One of my favourite Lego related blogs recently has been “I’m starting to think Lego is evil” by Daniel Sinker. It touches on a few things that I don’t really want to admit about Lego because… well, because I love Lego.
Firstly, the trend towards licenced IP such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. These sets annoy me because the cost of the licence grossly inflates the cost of the set. As a result, we don’t have any (unless they came free with something). For the most part, they are over priced and limited. The one exception is the absolutely amazing Death Star set – I LOVE IT but don’t see me spending the best part of three hundred flaming quid on it.
Secondly, the pervasive ships-n-guns themes. Even the dinosaur themed sets due out this coming year are full of trucks and guns. Why? Why? I just don’t get it.
The blog contained one statement which has hung around my consciousness ever since I first read it – about how boys play with Lego, but girls “used to” play with Lego. Is this true? Do girls “move on” from Lego onto something else? What, and why? And why don’t boys? Is it about the ships and guns? When I’m sticking up for Lego’s unisex appeal, I often mention the last few sets we bought – the Log Cabin for instance, the Winter Village sets, or the Medieval Market Village. There’s one thing that unites these sets though. They aren’t cheap. They are clearly for the “AFOL” – Adult Fan of Lego. There is no way anyone is buying these from their pocket money. And as long as the sets are too expensive for pocket money, you can’t count them. What are the small sets you can get for pocket money sums? Ninjago, Police bikes, an Alien Conquest ship. I’d want to argue they’re not boy, as such… but I’d fail a little. Where are the cheap unisex sets?
On the positive side though, it includes this image of retro Lego advertising which I love so very much:
In my opinion, Lego’s real evil isn’t anything to do with movie licencing or guns. It’s not about marketing to girls. It’s not about how their minifigures have helped to do away with imagination. It’s about how you (/I/we) have to buy the whole damn lot of the stuff.
Look at this lovely Duplo zoo set we have:
What’s missing? Oh, this set:
And this one:
Look at this one about to be released this coming year:
Oh, and this one:
And this for that matter:
See, if you want all the animals, you have to spend A LOT of money. There is no set with everything. Yes, there’s an expensive £50 set. But there is also a £30 set with some unique items. And a £20 set with another unique item. And then a £10 set with yet another. Completionists or collectors be damned.
Or be broke.