Last year, we got our first introduction to the new generation at LEGO Friends. After Stephanie, Andrea, Olivia, Emma and Mia headed off on their gap years, there is room for a whole new gang in Heartlake city, and we start to hear their stories tonight (Australian time) when the video goes live on the LEGO Youtube channel.Continue reading
We have now had LEGO®Friends Sets on the shelves for over a decade, and during this time we have seen the girls grow, get rebooted and learn, while seeing each other through good times and bad. The girls who played with those first sets have grown up, and during the second half of the 2022, we have seen our core cast grow up and head off to pursue their dreams: Olivia at Space Camp, Emma at Art School, Stephanie sailing around the world, Mia rescuing animals and Andrea heading out to perform. All of this while welcoming new characters to Heartlake City.
During this time, we have been able to see our own kids grow up, and perhaps there is just a little too much backstory to catch up with, for newcomers to the brand. And so in 2023, we are going to see a new core group of friends, a new logo, and new stories to take place in Heartlake City. This change in direction was teased at LEGO CON 2022, but no further details were forthcoming.Continue reading
We have been counting down to the 90th anniversary of the LEGO Group, which is now ( at the time of writing) only one more sleep away! We have travelled from the time that the company made wooden yo-yos and pull-along animals, and seen it pivot towards plastics and develop the brick. We have seen the Minifigure arrive and storytelling enter the fore. We have seen the company come back from the brink of financial collapse, to stabilise and start to grow.
As we travel through the 2010s, we get some new friends; storytelling becomes more animated, sustainability enters the agenda; and adult fans are asked for their ideas and become part of the acknowledged target demographic.Continue reading
At LEGO CON, we had a visit from Friends designers, Fenella Charity, James May and Ellen Bowley. They discussed the way that this year, our familiar characters have been moving on to new adventures.Continue reading
When Minifigures arrived on the scene in 1978, we were presented with three settings: Castle, Town and Space – The Past, The Present and The Future. Through the 1980s, these themes developed in their own ways, fairly independent of each other. During the 1990s, we saw the themes diversify in different ways: Space brought us a new hyperfluorescent faction each year; Castle changed a little less frequently, but introduced an increasing amount of magic. In the meantime, Town diversified: no longer the sole home of contemporary lifestyles, we saw different themes split off, containing subject material based on the contemporary real world: Divers, Paradisa, Outback, Race, Space Port, ResQ, Team Extreme, and Sports. The ‘core material’ – which we first saw back in 1978 – police, fire and construction – became increasingly juniorized. Having been further dumbed down for younger builders with the introduction of Jack Stone, and other 4Juniors sets, we saw a return to more mature material with LEGO World City.
However, both the 4Juniors and World City themes featured alleged models of modern vehicles that bore minimal resemblance to the real-world equivalent. After the LEGO Group’s financial crisis, a number of themes were discontinued, and the company set out to return to its core business. A revitalised town theme was introduced – but things were on their way to being a bit bigger; expectations were greater: Town just wasn’t going to cut it anymore: we were presented with LEGO City.Continue reading
A few months ago, the LEGO Group announced their intention to eliminate gender bias from their marketing materials, ensuring that no set was going to be explicitly sold as a boy’s set or a girl’s set, but rather as toys for children. At that time we looked at the way that the marketing images in a number of LEGO® themes presented a degree of bias in their lifestyle ‘hero images.’
However, following this announcement, some people were concerned that it might spell the end of LEGO Friends. The theme was introduced back in 2012, as a result of focus groups suggesting that there was a large group of girls not engaging with LEGO Bricks. The theme is now enjoyed by boys and girls alike: embracing the everyday adventures in ‘real world’ settings.Continue reading
The last time I was having a chat to adult visitors at a public exhibition (remember those?), something came up on more than one occasion: LEGO® Themes these days are not what they used to be. It used to be pretty simple – you’d build the set (and it was probably Town, Space or Castle. Unless you were a bit younger – then it may well have been a Pirates set) – and you’d pull it apart and build something else. It might be one of the alternate builds on the back of the box, it might be something completely different. It may not have even been related to the original theme.
These days, many sets thrive on 3rd party IP, and the majority of the in-house, story-driven themes are tied in with either an animated series or an overly complicated app.
For those of us yearning for a simpler time, in a world where things have become increasingly complicated, things are looking bleak! Unless you want to go straight to the 4+ sets.Continue reading
Every year around this time, the LEGO Group presents its annual report: taking in all aspects of the company. The document always includes a small paragraph or two on which themes performed strongly in a given year.
While the metric used to define this performance has not been presented to the public, it gives us a good idea of the sorts of material that pepople are buying, and which themes are strong sellers. Prompted by some online discussion, I have gone back to 2011, and tracked down the strongest performing themes for the last ten years, as referred to in The LEGO Group’s annual report. What we found out may not come as a surprise at all. Or perhaps it will?
Join us while we look through the last 10 years – we will look at the themes directly referenced in the annual report, look at some of the highlights, and maybe even evoke some mild feelings of nostalgia along the way..Continue reading
It was a simple enough mistake.
Anyone could have made it, really. The new Mindstorms Robotics Invention kit has been in the wild for a few weeks now: a new paradigm for LEGO Mindstorms, and I am curious to take a look at it sometime soon. Set 51515 is set to replace the 31313 EV3 as the LEGO Robotics set of choice at some point. Probably when the EV3 enthusiasts have all moved on to using Arduino…
But this wasn’t the problem I found myself with. So… when I was asked if I wanted any LEGO picked up, while a friend was out shopping,, I had a failing in my internal logic. I remembered that the third generation of Mindstorms, EV3 was set 31313. I also remembered thing that the new set followed a similar pattern, and it was the fourth generation.
And so I asked that if set 41414 could be picked up, that I would be grateful.Continue reading
You may have noticed that some of the recent (coming in August to North America) releases of LEGO City and LEGO Friends have been cobranded with the National Geographic brand.
The new City: Deep Sea Explorers, as well as Friends: Jungle Rescue subthemes have been developed in collaboration with National Geographic to encourage children to explore the world, and consider their own ways to solve some of the problems that we are facing, going forward.Continue reading