Apollo is 4 years old now so we’ve started him on normal LEGO. In the past he has played with the baby LEGO (i.e., Duplo) and we’ve bought a couple of sets of that for him. Now that he’s on to normal-sized LEGO, I’ve looked at the sets to buy and am back at the position of wondering why LEGO has so many themed sets.
Now this isn’t a surprise – they’ve been like this for a long time. I just haven’t cared so it wasn’t on my mind. I guess it is better now that they sell “creative” sets which are just bricks of various colours that you can use to build whatever you want, but the majority of the Lego products will still build something specific without a lot of re-use for building other things.
What has dawned on me is that LEGO has positioned itself as the layman’s model building. I remember when I was younger, you could buy model kits to carefully build your own car. Then you apply the stickers and/or paint and you would have a replica of some real world (expensive) item. LEGO makes this super simple by having pre-built pieces that fit together easily, without a risk that you would screw up the entire model if you didn’t put a part on correctly. Once it is built, you can put it on your mantle to display or to marvel at it – you’re not supposed to take it apart and rebuild it.
In a way, it’s also become a lot like a puzzle. You follow the instructions to build something complicated. I suppose you could take it apart, store it, and rebuild it just like a puzzle. But from my perspective, and possibly my kid’s, it’s no fun to build something and then look at it forever. Creative kits are fun, but building models just isn’t that interesting.