Ahh, the simple pleasure of a few pieces of cheaply painted wood. As a child, who didn't play with these things? They were gateways to a different world; you could create buildings, bridges, whole cities...
But alas, I wax reminiscent. I remember playing with two types of stacking blocks as a child: Polygonal and interlocking.
Polygonal blocks were more childish, but it required more skill to keep a tower of them balanced. There were the triangular prisms, the cubes, the long rectangular prisms, the short rectangular prisms, and my favorite, the spheres. Hours were spent trying to erect the tallest skyscraper, the biggest city, the coolest design. as I built, my head filled with pictures of little tiny wooden people living in my sprawling metropolis, laid out on the living room carpet.
As I aged, however, the simple shapes lost their appeal. I was drawn to the straight edges and 90 degree angles of the Lincoln Log building blocks set. These marvelous toys opened my eyes to the field of architecture. No longer were my cities haphazardly thrown together in a few hours; they were now great cities of order and law, with plans, blueprints, and schematics. These Lincoln logs themselves were very orderly. Block A couldn't just link with block B; it had to have a notch to fit. These notches added great stability, but removed the creativity from the act of building.
Sooner or later, we all give up our shapes for Lincoln logs. It's a part of life. But deep down, we all want to go back to the carefree days of shapes, brightly colored blocks, and sprawling cities on the living room carpet, if only for a while.