Living with DiverCITY: changing depictions of gender roles with LEGO minifigures in the post-Friends era.

This post has been a while coming.  It’s a bit long. It may take a while to read…best get a drink.

Sorry about that!

 

When I was a boy, and we rode dinosaurs to school, life was a little more simple than it is today. When the first LEGO mini figures were introduced, they were people.  Not really men or women, just people.  Their faces all looked the same: depicting the now classic smiley face.  The only attempts to define gender, in terms of appearance, came in the form of the hair piece they had on if they were not wearing a hat!  In that first year there were four ‘female’ mini figures released: they had hair with pigtails. If they were wearing a hat, you could quite happily identify that knight, policeman or astronaut as male or female as you should choose.

series1minifig
The designers have only attempted to define the gender of one of these minifigures.

Two of these ‘people with hair, defining their gender as female’ came  as the only figure in their sets, along with vehicles: one an ambulance (606) and one a ‘Red Cross’ car(623). Another worked at the service station (376) and the final one came with a home (377). There was also a female passenger with a railway carriage. in 1979, the first classic ‘male’ minifigure hair appeared. In this first year, printed torsos were still a year or two away, and defining your minifigure’s identity came down to the sticker that you placed on the torso piece.

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Play On: Updated Adventures in Elvendale and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros Apps

Sorry about the relative quiet on the blog this last week: if you have been following the Rabling Brick on Instagram or Facebook, you would have noticed that I am currently away, and I have taken some minifigs with me… And then something happened:

There I was minding my business, and browsing the iTunes store, and I checked out this weeks updates.  Two excited me.  These include updates to LEGO Elves: Elvendale Adventures and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros. I reviewed both of these apps earlier in the year, and while both were enjoyable, Mighty Micros appeared to have a couple of bugs in it.  Elvendale adventures was satisfying, but had limited content.

Elvendale Adventures 2.0

This is touted as a major upgrade: At the end of version 1, the Elves confronted Ragana Ragana the Evil Elf Witch who had kidnapped the Queen Dragon. There was some exciting dialog at the end of the four Elemental sequences, with Ragana capturing the dragon’s essences.  I was hoping our new sequence would result in a greater revelation as to the underlying story.  The levels involved here are of a higher difficulty than the previous levels.  Some of the tiles to collect have special powers: one type clears portions of a row, another changing all of the tiles adjacent to a certain element: great for collecting that element, not so helpful if you have two or three of these elements close together, because they will turn the other to a simple elemental piece,losing its power, and ability to be collected. Both of these pieces are required to be the second or later tile collected in a move.  Multiple ‘power pieces’ can be collected in the course of a turn, and this becomes necessary as the number of tiles needing to be collected increases significantly at the higher levels.

Oncompleting the leves, there are none of the conversation bubbles that occurred in version one, and unfortunately this continues through: when the levels are completed, there is no dialog, or expostition of the storyline.  Which is a shame, because it did make completing the singleplayer game well worth while with version one.

A further upgrade in 2017 is also teased.

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The opening screens have been updated
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Some of the new action from version 2

All in all I enjoyed the upgrade to the game, but I do feel that removing the cartoon dialog boxes has detracted from the overall experience. My other gripe with the game is that while you are selecting the level to play, it is a little difficult to discern the ones you have completed, compared to those to be done. Still, if you like a casual game and have finished the first version, this will give you a couple of hours of diversion. All it will cost you is time…

LEGO DC SuperHeroes Mighty Micros 1.1.198

LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros has one of the most unwieldy names of any App that I have seen.  But it is fun, fast moving and a little bit amusing in all the right ways.  It has

mm1
Hopefully I can unlock this soon!  Let me know if you manage to.
mm2
Stickers!  I am a little over stickers!

also been a bit bit buggy: I have been failing for months to unlock the final ‘sreet layout’ – this version promises bug fixes, as well as enhancing game play through the addition of stickers to unlock with achievements, including activities in the BatCave, as well as number of crashes into witches hats/ studs/ lamp posts and goodness knows what else.  I am yet to unlock the elusive final level to complete… but if if fixes this problem, it will certainly be worth the bandwidth required to download it!

But will the addition of some additional achievements to unlock enhance its long term playability?  It will become all about the grind, which could become fairly uninspiring for all but the most determinined completionist.

 

In Conclusion

Both of these games have been great little time wasters with different limitations: Elvendale Adventures is teasing to much towards unknown content at this stage at the end of the day, and LDCSHMM being to hard to pronounce or spell, plus the game feeling like it was only about 85% finished.  These new updates improve functionality and hopefully allow the bugs to get ironed out.  Time has prevented me from attempting to unlock the mystery street map at this time: we will see how we go with time.

Now if only the LEGO Marvel Superheroes Mighty Micros could be simply produced. I would never get productive work completed again…

 

Play well

 

Play Well

 

Just to Pass the Time.

Series 16 Minifigures have hit the shores here in Australia. This is one of the strongest series for some time: lots of interesting characters, kids dressed up, two tone leg moulds and continuing of established Collectable Minifigure themes.  

Spring has arrived in Australia, so it’s a great time to get outside.


See you soon, in the mean time 

Play well.

What I discovered from LEGO City: Volcano Starter set: LEGO is a responsive company.

A Lot of Discussion has taken place this year about the representation of society’s diversity in LEGO sets.  A good deal of this has been centred around set 60134: Fun in the Park. At $AU55 it represents 14 mini figures: equal numbers male and female, and one baby. There is also a stroller, a wheelchair and a bicycle.  Figures are represented at a number of ages: young children, older children,  young married couple (Are they married?, are they even a couple? Is it their child in the stroller? So many questions. Things used to be so simple!), and older people, as well as some grounds keeper/park maintenance staff, both women, and a hot dog vendor.

But I don’t want to talk about this today.

Also recently released are the new CITY Volcano sets: a combination of volcano adventurers, scientists and ‘volcano workers’  whom I presume to be scientists in safety gear.  The thing that caught my eye about this set ahead of anything else was the mix of minifigures: two male and two female. There is a scientist ( designated a woman,  a quick head swap could change this, but why would you want to?) a ‘volcano adventurer’ , and two volcano workers: male and female. Continue reading