Before there were any Pokémon, Playstation, yo-yo, scooter, and ahem, Tamiya mini 4WD cars (damn you Dash Yankurou, I wasted a lot of my dad’s money to become like you); there were the mighty Lego bricks. Requiring the child to harness their imagination, this building bricks of differing shapes would mold into something that, if you squint your eyes real hard, might resemble a fire engine, a castle with dragons and knights or a spaceship. At the very least, it requires a strict discipline for following the instruction manuals for the imaginationally-challenged.
It can be posited then that the decline of obedience, moral and independence of today’s generation might lie in their lack of time spent with Lego bricks.
But I digress.
Lego bricks celebrated their 50th anniversary last Monday, on the 28th of January, and like so many kids who grew up in the 80s/90s putting together those lovable plastic bricks with interlocking studs on them, I decided to take a nostalgic trip.
My earliest recollection of playing with Legos* is playing with a basic set brought home from the USA—a red plastic rectangular bucket filled with a lot of simple, primary-coloured bricks. Over the course of years, me and my brothers managed to
collect play with a decent number of sets (found through browsing the excellent archive at Brickset):
- Pursuit Squad (Town 6354) – See the yellow lifejacket? To put it on, you have to take off the head. To easily take off the head, we tore it with our teeth. You could almost smell the spit on those heads now, don’t you?
- Red Line Racer (Town 6526)
- Blaze Battler (Town 6593) – Yes, those ladders…When rulers are hard to find, substitute them with this.
- Hook & Haul Wrecker (Town 6660) – Check out those suspensions! Check out those MOTHERFUCKING suspensions!
- Wave Rebel (Town 6663) – The Octan stickers keep peeling off.
- Rescue Rig (Town 6670) – My personal favourite. You can tell that the driver drinks beer while he beats his wife at home and like to prey on young underage girls who happen to have their cars breaking down in the middle of a backwood street.
- Multi Model Starter Kit (Technic 8022) – My first step to geekdom.
In retrospect, I do wonder why we only got sets from the Town theme; I’m sure I would’ve loved playing with the Space or Castle theme too. Therefore, I can only attribute this to 2 reasons: the rest were not widely available in Malaysia, or my parents wouldn’t fork out some money on toys which could choke their kids to death.
Suffice to say, I had IMMENSE fun with these (with none of the death), and as the collection grew, so did the sophistication of my creations. My favourite was building mechas, what with growing up on a steady diet of Transformers, Voltron, Patlabor, Macross/Robotech et cetera. I remember building a fighter jet/spaceship which transforms into a freaking robot with 4 movable joints. Man, did i pwn!
But with joy, came desperation. If I dig back my Legos, we could count the number of bricks that DIDN’T have teeth marks on them. Some parts were just to tough to disassemble once they’re stuck together, that they required the use of my teeth to take them off. The worst offenders? Those damn plates.
Today, Legos might not be popular anymore (those Bionicles just scream bullshit marketing) but they are STILL cool. When I look at their website, I go green with envy over the details put into the design of newer sets. Legos speak to the adults also: the Technic and Mindstorms lines saw to that. Furthermore, you could make almost anything instantaneously cool by making Lego versions of themselves, just like SpongeBob Squarepants, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Batman and Star Wars (to name a few).
Speaking of which, have you seen the Lego Batmobile? No? How about this one hell of a beaut:
That’s an Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon, and it costs AUD 979.99. The biggest and most expensive Lego set.
You know I’m not kidding when I say that Lego makes geeks wet.
Here are some other posts on Legos for their 50th birthday:
- Boing Boing’s Nine Sets I Have Known and Loved
- Cracked’s The 8 Awesomest/Stupidest Lego Creation Ever!
- The Six Ugliest Space Lego Set
* Yes LEGO Group, I am aware that I am diluting the brand name for LEGO® bricks, but I shall be referring “Lego bricks” as “Legos” in this article since I am, just lazy.