LEGO is not evil.Posted: December 20, 2011
I read this blog post the other day—go read it, I’ll wait——and my immediate response was: bullshit.
After some consideration, I will admit that he makes a few good points early on about the boy-oriented “spaceships-n-guns” formula of most current sets. And, yes, Lego now makes a lot of “movie-tie-in model sets”—with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit sets coming in 2012!—but there’s nothing wrong with that, despite Mr Sinker’s insinuation that there is.
The place his post goes off the rails is his discussion of the Lego Millenium Falcon his son is getting for Christmas—and Jack’s getting one, too, and I’m really really excited about it, and about Ella’s Hogwarts set——and Mr Sinker says: “…it’s a model kit. We will put it together once and we will play with it a lot and that will be that. It won’t get remixed, won’t get hacked. Eventually it’ll come apart and be put away and not rebuilt because 1000 pieces is a pain in the ass.”
As counter-evidence, here’s Jack’s Lego box:
That box contains—in addition to a basic starter set, a few pick-a-brick buckets, and two City fire trucks—Luke’s landspeeder (from A New Hope), the Wampa cave (from Empire Strikes Back), an Imperial V-Wing, Anakin’s snow speeder, Master Plo’s starfighter, and an Anakin-versus-the-Sith set (those last three all from The Clone Wars). Oh, and various minifig battle packs.
You’ll notice that none of those sets are still put together. They all were, once: I built most of them, and Lorna built some (with Jack’s help), and we had fun doing it. But sooner or later, all of them get taken apart—mostly sooner.
The fire trucks—Jack’s first Lego sets—stayed built the longest, because I would diligently repair any damage done after Jack finished playing with them. His first Star Wars Lego sets were the battle packs—the stormtroopers and rebels from Empire Strikes Back—and I would put the minifigs back together after he was done taking them apart. After a few weeks, though, I realized it was futile—and, more importantly, that I was doing something stupid. So I stopped, and Jack comes up with all sorts of crazy shit now, and it’s awesome.
The point of Legos is that you can take them apart, ‘hack’ them and ‘remix’ them: and the toys are designed in a way that encourages that sort of play, whether the set is a bucket of bricks or the motherfucking Death Star. Kids who build a set once and never create something new——
Well, I won’t make sweeping generalizations about kids and parents I don’t know. My only point is that my four-year-old doesn’t give a shit about keeping his “models” together, he “just make[s] stuff” out of the pieces and has his own adventures. As does my nine-year-old daughter, who recently chose the blue bucket of bricks when I was willing to buy her the T-6 Shuttle. She chose well, and I was proud.
Maybe the marketing department at Lego is evil—but marketing departments are evil everywhere, and the toys themselves still inspire creativity and imaginative play.