When I look back at the LEGO sets of my youth compared to the LEGO sets of today, a few things are striking. Today’s is much cooler: the colours are better, the pieces are more interesting, and the sets are more clever (they also have a lot more weapons*). And the sets have their own characters: they’re not just nameless people in characterless towns—every set is full of people with names, expressions, backstories, personalities and goals. My observation, ahem, through our children, is that this makes it way more interesting to play with. It’s the characters and the story that make them so good now. A good part of that I think is also the shift in quality of expressions on the faces.
I am kind of in awe of LEGO faces. The number and variety and subtlety of expressions it’s possible to make with just a few small changes to a few small lines on a face I find truly astounding. This sketchplanation shows just a tiny bit of the variety from the LEGO Movies. Respect to the artists.
*5% of Lego boxes sold in 2001 contained Lego weapons. In 2014 that was 30% according to Bartneck C, Min Ser Q, Moltchanova E, Smithies J, Harrington E (2016) Have LEGO Products Become More Violent? PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155401.
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