A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Getting back to LEGO, Pt. 4


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

I got King’s Castle for Christmas when I was seven years old. I recall it being a tad too hard for me to build and subsequently receiving some help in completing it. I can imagine this being the ulterior motive behind getting the biggest castle in LEGO’s Crusaders theme for a seven-year-old. Since the 1800s construction toys like LEGO have been in parents’ favor for being educational. LEGO has been chosen as the toy of the century, twice. For many people, the building part in the LEGO experience has marked a chance to connect generations: children with their parents and grandparents. In turn, the completed models then act as toys. Parents often enjoy the building part, whereas children tend to go for both building and playing. Smaller children, though, love the playing part the most.

I used to. My guess is that the fancy friends of the family, the ones I was talking about in my earlier post, didn’t. (I picture them building the models, prolonging the gratification by taking their time and being meticulous, relishing in quality family time and the sheer technicality of it all, and finally admiring the completed sets from afar while sipping some homemade lemonade.) Me, on the other hand, I used to play the heck out of my LEGOs with my friends. Besides the various sets within the Crusaders, Black Falcons, and Forestmen themes we had, we used to continue the adventures with custom constructions such as this prison carriage I found in my remaining LEGO box (still in one piece):

Getting back to Legos 8

I remember many of the play scenarios being quite gruesome, with custom build executioners, beheadings, warrior monks, and the like. We used to make custom accessories for the minifigures by cutting and re-modeling minifigure hats and other equipment. (For executioner, take a slim black helmet, cut away the line infront of the jaw, turn the helmet backwards, cut eyeholes. Give the guy a yellow torso as if he had no shirt.) Finding some of these characters in the box I had found, still in poses originating from the play scenario all those years ago, almost brought tears to my eyes. Among the characters were these guys:

A blacksmith with a modified hood.

A blacksmith with a modified hood.

Some kind of bo-staff fighting guy (I remember us inserting ninja-like characters where we could).

Some kind of bo-staff wielding guy (I remember us inserting ninja-like characters wherever we could).


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.

2 thoughts on “Getting back to LEGO, Pt. 4

  1. Unless the joy is in the re-creating… google ‘bricklink’. You can buy the originals…

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