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LEGO Brick 50th Anniversary 206

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-wait-for-them-not-to-be-a-choking-hazard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'The LEGO brick turns 50 at exactly 1:58pm today. This cool timeline shows these fifty years of building frenzy by happy kids and kids-at-heart, all the milestones from the Legoland themed sets to Technic and Mindstorms NXT, as well as all kind of weird curiosities about the most famous stud-and-tube couple system in the world.'" Of course, it all peaked in 1979 with the space set. These kids these days with their bionacle. bah.
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LEGO Brick 50th Anniversary

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  • by oliverthered (187439) <olivertheredNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:21AM (#22207076) Journal
    Lego now has far too many custom parts, it's a bit more like building some flat pack furniture that a chance to be creative.
    • But you still able to buy some pack with just regular (oldies) parts. I wonder how many of slashdotter had played with Lego.... 100% ?
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        What percentage of the general population have played with lego. I imagine it would probably be quite high. Probably around 75% at least.
    • by kryten_nl (863119) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:32AM (#22207176)
      "LEGO, training future IKEA customers since somewhere-in-the-eighties."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by beav007 (746004)

        "LEGO, training future IKEA customers since somewhere-in-the-eighties."
        It's been a while since I've been to school, but being the 50th anniversary, I would suggest that we would looking somewhere in the late 50s.
    • by CheeseTroll (696413) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:33AM (#22207180)
      Having watched my two boys assemble half a dozen new Lego sets since Christmas (Mars Mission & Aqua Raiders sets, IIRC), my first instinct was to agree with you. But after a few weeks, they're finding ways to build some very interesting custom space ships, towers - you name it. I'm sure that as they get older and no longer care about how much work it took to create the original designs, they'll have even fewer qualms about tearing them apart completely to build more new stuff.
      • by lag00natic (982784) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:33AM (#22207718)
        With every new Lego set my son gets we first build the kit as per the directions. However, a few weeks later he's ripped it apart and built some completely original piece. The important thing as a parent is to encourage your child to experiment and mix-match pieces. I know some people that build the kits and then put them on a shelf - what a waste - where's the fun in that? Some of the stuff my son builds is some abstract I don't even know what it is, but so long as he's having fun and being challenged and creative - that's all that matters.
        • by nschubach (922175)
          I built some of my later kits and set them on the shelf. Notably, a Technic car and Star Wars Driodeka. But I don't have much time to play with them, so they have become "trophies" of my youth.
        • by Shemmie (909181)
          I remember as a kid (25 now) getting the pirate ship for Christmas. It was fantastic - spending time sat with my Dad as we made it to the instructions. I believe it had about 4-5 custom 'hull' pieces. The number of "space pirate" ships that were made from that, after I'd taken it apart and put it back together again... those were indeed, the days.
          • 3 best Christmas lego memories:

            1) Space monorail system
            2) the train set
            3) the pirate ship (my brother and I each received one of the two ship models so they could battle)

            No other toy or video game has captured my attention or imagination quite like lego has. My brother and I would build towns or space stations that would take up the entire floor of our bedrooms.

            I also remember the christmas that my parents got me an erector set out of the blue... I had no idea what it was before then and had never asked fo
        • by houghi (78078)
          A few weeks? With me that was a few minutes. And that was if I got a kit, which was very seldom. Also I seldom left anything over night. The dolls did not even exist, so I had to mae them myself.

          Sometimes I would build stuff just so I could destroy it. Mmm. Nothing has changed.
      • by mlush (620447) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:34AM (#22207738)

        Having watched my two boys assemble half a dozen new Lego sets since Christmas (Mars Mission & Aqua Raiders sets, IIRC), my first instinct was to agree with you. But after a few weeks, they're finding ways to build some very interesting custom space ships, towers - you name it. I'm sure that as they get older and no longer care about how much work it took to create the original designs, they'll have even fewer qualms about tearing them apart completely to build more new stuff.

        I can't help but feel that people who claim 'Specialist parts have destroyed LEGO' have not watched any children actually playing with them. When my son is choosing a new set one of the key points he looks at are specialized parts as they allow him to build with far greater detail and/or on a far smaller scale then before (He has a very fine collection of minifig scale robots, aliens and monsters)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by The Queen (56621)
          I can't help but feel that people who claim 'Specialist parts have destroyed LEGO' have not watched any children actually playing with them.

          I'll step up to that...

          My boyfriend's 8-year-old got the Mars Mission set this xmas, and the three of us built it together. I would start rearranging things and goofing off and she would get very upset and tell me I was "playing with it wrong" - her goal was to get everything precisely assembled, and then give the astronauts names and complex social hierarchies (this gu
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Zagadka (6641)
            This reminds me of a study I'd read about a few years ago that found that children fell into two different groups based on their behavior when playing with building blocks:
            1. build something and then preserve it
            2. build something, wait a while, destroy it, and repeat

            I suspect that your experience has nothing to do with how specialized the pieces were, but rather the fact that your boyfriend's 8-year-old falls into the first camp: once something is built it is preserved. An interesting experiment would be to get

        • by VanessaE (970834)
          I can't say that specialized parts have destroyed LEGO or even hurt it that much, considering they still seem to be doing well, but I'm one of those who prefers fewer custom parts. When I look at most newer parts, I don't see new possibilities like I probably should. Instead, I see parts that just look out-of-place next to regular bricks, plates, (studded) beams, and so on.

          I'm sure many of us remember seeing pictures of a (really well-done) model of some guy's church that he'd built to minifig scale, o

      • by Viceroy Potatohead (954845) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:57AM (#22207938) Homepage
        A couple of years ago, I was playing with a friend's kid and wanted to change the directional plane of what I was building, so I took a "plate" type piece (the 1/3 thickness ones, or skinny ones or whatever) and stuck it edgewise on the face of what I had already built. (I'm not sure that I've explained very well, but I'm sure most people used to do this). The kid was pretty excited to use this new trick, and started to incorporate it into what he was doing.

        The kid never needed to figure out how to change the building plane because of all the L-brackets, hinges etc that exist in modern Lego. There is still plenty of creativity and problem-solving possible, for sure, but it's now rarer for a kid to have to figure out fundamental solutions with limited materials. IMO, that's what earlier Lego taught kids: fundamental problem solving. Mix that 'teaching' with a kid's creativity, and interesting creations are bound to happen. It's an important skill to be able to create something with the wrong tools, or no tools at all.

        It reminds me of a bit in Zen In the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The main character wants to fix a loose throttle with a shim made from an aluminum can, and his friend wants to use factory shims, which would be basically the same thing, but not currently available and costly. There's no basic understanding of the problem, and the solution is to buy some product to correct it. IMO, too many 'ideal' Lego pieces promote the same mindset.
        • by geekoid (135745)
          "..to figure out fundamental solutions with limited materials."

          NO it is not. The child's imagination will always go beyond what any amount of material can do. My 9 year old son was in a LEGO robotics competition. I saw those kids do some pretty cool stuff and come up with unique solutions to problems.

          With just square bricks, how did you make a transmission?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by morari (1080535)
          I remember learning that trick from seeing a few Megablock sets. Let me tell you, that's the only good to have ever come out of Megablocks. Even their own pieces didn't fit together correctly, let alone when mixed with LEGOs. Furthermore, they were cheap and broke easily. Eventually my brother and I went through our entire block collection (about ten of those big plastic storage tubs you'd get at Wal-Mart) and purged it of Megablocks. That era was henceforth known as the Block Inquisition throughout our bed
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      I think the worst case was that UFO set of (1996?) the ships had these huge spheric parts that would only allow you to make flying saucers, after that it began to improve again. I think though that there are still sets advertised for younger kids that just come with a lot of blocks and wheels, if you really want to force creativity and not just plain sci-fi fun I would recommend those.
    • by Pope (17780)
      Bollocks. You simply lack the imagination to use the custom parts to their fullest.

    • by sarabob (544622) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:29AM (#22207688)
      Sorry, but I call bullshit on that one.

      There's been something of a renaissance in the last few years, what with the modular Cafe Corner [lego.com] (which has a whole blog [blogspot.com] devoted to it) and the creator houses [lego.com]. Not to mention lego's official 3d modeller which links in to their ordering system - design a model and they'll ship you all the parts for it in a custom box with a picture of your model on the front.

      • If you look at the one of the pub, the second tier appears to be made mostly of giant chocolate bars. Apart from masonry and out of scale confectionery, what use are those pieces?
    • by zoney_ie (740061)
      Nonsense. The custom parts simply offer more possibilities (especially considering there is no shortage of traditional and small pieces in most new sets, or indeed you can just buy basic sets). They also allow for less creative kids to simply mix and match Lego sets. It offers the best of both worlds. The only drawback is that perhaps the partly creative but not greatly so may find it more difficult to incorporate custom parts into custom designs, and thus end up underutilising their Lego. However, this can
    • by Chelloveck (14643) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:52AM (#22207898) Homepage

      Lego now has far too many custom parts, it's a bit more like building some flat pack furniture that a chance to be creative.

      You know, I had the same thought... My son, now 10yo, has been into Bionicle from pretty much the time they were introduced. Yeah, he essentially went from Duplo straight to Bionicle. In his mind, Bionicle is what LEGO is all about, though he does sometimes break out some of the other sets. And he has my whole collection of bricks from the '70s too, so it's not like he has a lack of standard bricks to play with. He prefers the Bionicle parts.

      But you know, it's amazing what he comes up with with those "limited" custom parts. When he gets a new Bionicle set he first builds it according to the directions, and plays with it for half an hour or so. Then he rips it apart, adds it to the rest of the parts, and starts building new things. I don't think all the custom parts are hampering his creativity in any way. No, it's not the same as when we were kids, but it's still LEGO and it's still fun for kids to build new things.

      (BTW, I was entering high school when the Space series was released, and I disdained it even then because it had way too many custom parts compared with the regular sets. So, all you young punks who think the Space series was the pinnacle of LEGO... Get off my lawn!)

      • by Rhys (96510)
        From what I've seen of the bionicle that has invaded my collection in bulk brick buys, the parts aren't actually custom. They're standard parts, just a different standard than old time NxM brick'ers are used to.
    • by AceJohnny (253840)

      Lego now has far too many custom parts, it's a bit more like building some flat pack furniture that a chance to be creative.
      You do realize how cliche that saying is? I said it already back in the 80's. It's been said ever since they made something else than the basic 2 by 4.

      Bah, I'll return to my Meccano.
    • Buy the Star Wars sets. They don't suffer from the "specialized" parts problem. My son has a bunch of them. He builds the "official" model once and then spends all his time building and customizing his own spaceships and stuff. The Star Wars sets are classic Lego in that regard and are everything to product should be. But much of what they sell as Lego really isn't...

      My youngest son like Bioncles, but he does plenty of "real" Lego play thanks to his big brother's example.

      Actually, I got my first Lego s
    • by STrinity (723872)
      You're just jealous that they didn't have computerized robots that you could program in BASIC when you were a kid.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      I'm sure in your day build a 3 foot 'tower' out of 6x2a was all the rage, but the more parts the more things children can build.
      You are foolish to think adding more piece types would stop a child's imagination from building something else with those parts.
    • by morari (1080535)
      I would tend to agree. However, all of the basic pieces are still there and being used, many sets simply see a once-used custom piece to increase the visual flair and/or recognizability. The chance to be creative is still there, perhaps even more so if you don't use these over-specialized pieces for their intended purpose. I think what is hurting LEGO more than anything is their newfound reliance on iffy movie licenses. Star Wars was interesting enough, but Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and Batman don't even ho
  • Anonymous? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by suso (153703) *
    This was my story. Stupid slashdot.
  • I guess it was a time when the space race was still on, and space exploration was the cool thing in the hearts and minds of the public. Oh those lovely space sets...

    I wish they still made 'em like they used to. I still have my all my old Lego, and I wish I had more parts from the Space set. I seem to have an overabundance of red bricks (I wonder if that's common for everyone?).

    • by tgd (2822)
      Yeah that Galaxy Explorer set was definitely my favorite. I got it for Chrismas in 1980... I can remember being so excited and putting the thing together that morning.

      I probably still have it (or at least my parents probably do) in a box in their storage unit. One of these days I'll have to have them ship them to me and put it together in time for a 30th anniversary of the kit.

      (Holy crap, 30th anniversary? I'm soooo old.)
      • Oh yeah, I got the Galaxy Explorer [lugnet.com] too -- maybe even for the same Christmas! Probably the awesomest present I've ever received.
      • by cvd6262 (180823) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:05AM (#22207466)
        I probably still have it (or at least my parents probably do) in a box in their storage unit.

        I was at my parents' house for the holidays and my son (6) got some new Lego sets for Christmas. As he was putting them together he commented, "Dad, I'm better at building Legos than you are."

        Now, I've heard some pretty insulting things in my time, but this one cut straight to the bone.

        So, I walked (as calmly as I could) down to my parents' basement, found the two HUGE bins labeled "Lego," and dragged them up the stairs. I put down a blanket (so they'd be easy to spread out and clean up) and DUMPED out 15 years of disassembled creativity.

        My son just stood there gawking for a few seconds. Yes, words can fail even a six-year-old. "I... I... I don't even know where to start!"

        • by zoward (188110)
          That's awesome! My 4 year old son recently received the LEGO recycling truck as a gift. It took me a half hour to build it for him via the directions, and the first thing he did was rip it apart, and put together his own version of it (far less sophisticated, but a running car nonetheless). This was a learning experience for both of us! Meanwhile, he has a huge bin full of all the large-size basic building blocks (2x2 and 2x4's mostly), and after playing with the truck for an hour or so, he went back to
        • by 0racle (667029) on Monday January 28, 2008 @02:39PM (#22210600)
          Ya, you sure put that punk ass kid in his place.
    • by 93,000 (150453)
      I had a ton of the space set stuff, though no abundance of red bricks. Mostly gray and blue.

      I still have them all, and now my 5 year old plays with them -- along with his new-school star wars legos as well.
    • by zoney_ie (740061)
      The Space theme has definitely not returned to either the nostalgic "moon exploration" style of the old Space, or the fantastic themes of the early 1990s (M-tron, Blacktron, Space Police, Ice Planet). However, there's a simple reason. Lego Star Wars. The recent Mars Mission theme is deliberately arranged to be dissimilar to Star Wars, and thus, lacks the "feel" that a space theme should have. Ideally, a Space Theme relevant to today's kids should allow you to create the Star Wars environment, or any other s
  • by ratbag (65209) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:24AM (#22207112)
    See Question 18 of http://ericharshbarger.org/lego/faq.html [ericharshbarger.org]. A pre-emptive strike.
    • by PortHaven (242123)
      Actually the fact is wrong: You see, it's just like the bricks. You can use the name in many different ways...

      You can use LEGO to refer to a single piece, or as a reference to the entire system.

      You can also use LEGOS. Which represents a contraction of "LEGO Bricks" simply shortened to LEGOS Some will object to this use. They just failed to understand the spirit of LEGO and are failing to play well.

      Just, whatever you do, don't Eggo your LEGO... ;-)

      All other questions should be referred to Zack the Lego Mani
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mattgoldey (753976)
      I don't give a rat's ass what the official stance is. They're Legos. They have always been Legos. They will always be Legos.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Idiotic?

      To quote your link: "This is all a matter of protecting the trademark of 'LEGO' for the company (using it otherwise degenerates the strength of the trademark)."

      I have absolutely no interest in using a clumsy, unintuitive wording just because the company in question would like so. Do you seriously write all your Microsoft-related text like this [microsoft.com]? I don't think so. Admittedly I have more respect for the Lego Group than Microsoft. Nevertheless, there's a limit where convenience overrides their wishes of
      • by VanessaE (970834)
        While I'll admit to having called them "legos" in the past, today I just use the word "LEGO" like any other word that is self-plural, like "fish" or "deer", at least when the subject comes up. I mean, one might just as well say it right since it takes no measureable effort to do so.

        Besides, overpricing issues aside, the company deserves the respect of just about everyone here, and you know it. So do them a favor and respect their trademark, just like you'd expect someone to respect the various OSS-rela

      • by ratbag (65209)
        I couldn't really care less about the trademark side of things, although the FAQ I pointed to does make a valid point. I call it idiotic because it's like calling a group of sheep "sheeps". LEGO, lego, whatever, but "LEGOS" or "legos" (with or without a trademark symbol) make no sense and sound dumb.

        Finally, this isn't an important enough argument to post AC, surely? Have the courage of your convictions, my friend.
    • Sony probably issued a press release stating that their CDs contained some sort of useful consumer value-added enhancement software. It's still a rootkit. The people who make Legos are quite benign by comparison, but I still won't let a corporate PR department dictate my vocabulary.
  • Technic's! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:24AM (#22207114)
    The height was Technics, just enough customization to build useful real world stuff without being so specific that it hamstringed you into just one thing.
    • Re:Technic's! (Score:4, Informative)

      by hcdejong (561314) <`ln.tensmx' `ta' `sebboh'> on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:43AM (#22207262)
      The Technic range is still going strong, with (still) a good mixture of custom elements and lots of generic bricks and beams.
      • by afidel (530433)
        I had read that they were discontinued. Reading through wikipedia it appears it might have been TechPlay a subline of Technics, not the entire range.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sk8king (573108)
          The local toy store carries several sets worth > $100 from the 2007 lineup...all Technic. Heck, I purchased the big yellow mobile crane myself. I do not believe Technic is discontinued.
    • Technic mastery (Score:3, Interesting)

      by British (51765)
      I remember being around 10 years old, and, out of sheer boredom, built a guitar, with the neck being mostly made out of technic holed beams. I used rubber bands for strings. Later revisions came with whammy bars(that only worked on one string). I took earplug(like earbud on an ipod), and taped it to the body-ends of the strings. Instant pickups. Sounded like crap, but was fun for a kid.

      Then moved onto hardcore Technic projects. Helicopter innards, airplanes with working controls(one even had pitch trim usin
    • we were using that stuff to build prehensile manipulators, right out of the box for a UROP project at MIT. The line I draw is this : if I know what I want to build, how little imagination and inventiveness do I have to apply to the given parts to make the end product. Its a lot like the difference between programming a RISC architecture in assembler vs some bloated "every instruction any engineer ever fancied" CISC machine. On the other hand...if its a case of "you can't get there from here" due to a pov
  • Lego is for kids. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:28AM (#22207142)
    Real geeks use Fischer-Technik. They had a full array of boolean logic blocks (at truly outrageous prices) in the early 80's, and robot kits, pneumatics, remote control, etc, long before Lego ever got around to doing such stuff. And who needs colors, anyway ? Grey and red is colorful enough.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xaxa (988988)
      I remember when my dad brought back all the Fischertechnik models his school owned and asked me to assemble them all to check they were complete (beats loading the dishwasher!) -- I think we realised the Fischertechnik was worth more than the car he'd brought it back in...

      You could make an optical drive from Fischertechnik using a light sensor and a piece of paper with black and white squares on it and a suitable turntable and motor arrangement, including a disc head that moved in and out. Great stuff!
    • My parents bought us Fishertechnik for Christmas when I was in seventh grade (with brothers in 5th, 4th and a sister in 2nd). At first we were a bit disappointed because they took them out of the box and packed them into plastic containers... which were sold to hold LEGOS. We knew this inspecting the Christmas gifts and KNEW for CERTAIN we were getting a load of LEGO's (screw the pendants) for Christmas. Anyways didn't take more than a week or two for them to grow on us.

      Next year I won the science fair, b
    • by Chrisje (471362)
      If you really want to get hard-core about it, you should mention Meccano. My brother had some of that stuff, and it was cooler than shit. But the trouble was that I *was* a kid back in the day, and not a geek. A geeky kid, yes. And so I loved my space LEGO sets. I had a whole bunch of the gray and blue sets. They were so cool.

      Another thing I remember were Fleischmann model trains. We had whole bunches of them. We laid yards and yards of intertwined railroad in the attic, with stations, "rangeerterreinen" an
  • It's spelled "bionicle [lego.com]". Not Bionacle.

    I think you're getting Lego confused with Tentacle pr0n somehow.

  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:52AM (#22207348)
    by selling a set with a plan to building the shape/figure on the front surely they are removing the element of innovation.

    we used to get it by the box and be forced to think from day one about what we could build with it.

    my civil engineering degree started with a room full of teenage would be engineers faced with huge amounts of Lego and a semi-serious challenge. whoever could build the lightest bridge out of the least bricks that would allow a 2kg train roll over it won the box of chocolates for their team. it broke the ice and got everybody talking to each other, lots of bridges collapsed in the testing zone that day.

    and it got to engineers used to a career of sitting at a desk thinking about consuming chocolate.

    • by selling a set with a plan to building the shape/figure on the front surely they are removing the element of innovation.

      Not sure how you leap to that conclusion... It's not like you're obliged in any way to only build what's on the box. You can build that, then build something else, or never build it at all. It's a supplement to innovation, not a limitation.

    • by zoney_ie (740061)
      The set designs do offer some inspiration and a starting point. Plus they offer a more customisable play set for kids who aren't interested in building their own creations (and plus, they may end up doing so at a later stage). They also offer a useful way to get the right "kind" of bricks for one's creations. Space Lego sets are full of parts that are great for ones own creations. Castle sets are the same, even just down to having lots of grey bricks.

      I think it is a positive thing that Lego sells to more of
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Smidge204 (605297)
      I don't agree with that. Especially with the more advanced kits which have more unique parts.

      When I got LEGO sets, I usually spent time building the models from the included instructions... which not only was awesome because the models were great, but it also helped me understand how any new parts worked.

      For example, one of the most advanced sets I ever got was a moderately large rescue helicopter model (alternate was a hovercraft/swamp boat thing... not quite as cool). New parts for me in this set included
  • by cvd6262 (180823) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:55AM (#22207362)
    The gray castle pictured as the first (1984) castle set is incorrect.

    It should be this yellow one: http://guide.lugnet.com/set/375_2 [lugnet.com]

    Why do I remember this? Because I was so green with jealously as I watched my older brother assesemble the one he got for his birthday. Oooo, how I hated that castle.
    • by steveo777 (183629)
      I have had the 6080 for quite some time now. My parents snagged it at a garage sale back in '88 or so and gave it to me for my birthday (which was in December, we live in MN... that was a long wait). The funny thing is that until today I never knew which set it was. It sits very proudly in the bookcase by my fire place today. The portcullis is broken and needs a lot of new pieces and I've got to replace some of the gray bricks as well. But I've always loved that set. For some reason, in my imagination
    • April 19th, 2011, some kids build a self-replicating automaton out of Lego. By 2015 50% of Earth's surface has been converted into Lego blocks. By 2020, they become self-aware.
  • Although some of us played the not-as-expensive Tente [wikipedia.org] alternative. It was really cool. I think that it is still possible to buy generic sets of Tente for a quite affordable price these days :)

    Of course, the quality of Tente made me maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad, because each time you sticked one piece, another would drop at the other side of your creation. grrrr

  • I agree, the space sets were fantastic. You can still buy them on BrickLink [bricklink.com]. New in their box those sets sell for thousand of dollars.
  • Did you know the company actually doesn't want you to call them Legos? I think they prefer something like 'Lego bricks'. They get all uppity when it comes to trademark names. Anyway, I had a pretty good stash of Legos when I was younger. Currently my sister and I are both in our mid-thirties with two kids each, and our Legos were sitting alone in some boxes in our parent's basement. One day my dad decided that those Legos should be in the hands of his grandchildren, so he set to work. He could have ju
    • "They get all uppity when it comes to trademark names." ...and just generally a bit more logical about user of grammar, wouldn't you say? Lego sell products, made by Lego. 'Lego' is a brand for a collection of products, not any single product that can be put into a plural. I think it makes sense grammatically not just on a trademark level; interestingly, I never hear it in the UK said as 'legos', it only seems to be said on american sites. Maybe this is where I'm supposed to grumble about the breakdown of t
  • Lego is a really great toy but it lacks one serious feature: SAVE.
    • Lego is a really great toy but it lacks one serious feature: SAVE.

      Digital Camera. Notebook with a part count if you are truly anal.
    • by zoney_ie (740061)
      Less of an issue with digital cameras and even cameraphones. Just about everyone has the means now to photograph one's creations as many times as one wants, and indeed then photograph at intermediate stages of construction, or perhaps more useful for step-by-step reconstruction, during deconstruction.

      Plus it's awesome that nowadays you can share your creations far and wide for all time by publishing the photos online.

      I mean, this is something that wasn't in many people's grasp 10 years ago, maybe even as li
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:31AM (#22207698) Homepage Journal
    1:58 PM- in what time zone? sheesh.. how can I have a momment of silence, if I don't know when!
  • by em.a18 (31142)
    The poster at http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2008/01/lego-brick4-timeline.jpg [gizmodo.com] says there is a patent filed in 1958. Does anybody know what number it is? I'm curious to see what they patented (probably the plastic injector?)

    - Malcolm
  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:07AM (#22208060) Homepage Journal
    My xmas present from my mom was the 8880 super car. The be-all-end-all of realistic cars at the time from Technic. 4 wheel steering, 4 speed tranny, all wheel drive. She hid it from me in the coat closet(I never found it).

    The embarassing thing about it: I was 18.

  • Looking at the shops over here in Europe for Lego and Duplo sets for Christmas presents, the price seems pretty high, especially for some of the smaller sets that have only a few bricks and then some specialised pieces. How have the retail prices changed in real terms over the years? Have they gotten cheaper or have they become more expensive with all these character sets (Star Wars, Bob the Builder.

    PS My favourite Lego add-on in the 70s was a large, motorised block that had a wired remote for forward and b
    • by zoney_ie (740061)
      The prices are insanely more cheap. Here in Ireland, we changed over to Euros in 2002 at an exchange rate of IR£1=1.27 (i.e. numbers on prices are higher in euro). The prices for a given "size" of set are lesser numerically in euro than they were in IR£ in the mid 1980s. That's despite inflation of 5% or more each year even just around 2000-2003. An old UK catalogue shows that prices in £stg were the same numerically in the mid 1980s as they are today in euro for the same size set. The IR
    • by pragma_x (644215)

      PS My favourite Lego add-on in the 70s was a large, motorised block that had a wired remote for forward and backward movement. You could put on wheels or caterpillar tracks and then stick on your favourite Lego parts. When we had two, my brother and I would use them for Robot Wars type battles (long before Robot Wars existed).

      I know how you feel.

      Once I took all of my mideval minifigs, taped numbered slips of paper to the backs of each, and organized them into "red" and "blue" teams. Once placed on a "ruine

    • by DrEasy (559739)

      PS My favourite Lego add-on in the 70s was a large, motorised block that had a wired remote for forward and backward movement. You could put on wheels or caterpillar tracks and then stick on your favourite Lego parts. When we had two, my brother and I would use them for Robot Wars type battles (long before Robot Wars existed).

      I used to play that same game with my cousin! He was 4 years older, a true hacker, and he'd come up with some truly impressive designs (like rock-solid trucks), whereas mine were all

  • I used to like to all they building toy kits when I was a kid (pre-video games). I hear that most of them fell by the wayside due to tough liability laws. Lego bricks are too large for most kids to swallow or put in their eyes.
  • by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Monday January 28, 2008 @01:41PM (#22209812)
    I've read a lot of posts by other /.ers say that highly specialized pieces limit the creativity of Legos. While it has been a while since I played with it, I was always excited to get a "new" kind of piece that let me do something that was hard, inefficent or ghetto rigged before. (Kind of like this, I can do it in assembly, but you get a little stoked when you get a really nice, efficient, fast new API) What comes to mind was the piece that allowed you to make 45deg. roofs. It origninally came in a castle set, but I found myself re-using it in space applications.

    I feel like the problem with Legos today is all the commercial tie ins, like StarWars and Spiderman. One of the greatest strengths, I feel, of the older Legos were that they were a set genre, but the unverse' story was largely untold. It was up to me, and my imagination to decide "why" the diffrent castle factions were at war. I got to experience the Galaxy exploders discover a medival civilization. I built a tyranical dragon lord who was defeated by the black knight using a futuristic laser gun found from the wreckage of a lost spacecraft.

    I feel like the commercial ties "lock-in" a number of kids into highly-commercialized, pre-digested stories, where they are tempted to simply play out what they saw on TV rather than write new ones for themselves.

    My wife is a teacher (first grade) and is disturbed (as am I) at how many students can't write or tell a story that doesn't include cartoon characters, and that it takes significant work to do something that we both feel came so naturally to both of us. How she does it, is that kids are not allowed to write about-or read books that feature TV or video game characters, or books made from TV/movies, in class.

    I believe it is the creative play as a child that has done more for my career and personal development than anything else in my life.
  • The space set dates back to freaking 1979? I got mine when I was 8, or about 10 years later.

    One of the best sound bites I'll always remember from my childhood is the click, click, click of the monorail engine changing direction at an endpoint. At the time, that particular set was one of the most expensive available from LEGO, retailing at about $149.99 (in 1989 dollars!)
  • Lego, lego, lego. A big piece of my history as a kid. I used to be a fanatic about and still love it...I think it peaked around the late 80's to early 90's...the later stuff I really don't care for. Anyway, I've always loved Technic. My last (big) foray into technic was making a case:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFopAu-e7Vs [youtube.com]

    Making a structurally intact case completely out of legos is challenging, especially when you're strapped for parts. This one needed some serious thought, but I did it all in one night
  • by turgid (580780)

    Got that one for my 5th birthday. I could build it off by heart after two or three goes. By the time I was 11, I had designed and build my own 4-wheel drive, independent suspension all round, 3-speed gearbox, rack and pinion steering car.

    Then they said I was too big to play with toys :-( and took it all away.

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