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Should LEGO make sure you can build everything?

There's been something going around for a long time now, and I was just answering yet another question aimed at it over on NXTasy, but I thought I'd voice it here (hey, what are blogs for, right?).

A number of folks seem "cheated" or upset that you can't build the same models with the 1.0 kit as you can with the 2.0. Or the reverse ("we want a 2.0 to 1.0 backwards compatibility upgrade"). Or they complain that LEGO should really offer a "parts pack" that allows owners of just the 1.0/2.0 kit to build all the robots in a particular book (a very common comment).


I'm not saying "why do you want this" - that's pretty obvious (I'd love it as well). I'm not asking if this is financially viable or workable in terms of production and stock issues (what I know about those factors wouldn't fill a 2x4 brick). I'm asking "why do users seem to feel entitled to this, and repeatedly demand this?".

It's funny to me, as this seems to come up again & again in discussions on the NXT set - people commenting that "they don't have the pieces they need", or that "you can't build X using just this one set", and often stating that that's a real failing on LEGO's part. The thing I find funny about this is you don't find it anywhere else in the LEGO world. I don't know anybody who bought a single Star Wars set, and then complained that you couldn't build other Star Wars sets from it. Or even that the larger sets in theme (say, one of the larger Rock Raiders sets) should have the extra pieces needed to build a number of the smaller sets in a theme (or even cross-theme). That actually seems to work just fine with consumers of any other LEGO set. And (to me!) the idea that LEGO should design their set contents in such a way as to allow the consumer to build the huge number of user-built models out there (or even figure out which ones are "most desired"... when those trgets literally change month by month or faster) seems irrational. Yey I've heard at least some folks advocate it.

It used to be the question of "Where are the extra pieces?" was answered "In Other Sets"... and that been that way for a very long time now. Of course, it's not the only answer. The LEGO community realized that to build what they wanted, they needed more parts... so you bought more sets. Not sets designated as "with this set you can also construct X, Y, & Z", but as parts - just spare parts. Not content with that, people began selling parts they didn't need from sets they had bought for a couple of special hard-to-find pieces... and Bricklink was born. So it's not like there's not alternatives (tried and true ones at that).

So I guess the question here is "what's different?" Why are these assumptions, that previous consumer have purchased LEGO under for years, not assumed by the Mindstorms consumer? Should they be? Or is there something fundementally different about Mindstorms users and therefore the way the set should be marketed and configured?

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