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BBC News - too many specific pieces remove imagination from LEGO...

BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,296
edited November 2014 in Everything else LEGO
I'm sure this isn't the first time this has been trotted out...

...and the article seems riddled with errors too.

Comments

  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,234
    Very typical Lego article, at least they finished by pointing out the falisy of no more basic bricks. The one thing I'm surprised it didn't feature was the typical stepping on a brick joke.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,952
    What always annoys me about this viewpoint is that it completely dismisses the fact that there is more than one way that Lego can be an imaginative toy. Beyond the creativity and imagination required for building, there is the creativity and imagination required for playing with a built design. Honestly, I feel I can be more creative as an adult than I could as a kid. I felt very limited by the one large set I had that had limited flats and more focus on blocks. To create the items my imagination had was impossible with that basic set. Today, the specialized pieces really help those in my family be move creative than we could have been, because we can better take what is in our imagination and make a more accurate representation.
    If anything we can be more creative and more imaginative.
    binaryeyeAndor
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    edited November 2014
    Shib said:

    The one thing I'm surprised it didn't feature was the typical stepping on a brick joke.

    ...because stepping on a 2x4 in the middle of the night is no joke.
    pharmjodKevin_HyattGothamConstructionCo
  • Big_SalBig_Sal UKMember Posts: 37
    Ugh. I've been quoted out of context by the BBC - what an honour! But this is at least a more balanced article than the usual nonsense.

    Incidentally, Roar Rude Trangbaek is the greatest name I've ever seen.
    AndorzipsforbananasBumblepantsJern92dino_girl
  • aldreddaldredd United KingdomMember Posts: 203

    Shib said:

    The one thing I'm surprised it didn't feature was the typical stepping on a brick joke.

    ...because stepping on a 2x4 in the middle of the night is no joke.
    Unsure which part of the world you're from, but a 2x4 brick has nothing on stepping on a UK 3-pig plug :o)
    ShibplasmodiumzipsforbananasGothamConstructionCo
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    A specific piece is only a specific piece if you have no imagination.

    Harry Kroto's words are probably partly true, it would be good if kids also played with Meccano a lot more. My boys have some sets but they are really like lego these days - you build a kit (which takes ages) and it stays as the kit, unless you want to buy loads of kits and mix them up for parts to MOC with. The part about it mimicking engineering and hence manufacturing is not as true as it may first look. Many cars and other machines are not made out of generic parts, but highly specific parts that have just one use often for just one type of machine / car. Highly specific parts that the article seems to argue against.



    akunthitaShibzipsforbananasGothamConstructionCo
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 648
    I just can't see the argument about how pieces being less "blocky" limits imagination. If anything, it requires more imagination than ever to create a good LEGO MOC today. I imagine back in the day, you create any old pile of 2x4s and call it car, but we have the privilege today to create a more realistic car, or whatever. Selecting the right pieces from the wider than ever array at our disposal to get that right look requires massive creativity.
    Andor
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,383
    I can see the argument. While it is great to have these pieces available, to make super realistic items (realistic.. I mean it IS a LEGO universe after all) I find it a bit more difficult to really build something optimally when I find another part to use in the design. While this may not be an issue for those who use CAD programs, I still use physical brick first and foremost.
    And I think a limited part base sometimes inspires fantastic discovery of uses for 'standard' parts as opposed to LEGO just making another part. Just my opinion and not knocking new parts as many server a great purpose and solve a need if no other part was like it.

    Never mind that I'm sure all of these parts being available also limited the production overall of sets as well as you still have to produce them
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    If they really want to see specific parts that have very little use elsewhere, they should look towards the airfix quick build kits ...

    image
  • AySeaAySea Member Posts: 62
    CCC said:

    If they really want to see specific parts that have very little use elsewhere, they should look towards the airfix quick build kits ...

    Maybe they did look at those and thought that Lego made them as most people that don't play with Lego seem to think that all building blocks that look a bit like Lego are Lego...
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    edited November 2014
    You have to figure that any BBC article (or government managed media source which is basically everything nowadays) is agenda based. So before it was that Lego was too gender biased now it's not creative enough. You can't win with these guys. No doubt that whole Jabba's Palace fiasco was government planted nonsense.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,234
    I absolutely hated meccano as a child, took too long to put together and as a result of it being hard to use in my eyes i would never try to make anything original with it. lego on the other hand all the sets i had got broken up and made into other stuff.
  • OmniusOmnius Member Posts: 48
    The comments at the bottom of the article seemed to mostly consist of parents complaining that they'd spent hours building a set for their kids, only for them to break it up and build whatever their imagination desires, which seemed to undermine the point of the article.
    Aanchirdougts
  • zipsforbananaszipsforbananas WalesMember Posts: 250
    I totally agree that this seems like an article for the sake of an article and makes reasonable points but completely omits other points of view... what did we expect?! :P

    I'm most disappointed by the insistence that Meccano is superior - as if Technic doesn't exist!
    Having Duplo as a toddler, moving on to Lego as a youngster and on to Technic as a teen is a fantastic progression, especially with large elements of Technic in the more advanced Lego sets. Lego's not the biggest childs' toy in the world for no reason.

    And plus one to specialist pieces encouraging creativity if you're to use them for different purposes - just check out some of @vitreolum‌'s MOCs (amongst others of course!)!
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    I'll just copy my comment from the front page article...
    Isn't there an unwritten rule of journalism which says if the headline is a question, the answer is "probably not"? Strikes me as it fits here. Lego has just changed - kids' building experience is more guided than, say, 40 years ago, but the wider variety of parts lets them represent more things more accurately.

    I think the most valid point to be gained from such a discussion is that modern Lego may favour a different 'kind' of creativity than 'old' Lego did. It may not foster the same level of creativity across the board from all children, but probably encourages more creativity from the children who are more creative in the first place, while still providing a solid play experience for others.

    (If you think about it, if you never take a Lego set apart, then it still offers a play experience similar to non-construction toys)
    In the end, the BBC exists to "sell" the news, just like any other source. And we're all justifying that existence right now...
    aimlesspursuits
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 648
    AySea said:


    Maybe they did look at those and thought that Lego made them as most people that don't play with Lego seem to think that all building blocks that look a bit like Lego are Lego...

    More like they think all building blocks are "Legos" or "Legoes" or "Lego's". :P

    I've never heard of this Meccano business. It is similar to Erector Sets? Personally, I think there's no comparison between Technic and things of that nature to LEGO System Bricks, no matter how many thousands of part varieties it has. It seems like the point of view of this article neglects the artistic side of building systems such as LEGO. I'm sure that plenty of people use their bricks to make artistic displays, not just functional contraptions.
    Andor
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,822

    AySea said:


    Maybe they did look at those and thought that Lego made them as most people that don't play with Lego seem to think that all building blocks that look a bit like Lego are Lego...

    More like they think all building blocks are "Legos" or "Legoes" or "Lego's". :P

    I've never heard of this Meccano business. It is similar to Erector Sets? Personally, I think there's no comparison between Technic and things of that nature to LEGO System Bricks, no matter how many thousands of part varieties it has. It seems like the point of view of this article neglects the artistic side of building systems such as LEGO. I'm sure that plenty of people use their bricks to make artistic displays, not just functional contraptions.
    Yes, Meccano is basically the same thing as Erector. They used to be separate brands (one British, one American), but now the same company owns both and the only difference in the toys themselves is the name they're marketed under in different regions of the world.
  • icey117icey117 DenmarkMember Posts: 506
    Well if people wants squared bricks alone: LEGO does provide that option too!

    Whats the big deal!!
  • LegonizerLegonizer San Diego, CAMember Posts: 39
    Am I the only one whose so sick of hearing about the instructions being a sign of limited creativity? You don't have to build the thing pictured on the box. And even if you do, it doesn't last very long - I can't think of a single LEGO set that my younger cousin hasn't demolished. Finally, I feel that the instructions have enhanced the sets, in a way following the instructions is like taking a class on LEGO construction. Sure, you could build and never look at a single instruction booklet, but I assure you that by building designs that the product designers have come up with I've learned from them, and I would not have nearly as much creativity in my LEGO models if I'd never had this kind of guided instruction.
    AndorAanchirBumblepantsmathewAdzbadboydino_girl
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    I didn't find the article too bad. Besides, one merely has to look at the Cuusoo/Idea offerings to see that imagination isn't exactly in abundance in the Lego community.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    edited November 2014
    prof1515 said:

    Besides, one merely has to look at the Cuusoo/Idea offerings to see that imagination isn't exactly in abundance in the Lego community.

    And this is coming from a guy who doesn't even open the box.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    What's that got to do with anything?
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    Who cares about this article. The only issue is if parents are like the man upstairs aka Lord Business. If all sets have to stay together and not touched because they have high resale then it does take away from the creativity. If you don't do this then the creativity is really incredible. The kids learn all the piece types and they have to find strategies to locate them and can come up with incredible creations using all the pieces.

    I am trying to stop being like Lord Business.
    matticus_bricksAndor
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    prof1515 said:

    What's that got to do with anything?

    Well let's see "professor" I'll break it down for you. You diss people who actually build with Lego whereas you yourself are a box collector. Show me one of your own creations that doesn't resemble something a three year old could do and I will take back what I said.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    mathew said:

    prof1515 said:

    What's that got to do with anything?

    Well let's see "professor" I'll break it down for you. You diss people who actually build with Lego whereas you yourself are a box collector. Show me one of your own creations that doesn't resemble something a three year old could do and I will take back what I said.
    You just fed the troll, mate...

    Basically, it works like this around here: Prof is actually far superior to normal human beings in almost every respect and we should all be grateful that he deigns to troll on our mere mortal forum.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,526
    edited November 2014
    Hey now, what did prof say here to cause such a nasty reaction?
    Maybe he has wound you up in the past but please don't let it spill over and spoil other threads for the rest of us with your bickering.

    Brickset is better than this.
    MatthewmadforLEGOShibAndor
  • LegonizerLegonizer San Diego, CAMember Posts: 39



    Brickset is better than this.

    That's right, Brickset's above this. I humbly suggest that you knock it off, unless you want there to be some merit to that "Is Brickset going downhill" thread.
    zipsforbananasAndor
  • davejburdavejbur Member Posts: 7
    Actually, when we read the article we were nodding in agreement to most of it! Maybe that means we don't fit in on brickset:-)

    What we find annoying is that you often pay £10-20-30 for a set which is actually made up of very few large pieces. Many of these large pieces are in fact single replacements for what would be 5-6 pieces of "old lego". E.g. wall sections, columns, windows, arches. I know Lego 30 years ago had a bit of this about it (e.g. Legoland trees, car chassis, etc), but nothing like what it is now!

    We often find ourselves looking back to the "good old days" over the lack of decent basic/universal sets, where you got a whole load of pieces, with instructions for 5-6 models (each using maybe 60-70% of the pieces, so plenty left over for customisation), and loads more ideas in photos on the box. The instructions (and following them) were good ways of learning how different parts could be used, and acted as triggers for further ideas.

    We also find ourselves bemoaning all the film franchise tie-ins (cash extractors for those with kids into that sort of thing, complete turn-offs for those without, or with no interest), and the sets which seem to get re-released every year with slight mods (how many different police transporters/helicopters/stations have their been... not including the swamp & forest versions??!)

    Of course, both these issues are due to Big Business - Lego has to make its profits, and that means doing whatever it takes to get you to part with your money... which it generally does very well indeed:-)

    Oh, and sorry for the rather long post... not really a moan, just observations:-)
    zipsforbananas
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    edited November 2014
    I did lol at Daily Mails article, especially this
    Modern themed Lego sets linked to big budget films can be very expensive. For example, the LEGO Super Heroes Batcave comes in at £111.19, while the Lord of the Rings set called ‘The Battle of Helm’s Deep’ is £174.99.

    Research DM research.....

    Heres the full thing if you want to put yourself through it

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2851094/Lego-sets-stifle-creativity-Parents-complain-new-kits-reducing-scope-imagination-models-tied-franchises.html
    KingDave
  • KingDaveKingDave UKMember Posts: 965

    I did lol at Daily Mails article, especially this

    Modern themed Lego sets linked to big budget films can be very expensive. For example, the LEGO Super Heroes Batcave comes in at £111.19, while the Lord of the Rings set called ‘The Battle of Helm’s Deep’ is £174.99.

    Research DM research.....

    Heres the full thing if you want to put yourself through it

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2851094/Lego-sets-stifle-creativity-Parents-complain-new-kits-reducing-scope-imagination-models-tied-franchises.html


    Yet another reason (if one was needed) to send shivers down my spine when I buy that rag to get the free Lego!
    SuperTramp
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 262
    To me, one can build more with specialized parts. Quite often, it doesn't look right without them. Doors are often too blocky without specialized, thinner doors. Windshields, look better too. Minifigures don't lie down too well on a stretcher made out of a 2X6 plate, the two newer ones are much better, even though I prefer version one of the stretcher, not the one first released in 2012. Rotor blades don't look right, either, unless they are purpose built. Look at all the tools made for minifigures, they're impossible to replicate with bricks, plates, and the standard mix of parts!

    I have a LONG list of purpose-built parts that I want made, as the items, mostly emergency medical and rescue equipment, is impossible to replicate with Lego.

    However, I think sometimes specialized parts are unnecessary. In fact, I cut the axles off of a 4 Juniors chassis and saved them (they were still standard axles fastened on permanently), and threw the purpose built chassis out, as I prefer a chassis made up of a mixture of axles, wheel wells, plates and bricks. The backhoe in that 4 Juniors looked horrible. Although the standard 4 stud car chassis and 6 stud truck and van chassis works for most applications (I stock those parts as I use them frequently), often it doesn't work too well. Once, I had to make a completely custom chassis for an ambulance I built as the 6 Stud chassis made the back taller than the front. And I have no use for many Jack Stone parts I had when I was little, including figures.

    And I plan to buy a couple of those Airfix Quick Build sets soon, including an Apache on clearance, as a can't do model kits too well, as I can't trim the parts to fit together right, or the glue is overly messy when I try to put the model together
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    I must apologise for speaking out of line and being rude to @prof1515‌. You are quite right, @LostInTranslation‌, Brickset is better at least than that.

    I posted a bit too early in the morning before my common sense was properly working, and I read in to prof's comment an unnecessary generalisation about the quality of Ideas sets. Combined with one or two other threads where he has made comments that could also be construed as unnecessarily rude, I got rather frustrated and vented. Whether that's what he implied or not, my response was not really warranted, and for that I apologise.
    Andordougts
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,955
    prof1515 said:

    I didn't find the article too bad. Besides, one merely has to look at the Cuusoo/Idea offerings to see that imagination isn't exactly in abundance in the Lego community.

    I don't think that is entirely true. There is a lot of imagination in the Lego community. However, there is a bit of a dearth on the ideas site. Whether that is down to people realising the chances of a non-IP project making it are so slim that they go for licenses, or that they go for licensed because they have little imagination, or just down to the people that submit are not so creative, who knows. It seems to me that many of the ideas are not just lacking a bit in imagination, they also lack a bit in skill. Is it just kids looking for fame and / or money?

    Look on eurobricks or other moc sites, and a reasonable amount of it is not just well built but shows great imagination too. Sure, there is some crap, but also some great stuff. Although probably not commercial.
    plasmodiumdougts
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,234
    ^i think there's still a massive moderation problem with Ideas, I wish they'd take a propper look at the submissions, check IPs availability at that point and weed out all the obvious rubbish from the off.
  • zipsforbananaszipsforbananas WalesMember Posts: 250
    prof1515 said:

    One merely has to look at the Cuusoo/Idea offerings to see that imagination isn't exactly in abundance in the Lego community.

    Whilst that's not entirely true it's not entirely unfair either. I'd say at least half of the first page of sets when I looked on Ideas for new projects just now were pretty poor. And truly abysmally woeful projects are not exactly uncommon, piles of unimaginative bricks representing extremely bland things on LDD with dull stock backgrounds behind them, but somehow coupled with text that suggests the creator thinks they've got a sure-fire winner on their hands.
    I guess the point is kinda true; it's just the way round that @prof1515‌ chose to present it that's the problem, tarring the entire Lego community with that brush as if low standards on Ideas proves there are no higher standards anywhere.

    ...

    But aren't we also touching on something deeper here? Imagination is subjective, and though we easily combine the two in our thinking, it shouldn't be confused with talent.
    Impressive and inventive building techniques are great, they are an expression of imagination, and they make MOCs enjoyable for others to appreciate. But should we only value someone else's imagination when we can appreciate it ourselves?

    Isn't the beauty of Lego that the youngest child can put together three blocks and enjoy their achievement, where the youngster can learn through playing with it? That we can be dazzled by incredible invention by some skilled people, but the guy who was never any good at art can create wonders through following instructions? That the box hoarder can enjoy their collection, and nostalgic parents the few odd bricks they kept and have passed on to their children?
    That everybody can do with it whatever they want without fear of rules or standards and find in it a refuge from this vicious and cynical world in the wonderful plastic bricks!
    Even if their creation is akin to a mess of potato-print paint, fingerprints and smudges on a piece of old dot matrix computer paper, they should be glad it's stuck proudly to the fridge in their family kitchen!

    Sure, when we poke our heads out into real world communities we'll get shot at from time to time, and if we put our creations up on Ideas perhaps we deserve to be told if we're just embarrassing ourselves.
    But if we start judging and discouraging each other isn't it us who are sucking the imagination out of Lego, replacing it not with specially moulded bricks, but with embarrassment and fear?
    sklambAndorTechnicNick
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 481
    I must say back when Ideas was on Cuusoo, the "similar sets" that would be brought up next to a proposal I was examing used to be...similar, in quality as well as in subject. Lately I've been seeing a lot of small and very simplistic proposals in that space. I've had to find other ways to search for low-profile, but interesting and well-executed concepts on Ideas.

    It's true that on the new platform 10,000 supporters can be raised in a much shorter time than before, and we've seen a lot of excellent MOC's get to the review phase (whether they're sensible set proposals is a completely different question, IMO) which shows that quality is still appreciated as enthusiastically as ever, once it's noticed. But I'm not so sure that as many imaginative proposals are being made lately....

    What I won't do is attribute this to any change in Lego. The bricks are as magical as ever IMO, whether you want to build according to instructions, modify the original set, or take off in an entirely different direction!
    zipsforbananas
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548

    Huh. Re: the article (from thread title). Talk about pot calling kettle black. Would anyone like to write an article entitled:

    'The BBC: too many specific channels removes scope of terrestrial programming/pigeonholes viewing habits'.

    Cbeebies, CBBC, BBC3, BBC4 all with specific (limited) remits.

    Gone are the days of watching a classic film, a cartoon, a comedy, a documentary, quiz, wildlife, news, current affairs, and satire in a single weekend's viewing. And safe in the knowledge that if the kids are left with the TV, they'll be forced to watch something appropriate for the time of day by someone whose job it was to care about balanced schedules. (Or switch off and do something else).

    When i was a lad (all this was fields)... There was BBC1 and BBC2. And they had to meet the viewing tastes of all people, and meet a broad range of interests. No such thing as 24-hour cartoons. 24-hour films. 24-hour drunken louts on the lash turned celebrity after it.

    I would therefore enjoy a breadth of information, entertainment, drama, learning, etc all from one channel (whether i wanted it or not!). And that's the key point: If i turned the tv on, i'd have to watch something worthwhile, or do something else.

    These days the cartoons never stop if you don't (forcibly demand a) change of channel. Any child is likely to want to watch the endless stuff so cleverly targetedat them. When i was a kid, i too would've wanted to watch cartoons all day, but thankfully I couldn't. It wasn't an option. Such things stopped for other programming. And I'm grateful that they did, as that broad range of programme planning made me all the better educated and world-wise for it.

    (Or would switch it off and do something).
    zipsforbananasdavejbur
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