Good day, everyone!
A long-time podcast listener, recently decided to join the boards for Brickonicle discussion.
I must say that the crew are doing a fantastic job at keeping G3 discussion interesting but also not losing focus (apart from the short legs topic, probably) while there are so many great fan suggestions floating around.
I was going to post this sooner but I needed to get up to speed with the discussion so for the past couple of weeks I have been binge watching all the podcast episodes related to G3.
The topic that I would like to discuss in this thread is a tricky one considering that it involves another paradigm shift (like moving to System wasn’t enough). But it is exactly moving to System that I feel might aid this concept.
I would like to take a step back and remember Bionicle G1 conception.
Bionicle came from the success of Slizers and Roboriders when Lego was experimenting with buildable action figures and found that the format attracts huge interest. “Buildable action figure” aspect came first. Only to make the format more attractive it was given a character-based episodic story. Action figure design choices and functions as well as the story were geared towards a certain kid archetype that was called “Bionicle Boy” by Lego. The archetype of a kid that is active, has shorter attention span and always daring for more. You can find out more on that by reading or listening to “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry” by Bill Breen and David Robertson.
The point that I am trying to make is that it was only natural that an action figure centred toy line would get an action oriented story. Its purpose was to tell of the characters’ epic quests and heroic battles to spark kids’ imagination and leave them wanting more toys and story.
But I feel that these sets and story could be created by a different company and could have had a similar level of success. I feel that the main reason core Lego fans often feel alienated towards Bionicle was not just because its Lego pieces looked different.
Let me explain.
Action was the main characteristic of the line. It had to be to sell toys. However, while it is completely fine to have a product line based on this idea I always felt like Bionicle was lacking (not completely but relatively to other lines) other Lego qualities, mainly creativity and creation. And I am not talking about Lego designers not being creative enough or about clone sets that we had for several years, that was a part of the episodic nature of the toys and story. I am talking about having creativity and creation in story telling or sets message.
How many stories in Bionicle were about talented creators? How many stories were about teamwork that lead to a creation of something? The closest examples that came into my mind are from the MNOG games where we explore matorans’ daily lifes. But that is such a tiny portion of the lore. Most stories in Bionicle are about battles, quests or survival.
And in turn the same applied to the sets. Most of the sets contained a warrior, a fighter. But very few contained a creator.
It is hard for me to formulate these examples but I hope that you can see the point that I am trying to get across.
Once again, it is perfectly fine for a line to be centred around fighting or action. Many great stories are about that. And I do understand that for the chosen target audience the line worked great both in terms of sets and story.
But I cannot help but think how much more the Bionicle universe could be if more attention was given to other aspects of human nature such as creativity, creation and others. Can you imagine a Bionicle equivalent of a master-builder? Can you imagine a story of a matoran and toa collaboration that leads to a creation of something great?
And creativity does not have to be show through creation. It can be shown the quests and battles as well.
Coming back full circle, I feel that moving to System should not only mean that the sets format needs to change but overall attitude and design direction for the line should change as well to enrich the universe that has so much potential.
Just something that was on my mind for a long time. This feels very raw so I will probably edit some parts later. Just wanted to share my thoughts as is for now.