A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Getting back to LEGO, Pt. 7

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Getting back to Legos 14This post continues the series of auto-ethnographic posts concentrating on my venture back to LEGO at an adult age.

I wanted to get a taste of pretty much every theme out there. I was now looking at the models from a new perspective: what parts did the sets contain. Suddenly every set seemed very interesting. Take for example the Toy Story sets with the Woody “maxifigure”. As far as I know, there are no other instances besides the Toy Story theme where a LEGO figure with longer legs has been released. Even with the cowboy boot printing on them, these longer body parts instantly give possibilities for some cool MOC scenarios, such as this atmospheric whale hunter crew. MOCs include also entirely brick-build characters, such as these dwarves from The Hobbit, and other, creatively “combined” characters, such as this cool fox with a Fabuland head (which reminds me of the Wes Anderson movie Fantastic Mr. Fox).

Trying to remain calm with this lush, abundantly creative scene on my hands, I finally found myself going for the classic castle themed sets. The castle MOCs impressed me the most and the Castle sets were the ones I most feverishly wanted to purchase. The current Castle theme was called Kingdoms (still is), but, to my dismay, there were only two sets available: the Kingdoms Chess Set I mentioned in an earlier post and this quite impressive Kingdoms Joust set. Soon enough I found somebody selling the Joust set on a Finnish online auction site and was instantly getting really nervous on what to do about it. The set cost a little over 100 euros – and I already had my King’s Castle to build. It was the winter vacation, my family members were relaxing and playing board games right next me, and there I was, browsing these rare sets on these auction sites, hands trembling as I was some kind of gambler – and steadily moving to ever more expensive toys.

You see, every time I visited (the very useful) Brickipedia to check something, the front page teased me with this awesome Imperial Flagship. (It’s still there by the way.) Pirate LEGOs were the True Love of my childhood, number two. I had Pirate LEGOs almost as much as I had Castle LEGOs. I remember being around eight and coveting for the pirate ships of the day, namely this Black Seas Barracuda (without ever thinking I would get it – there was no point in even asking). Now, though, could be my chance to remedy all this – Imperial Flagship, too, was on sale at the same marketplace. Only 200 euros.

And so there I was, eyeing these things like a junkie who has decided to relapse this very evening and is now savoring the options on hand – while still feeling kind of bad. Still, by now I was so in the subculture. I felt that this was a huge, glorious, creative thing, perfect for me but something that I had foolishly missed for years, giving away my childhood LEGO collection and all. This was something I could delve into. This subculture was the home that I had been searching for a long time.


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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