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The fall of LEGO


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#1 Nevar

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:08 PM

I wanted to make a poll but apparently I can't...

Anyway, do you agree LEGO has been in a decline since 2004? I certainly do. Every new theme these days seems to either be based on a movie or a rip-off of an old, already existing LEGO theme -- and in each case it's been worse than the original... For example:
- 2009 Pirates and 1989-1996 Pirates
- Power Miners and Rock Raiders
- Pharaoh's Quest and Adventurers (Egypt)
- Dino and Dino Island
- Mars Mission and Life on Mars
- NinjaGo and Ninja

Edited by Nevar, 28 May 2012 - 08:09 PM.

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#2 Grombrindal

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:43 PM

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In my opinion, LEGO has only gotten better over the last few years, and I don't think that'll change anytime soon.

Not everyone will be aware of this, but during the 1990s and early 2000s, LEGO was in serious financial trouble - they were losing money. A lot of this was down to bad decisions when it came to innovation and direction. That all changed in 2004, when LEGO appointed a new CEO who brought around a few changes in mentality for LEGO. Since then, the brand's made a comeback - in a big way.

Over the last few years, we've had a bunch of old lines - long since dead - rebooted. Kingdoms replaced the old Castle line, and honestly? I think it's a heck of a lot better. We've gone from this:

Posted Image

To this:

Posted Image

To me, that's an improvement. LEGO has updated the design while still maintaining some of the 'old' and blending it with the 'new'. The castle has the same basic structure, only now it's a little more decorated and a little more playable.

The same thing has happened with a lot of the 'revamps' - Power Miners, NinjaGo, Pirates and Pharaoh's Quest to name a few. A lot of the old sets have been updated for a new generation, with smarter construction, better designs, cooler minifigs and some neat concepts that distinguish them from their spiritual ancestors. Sure, Raines is no Johnny Thunder, but he isn't meant to be.

LEGO has also come up with a bunch of new themes you seem to have skipped over. The 'Fantasy Era' line they released is one of the coolest I've seen - I mean, it had orcs, dwarves, elves, armies of skeletons and heaps of new parts and sets! That's hardly the only line they've come up with; Space Police was pretty awesome, as was the Agents line. The upcoming Monster Hunters sets look sweet, and don't forget the Collectible Minifigures line which continues to amaze me. Sure, some of the ideas have clearly drawn from older lines, but that's not a bad thing.

And don't dismiss the licensed sets. Although some of us are sick of Star Wars by now, the sets are still pretty cool and throw out a bunch of new parts with every release. We've also now got awesome lines like the Pirates of the Caribbean sets, Marvel/DC, and Lord of the Rings - who wouldn't want their own Jack Sparrow, Iron Man and Aragorn minifigs? Some people might moan and groan about the flesh coloured figs, but oh well - you can easily replace most of the heads and hands with yellow replacements your own collection, and all that'll really happen is a slightly mismatched neckline for some figs. Besides, if licensed sets aren't up your alley, just remember - LEGO is a business, and licensed sets sell. If they're out there making money that lets LEGO make more awesome original themes, then fantastic!

Finally, don't forget that LEGO is a business, and a lot of its decisions have to be made from that perspective. As sad as it is, businesses need to make money, and although LEGO seems to try to be good to its AFOL and TFOL followers, they're ultimately not the primary market. LEGO has to play to its core group - the kids - and anything else is really just a bonus. Sometimes, this is great for AFOLS and children alike; kids get to have Aragorn battle Shelob while they fire missiles from a ballista, while AFOLs finally get Lord of the Rings sets they can build dioramas from and use in their own creations. But sometimes, the nature of LEGO means AFOLs get a bit disappointed - and in this case, it seems LEGO tries to find a comrpomise. The Collectible Minifig line seems largely aimed at AFOLs; LEGO might not be able to make a line featuring zombies, but they can sure throw together a minifig for us to nab.

When it comes down to it, LEGO is a toy, and toys are made for people to have fun with. As long as LEGO keeps making bricks, I'm sure even the grumpiest fan will enjoy playing with them in their own way.

I just migh drink it to keep the fear of SEEING THE PAT THAT SHOULD BE COVERED BY NAME OMG SO MUCH BLOOD

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#3 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

I'm with Grombrindal here. LEGO has not gotten worse - they've gotten a lot better. The newer sets contain far fewer SPUD (Single Purpose Ugly Design) pieces, a higher overall part count, and a much higher level of detail - both on the sets and the minifigs. It's easy to see the older sets through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, but just look at this thing:

Posted Image

The part count of that set was 89 pieces for $20. The rock monster has a single joint: his right arm. The truck is made of basically four wheels attached to one enormous body part, with another huge part and matching canopy to form the cockpit area, and a shovel on the front. I've seen Duplo sets with smaller pieces and more complexity.

Admittedly, the Power Miners line has a hideously garish color scheme, but even those sets contain a much higher part count than Rock Raiders (180-200 parts for $20 instead of only 89), as well as better rock monsters and these awesome guys.

Similar comparisons can be made for most everything else you listed, such as Pharaoh's Quest vs. Adventurers and Mars Mission vs. Life on Mars.

Mars Mission had terrible aliens, but the second wave contained some of the best sets since the old Classic Space lines. Many of them were designed by AFOL's, and it shows. Here's a comparison...
Spoiler

I bought both sets, and the second one is one of the most awesome official sets I've had the pleasure to build. So awesome that I actually kept it built - I converted it to white and blue Victorian colors and kept it sitting on a shelf ever since.

And don't even get me started on the licensed sets...

Spoiler


Personally, I think LEGO has really gotten better in the last few years. I'm very glad the LEGO Lord of the Rings line is coming out now instead of four years ago - because it means we'll get a much better product.

At least, that's my opinion. ;)

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#4 Grombrindal

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:03 PM

LEGO has not gotten worse - they've gotten a lot better. The newer sets contain far fewer SPUD (Single Purpose Ugly Design) pieces, a higher overall part count, and a much higher level of detail - both on the sets and the minifigs. It's easy to see the older sets through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, but just look at this thing:

Posted Image

I remember that set - and how hard it is to use that cockpit for, well, anything. Definitely agree about the SPUDs - there's still a few around, but there seem to be a lot less nowadays. The way LEGO now takes on board AFOL ideas and seeks out creative, innovative builders to work on the staff has really improved the entire brand - although official sets will never be as complex as fan-made ones due to parts and budget constraints, they certainly give you a lot more bang for your buck now.

I think a lot of the criticism from fans over at places like Classic-Castle are a bit unfair and are mostly based on nostalgia. The old sets were cool, but I definitely think the newer sets are cooler while still keeping the same spirit and personality the old sets had. The new 'spin-off' themes seem to keep the spirit of the old lines alive while updating the concept for a newer generation, which I think is great - it gives both the kids receiving the sets for the first time something cool and still reminds the AFOLs of their first sets. Some of the first LEGO sets I got were the Adventurers sets, and I personally love the way the Pharaoh's Quest sets capture the character of the old line while updating them with new parts, designs and characters. LEGO uses the nostalgia the sets evoke and gives us something new, and I think that's why they're still loved by adults and children alike - it captures our imaginations regardless of our age.

I just migh drink it to keep the fear of SEEING THE PAT THAT SHOULD BE COVERED BY NAME OMG SO MUCH BLOOD

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#5 1-800-786-1410

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:30 PM

Don't forget that years have passed since you were a child with each theme, and thus that theme means a lot more to you. We all become a little bit more jaded. Of course I love Adventurers but when I kept reading the instructions to build them, they were so clunky and brick based. I'm glad Lego's willing to update the themes. It shows they care enough about the fan base to release what we want.

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#6 Irondrone 4

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:06 AM

I just wish we had some basic ninjas; Ninjago is cool and flashy and all, but I just want some plain, black ninjas. Aside from that, all I can nitpick about LEGO are the colors; I couldn't even bear to look at the neon green Power Miner sets with their bright blue helmets, even if the designs are more modernized than Rock Raiders (and those massive rollcages are impossible to find another use for). I know that it's more catching, but I'm a fan of the plainer colors in my sets, with more zany ones as detailing.

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#7 1-800-786-1410

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:49 AM

I've actually come back because I've been giving it some thought:

Lego is not going down, or falling. It's the exact opposite. It's growing. Look at it. We had one licensed theme in 1998: Star Wars (don't quote me, just go with it). Over the course of 14 years, I've been a part of all of that. I got to see every movie set, including Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Marvel and DC, as well as a whole bunch of super cool sets. Lego Studios? That was rad. Movie Monsters, Power Miners, that UFO one that just came out. These are all super cool sets. Even better? An expansion beyond just the toys. The video games? Those kick ass. The new board games they have? The more adult focused grander-scale sets? Yeah, the price goes up, but that's just the world right now. Hell, Lego finally opened a theme park near me. I waited 20 years for that! Lego's boomin'!

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#8 880_ZERO

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:54 AM

My only gripe is that until recently, there have been no good space sets. Space Police was awesome, but it didn't last very long and although I think the UFO sets are great, I really want a sci-fi space line that isn't Star Wars and isn't specifically good-guy bad-guy. More like space cars and space city, more space ships. Stuff like that.


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#9 1-800-786-1410

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:59 AM

Has Lego even done an idea like that before? I think everything in space has always had conflict. Except maybe that Ice planet one. Ice 2233 or something. You know which one. The one where everyone had something trans-orange. I don't remember an enemy in the series but it was really long ago, so...

Space City would be cool. They love City Sets, but they usually don't advertise them as much as licensed brands. It's more for the adults who build towns or can afford the modules. Imagine if they could just do that with a little sci-fi twist?

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#10 880_ZERO

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

Has Lego even done an idea like that before? I think everything in space has always had conflict. Except maybe that Ice planet one. Ice 2233 or something. You know which one. The one where everyone had something trans-orange. I don't remember an enemy in the series but it was really long ago, so...

Space City would be cool. They love City Sets, but they usually don't advertise them as much as licensed brands. It's more for the adults who build towns or can afford the modules. Imagine if they could just do that with a little sci-fi twist?

The only thing close to Space City was Space Police. The car stuff in there looked pretty cool and if they could make the city cars look maybe like the cars from BTTF2 with the building modules have the same type of rounded glass structure like the Space Police line, then I think it could look pretty snazzy.


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#11 Michaelangelo

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:28 PM

When I was working at Target I wanted to buy this big-ass Space Police Lego set. The only thing that kept me from buying it was it's $100+ price tag. It was this guy, The Galactic Enforcer. Also, Arby, are you referring to the Arctic sets? Hey you guys remember the Alpha Team sets?

Sorry, I was getting carried away. I myself have never been much of an MOC guy, my Lego creativity kind of died many years ago and eventually sold my bin of bricks. I still have the few sets I owned, but still.

The only thing I really wish the Lego company didn't do was the Minecraft line. Why? Because it's dumb and poor waste of plastic. I've seen better fan-legos of Minecraft made than the 'official' ones.

EDIT: Nvm. Ice Planet 2002. :P

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#12 Grombrindal

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:48 PM

The only thing I really wish the Lego company didn't do was the Minecraft line. Why? Because it's dumb and poor waste of plastic. I've seen better fan-legos of Minecraft made than the 'official' ones.

I think LEGO was in a bit of a hard spot with a LEGO Minecraft line. I mean, they were trying to support their new Cuusoo idea, and that's what people voted for - a set based on a game based on building with bricks. There really isn't much they could do with that sort of sales pitch, and I think they did the best they could.

I can just see the Cuusoo reviewer's faces, though. Seeing LEGO Minecraft winning in votes and then looking at eachother and saying "so they want us to make bricks out of bricks so they can build bricks with bricks? Uh. Okay?"

I just migh drink it to keep the fear of SEEING THE PAT THAT SHOULD BE COVERED BY NAME OMG SO MUCH BLOOD

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#13 Michaelangelo

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:20 PM

Exactly. Which is completely stupid and counterproductive to what Minecraft is about too.

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#14 Nevar

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:02 PM

Wow, thanks for the big response!

I actually agree that LEGO has gotten better since 2004. But I also think certain things have remained worse as compared to before 2004... e.g.: peach skins (or was that introduced in 2003?), new grey and brown colours, shiny eyes on minifigs (honestly, what's the point of that...?), Chinese plastic...

I also don't like how LEGO keeps remaking animals (dinosaurs, horse, dog). Once a mold is created, I think it should remain like that forever! Just imagine if they remade the minifigs (which were invented in 1978)...

Edited by Nevar, 29 May 2012 - 02:19 PM.

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#15 Grombrindal

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:04 PM

Well, they did remake minifigs - they were originally like this...

Posted Image

... and I for one am incredibly glad they did! :P

Seriously, though, I like the new minifig designs and animal molds. The pigs and cows may look a little goofy, but I think they have a nice charm to them. And the new Lord of the Rings horse mold looks like a godsend. Legs on hinges for posing? Fantastic! The new minifig heads with white spots dotted in the pupils to create the semblence of shining are something I personally really like. They add a lot of character to the heads and make them a bit more interesting, in my opinion. They usually accompany better, more detailed faces, which I'm never against, and the doublesided heads - while occasionally a problem for me in my comic-making role - are really cool. Being able to have facial expressions for a head, even if you're limited to only two, is a definite bonus for me.

The transition from grey to bley and brown to, uh, reddish-brown took some getting used to, but I'm now at the stage where I've got a roughly equal collection of bley and grey parts so it doesn't really bother me. They don't look that bad together, either - there's some fantastic MOCs out there using bley/grey together for weathering effects and the like. It's just something people need to get used to, and I don't think it's that big of a deal and it certainly doesn't kill the brand.

I just migh drink it to keep the fear of SEEING THE PAT THAT SHOULD BE COVERED BY NAME OMG SO MUCH BLOOD

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#16 Nevar

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:08 PM

Well, they did remake minifigs - they were originally like this...

Posted Image

... and I for one am incredibly glad they did! :P

Indeed. But the current ones -- I believe -- were created in 1978.

I wish LEGO brought back Legends...

Also, I liked how the Life on MArs robots -- as opposed to, say, Exo Force -- didn't have those Bionicle-like joints on them.

Edited by Nevar, 29 May 2012 - 08:11 PM.

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#17 1-800-786-1410

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:03 PM

I actually agree that LEGO has gotten better since 2004. But I also think certain things have remained worse as compared to before 2004... e.g.: peach skins (or was that introduced in 2003?), new grey and brown colours, shiny eyes on minifigs (honestly, what's the point of that...?), Chinese plastic...


Know what I'm hearing? Raccciissssm. :P

Licensed figures have to have it. See, when they went for accurate portrayals of figures, they had to create a balance. The original Cloud City did have yellow figures and a black Lando Calrissian. I presume that there was perhaps a little outcry to that so they balanced it. Especially with the whole sports line that had real basketball players and stuff.

As for 'Chinese Legos' I presume you mean that they were made in China, and I just always thought they were. Perhaps you think the ABS quality has been reduced, in which maybe it has. After all, oil is expensive, its cheaper to outsource to China (at the moment) and the amount of product that Lego is making has increased exponentially. It's just business.
I also don't like how LEGO keeps remaking animals (dinosaurs, horse, dog). Once a mold is created, I think it should remain like that forever! Just imagine if they remade the minifigs (which were invented in 1978)...

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#18 Maximazed

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:12 AM

I think that in a lot of ways the production cost has gone down and the creativity has gone up. The example of say the Tie Fighter works for this. The newer building techniques are presented by the actual company and not just through the builders in the community which is nice to see. Though I think a lot of people on this forum forget that Lego is a Toy, and is marketed to children, so a lot of sets end up with colorful protagonist and antagonist who aren't completely sinister. Nostalgia though does make us think highly upon the past, in my own example is the B-wing from over a decade ago I remember being much better and of course Evil Ogel's fortress from Alpha team at one time seemed to be amazing. These sets are lackluster nowadays, but still they have that sense of fond memories.

#19 Darksquirrel

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:48 PM

In my opinion, LEGO has only gotten better over the last few years, and I don't think that'll change anytime soon.

Not everyone will be aware of this, but during the 1990s and early 2000s, LEGO was in serious financial trouble - they were losing money. A lot of this was down to bad decisions when it came to innovation and direction. That all changed in 2004, when LEGO appointed a new CEO who brought around a few changes in mentality for LEGO. Since then, the brand's made a comeback - in a big way.

Over the last few years, we've had a bunch of old lines - long since dead - rebooted. Kingdoms replaced the old Castle line, and honestly? I think it's a heck of a lot better. We've gone from this:

Posted Image

To this:

Posted Image

To me, that's an improvement. LEGO has updated the design while still maintaining some of the 'old' and blending it with the 'new'. The castle has the same basic structure, only now it's a little more decorated and a little more playable.

The same thing has happened with a lot of the 'revamps' - Power Miners, NinjaGo, Pirates and Pharaoh's Quest to name a few. A lot of the old sets have been updated for a new generation, with smarter construction, better designs, cooler minifigs and some neat concepts that distinguish them from their spiritual ancestors. Sure, Raines is no Johnny Thunder, but he isn't meant to be.

LEGO has also come up with a bunch of new themes you seem to have skipped over. The 'Fantasy Era' line they released is one of the coolest I've seen - I mean, it had orcs, dwarves, elves, armies of skeletons and heaps of new parts and sets! That's hardly the only line they've come up with; Space Police was pretty awesome, as was the Agents line. The upcoming Monster Hunters sets look sweet, and don't forget the Collectible Minifigures line which continues to amaze me. Sure, some of the ideas have clearly drawn from older lines, but that's not a bad thing.

And don't dismiss the licensed sets. Although some of us are sick of Star Wars by now, the sets are still pretty cool and throw out a bunch of new parts with every release. We've also now got awesome lines like the Pirates of the Caribbean sets, Marvel/DC, and Lord of the Rings - who wouldn't want their own Jack Sparrow, Iron Man and Aragorn minifigs? Some people might moan and groan about the flesh coloured figs, but oh well - you can easily replace most of the heads and hands with yellow replacements your own collection, and all that'll really happen is a slightly mismatched neckline for some figs. Besides, if licensed sets aren't up your alley, just remember - LEGO is a business, and licensed sets sell. If they're out there making money that lets LEGO make more awesome original themes, then fantastic!

Finally, don't forget that LEGO is a business, and a lot of its decisions have to be made from that perspective. As sad as it is, businesses need to make money, and although LEGO seems to try to be good to its AFOL and TFOL followers, they're ultimately not the primary market. LEGO has to play to its core group - the kids - and anything else is really just a bonus. Sometimes, this is great for AFOLS and children alike; kids get to have Aragorn battle Shelob while they fire missiles from a ballista, while AFOLs finally get Lord of the Rings sets they can build dioramas from and use in their own creations. But sometimes, the nature of LEGO means AFOLs get a bit disappointed - and in this case, it seems LEGO tries to find a comrpomise. The Collectible Minifig line seems largely aimed at AFOLs; LEGO might not be able to make a line featuring zombies, but they can sure throw together a minifig for us to nab.

When it comes down to it, LEGO is a toy, and toys are made for people to have fun with. As long as LEGO keeps making bricks, I'm sure even the grumpiest fan will enjoy playing with them in their own way.


Personaly i think the old castle sets are better.
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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:37 AM

Personaly i think the old castle sets are better.


Posted Image

It's...it's bright yellow. The drawbridge is red, and I don't know which faction is which. To me, the new castles are so much prettier. But, opinion is opinion (And I was really just hankering to use that GIF). How come you prefer the old ones? I sure loved playing with my old castle sets too, but if I had to pick between these two, I'd take the newer one for sure. :)

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