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.