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Lego to Stop Producing Mindstorms 615

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the good-thing-not-always-popular dept.
nick58b writes "Lego, in response to the worst financial loss in its history, has announced they will stop making the electronics and movie tie-in products. This would include Mindstorms, one of the greatest educational toys ever produced." It saddens me greatly to see the toy that was such a mainstay of my childhood to be in such dire financial straits. If I were a more qualified sociologist, I'd think it may have inspired by the way that our children play today versus how they played twenty years ago.
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Lego to Stop Producing Mindstorms

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  • Mindstorm no more! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nsxdavid (254126) * <dw@nospAM.play.net> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:39AM (#7937489) Homepage
    Okay, I could not care one tad bit less if I never see another lego Harry Potter set. But the loss of Mindstorm is nearly unbearable! The things people have done with this simple but effective robotics set eclips even more ambitious sets like the ER1. This is a sad day.

    SCO must be behind this somehow!
    • by BoldAC (735721) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:50AM (#7937566)
      It is not SCO's fault.

      Since it reported its first loss of $47.8 million in 1998, Lego has been hit hard by increasing competition from the makers of electronic toys.

      It is GBA fault. It is the fault of the game consoles, the computers, and the leap-pad-ish products.

      Plastic legos and tinker-toys and cabin logs rocked when I was a child. This year Christmas for my two year old required more batteries than gifts for the rest of my family.

      Pure electronic gifts are winning...

      All of our kids are going to grow to be bigger geeks than we are. :)

      AC
      • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:54AM (#7937596) Journal
        No.

        Geeks can think and imagine. You are turning you 2 year old into a person that has to have flashly lights to be entertained.
      • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:40AM (#7937815) Journal
        No, lego has gotten into the business of dumbing down their products by making huge specialized pieces and now real lego enthusiasts are buying both themselves and their children bulk used sets off of ebay.
        • by wayward_son (146338) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:20PM (#7938029)
          Exactly.

          In the heyday of Lego, (late 1980's-early 1990's IMHO) you had a few specialized parts and mostly rather generic parts. You could build many different things out of a kit, sometimes even coming up with things better that what the kit was intended for. For example, I was able to build a church for my Lego town out of leftover castle parts.

          Now it's all specialized crap. You can only build one thing that looks halfway decent. What's the fun in that?

        • by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:37PM (#7938111) Homepage
          But they also make general parts assortments. In some ways, one can find more "open," "nonspecialized" LEGO now than back in the '70s. You can directly order bags of just one kind of basic brick from them, for example, and many of the LEGO stores have bins of parts so one can just fill a cup or a bag with parts, as in a candy store.

          Tellingly, the Make and Create sets are apparently a bright spot for the company; reportedly they're among the few things they do really well, which seems to indicate their customers do indeed want general, nonspecialized sets that encourage imaginative, free-form building and unguided play as much as possible (though I do know one of the Harry Potter sets was apparently their biggest seller last year, but I guess that's an aberration). If nothing else, those sets also have some of the better price/piece ratios among all their current offerings...

    • by homer_ca (144738) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @02:58PM (#7939128)
      Very sad, to lose Mindstorms, although I never tried it myself. However, one maker of similar toys is Fischertechnik [fischertechnik.com]. They come from Germany, and they don't have much distribution here, but I had a set as a kid, and it's the absolute best quality I've seen for any mechanical tinkering. Imagine the best of Legos and Erector sets combined.

      I've never tried their robotics kits, but it may be just what you're looking for. Eight digital inputs, two analog inputs, and four motor outputs. Also the quality of the gears, motors and structural pieces blows Legos away. Price is expensive, but not outrageously so. In the same ballpark as Mindstorms.
  • by Mirkon (618432) <mirkon@gmaFORTRANil.com minus language> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:40AM (#7937494) Homepage
    I've been a Lego fan most of my life too, but I have to say that I'm not surprised or terribly upset about the way this has turned out. Lego sets have become so ungodly expensive over the years (many $100+ sets having nothing to offer for their high price points other than "collector's series" or some other buzzword), it's no wonder more people aren't buying them.
    • Too Specialized (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Oculus Habent (562837) * <oculus.habentNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:47AM (#7937546) Journal
      I've kept my eye on Lego, even though I haven't purchased much for years. My greatest disappointment is the "special" pieces that are now so common. All the special pieces detract from your ability to make new and interesting things with multiple sets.

      It's time to go back to castles and space ships and cities.
    • I will never buy a Lego kit where I build the object depicted on the box. That goes against the very idea of Legos -- creativity. If Lego goes bankrupt it will be because it ignored its customers. Now that I have kids, I'm buying tons of Legos *from Ebay.* Sorry if Lego goes bankrupt, but they've lost their vision and are ignoring their customers.
    • So, I thought "just how expensive are these things these days"... I went over to Amazon and entered Lego in the search.

      Green Lego Base [amazon.com]

      $7 for a 10 inch square plastic base??!?

      I shudder to think how much my parents paid for all the legos that I had when I was a kid. Then again, maybe they were not so expensive back then (70s).
    • The other reason... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trillan (597339)

      I've got a mass of lego that's 20 years old hidden away in a box. It's still perfectly servicable. SOME of that set is a generation older. Why would I bug a new set for my kids, when I have them? The product is too durable, I think, for it's own good.

    • Lego sets have become so ungodly expensive over the years (many $100+ sets having nothing to offer for their high price points other than "collector's series"
      We must be talking about two different kinds of lego.
      I could hit up the Toy store and get a "box o' lego", consisting of about 250 pieces for about 14.95 (ballpark). No harry potter, no special pieces, just good ol dimpled rectangular fun.
      BoldAC nailed it. This isn't because lego "turned it's back" on anyone, this is because a product such as mi
  • Don't forget... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:41AM (#7937502)
    The plural of Lego is Lego, not Legos.


    Plus Lego is Danish for "play well"


    Just a few Lego facts.

  • by smooge (3938) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:41AM (#7937503) Homepage
    I would say that it might send a message if you buy as direct as possible from them.. but I would make sure that they are all bought up by the end of the month. Even if Lego cant keep the product.. it might inspire some other company to do so.
  • Great stuff, but... (Score:4, Informative)

    by BillFarber (641417) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:42AM (#7937513)
    they charge twice as much for the same stuff you can get from other brands. Of course, the high value of the Euro isn't helping. Those are the reasons why the company is having financial problems.
  • by jolyonr (560227) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:43AM (#7937514) Homepage
    Too many of the new lego products have so few generic bricks and too many specialist bricks that can't easily be used for other things, eg, you can build a lego buggy into, um, a slightly different buggy, but not a lot else.

    Get back to providing big bags of ordinary bricks, and encourage creativity!

    Jolyon
    • encourage creativity!

      No, no, you can't do that! That might lead to independent thought and stuff!

      But seriously, I remember playing with Legos sans specialist bricks, as well as with Lincoln Logs, Erector sets, and the such. And then I see the toys today. Are kids so less creative now that "traditional" Legos are too great a challenge?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:01AM (#7937628)
      The real problem Lego is facing right now (let's hope they realize it) is they produce too much custom pieces. Every set has at least 5 - 10 custom bricks and therefore:
      1) costs much to produce
      2) contains less ordinary pieces to reduce the costs
      3) Since it contains less pieces and the ones it contains are custom, there's very little play value to justify the cost.

      I would suggest Lego to:
      1)reduce custom pieces. Kids are suppose to have fantasy you know... I remember I put two triangles together and pretend it was a star destroyer...
      2)kill most of the cinema stuff. Starwars stuff is ok (meaning it's well done and designed). reduce cutom pieces and completely kill the other series ( If they can't make other movies with the same quality, then it's a no go.)
      3)Kill bionicles!!!! (what in the world are those things? are they LEGO at all? and they DO contain very few pieces and they're mostly custom!!!! They're model kits, not LEGO!)
      4) where are the old series? trains castles cities... there was really tons and tons of stuff!!! (and some amazing works to say the truth) where's all that stuff gone?

      Anyway, probably Lego is facing the usual toy VS digital dilemma where most of the kids don't want dull toys and prefer videgames... anyway, I really believe the company isn't facing the crisis for the good... A few steps in the same direction and Lego is gone.
    • by pcraven (191172) <paul@crav e n f a m ily.com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:11AM (#7937672) Homepage
      If you want just plain bricks, they sell them [lego.com]. And those sets aren't that expensive.
  • Such a shame :-( (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tuxette (731067) * <(tuxette) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:45AM (#7937528) Homepage Journal
    This is horrible. I was hoping to buy my nephew lots of Mindstorms [lego.com] stuff when he got older. Maybe I have to buy them now and keep them around?

    I'm not sure the price of these toys is the problem. Toys in general aren't exactly cheap these days. Neither are video games, and video games seem to be what is the most appealing to children these days. So what we might need to look into is why expensive video games are more interesting than expensive toys where children have to actually think to use them. Or did I just answer my own question?

  • by cflorio (604840) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:46AM (#7937532) Homepage
    Maybe they wouldn't loose so much Money if they didn't pay people to play with Legos! [slashdot.org]

    At the very least, they could outsource the playing with Legos to India!

  • specialization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frizz (91565) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:48AM (#7937555)
    The problem with Lego sets in recent years has been the fact that they are very specialized. You used to be able to buy sets that allowed for lots of imagination, such as "pirate", "city", and "space" legos. Now, all I see is "Star Wars: Episode I" or other such sets that don't inspire the imagination in the slightest.
    • by NineNine (235196) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:24AM (#7937738)
      You used to be able to buy sets that allowed for lots of imagination, such as "pirate", "city", and "space" legos.

      When I was a kid, I bought Lego sets that just came with x number of assorted blocks with no theme whatsoever. That took REAL creativity. I don't even know if you can buy just plain ol' regular blocks anymore.
  • by Traa (158207) * on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:50AM (#7937571) Homepage Journal
    I for one am happy to see that Lego is making some serious changes. I disagree that it is the youth that is to blame. I have several young cousins that love to play with Lego but I see them less and less impressed with the "put these 4 custom pieces together and you have a Star-Jedi-Saurus-O-Tron-Laser-Car-Thingy". In my opinion Lego took to much to the 'build it once' toys and todays youth, just like in the good old days gets its real pleasure from the huge collection of small blocks with which you can build a House, a Plane, a Car or even a Spaceship.

    Just before christmass I walked into a newly found Lego store at Valley Fair Mall (popular luxury mall in San Jose) and was discusted by the choices offered. Crappy replica's of crappy movies and stories that would not add anything of value to a kid's Lego collection other then a bunch of unusable custom pieces. Let alone the rediculous prices.

    Rethink your strategy Lego. What worked in the past will really work in the future, there is still time since there is still no competition!
  • by teknikl (539522) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:51AM (#7937575)
    have you seen their product line lately? Congratualtions to the board on finally figuring out they have lousy execs who were driving the line away from what people wanted. You can hardly buy a decent set (lego builder sets are the exclusion) that doesn't have half of its pieces as special components, non-lego coloring or exclusive stickering. The result is a bunch of pieces you can only use if you are building a particular set - counter intuitive to the whole lego concept. The whole Jack Stone thing - the guys are twice the size of the old 'mini-fig' guys. What, is Jack Stone a giant? Are the old mini-figs halflings? Are old my old mini-figs obsolete now? How is jack stone suppoed to drive the car with the tiny steering wheel - from the old set. Its most irritating because, if you are like me you already have a good sized pile of these and its like Lego moved the ball on you. It will be sad if they quit mindstorms - hopefully it will be picked up by an educational company on licence. What I really miss is the set that had all the gears and socketed I-beams. That was a great mechanical engineering kit. This will not destroy Lego - they will endure. As any 5 year old (mine included) what his favorite thing to do at school.
    • What I really miss is the set that had all the gears and socketed I-beams

      You mean LEGO Technic?

      That's being discontinued once and for all now too. LEGO, at least with respect to the retail sector, is choosing to put its focus back on the original core product, the building brick.

      It will be sad if they quit mindstorms - hopefully it will be picked up by an educational company on licence.

      LEGO Dacta has been the educational division of LEGO for a very long time now, and there are distributers of

  • A good friend of mine, Russ, has a great and interesting and THOROUGH page detailing everything you could ever want to know about Mindstorms.

    His page, at http://www.crynwr.com/lego-robotics/ [crynwr.com], discusses the internals in great detail. You really won't believe how ADVANCED his knowledge is, so you've gotta check it out for yourself.

    The page contains EVERYTHING about these amazing toys. I can't believe they're being discontinued. It's probably due to kids having too many activities (to beef-up their resumes) and videogames/television/radio taking up their time. No one sits down anymore to spend quality time with their family and build toys like these Mindstorms. We all have our own schedules and stuff, and it's probably NOT good for America in the long term.

    Anyway, sorry to jade off a bit there, but here are some other links from my friend's page:
    1) Create a Spider Robot [homepage.dk]
    2) LEGO MINDSTORMS Group official SDK [lego.com]

    Enjoy these links and much more on Russ's page! I helped him with the HTML code ;-)
  • No wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:56AM (#7937605) Homepage Journal
    It's no wonder that lego is losing money. They seem to be putting a heck of a lot of their resources into stuff like Bionicle. Have you seen those things? There are like 10 pieces, they are not standard brick, and you can only make one thing out of them.

    Bring back castle lego at a reasonable price and we'll talk. I would love to get my hands on that original black knight's castle. The big black square one. Now all they make is bionicle, harry potter, and some star wars. It's not the same as it was.

    It used to be a toy of building. Now it's just a toy you build.
    • Re:No wonder (Score:3, Informative)

      by nucal (561664)
      Bionicle is one of the few product lines that is actually making money. In fact, rather than make tie-ins to movies, Lego corp is now making movies [imdb.com] on its own.
    • Re:No wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

      by agedman (452916)
      My daughter plays with the bionicles, and she doesn't feel as limited as people seem to believe they are.

      The Bionicle pieces can be mixed to create different monster-like-critters (She's even created a six-legged beastie). They have a variety of gears and rubberbands that can be used with other pieces to articulate those things. And, of course, there are opportunities to mix different realms (Bionicle & K'nix or marble runs or even MindStorms).

      Kids aren't limited by the intended packaging of this th
  • Too specialized (Score:5, Interesting)

    by localroger (258128) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:57AM (#7937609) Homepage
    I have to cast my lot with the folks who are complaining about too many special-purpose blocks. Lego has to make molds for all of those, no wonder the damn things are so expensive.

    When I was a kid, there were very few specialized blocks. Even the railroad kit didn't have any except for the lego motor modules (I have always had a soft heart for the 70's-era motor modules) and the railroad tracks. Even the railroad track ties were standard 8x2 thin blocks.

    In those days the vast majority of legos were sold in generic kits. You could even get small boxes of 50 or 100 generic blocks, up through the large 400 and 600 and 1000 block kits. All generic. They'd come with a little booklet of suggestions but the possibilities were endless.

    The 70's-era house kits had doors, windows, and roof blocks all of which tied in with standard blocks. You could build a wall of doors or use an architectural door in your Moon Rover. You could use your roof blocks to make an Aztec pyramid.

    Now you buy a little kit for, say, a TIE fighter and it costs $20 and there's not much you can build with it except things that look a hell of a lot like TIE fighters. The big generic kits aren't even sold any more; if they were they'd probably cost $1,000 and nobody would buy them.

    Lego should go back to making the generic kits, price them reasonably, and let the kids think of stuff to build themselves again.

    • Re:Too specialized (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wayward_son (146338)
      I remember the good old "Light & Sound" fire engine (1987). Mostly generic parts except the battery box and siren which would either play a European or American type siren.

      For some reason, my mother never got me new batteries when the original set died.

  • showing their age (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tobes (302057) * <tobypadilla@gmai l . c om> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:58AM (#7937615) Homepage
    I think that it was time to retire the current incarnation of Mindstorms anyway. It would be nice if the next gen. robot toy featured:
    wireless (802.11x or cell)
    a linux based os (of course)
    more sophisticated moving parts
    cooler ai modules...

    I definitely think that there is a market out there for such a product.
    • Re:showing their age (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gnu-generation-one (717590) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:49AM (#7937864) Homepage
      "I think that it was time to retire the current incarnation of Mindstorms anyway. It would be nice if the next gen. robot toy featured:
      * wireless (802.11x or cell)
      * a linux based os (of course)
      * more sophisticated moving parts
      * cooler ai modules..."


      Or more specifically:
      * Lots more outputs, lots more motors (solenoids, electromagnets, lights, LEDs) in the box.
      * Li-ion rechargeable batteries
      * Radio-control, possibly from your PC.
      * Webcam (after all, who will buy it if it can't be used to make a climbing or flying spy-device?)

  • Play methods (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:03AM (#7937634)
    If I were a more qualified sociologist, I'd think it may have inspired by the way that our children play today versus how they played twenty years ago.

    I don't know about 20 years ago, but 35 years ago I used to play with plain rectangular Lego blocks and generic wheels. I had to use my own mind and imagination to assemble these general-purpose blocks into the wide variety of things I wanted to build.

    From the look of today's Lego sets, children play today by using the custom single-purpose pieces to assemble a verbatim copy of the picture on the box.

  • by snookerdoodle (123851) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:04AM (#7937639)
    As the father of 7 and 8 year old boys, the elder of which has quite a collection of Bionicles, I've observed one little tidbit about Lego: if you lose or break a piece, it's gonna cost you an arm and a leg to replace it (No Bionicle Pun Intended ;).

    What does this have to do with their financial success? A lot, IMHO. It certainly has affected our brand loyalty. As Kewl as Bionicles are, we have tried to steer our boyz towards products made by more consumer friendly companies, such as K'nex.

    I know there's more to running a company, but this to me says they still Just Don't Get It.

    Mark
  • Why in my day... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:08AM (#7937651) Homepage Journal
    Boy I'm feeling old, I never got a chance to play with Mindstorm Legos. We had regular Legos, but Erector Sets were still going strong when I was a kid. When you built something with an Erector Set you felt you'd really constructed something. In fact I once worked later in life for a mom and pop business where the owner had constructed a motorized ticket dispenser constructed mostly from Erector Set pieces and Roller Skate wheels. I also recall seeing several High School science experiments held together by Erector Set, and I'm talking the teachers semi-permanent devices, not Rube-Goldberg science fair projects (though they were there also).

    I'm sure Mindstorm Lego people must have some similar tails to tell, and await a few replies.

  • by tjcoyle (539228) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:11AM (#7937666) Homepage

    Am I the only one who has noticed that Lego barely sells a kit (in stores) that require any effort or concentration to complete?

    When I was younger (here we go....), toy stores always had a great selection of the classic Technics kits. The large, complicated kits seemed to be the hottest items, because they were *challenging* and *interesting*.

    Today, most of the sets I see are low-piece count, over-simplifed, plug-the-head-into-the-pelvic-chassis Bionicle garbage, which seems only to make the statement that kids today aren't interested in anything unless it's presented as a completely non-cerebral AARRRGGGHHH-type of monster package.

    This really is a shame. I'll never stop appreciating the endless hours I spent creating machines of every type imaginable, and can't help but to think that my exposure to Lego helped to form a little bit of who I am today.

    I don't know what a childhood of building Bionicles might do to kid, expect possibly make them wish their parents were cool enough to buy them a toy that doesn't require assembly, like the kid next door.

    And that's a sad thing

  • by CrazyJim0 (324487) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:20AM (#7937713)
    From what I hear, Lego made money, but it just had to pay so much to Lucas, Disney, and whoever makes Harry Potter, that it had the loss.

    Corps overvalue their own IP, while everyone else's IP is theirs to exploit.
  • by mikewas (119762) <wascher@gmai l . com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:36AM (#7937799) Homepage
    I've been looking for something to put my retirement saings in. The Mindstorm kits are showing their age, but I still love them & I think they'll be around for some time to come.
  • 3 things (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#7937830) Homepage Journal
    That have prevented me from buying Legos:

    1. Price - wow. Am I stunned when I see legos in the store now. Multiple hundreds of dollars. The most expensive kit I owned as a kid was 60 bucks for the lastest and bestest. Which leads me to...

    2. The kits themselves. I got Technics as a kid and made *everything* with them. The manuals were thick, had many different things you could make with them. Now - the kits are one project. There's no imagination to them. My 60 dollar kit was a red dump truck. It had the frame of a windshield - imagination filled in the rest. Now the windshield comes with the set. Who needs to stretch their thinking? I liked it when *I* made the choice of what the pieces were for.

    3. Bionicles. Ironically, that brought legos to my attention (free toy at Burger World), but when I investigated, it was lousy. Hey look, I put this part here and *nowhere* else. Isn't the reason behind legos being able to place a piece wherever you want it? Gahh.

    Put all these together, and what do you have? Someone who would like to buy legos, but the kits I want aren't around. I'd love to use legos in a more industrial manner (say building a case for something) but the basic sets are few and far between.

    Three things that keep me from busting out my legos:

    1. Cats.

    2. Cat hair. (I can just imagine it sticking out of the seams and it makes me freak :)

    3. Not enough room/time to mess with them. House is too small after the holidays and time is always short. Not like the halcyon days of my youth.

    LEGO! Go back to the basics! Give us the old Technic sets, the massive 'generic' kits. Fire the Bionicle guy. You are digging your own grave. The more specialized you make your toys, the more people will just buy toys that are already 'done'. And that was never the point in the first place.

    BTW - No. I won't sell any of my extensive collection of Technics or my wonderful zillion piece basic set. If ever there was something to be buried with, its my legos. You can try and pry them out of my cold, dead hands, but look out for the transforming watchdog I just made. His mouth moves and he's looking at you.

  • The death of Lego? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kekoap (37035) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:00PM (#7937924)

    The article confirms that Lego has been hurting badly. The writing has been on the wall for a while now though. Just look at Lego's product lines over the past 5-10 years. Added: Harry Potter, Star Wars, video games, Bionicle, Sports, Mindstorms. Lost: classic space, castle, pirates. Plus the saddest thing for me, a lack of focus on good Technic sets.

    Why so many problems? I think kids expect more from today's toys than just bricks. That's kind of a sad fact that says something about our culture I think. Second, since the expiration of Lego's stud-and-tube patent, there's been competition from Mega Bloks, which are inferior but cheaper. In today's world though, I think it makes sense that many parents choose cheaper rather than better. Another sad fact.

    In any event, while I'm unhappy about Mindstorms, I'm happy they're abandoning Harry Potter and the like. They have totally lost their identity by branching out, and I think they really do need to get back to their core business as they're doing now. I wonder though, is it too late already?

    There use to be a steady stream of great Technic sets worth getting, but recently good sets have slowed to a trickle, with just one catching my eye recently... 8455 Backhoe [lego.com]. Check it out, it might be one of your last few chances to grab a great Lego set.

  • by skippy1 (78646) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:01PM (#7937931)
    Check this out: http://www.lego.com/eng/info/default.asp?page=pres s See the Jan 8 post. Nothing there about Mindstorms being cancelled. I just read something on LugNet as well that was an interview at one of the Lego shows, and one of the Lego reps said that Mindstorms 3 was in development. Here's hoping!
  • NOT too specialized (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1000101 (584896) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:19PM (#7938027)
    I hear many people in here complaining that Lego has become too 'specialized' and they need to get back to simple blocks. This is absolutley rediculous. You can still buy [lego.com] simple bricks. They haven't stopped making them, they have just expanded their product line. You hear about the specialized sets more only because they bring in more cash for Lego.
  • by SiW (10570) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @12:35PM (#7938102) Homepage
    I don't see anywhere where it explicitly says Mindstorms is gone, just a vaguely-worded mention of "electronics". They say their new mission is focusing on their own products, not the tie-ins, so that they have control over what they do - Mindstorms is owned by them, no? I took it to mean they were dropping the Star Wars line (which was cool, admittedly), the Harry Potter line, etc. and would stop making the video games (where presumably they are not responsible for making them, but license out the Lego name or contract other companies, either way they're not in control).

    So until someone explicitly tells me the Mindstorms line is done, I'm not going to hold out any hope for seeing it in the clearance aisle.
  • by PizzaFace (593587) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @01:01PM (#7938270)
    I'm afraid that Lego is not returning to its roots (building blocks), but may just cut the licensed products (Star Wars, Harry Potter) and concentrate on its own Bionicles line.

    I was not thrilled to see that my second grader brought home a Bionicles novella from the Scholastic book fair (which is increasingly a toy fair), especially after I looked at it and saw a grammatical error in the book's very first sentence. Lego has a whole mythology about Bionicles, and that's attractive to kids. But my son lost a couple essential pieces of his Bionicle within days of getting it, and I'm not going to encourage this overpriced, intellectually shallow, proprietary product line as a hobby.

    Unfortunately, I could not find more generic Lego blocks in my Christmas shopping. There were some overpriced ($30-$40) Star Wars kits, and a space shuttle for $100, but nothing I wanted to buy. I'm beginning to associate Lego with brands like Scholastic and Disney, that have turned their once-respected product lines into brands of dumb, overpriced junk.
  • Oh, grow up (Score:3, Funny)

    by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @02:36PM (#7938936) Homepage
    If you want to make stuff, get a milling machine like everybody else. Legos are for kids.
  • by chiller2 (35804) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @04:08PM (#7939672) Homepage
    When I first got into Lego, their primary focus was Legoland and Lego Technic. I remember staring in awe at a friend's Legoland set up in his parent's garage, the entire floor of which was covered in baseplates with every kind of building, and even the Legoland train running around it.

    In addition to that, another friend had the Technic lego car, with big wheels, cylinders, rack & pinion steering, suspension, etc. It ruled!

    Where are those kits now? Relegated in favour of crappy Bionicles and Harry Potter themed kits. What can a child build with them? Bugger all, that's what!

    Perhaps if they want their fortunes to improve, Lego should bring back the originals.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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