Pl.Round 1X1 W. Throughg. Hole
Element ID 6050850 | Design ID 85861
Colour Yellow [BL] / Bright Yellow [TLG]
There’s something radical about this new element that really makes me happy.
It’s not a new part. The white element has been available for four (glorious) years. So obviously a yellow one adds nothing new to functionality! And bringing a part out in yellow is hardly a radical move. What’s so amazing is that the new yellow element comes in actual sets; the white element only came in LEGO® Games. So what? As consumers we don’t care if we’re obtaining them via a game or a set?
A little background. Although by no means the first board games released by The LEGO Group (TLG), the new line LEGO Games was launched in mid-2009 as part of TLG's strategic desire to look for new areas to increase business. (Games was the first project given the green light out of about eighty potential concepts - I believe that Architecture was another concept that later got the green light from this directive.) In some respects, these new lines fell outside the usual departments and processes within TLG. For example the Architecture sets are designed by people outside of TLG and then reviewed and amended by various TLG departments before going into production.
And it seems AFOLs were not the only ones to notice the potential; I was told last year that some LEGO Designers wanted to use it in regular sets too. And this is where it gets interesting, because apparently the answer was “No”. I’ve only heard the reasons given second-hand obviously – I don’t work for TLG! – so please consider this hearsay. The main reason given seemed to be “LEGO aren’t allowed to release System parts that don’t have the LEGO logo on them”. That’s clearly not the whole story, as the aforementioned 1X1 round brick is one of many parts missing the logo on the studs. There might have also been a "Pandora’s Box" concern around releasing the part into System sets. If we accept that the hollow stud is very useful on a 1X1 plate, surely it would be useful on a 1X2 plate also? Surely every LEGO element becomes more functional with hollow studs? Where do we draw the line? Do we remove the word LEGO from every part?!
The LEGO logo on the studs is one of the cornerstones of the LEGO Brand. It immediately identifies and imbues the piece of plastic you’re holding with all the quality and loyalty the brand represents. Its presence is sometimes an irritation to AFOLs (and surely Designers too), as the miniscule additional height the embossed logo adds to elements limits how many ways they can legally be added into models. But even those of us who hate the entire concept of Brands and their role in advertising surely still feel happiness whenever they once again happen to lay eyes on that lovely tiny word sitting on a stud?
Fire Emergency and 60004 Fire Station. And unlike the Games line, they are used in these sets in a way that takes full advantage of the part’s functionality; by inserting the jet of water into the bottom of a holey dot, a 1X1 cone can be attached at 180° creating a more realistic nozzle.
As you probably know, LEGO announced they are ending the Games line this year. A shame as I genuinely enjoyed them, not least the ones that later made good parts packs! So I think it is great news for LEGO fans big and small that the holey dot is here to hopefully stay and I can’t imagine that an evil alternate universe where LEGO bricks have no ‘LEGO’ on them shall come to pass as a result. But what do you think about the importance of keeping the Brand on the bricks? It’s OK for the Technic System – or is it? Or is the holey dot just an example of LEGO parts becoming too specialised, destroying the challenge of constraint so adored by most adult builders?