Back in the early days of LEGO® minifigures, the majority of sets that we had to play had a modest part count, and could be pulled apart and rebuilt in less than an hour: there was plenty of source material for alternative builds, either from the suggestions on the back of the box, or using an ideas book, such as #6000 – which documented the adventures of Mary and Bill, initially in a Town-based adventure, but takes a detour through the worlds of Classic Space and Castle…
Sets were built, played with and rebuilt. Hardly anything was kept together for a significant amount of time.
Flash forward 40 years, and the way some kids play seems to have changed: sets become display pieces in some households, gathering dust until the owner enters their dark ages, before moving on to sell them on the secondary market.
In part, I can understand this: sets have become a bit more sophisticated over the years: more pieces, more complicated building techniques, and we have already invested a couple of hours in building the core model. I encountered some examples of this recently as I worked on the new Creator 3in1 sets – Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent, as well as the DownTown Noodle Shop: pulling these sets apart and building the alternative models took up to 2 hours, depending on the models.
Have you been enjoying Bricks N’ Bits, the podcast detailing the 25 year history of LEGO® Games? The second series launched properly last week, with a discussion of LEGO Brawls. Along with Extra Pieces co-producer (and editor of Jay’s Brick Blog), Jay Ong, I was fortunate to attend the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days last week.
This virtual gathering provided an opportunity to participate with other Fan Media in several briefings about projects that the LEGO Group has underway. We were treated to a presentation by the LEGO® Games team. They took us on some deep dives into the world of podcast production, as they brought us some of the stories behind researching and producing Bricks N’ Bits. The second season is now underway and the latest episode has just been released. It brings us some of the stories behind LEGO Marvel Superheroes – a game first released in 2013.
A few weeks ago, I took part in a Media Event with several other Recognised LEGO Fan Media: Brickset, Blocks Magazine, Brick Fanatics, Zusammengebaut, Hispabrick Magazine, HothBricks, twitch streamer Between the Bricks. Other similar events took place around the same time, with other LEGO Fan Media, as well as mainstream media.
We met Jonathan Bennink – the LEGO Digital design LEAD on the Super Mario series, and he took us through a couple of the sets that were unveiled the next week. He followed up by showing us some additional aspects of the new theme, gave us some gameplay hints and set us some challenges… At the end of the presentation, we were able to ask some questions. Some were answered on the day. Some were followed up subsequently… Read on for More.
In which I attempt to label my storage drawers, only to discover technical difficulties getting in my way. I overcome these and have a Q&A with Tom Alphin, who has created a set of labels to use in these circumstances.
A couple of months ago (closer to three ) I set about getting some of my bricks sorted out. I now have lots and lots of small drawers, useful for the small fiddly bits, and larger boxes, more suited to traditional bricks and plates, of varying size.
But, its all very well having approximately 250 small drawers full of smaller LEGO® elements, BUT when they are semi opaque, how are you going to know what’s in them. I thought I might set out to label them. So, I reached for the trusty family label maker, perhaps a little underused in the last 5 years, typed up 1×2 with horizontal clip and pressed print.
Jens Kronvold Frederiksen has worked for the LEGO Group for over 20 years: initially as a designer, and more recently as the Creative Director for LEGO® Star Wars™. On Saturday, May 4th – as part of the LEGO Star Wars Day Celebrations, he took part in the Worlds Largest LEGO Star Wars Unboxing at Westfield Chatswood in Sydney with Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught. This is his first trip to Australia.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jens on the eve of this event – we spoke about the importance of Community events, the evolution of LEGO Designs, stickers and how he came to one of the coolest jobs in the world.
As I write this up, unboxing has occurred, and the model inside has been completed… the event continues until 5pm Sunday May 5th.
Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017. With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation. At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.
Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost?Continue reading →
The Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days provided a great opportunity to meet representatives of other LEGO Fan Media from around the world. In conjunction with the team from RevistaBricks, and HispaBrick Magazine, we reconstructed our meeting with then CEO Bali Padda. The article that follows is reproduced from HispaBrick Magazine 28, which is now available for download.
As part of the LEGO® Fan Media Days at the end of May 2017, the represented LEGO® Fan Media organisations were joined by the CEO of the LEGO® Group, Bali Padda, for a dialog. He has been with the LEGO® Group for 15 years, initially based in the United States, and then in the UK, where he has been in the role of Chief Operations Officer.
While the appointment of his successor, Niels B. Christiansen, has already been announced, Mr Padda gave us some interesting insights into some of the issues currently facing the company:
RLFMs: You have now been in your new role for around six months. What do you think are the challenges in this new role?
In which I have a conversation with Mette Hansen about the LEGO® Rebrick program: whats been popular, where in the world you can enter from, and the challenges of running contests when there is a seperate owner of the intellectual property. Of course things have progressed since this interview in June, and with the announcement of the new UCS Millennium Falcon, there is a new contest on Rebrick, with the new set as a prize!
I have mentioned some of the contests featured on Rebrick here previously. As the LEGO® Group’s official contest platform for teenage and adult builders, the prizes on offer for the contests can be quite exciting. As part of the Fan Media Days earlier this year, I had a chance, along with Christian Breinbauer from Revistabricks.com, to meet with Mette Frøkjær Hansen, one of the team who has been working with the LEGO® Rebrick platform.
Rambling Brick: So far we have seen competitions covering multiple themes, from Cars to Batman, Technic, Friends and Modular Buildings. The MiniModular competition, however, offered such an amazing prize pack it appeared to have a lot of interest online.[That is to say, the winner would receive the entire 10 year run of modular buildings from Cafe Corner to Assembly Square.] Was it the most subscribed competition that you have had to date?
Mette Hansen:It was actually the second most popular contest that we have had: the one that was the most popular, and got the most entries was actually LEGO® Bionicle, last year. We had that last fall, as an ode to the theme being discontinued.
Had the fact that the theme was going to be discontinued been announced at that stage?
No, at that time it hadn’t officially announced, but we wanted to do something for the Bionicle fans, because they are just so amazing, and so creative. The Bionicle contest got over two thousand entries! It’s sometimes hard for us. We have no idea when we publish a contest: will this get two thousand entries, or a hundred entries? Now, we are starting to get some more learnings, because the Rebrick platform has been around for a bit of time now, but it is still relatively new: we launched in March 2016 with this specific contest platform. We are still excited to see which contests will get a lot of entries, which ones are less popular. But for us it is not necessarily about the volume of entries. It’s also about people being excited about the theme, and if only fifty people or twenty people are really excited about the topic and they build something amazing and they contribute and upload and help to inspire the wider community, that’s enough. That’s Mission: Accomplished! Continue reading →
At the start of June, as part of the LEGO Fan Media Days, I had the opportunity to meet Fenella Charity and Ricardo Silva, who are both part of the LEGO Friends design team. Fenella’s back ground is in industrial design, and Ricardo came to work at LEGO via the fan community. Our conversation rambled over a variety of topics relevant to the Friends line: including storyboarding the sets and animated stories; stickers vs printed elements; gender balance; designing Stephanie’s house and starting the trip down a slippery slope by using tan walls in the pizzeria. But before we started on that path, I had to ask something…
The LEGO Friends sets have be inspirational for introducing buildings around town that aren’t fire stations, banks being robbed or police stations, as are de rigour in LEGO City. But something I have been wondering… Are we going to see a police station?