A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Getting back to LEGO, Pt. 2

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This post continues the series of auto-ethnographic posts concentrating on my venture back to LEGO at an adult age.

Getting back to Legos 2

While this is a random picture from the net, I recall the “system” our family friends had pretty closely resembling this picture.

So beginning my excavation, I had my eye on any and all LEGO bricks the dusty boxes might contain. To my utter delight, I immediately stumbled upon one relatively sizeable box full of LEGO parts (and random assortment of other toys). (This one box was all I found, in the end, too.) This was a typical ‘LEGO box’ from the children’s room: parts from random sets from various years, space LEGOs mixed with castle parts, some other toys that had probably been used in the play scenarios with the LEGOs, and so on. When I say typical, I of course mean typical to me. When I was a kid, I knew at least one family where the LEGOs were lovingly and accurately sorted into plastic, see-through pull-boxes in a larger shelf. To me, this seemed somewhat over-zealous, but at the same time I couldn’t help feeling a bit envious of the ‘system’ the dad of the family (probably) had built for his son.

Getting back to Legos 3

A typical box of LEGOs. Add dirt and a few random toys to get a picture of how mine looked.

Compared to such meticulous preservation, my box seemed very liberal indeed, with balls of dust, grains of sand on the bottom, dirty bricks here and there (even some ink stains on LEGO bricks!), some broken pieces, different series of LEGOs mixed together (e.g. regular pieces with Fabuland parts) etc. etc. I can remember all of my friends’ LEGO boxes looking like this, too. I also instantly recalled the familiar sound of scooping through the mass of LEGO bricks in such a box – the sound of hundreds of small, plastic parts rippling together. Glimpsing some distinct parts in the box instantly brought up memories of the sets they had belonged to: a wall from the big castle I used to have, a wheel from that one siege cart, a shield of the “bird knights”, and so on.


Author: Heikki Tyni

Heikki Tyni is a researcher at Tampere University Game Research Lab. His work concentrates on the game industry, and specifically on game production studies.

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