Construction toy consisting of plastic blocks with sockets and pegs for connection. They come in a variety of complexity levels:


Duplo

For little kids. It has larger blocks and is incompatable with regular lego without adapter blocks.

Basic

A variety of different sizes of multicoloured blocks

Themed

Mainly the smaller blocks from the basic set but in special colours and with a wide variety of special components. Includes

Themed sets are the most advertized and common in toy stores.

Technic

Advanced Lego. Has gears, pulleys, and similar components, some blocks have sockets on their sides as well as their bottoms. There are a few motorized components.

MindStorms

Lego for Geeks. Programmable computer blocks with sensors and motors. Uses Technic components for structure.

A toy that consumed about four years of my childhood, much to the chagrin of my parental units' feet.

Legos, at their basic level, are a bunch of colored, interlocking blocks of various shapes and sizes. Most common (for me, at least) were red, blue, green, white and yellow. (This is ignoring things like pirate ships and castles.)

They ranged in thickness as well. There was the standard thickness, I'd estimate about a centimeter thick (I don't have one here to measure, as I gave all of my legos to my cousin long ago). There's also a thinner lego, which if I remember right took three of the thin ones to equal the size of a thick one.

As for the XY-directions, I had some that were 1x1, 1x2, 2x2, 2x3 & 2x4; both thin and thick for each dimension set. Now, there were many more legos out there, just from the time period where I owned some, but my parents were rather poor so almost all of my legos were passed to me by another cousin; but the lego types I just rattled off were the basics, and the rest were (usually) built off of them.

Trivia: the word "Lego" is put together by the two danish words "leg"( means play ) and "godt"( means good ). In latin Lego means I read, I don't know how that fits in with what we know of Lego.
During the years several Lego imitators have come and gone, just now I can only think of tente.
LEGO is not only fun, it's also educational. Basic LEGO is fun to build, and once you get onto Techincs and Mindstorms the interest even for adults is huge. I played with LEGO until I was about 13, then rediscovered it at 16, and again in 1999, at the age of 21. The same year, LEGO won Toy of the Century.

Some interesting links...

Oh, and outside of Everything, there is much on the Internet related to Lego.

http://www.lugnet.com - LEGO users group
http://www.brickbay.com - Auction site
http://www.brickshelf.com - Good reference for pieces and sets.
http://www.ldraw.org/ - LDraw is an excellent LEGO CAD system, with many compatible editors and tools. The output can be rendered in Pov-Ray.
news:alt.toys.lego, news:rec.toys.lego - News groups.

A while ago the company I was working for were approached by Lego to develop some cross-promotional software stuff. They gave us Lego Darth Vaders, and a "brandbook", which outlined on pain of torture what we could and couldn't do with the Lego IP. Some interesting things were :

Lego tried to redesign their logo. There is an excellent page in the booklet where they show the familiar 1970's logo followed by a series of proposed logos, ending in the 1998 accepted one. Each logo is less and less "daring" than the last, until finally they settled on one which is almost inperceptably different from the starting point.

You cannot print the Lego logo in monochrome, or superimpose anything onto it. It must always appear on any item which makes any visual reference to the lego components. The word Lego must always be in all caps.

Children in promotional literature must be shown in groups with adults nearby.

Legomen have guns and swords but cannot be shown using them. There is no violence or emnity in the Lego universe.

If legomen are to be portrayed as animate, they are to have fluid movement rather than the limited single-axis movement of the real figures.

Lego does not designate a target gender for any product (this was cleverly juxtaposed with the ultra-macho Lego Rock Raiders and the ultra-girly Legotown).

Don't draw the legomen looking stupid or having sex with livestock or we'll fucking kill you. With real guns.

Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world? This is a question in the book Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. And the answer is that:

  • Each block is indivisible.
  • Each block is solid, impermeable and un-cuttable.*
  • They have different shapes and sizes.
  • They have 'hooks' and 'barbs' so that they can be connected to form every conceivable figure. These connections can later be broken again so that new figures can be constructed from the same blocks.
  • They are 'eternal' in that children of today can play with the same blocks that their parents did when they were young.
The reason that these features are so special is that these are all properties that the philosopher Democritus ascribed to atoms. They mimic atoms, the tiny invisible building blocks of life, in that they are eternal (because nothing can come from nothing), but that they are not all the same. Which is why atoms can make everything from daisies to horses to fingernails, and why Lego can make everything from castles to spaceships to island shacks for pirates.


*The word 'atom' means 'un-cuttable'.

Lego Acronyms

Just like any self respecting geek community the AFOL community has come up with a large number of internet acronyms to make life easy on the newsgroups. Below follows a list of some of the more common ones that I have encountered at one point or another. There are lots more but these are the more interesting/amusing ones.

  • AFOL: Adult Fan of LEGO.
  • BI: Building Instructions.
  • BF: Black Falcons, a Castle play theme; Boyfriend; or Brickfest, http://www.brickfest.com.
  • BFF: Black Falcon’s sic Fortress, 6074 and 10039.
  • BL: Bricklink - http://www.bricklink.com
  • BSB: Black Seas Barracuda, 6285.
  • BT: Blacktron, a Space play theme - the evil ones with the black visors. Also BT1.
  • BT1: See BT.
  • BT2: Blacktron (the future generation), a Space play theme - the antifreeze-green ones.
  • BURP: Big Ugly Rock Piece - either of the mountain pieces, appearing usually in grey shades, but also tan, yellow, white and green.
  • CAD: Computer Aided Design.
  • CRAPP: Crummy Ramp and Pit Plate - the baseplate with a ramp and pit.
  • DDK: Droid Developer Kit, 9748.
  • DSDK: Dark Side Developer Kit, 9754.
  • GI: Guarded Inn, 6067 and 10000.
  • GoB: Guild of Bricksmiths, http://www.bricksmiths.com/.
  • HOG: Hand of God - when you move minifigs around, they think it’s this.
  • ISD: Imperial Star Destroyer, 10030.
  • KABOB: Kid with a Bunch of Bricks.
  • LTC: LEGO Train Club, a suffix, usually appended to an area. A group of local train fans.
  • LUG: LEGO User Group, a suffix, usually appended to an area. A group of local fans.
  • LUGNET: LEGO User Group Network - http://www.lugnet.com
  • MF or m-f: Minifig; or, Millenium Falcon, 7190.
  • MIB: Mint In Box.
  • MISB: Mint In Sealed Box.
  • MISP: Mint In Sealed Polybag.
  • MOC: My Own Creation. Refers to original creations and also to the My Own Creation LEGO line. not to be confused with the moc!!!!!!!!
  • MT: Model Team, a LEGO line, or M-Tron a Space play theme.
  • NLF: Non-Lego Friend/Fiancé/Fiancée (usually Friend).
  • NLP: Non-Lego Parent.
  • NLS: Non-Lego Spouse.
  • NLSO: Non-Lego Significant Other.
  • PEWC (pronounced “puke”): Prefab Explorien Wing, Cockpit.
  • POOP: Piece (that can or should be made) of Other Pieces.
  • POV: Point of View; or, in POV-Ray, a rendering program for virtual images.
  • RIS: Robotic Invention System
  • S@H: LEGO Shop at Home - a direct order branch of LEGO. Also known as LS@H, SAH, LSAH.
  • SNOT: Studs Not On Top.
  • STAMP: Sticker Across Multiple Pieces.
  • SPUD: Special/Single Piece/Purpose Ugly/Useless/UnLEGOish Design/Decorative. Many people think that the many meanings of this acronym make it a great one, as it is not Single Purpose at all.
  • SW: Star Wars, a LEGO line.
  • TLC: The LEGO Company. Known by this name since autumn 1999, formerly TLG.
  • TLG: The Lego Group. Nowadays TLC, The Lego Company.

sources:
http://www.lugnet.com
various newsgroups

It's Christmas-time again, and like every year I have my little Lego rant. Usually this is just in my head, but this year I thought I'd share it with you. It's very simple: Lego don't make Lego anymore. They make a poor imitation of their own product. The whole point of Lego is that it's made of versatile little bits. You can take your shopping mall and turn it into a spaceship. Or vice versa.

But every year I look at the Lego on the store shelves, less of the models is composed out of such reusable parts. Instead, most parts are now specifically shaped to look like, say, the front of an airplane, a draw-bridge, or some curvy bit of a car. Those Lego pieces can be used for only one purpose - making that plane or that castle or that car. What's the point of even making a toy out of several parts if they're so unwieldy and specific they don't fit together in any other way?

Yes, this is a "back when I were a lad" rant. But seriously - I grew up with Lego, spending hours on building and re-building stuff, trying to get something to work. For example, the old Lego airplanes didn't have retractable wheels - their bodies were ridiculously narrow so there just wasn't enough space. But I decided that they should have, so I spent days on a mechanism for retracting the wheels. In the end I managed to make one that was entirely invisible from the outside - the shape of the plane didn't change. When the wheels were retracted, it looked like someone had simply pulled them off. Granted, this took up most of the interior of the plane body, leaving little space for actual passengers. But I had made the wheels retractable!

Need I even point out how good this is for a kid's problem-solving skills? And unlike one of those "educational toys" which have "pedagogically valuable" written all over them, Lego makes you want to solve problems as a matter of course. Still, Lego have decided to dumb down their own product to the point where it's rapidly becoming just another line of plastic toys with franchise tie-ins and lots of guns. (Half of the Lego on the shelves now seems to be killer robots.)

So I need to find myself some new old Lego. I sold mine in a fit of adolescent idiocy, but now I want it back. I might have children one day who will need real Lego. But if nothing else...

I want to play with the bricks myself.

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