Feeds

It's Lego's 80th birthday party, but only the boys are invited

Girls get pink-boxed dollhouses, boys get to build

New hybrid storage solutions

Ninjago... FIGHT!

Now that Lego comes in systems, it's clear to see that the bricks are marketed at boys. Ninjago, one of the Danish firm's most popular lines, has grown out of the old Lego Ninja system.

Lego Ninjago weapons set with spinners

With Ninjago, boys collect different minifigs that they can fight with, placing the little Lego dude on its "spinner" and using a card game to decide what weapons it can use. Then the battling boys spin the minifigs at each other to try to knock the opponent's Ninjago off its spinner.

The whole thing mirrors the craze for Japanese-style card games and toys that started with Pokemon - using the cards to give yourself or an avatar powers or special skills that help you defeat your opponents - basically role-playing games with props.

There's still building in Ninjago and that's still the most popular bit of the system, Schou said. But the spinner battle scenarios show that Ninjago is aimed at boys, as do the adverts for the toys.

Even in Lego City, a less obviously gendered environment, the focus is on action sets - ambulances, police and criminals, firefighters - and crucially the minifigs are all male, even though there are women in those areas in real life.

In fact, the evolution of the minifig takes Lego all the way from its unbiased past into its gender-specific, morally unambiguous future. The minifig's features were originally just the yellow head with a smile, nothing else.

Lego Pirate Captain

Now evil minifigs have stubble, female minifigs have painted red lips, a number of minifigs are skin-coloured instead of yellow and of course, Lego Friends has the minidoll.

Schou says that the Friends line is successful, although he admits that some girls are interested in other lines, particularly the City line, the most realistic of the boys' systems. He calls Friends a version of City for girls, but why do girls need their own city? And why is it populated with gender-specific activities?

"The Friends line is based on very deep dialogue testing with girls from five years and upwards on what they really want to have," Schou claims.

Again, Lego won't tell The Register how it conducts its research, but just before Lego Friends was launched in December 2011, the firm told Bloomberg that the research for Friends was the same research it did back in 2004 and 2005 when the company started to lose money for the first time.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.