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Who is your favorite Toa?


A Belated Post On The Washington Post
Posted by Purple_Dave on August 25, 2001 at 10:02 PM CST:
I'd been seeing buzz around the Net for a couple weeks about people getting interviewed for the then-upcoming article in the Washington Post. The first I'd actually heard of it was when Philip told me the reporter had been pointed towards for possible interviews. I was a bit disappointed to find out that while the site was looked over, we weren't going to be contacted, but even more disappointing was the final article itself. There were a few interesting snippets here and there, but not nearly as many as the number of mistakes.

1. Right off the bat it is stated that the design team started work late last year on the new line. I was seeing printed promotional info packed into new sets late last year, and the best time I've ever heard for a company taking a product line from core concept to promotional photos is six months. Since LEGO? has to deal with designing individual parts as well as completed models, I'd be very surprised if they hadn't started at least a year earlier than that, if not more.

2. It is stated that while the sets are constructed in typical LEGO? style, they contain none of the 'traditional' pieces. Since TECHNIC? sets have been using mainly non-traditional parts for as long as STAR WARS? has been a household name, that's about as newsworthy as the fact that they are made out of plastic instead of wood, like the very first LEGO? toys from so long ago.

3. The highest price of $69.99 is attributed to the sets with the remote control units. If anyone can show me a source that can sell me my second set of MANAS at that dirt-cheap of a price, please, I beg of you, do not hesitate for one second to tell me. Like most people who have dropped cash on the crabs, I spent $89.99, and those who go to TRU will spend an extra ten bucks. The cheapest sale price I've seen on these, with Meijer's whopping 20% off sale a while back, is still two bucks higher, and that only lasted a week.

4. The RAHI are listed as being released in a few weeks, but I had all five sets paid for and assembled well before the article saw print.

5. There is mention that in the MATA NUI online game you play from the perspective of the TOA, when the reality is that you play as an amnesiac TOHUNGA that most likely hails from TA-KORO, and has only briefly met five of the TOA excluding KOPAKA.

6. Another item is that the article presents this line as something that would only appeal to young kids or semi-demented adults. While I proudly consider myself to be one of the wierdest people on the planet, I also know that a lot of professional engineers take their TECHNIC? sets every bit as seriously as they do the paychecks that they use to buy them. There probably isn't a single line in the basic series that doesn't rely largely on Adult Fans Of LEGO? (or AFOLs) to purchase the most expensive sets, and lines like MINDSTORMS? are basically tailored specifically for an older core audience.

7. The final point is that no web-support is listed anywhere in the article. Not even the official website URL is handed out. In this day and age, most collectible lines have a heavy web-presence and any article about them would be incomplete without pointing out a few of the more significant ones. Aside from the lack of MoD reference, even is snubbed, and it is arguably the most significant fan-run website dealing with LEGO? collecting in general. More importantly, it seems to be the source of most of the interviews that were conducted as research for the article.

While there were a few golden nuggets, such as the school promotional book-covers and locker posters, most of it is seriously less than exciting to anyone who has the most rudimentary knowledge of the BIONICLE? mythos. The end result is an article that left me with the same underwhelmed feeling I got when I was working in college theatre and would read reviews of our shows that had been written by people who didn't seem to really understand theatre. Sometimes a lack of impartiality makes for a better article, and this is one of those times. If you want to see for yourself, you can read the actual article here. For myself, I actually don't really mind that I never found a copy of the Sunday paper to buy and had to resort to the online version.

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