Old news this may be, but I've noticed a slightly disconcerting trend. A trend that deals with something immensely close to my heart. Lego.
Now when I was a kid, lego came in brick form, if you were lucky, you maybe had a big box of bricks and shite, and then the odd pirate ship, castle, space station or if you were Pete Hayman, a petrol station...
You emptied the box all over your bedroom floor and went to town. Worlds were created, super duper, customised jet fighter/speedboat/space cruiser hybrids were built and then destroyed. It was great fun, but it was also the means by which i could be creative, learn basic engineering principles, appreciate the complexities of asthetic design vs functionality, it was a remarkably educational toy for something so enjoyable.
Try telling me K'Nex can do all that...
But over the past five or ten years, things have begun to change, with Lego teaming up with a variety of big-screen tie-ins, Spiderman, Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter and now Indiana Jones.
The biggest of these is of course the Star Wars kits, there have been literally hundreds of sets, from the tiny, to the truly massive. And I must say they are superb, brilliantly capturing the look of the sets and vehicles from the films in tremendous detail.
But what can you do with them!? You cant break them up to use for something else because a) they look so cool, b) they're so damn expensive, and c) all the parts are so specialised they wouldnt fit with anything else anyway, and as the hardcore builder knows, uniformity is key.
This isnt Lego made for kids, kids will buy this, and get bored cause you cant really do anything with it. So why when you look for the best selling Lego kits on Amazon its almost all Star Wars? The answer I'm ashamed to say, is me. I have sitting on my shelf, three lego star wars kits of fairly decent size. One was a gift from my wonderful girlfriend but the other two were symptoms of my childish obsession with all that is kitsch and nostalgic. Clearly I am not alone as Amazon shows, and was further evidenced on the occasion of the MagLab crew discovering Lego Indiana Jones. There were some very real calculations done by those present as to whether you could justify the expense of a Temple Escape Playset.
This is the problem, Lego is catering to man-children in their twenties to rake in the cash rather than continuing with it's own endeavours, gone are the pirate, space and medieval playsets of old, replaced with movie tie-ins and the hated Bionicle.
Hysterical teachers and politicians often lament the lack of creativity and imagination shown by children today and TV and Computer Games are often the percieved culprits, but if you ask me, you need only look over the water to the Denmark to see who really has corrupted our youth.
Mr Christiansen would be spinning in his grave...