chapter  13
14 Pages

The Virtualization of LEGO

ByKevin Schut

The space-themed LEGO sets I grew up playing with are a little paradoxical. The galaxy beyond our atmosphere lacks any limits, yet this particular plastic toy, with its geometrically perfect rows of bumps, is all about boundaries. The possible confi gurations of LEGO blocks is nearly infi nite-as evidenced by my children cheerfully mixing and matching my thirty-year-old set of pirates, knights, and astronauts whenever we visit my parents-but the blocks themselves are rigid and perfect. They can only click together in very specifi c formations. My gray space cruiser, in other words, is a set of unchangeable parts that suggest a universe free of restrictions.