In my news reader feed this weekend was an article on a kid who builds Star Trek vehicles from Star Wars Lego sets, from which the following excerpts are taken:
One twelve-year-old boy, known online as “Legohacker” has figured out the trick of turning official Star Wars Lego sets into Star Trek ships.
Some four-year-olds will create art with Play-Doh or use crayons to create artistic masterpieces, but Legohacker was a bit different than his age-contemporaries, according to his father, Jon Ippolito. “When I had kids I was eager to see what kind of creativity they would spill on a page full of crayon drawings or a lump of Play Dough or, in this case, a bunch of Legos,” he said. “I was pretty astonished to see how sophisticated the kind of thinking outside the box they did was.”
The son, who is now twelve, is still a fan of Legos. Legohacker uses the official sets, turning them into something else using only the pieces that were included in the box (hacking the set). His latest Lego hacking includes turning Star Wars sets into Star Trek ships.
There’s a term for building something with Legos other than the picture shown on the front of the box? “Hacking the set”?
See, when I was that age, the term we used for using official Lego sets to build your own custom creations was “playing with Legos.” Heck, when I was four, they didn’t even have official designs for you to build something other than. You bought a box, it had a bunch of bricks. You built whatever you wanted from it.
It’s annoyed me for years that Lego sets have become more and more specialized in their pieces, which it seemed to me was reaching the point that they essentially became model kits. I was thinking about it from a perspective of the specialization limiting options, though. It never occurred to me that people would be treating the set instructions so religiously that building something else would be considered “hacking.”
We live in a world that is become gradually more and more open-source, and yet we raise children with increasingly closed entertainment. As children’s entertainment gets “better,” it leaves less and less room for imagination.
Children are born thinking outside of the box.
It wouldn’t be that exciting to see them continue to do so at four or at 12 if we didn’t feel the need to construct some elaborate boxes to put them in in the first place.