I have a question that has been plaguing me recently: why is it that geeks love LEGO? One of my earliest memories is of receiving a LEGO space set. It set me on a multi-year journey to accumulate as many of those bricks as possible. To this day, I am still drawn to LEGO sets but, much to my wife’s relief, finances keep me from filling my house with them. I honestly don’t get it though. Why do I love them so?
I have a few theories about why we as geeks are drawn to LEGO sets. The first is that we love to build things. Whether it’s building a computer or a model of the USS Enterprise, we like the process of assembling. I’m not saying that geeks would all like to be working on construction sites, our hands are far too delicate from years of typing on a keyboard for that, but our desire to build seems pretty obvious. Since we aren’t out working construction, we need to somehow appease our inner engineer. Enter the LEGO.
My second theory is somewhat tied to the first. Beginning in 1911, geeks were playing with Erector Sets. In 1949, the Denmarkians began production on a plastic interlocking brick. Although I have no proof, I’m sure that in the minds of children, this brick was far superior to the collection of small metal beams found in Erector Sets. When the company that manufactured the Erector Set went bankrupt in 1967, a giant void was left that opened the door for LEGO to thrive. Without the Erector Set readily available, how else would geeks satisfy their urge to build if it wasn’t for LEGO?
Today there are numerous websites dedicated to the interlocking brick that LEGO created and people from all over the world assemble at conventions to show their creations and to find out what new sets LEGO has in store. When you add geek-friendly franchises such as Star Wars and Harry Potter to the internet and convention aspects of this hobby, it appears to create the perfect storm that allows geeks to be sucked into its vortex. Maybe that’s part of why geeks love LEGO?
I think that I have answered my question. I believe that this can all be summed up in one simple mathematical formula: Internet + Conventions + Geek Properties + Assembling = True Love