play, can also be a spaceship, and then a submarine....

kids have limitless imaginations, its the adult world that hampers it in the end. Shouldn't we try to get them to keep that boundless imagination as long as possible?

At the same time I understand those guys have to compete in a tough market segment.

May 11th, 2006, 6:30 am

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As a side note, I saw the full scale volvo suv made of legos up close when I was back home in baltimore, insane. I'll have to see if the pix came out and post them. It used all regular old-school lego blocks.

May 11th, 2006, 8:01 am

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If I recall correctly, Lego was surprised when they exported their toys to Germany in the '50s or '60s. The kids would put the models together according to the instructions and not try to build anything else.

What have we done to American children to turn them to this? Moreover, is it a step forward, back or sideways?

play

May 11th, 2006, 8:22 am

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There are more specialized/themed parts, no doubt about it. However my sons play in both the play patterns described. Like most kids I think they really enjoy focused building from directions (like bionicles or Exoforce). But they also build their own houses, robots, cars, etc out of the basic pieces. (We assemble the directed ones together).

It is my understanding that one of the reasons they expanded their play pattern via piece complexity is that their patents expired on the original geometric basics.

May 11th, 2006, 9:31 am

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skinny wrote:As a side note, I saw the full scale volvo suv made of legos up close when I was back home in baltimore, insane. I'll have to see if the pix came out and post them. It used all regular old-school lego blocks.

I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about. those legoland parks are full of sculptures/models/whatever that are equally as impressive. I wasn't trying to condemn everything and anything theyve ever done, just expressing my disappointment at their new 'ethos' and what results of it..

May 26th, 2006, 3:33 pm

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You can still buy regular lego blocks, windows, trees etc. exactly how they were in the past, it's just that they don't market those as heavily as they're less exciting. The pictures posted are from one of lego's 'sub-brands' like 'Technic' aimed at slightly older boys or their 'Bionic' creatures or the 'Belville' brand aimed at girls.

It is quite clever, although tacky, how they've teamed up with various other people to make up-to-date kits like the Star Wars and Harry Potter lego. They have to change their products to keep up with the stiff competition in the form of video games, tv, electronic toys etc. If they just produced regular old bricks they wouldn't survive, and have had to have tapped into popular culture and other popular themes like 'fighting robots'.

I actually still have a big box of old-style Lego and there are some pretty cool pieces which aren't all flashy and curvy and based on films, like the mini lego CCTV cameras, solid plastic bank notes, clumps of flowers, flags and flames! Even those extras which allow you to add fun little details to your block constructions through the well designed pieces aren't enough to grip the market these days, it would seem.
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At what point do you grow out of LEGOs?

Personally, I have never grown out of my association with them yet I do not sit down with blocks from when I was a kid.

The same could be said for most peoples association with Video games or electronic media. Yet adults will play Videopgames today.

When I was a kid I was outside and never made an association with Video games. Therefore it is unlikely that I will ev er buy that type of thing to entertain myself as an adult.

Isn't Lego's problem that the product does not transition to adulthood for more sales ?(robot asside).

Time involved with the association is how I would look at it.
lets talk kids after school between 3-6pm = three hours.
"after school days" in the calendar year ( approx 180)
years that Kids might play Legos from age 4-11=8years
total hours= roughly 4320hours.

lego is competing with video games for that 4320 hours.
Good design does not have borders

May 28th, 2006, 9:25 am

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Lego has released some PC/Video games, but they are obviously limited in what they can offer compared to other games.
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moderator wrote:At what point do you grow out of LEGOs?

Personally, I have never grown out of my association with them yet I do not sit down with blocks from when I was a kid.

The same could be said for most peoples association with Video games or electronic media. Yet adults will play Videopgames today.

When I was a kid I was outside and never made an association with Video games. Therefore it is unlikely that I will ev er buy that type of thing to entertain myself as an adult.

Isn't Lego's problem that the product does not transition to adulthood for more sales ?(robot asside).

Time involved with the association is how I would look at it.
lets talk kids after school between 3-6pm = three hours.
"after school days" in the calendar year ( approx 180)
years that Kids might play Legos from age 4-11=8years
total hours= roughly 4320hours.

lego is competing with video games for that 4320 hours.
I have a laundry basket sized bin FULL of LEGO's from when I was a kid. My daughter and I play with them for hours a weeks and she absolutly loves em. So do I! She's only 2 almost 3 and she already build houses and spaceships and the best LEGO cake i've ever had.

May 30th, 2006, 3:08 pm

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I have a laundry basket sized bin FULL of LEGO's from when I was a kid
Ewww....It would be cool to create a laundry basket out of legos :shock:

I wonder how heavy it would be after the glue.....

:idea: :idea:


My dad pitched my bag of LEGOS :?
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