Friday, July 23, 2010

I need some answers.

To walk through a toy store now, you'd think that Lego is nothing but a branding template.

Those little bricks can be formed into anything, but apparently the most profitable thing to make with them is Star Wars ships and Harry Potter sets.

And I guess I can't really talk, having recently added a Lego Star Destroyer to my Amazon wish list. I get why people would enjoy combining their favorite franchise with toy bricks, and I get that they've got a business to run.

But for me, and for many people of my generation. Lego meant something else.

Lego meant Futuron.

Lego meant the monorail.

This set represented one of the best Christmas presents of my young life. I can't tell you how many times since I've heard someone say "You had the monorail? I always wanted the monorail."*

Yet when I watch that video, I don't feel nostalgic. I don't think about my own set, buried somewhere in a trunk in my parent's basement.

I think something else entirely.

"Wow, that base makes no sense."

Why, exactly, would those two little outposts need a monorail? First of all, there's only two of them. If you only need to connect two places, you don't make a loop. You make a line. Because that's what makes sense.

Second, why does the loop go so far out on either side? I'm fairly sure that any one of those little yellow dudes could just walk over to the other base faster than they could ride the train.

It's like if we were designing a transport system between New York City and Atlanta, and we decided that the most efficient method would be a big circle of freeway that went through Missouri on one side, and out into the Atlantic ocean on the other.

And another thing, why is that one base so tall? There's barely any room to stand up there, let alone unload crap from a train car. I've seen painters scaffoldings that were positively roomy by comparison.

Look Lego, these are pressing questions. Put down the tiny plastic wands you're designing, set aside the video games, and make me a new monorail that's some kind of reasonable.

. . . also more Blacktron and Space Police. Thanks.

*If it makes anyone feel any better, that set was a double edged sword. It was easily the most fragile and difficult to fix set I ever played with.

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