I was just reflecting on some of my childhood favorite themes in response to a blog comment on another site, and I realized just how horrible some of them were in hindsight. Some of my favorite themes as a kid were Launch Command, Aquazone, Wild West, and Exploriens (I still have a pillowcase in my bedroom with #6195
on one side and #6339
on the other, and a Rose Art puzzle playmat in my basement with Exploriens scenery on one side and a racetrack on the other). I loved some of the modular octagonal tube pieces and other angular parts from the Aquazone sets (as well as the beautiful art direction
by Christian Faber and the Advance ad agency, who later brought us BIONICLE).
Naturally, I remembered the rampant juniorization of sets back then all too well, but I didn't remember just how overpriced some of those sets were! #6195
Neptune Discovery Lab offered just 508 pieces for $89 (which today would be $138, making it a much worse value than the recently announced Lonely Mountain
Fort Legoredo had just 687 pieces for $85... a better value, but still pitiful by today's standards, ESPECIALLY when you factor in inflation. The $100 price for the re-release in 2002 (#6762) was even worse!#6982
Explorien Starship had a similar value — 662 pieces for $80 ($121 today). But furthermore, in hindsight it just feels to me like a terribly messy design compared to some earlier space themes like Spyrius (another theme I loved, but not as much as Exploriens, despite it having generally better designs).
I know my childhood examples might be especially bad, considering I grew up in the 90s (a dark time for LEGO design in general), but does anybody else have any examples of childhood sets that seem like bad designs or a bad value in hindsight?