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'Older' Space-sets - playability

FredDefFredDef BelgiëMember Posts: 4

Hello everybody, I'm new here. At nearly 36 years of age I've become an AFOL, I guess, when I rediscovered the delightful Lego-sets my parents gave me in my younger days.

Please excuse me if this (kind of) thread already exists or if I should have posted this elsewhere on the forum.

In an attempt to prep a nice little Lego-assortment for my sons (the eldest is only 3 and a half and too young still) I bought three little M-Tron-sets to go with the 6812 (Blacktron) Grid Trekkor and the 6831 Message Decoder I already had (I should have a SP II Rebel Hunter too still at my parents' house, but I can't find it at the moment). The initial idea was to form a large enough 'space' vehicle pool of both sides + some Space Police for them to be able to make up some play scenes. But seeking and buying anymore I've now begun to wonder wheter the Blacktron-M-Tron-Space Police sets would actually (still) appeal to youngsters nowadays.  I still think the colour scheme of respectively black-white and red(black)white) and the neon green parts are just perfect and make for great looking sets. However in comparison to the modern and very intricate Ninjago-sets or Nexo Knights-sets, for example, the 'classic' space sets might not be 'interesting' enough anymore in this day and age.

I guess I'm asking the parent-members if they have any recent experience with their children still appreciating the 'old' Space-sets (Blacktron, M-Tron, Space Police).

A second part of my question is about the playability of (these older) Space-sets: by that I mean that I can't provide convincingly built 'bases' for the kids; building Blacktron, M-Tron bases would require loads of speciality pieces. In comparison to the City-theme, it's not as easy to build scenery for them to play in. I have a limited amount of bricks (in comparison to many avid AFOLs) and certainly in terms of speciality space pieces (neon green stuff, special baseplates etc.).

I'd very much appreciate any of your views on this.

Thanks

Frederick

Comments

  • sonsofscevasonsofsceva 1904 World's FairMember Posts: 514
    My boys were into space stuff in general for a couple of years so enjoyed older LEGO space sets for a while (and Benny's Spaceship from The LEGO Movie). Star Wars has taken over most of the LEGO interest in space-related sets today.
    If you are looking for 'bases', crater plates are long gone but my boys were very happy with a couple of the grey baseplates and a pile of basic bricks to create whatever bases they wanted. They did not care about color coordination. That was my experience! Whatever his interest in LEGO is, I hope you have fun building together!
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 127
    I recently wrote this on EB :

    I have an nine year old son and in his school I'm known for as "LEGO Ole" laugh and while my son has a rather large SW collection it really is my classic stuff that's interesting the boys (and gals) in his class

    I've done my own inquiries into this "focus group" and NONE of them find that stuff (classic space, castle and pirates from the eighties/early ninties), "simple", "boring builds", do not complain about lack of details on the minifigs etc

    They do like that "everything fits together" and it's "big". By this I think they mean worldbuilding and a coherence in a theme

    They like that it LOOKS LIKE LEGO and do seem botherd by the fact there are no classic space/castle/pirate cartoons to go with it

    Also, when I had a 12V train setup it proved to be very popular, especially with all the automated switches, electric cranes etc

    And lastly, neither the boys nor girls seem to have ANY BLOODY INTEREST IN HELICOPTORS!

    So yeah, CS is still very cool ..

    Cheers,

    Ole
    arathemis
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,329
    edited January 27
    It is biased, but I think that the classic space of the late 70's early 80's has TONS of play value, as it really is limited by imagination, or lack thereof for some. I just think that, while there are a wealth of parts and building techniques due to those new parts today, that really you are stifling some of the creativity of building something while getting around build issues. That and some of the designs back then are really are great, never mind the 'daddy' of Space that is being redone in micro scale for the 60th anni set #928/#497 Galaxy Explorer, but there is #6971 which really is my favorite space base of all classic space, and even after. I decided long ago to not collect classic space due to ..ahem.. space constraints, but I do regret getting rid of those sets I had, which ws most classic space at the time.

    I think it is safe to say, give your kids a bucket of any kind of brick and an hour of quiet time free of distractions; they would probably come up with some great ideas.
  • FredDefFredDef BelgiëMember Posts: 4
    Thanks everybody for the wonderful and elaborate feedback - EXACTLY what I was hoping for. I'll indeed try not to focus too much on trying to obtain speciality pieces (never mind whole vintage bases - although 6971 does indeed look mighty interesting).
    Oh, and Ole, thanks for the tip on helicopters. I was wondering about their popularity.

    Of course, anyone else wanting to share their experience with this are most welcome and will receive the fullest of my appreciation. 

    Regards, 
    Frederick
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,830
    My input...
    Kids play with what they are most passionate about.

    My son has had next to zero interest in the City line, Super Hero lines. His first interest was Atlantis sets.  He played with those daily for a solid year. He also loved power miners, then the Alien Conquest sets, and Ninjago. In addition, his interest was not necessarily on the fanciest car, but he wanted special features, so TLR Silver Mine was of huge huge interest to him... a slide, exploding wall, rail car, etc. It just had a ton of playability.

    My suggestion... sit down with them and look through a catalog or sets online to see what sort of sets they gravitate to. Watch some of the jangbricks videos. 

    Doing this over over the years has helped me understand what interest my kid has and what sort of themes and lines he likes, and what themes he wants to play with and explore.
    These days, I have found he does not gravitate towards any of the lines, but to the occasional large set with cool features. There are a few too many licensed lines, and not enough of the original lines that he enjoys the best. Both Chima and Nexo Knights have been of non-interest to him, but Ninjago can still hold sway.
    catwrangler
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 56
    I don't have kids of my own but I almost always play with Lego with the son and daughter of my cousin and they're pretty much unfettered by the type of parts they have access to. I have very little 'loose Lego' and all of it fits into a decent storage crate, but the pieces range from general supplementary bricks (what's now called 'Classic') to Pirates, Insectoids, Racers, Creator, City and even a nominal amount of Batman. But there's also quite a lot of mixed vegetation, male and female minifigures in there.

    The kids usually gravitate towards what they want to build with the pieces at hand. Without any influence from myself, I usually just ask what they want to build and then help them to build it. He almost always wants to build some kind of car or plane, whilst she usually wants to build a dream house or garden.

    I've found that both of the kids like the themes in keeping with what they want to build with random bricks (vehicles, Friends), so I'd say it's a good way to test the waters more thoroughly. I think my cousin's son would go crazy if he saw something like the Mega Core Magnetizer. And there's one in my household just now...
    catwranglerBumblepantssnowhitie
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,355
    Keep in mind that there were play features in old sets (like light & sound, and magnets) that are rare these days for cost or safety reasons rather than because kids no longer get their appeal. I think those sorts of features should still appeal to kids today.

    Graphically, a lot of 80s Space sets may feel less detailed than today’s, and do not convey a strong sense of individual identity. Mid to late 90s space sets, on the other hand, can almost feel cluttered with superficial detail (thinking specifically about UFO and Insectoids). Either may or may not be a turn-off depending on the child.

    Some classic space sets feel a little clunkier than today’s due to using simpler techniques, but these do not affect playability so much as aesthetics, except in cases where a set is fragile or less-than-swooshable because it is not reinforced with Technic parts or brackets.
    Fizyx
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 953
    Who needs play features when you have a spaceship!?! The only play feature you need is the ability to swoosh the ship around! The old mechs on the other hand...bleh.
    TheOriginalSimonB
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 338
    Aanchir said:
    Keep in mind that there were play features in old sets (like light & sound, and magnets) that are rare these days for cost or safety reasons rather than because kids no longer get their appeal. I think those sorts of features should still appeal to kids today.

    Graphically, a lot of 80s Space sets may feel less detailed than today’s, and do not convey a strong sense of individual identity. Mid to late 90s space sets, on the other hand, can almost feel cluttered with superficial detail (thinking specifically about UFO and Insectoids). Either may or may not be a turn-off depending on the child.

    Some classic space sets feel a little clunkier than today’s due to using simpler techniques, but these do not affect playability so much as aesthetics, except in cases where a set is fragile or less-than-swooshable because it is not reinforced with Technic parts or brackets.

    Honestly (and not just because I grew up with them) I feel like the late 80's/early 90's was the peak of the evergreen space theme.  The complexity and detail had grown, but it hadn't yet reached the clutteredness you talk about with later space sets.  There are tons of play features still though, and the sets work really well together, and individually.  And the ever important swooshability was amazing through just about every set in every subtheme from the time.
    catwrangler
  • FredDefFredDef BelgiëMember Posts: 4
    Thanks again everybody for the wonderful responses and the shared experience; they're exactly what I was looking for ! 

    Regards,
    Frederick
  • snowhitiesnowhitie BelgiumMember Posts: 2,158
    edited January 29
    @FredDef I have not got my old space sets so can't give you any input on that but just wanted to say welcome to the forums to a fellow Belgian. There are a few of us on here.

    Re kids building, I've got lots of sorted loose parts but kids that come to play aren't allowed those. Got a nice big bag full of pieces for them though and help them think about solutions if they can't find a certain piece.

    In general, as said above, they don't care too much about the colours, but it seems to become more important as they get older/better at building.

    I also have one box of sets for them in zip-lock bags. Some kids prefer to build with instructions so they are welcome to choose one of these to build. They are mostly 3 in 1 creator sets. Boys usually like the robots and cars, girls tend to go for the animals.

    Enjoy rediscovering your Lego (and probably buying new ones soon too).
  • FredDefFredDef BelgiëMember Posts: 4
    snowhitie said:

    In general, as said above, they don't care too much about the colours, but it seems to become more important as they get older/better at building.

    Hi snowhitie
    Nice to read that there are some other Belgian Lego-aficionados here and thanks for the welcome. What you and others have said about colours not being all important is a very important factor for me to keep in mind. As an AFOL I probably tend to apply a higher norm in colour coordination than I should, not until they're older at least.

    And enjoying the rediscovery of my old Lego-sets won't be a problem - my buying new ones might become one once my wife starts noticing ;-)

    Regards, Frederick
    snowhitiecatwranglersid3windr
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