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(NPR)   Why are Legos more popular than rival building blocks like Mega-Blocks and Kre-O despite being so expensive? Well, it's probably because they did it first--and did it better   (npr.org) divider line 197
    More: Obvious, legos, Kre-O, Thomas the Tank Engine, Toys R Us  
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7263 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Dec 2012 at 10:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-13 08:27:55 PM
In my experience, competing products are simply not as high quality.

I got one of the off-brand blocks that are interoperable with Lego brand blocks for my son. It was actually a cool set - a police officer scene with a vehicle, building, etc. Lots of blocks, and the instructions were solid, so he could follow really well. It was a bargain - probably 1/4 or 1/3 of the price of a similar Lego kit.

But the manufacturing was off - blocks would not fit as tightly or reliably as Lego blocks. Assembly was pretty easy, but a lot of the more intricate assembly was frustrating because of it, and once assembled it was difficult for him to play with without having it come apart in his hands.

He also got one of the off-brand Spider-Man block sets. Pretty much the same experience.

/DNRTFA
 
2012-12-13 08:47:45 PM
You get what you pay for.

I've been playing with Legos since 1964, and I've always been amazed at the durability and quality of the stupid things. It costs a lot of money to injection mold pieces like that. I considered every set I bought for my children a bargain.

And I can take my old square red while and blue bricks from 1964 and plug them right into the latest stuff on the shelf.

It's kind of like UNIX that way.
 
2012-12-13 10:16:25 PM
Point 1: the toy is Lego. The bricks that make up the toy are "Lego bricks".

"Legos" just really grinds my gears for some reason.

Point 2: the BBC recently answered the question, apparently posed frequently on Reddit, of "how high can you stack lego bricks until the one at the very bottom can take no more pressure?"

Radio 4 audio here.

BBC News text and pictures (essentially an edited transcript of the radio segment) here.
 
2012-12-13 10:18:34 PM

Marcus Aurelius: You get what you pay for.

I've been playing with Legos since 1964, and I've always been amazed at the durability and quality of the stupid things. It costs a lot of money to injection mold pieces like that. I considered every set I bought for my children a bargain.

And I can take my old square red while and blue bricks from 1964 and plug them right into the latest stuff on the shelf.

It's kind of like UNIX that way.


This. My son will soon be getting Legos that I had when I was his age. they fit perfectly with the few he's already received and the ones I got in my teenage years. Never had a problem.
 
2012-12-13 10:26:49 PM
Try pulling apart two of the flat squares stuck together. Nuff said.
 
2012-12-13 10:27:20 PM
 
2012-12-13 10:27:56 PM
Some of the best parts of my childhood involve Legos and a Saturday afternoon.
 
2012-12-13 10:28:03 PM
The comments here and on the article page are hilarious.

Yes, they're very carefully engineered, but THEY'RE JUST TOYS! Calm down.
 
2012-12-13 10:28:11 PM
http://www.cracked.com/article_20025_5-world-famous-products-that-are- shameless-rip-offs.html

Legos apparently did NOT do it first.
 
2012-12-13 10:28:14 PM
Thanks for asking the question "Why Legos Are So Expensive" and then not even trying to answer it.
 
2012-12-13 10:30:31 PM

Babwa Wawa: In my experience, competing products are simply not as high quality.

I got one of the off-brand blocks that are interoperable with Lego brand blocks for my son. It was actually a cool set - a police officer scene with a vehicle, building, etc. Lots of blocks, and the instructions were solid, so he could follow really well. It was a bargain - probably 1/4 or 1/3 of the price of a similar Lego kit.

But the manufacturing was off - blocks would not fit as tightly or reliably as Lego blocks. Assembly was pretty easy, but a lot of the more intricate assembly was frustrating because of it, and once assembled it was difficult for him to play with without having it come apart in his hands.

He also got one of the off-brand Spider-Man block sets. Pretty much the same experience.

/DNRTFA


That. My son loves building lego stuff. One of his friends had gotten him a megablocks Halo something or other set for his birthday. When he was putting it together he had a harder time getting it together properly because there was a few pieces that were supposed to fit together that didn't quite fit right. I wish there were more lego sets that had moving parts out there since he's now starting to get into building stuff like that. After a week or so of playing with the original set he'll end up taking stuff apart and merging sets to build his own vehicles and whatnot.
 
2012-12-13 10:32:04 PM
Something about stepping on Legos with bare feet...I still remember the pain, the weird brief nausea, and the f-bombs.
 
2012-12-13 10:32:10 PM

duckpoopy: Thanks for asking the question "Why Legos Are So Expensive" and then not even trying to answer it.


I'll answer it...

Because they can be.
 
2012-12-13 10:32:27 PM

duckpoopy: Thanks for asking the question "Why Legos Are So Expensive" and then not even trying to answer it.


It's easy, licensing. Lego has stuff like Star Wars, Batman, and Harry Potter sets and they have to pay for the right to make those sets and pass the cost onto the consumer.
 
2012-12-13 10:32:49 PM
Bring back the lego technic educational sets. That is all.
 
2012-12-13 10:33:25 PM
Babwa Wawa:
In my experience, competing products are simply not as high quality.

Not remotely. The mold tolerances for Lego are incredibly small - like 0.0005". This is why every Lego brick ever made will fit well with every other brick ever made (barring severe wear). This standard is costly to maintain over thousands of different molds. Meanwhile Mega Blocks barely fit each other right out of the box.

Lego, really, is an investment. shiattier toys might cost half as much, but they won't be passed down, fully functional, to one's children's children in twenty years time.
 
2012-12-13 10:34:04 PM
Mega blocks and Kre-o seem to get the licensing for some cool characters that the kids like these days. The product is crap, the pieces do not stick together. I'd rather spend the money on Lego than deal with a five year old who's super cool spaceship or whatever keeps crumbling in his hands.
 
2012-12-13 10:34:09 PM
Another vote for "Lego."

Saying "Legos" is just wrong. If you say it and your skin doesn't crawl then you're part of what's wrong with society. If you say, "Let's play Legos," then you're in a community accepting defeat in troubled times, so don't come crawling to those who say "Lego" when the anarchy begins. You're not welcome behind our intricately bricked walls.
 
2012-12-13 10:35:28 PM
A box of Lego and a three-pipe high. 'Nuff said.
 
2012-12-13 10:36:39 PM
This strikes me as something of the same situation I heard about with Heinz ketchup. It seems ketchup is one of the few sectors in food where there is less selection today than a few decades ago, and the thinking is that it's because Heinz ended-up with what is actually the perfect recipe for ketchup.

Therefore anyone attempting to differentiate themselves from Heinz must be, by definition, imperfect, and ultimately loses out.

Lego makes a high quality, familiar, very durable product, elegant in it's simplicity, and limited only by the imagination of the player...sounds perfect, no?
 
2012-12-13 10:37:03 PM
I would like to add that Legos taste better
/had experience as a kid
 
2012-12-13 10:38:49 PM

PacManDreaming: Classic Space sets...nothing will ever be as cool as they were.


My first set:



Back when the space helmets had no visors...
 
2012-12-13 10:39:22 PM
I am so glad my kids are past the Legos phase. Those damn things hurt like hell when you step on them.
 
2012-12-13 10:40:54 PM

Abox: Try pulling apart two of the flat squares stuck together. Nuff said.


You did not have a brick separator?

/Am I the only one not able to post images?
 
2012-12-13 10:43:56 PM
why would you even ask the question subby. legos rule. everything else is teh sux0r.

/period
 
2012-12-13 10:43:58 PM
I'm going to start saying "Legos" whenever possible just on the off-chance that I'll piss off another Legos grammar snob.
 
2012-12-13 10:44:03 PM

JonathanChance: PacManDreaming: Classic Space sets...nothing will ever be as cool as they were.

My first set:



Back when the space helmets had no visors...


I meant to post a picture of the Inter-Galactic Command Base, but I keep getting the image of Drew and the whiskey bottle whenever I try to post.
 
2012-12-13 10:44:07 PM

KWess: This strikes me as something of the same situation I heard about with Heinz ketchup. It seems ketchup is one of the few sectors in food where there is less selection today than a few decades ago, and the thinking is that it's because Heinz ended-up with what is actually the perfect recipe for ketchup.

Therefore anyone attempting to differentiate themselves from Heinz must be, by definition, imperfect, and ultimately loses out.

Lego makes a high quality, familiar, very durable product, elegant in it's simplicity, and limited only by the imagination of the player...sounds perfect, no?


Whoa whoa whoa.. Hunts with no HFCS brother. Accept no substitues
 
2012-12-13 10:44:36 PM

Devmapall: I would like to add that Legos taste better
/had experience as a kid


This.
 
2012-12-13 10:46:45 PM
The things that set Lego bricks apart are the quality and the hurt factor when you step on one. Other products just can't compete.
 
2012-12-13 10:47:42 PM
Mechano is where it's at. You'd know, if only your childhood was as glorious as mine.
 
2012-12-13 10:49:17 PM

spamdog: Bring back the lego technic educational sets. That is all.


They still sell Technic....
 
2012-12-13 10:49:55 PM
TL;DR, but didn't LEGO steal the design completely from another toy maker? Still, they are waaaaaay better than any of the blockoffs. Except Minecraft.
 
2012-12-13 10:50:51 PM

Seth'n'Spectrum: Mechano is where it's at. You'd know, if only your childhood was as glorious as mine.


About 10 years ago in my freshman engineering class at university, we were given tons of Meccano and we were given the task of constructing both catapults and trebuchets from them. Quite a bit of fun doing that...though the sets were twisted into pretzels by the time we were done.
 
2012-12-13 10:51:10 PM
Even taking into account things like expensive-to-maintain tolerances and licensing fees, the profit on the average Lego set has got to be enormous.
 
2012-12-13 10:52:05 PM

Barricaded Gunman: Even taking into account things like expensive-to-maintain tolerances and licensing fees, the profit on the average Lego set has got to be enormous.


You'd be surprised....they almost went bankrupt a few years ago.
 
2012-12-13 10:52:19 PM
So is there a place i can buy large amounts of normal lego?
 
2012-12-13 10:52:54 PM
This one was my favorite when I was a kid:



When I win the lottery one of the first things I'm doing is getting that 5000 piece Millennium Falcon set. Then I'll spend a weekend with a bunch of beer and Lego-lovin' friends putting it together.
 
2012-12-13 10:53:08 PM
Bring back Robotics
 
2012-12-13 10:53:32 PM
I got some some of the Halo Megablocks and the quality was way worse than Legos. I wouldn't have bought them if they weren't Halo themed. Legos are much nicer.
 
2012-12-13 10:54:55 PM

PacManDreaming: Classic Space sets...nothing will ever be as cool as they were.


Going through those, I left two things:

1.) Nostalgia. Lots of it.
2.) Extreme, acute guilt that I talked my parents into buying me so many of those. Holy crap, I was spoilt as a kid.
 
2012-12-13 10:57:02 PM
It's LEGO, you bunch of uncultured Neanderthals.
 
2012-12-13 10:57:50 PM
Eh can't get image.

6277
 
2012-12-13 10:59:12 PM

Decillion: Saying "Legos" is just wrong. If you say it and your skin doesn't crawl then you're part of what's wrong with society. If you say, "Let's play Legos," then you're in a community accepting defeat in troubled times, so don't come crawling to those who say "Lego" when the anarchy begins. You're not welcome behind our intricately bricked walls.


mememagnetic.files.wordpress.com

/loved Legos as a kid - still do
 
2012-12-13 10:59:31 PM
Mindstorms. Amen.
 
2012-12-13 11:00:31 PM
Their marketing is excellent. They've taken a page from Apple - Lego stores are great. They're interactive, let you build all kinds of stuff, have product on the shelf that you can buy, and let you (and kids) geek out on legos.

If Lego has a downside it's that they're focused on item building instead of free-form building. It does probably help them sell more stuff - adults would rather buy "a thing you can build" than "a bunch of blocks."
 
2012-12-13 11:01:52 PM
I love the speech from Community:

"Can I ask you guys something? What happened to Legos? When I went to prison they used to be simple, right? Now they have Star Wars Legoes and Harry Potter Legos; and I'm not saying it's bad, I just wanna know what happened. *Class looks around* Nobody? Ok, today's lesson..."
 
2012-12-13 11:01:58 PM

Marcus Aurelius: You get what you pay for.

I've been playing with Legos since 1964, and I've always been amazed at the durability and quality of the stupid things. It costs a lot of money to injection mold pieces like that. I considered every set I bought for my children a bargain.

And I can take my old square red while and blue bricks from 1964 and plug them right into the latest stuff on the shelf.

It's kind of like UNIX that way.


I've never thought about it that way. Good point.

Lego could end up being a standard unit of measurement.
 
2012-12-13 11:02:26 PM

titwrench: Bring back Robotics


I loved Robotix and Construx.
 
2012-12-13 11:03:09 PM

PacManDreaming: Classic Space sets...nothing will ever be as cool as they were.


I farking loved Blacktron 6894, it was lego Darth Vader's personal fighter, three sections of the ship that could be separated, and a droid who could be used for battle, covert operations, mining, etc. The good guys might as well just pack up and find a new planet to colonize.
 
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