When the LEGO Dark Ages creeps up on you…

by admin on May 20, 2013

in Community Articles

(Written by Strider)

The LEGO Dark Ages… I’m using capital first letters for a reason. Some new LEGO fans might not yet be introduced to what this dangerous term means,  so just to make sure everyone knows what I am talking about I will begin with an explanation. (LEGO Comic by FBTB.net)

LEGO AFOL Comic by FBTB.net

WHAT IS THE LEGO DARK AGES? – The Dark Ages is the period in a LEGO fan’s life, when they loose interest in their beloved little LEGO bricks. The following comes soon after; the LEGO collection is given away, or at least gets pushed into a dark closet or attic, completely forgotten…

WHEN DOES THE LEGO DARK AGES HAPPEN? – This depends on the reason why it comes up in the first place. If it has to do with someone thinking that building with LEGO is childish and he/she is embarrassed, it will occur probably around the teen years. If it instead occurs simply because the person becomes interested in other things, it could happen anytime, though I believe the teens to twenties period is the most dangerous. It could sneak up on you quite suddenly, so beware…

➡ HOW DO I STOP THE LEGO DARK AGES? – Asking this question would be like asking Doctor Who to stop liking fish-sticks and custard. It would be like asking Sherlock Holmes to stop liking solving mysteries. I am not saying that there is no way it will not happen to you;  from what I have read this tragedy happens even to seasoned LEGO fans who are aware of the threat. However it is still possible to avoid it or at least mitigate the effect. Once it starts though, it can be extremely hard or near impossible to stop. A better question would be…

HOW DO I MAKE IT THROUGH THE DARK AGES? – This is the big question, and the one this post will focus on. First off all relax, it is normal. Do not freak out just because your interest in the LEGO hobby starts to fade. Changing hobbies or interests can happen to all of us. Below are some tips that would help you to come back to the LEGO hobby when you want…

  • Keep some of your LEGO collection in sight; you do not have to place them right in front of you all the time, but it is best not to pack everything away. How will you come back to the hobby if you forget completely that you even own any LEGO sets? Your collection could also very well get lost, thrown out, or given away by someone you live with who doesn’t know any better. Instead, it would be better to place some of your LEGO sets or your own LEGO creations (even just one) on a shelf or desk that you can see regularly and is easy to reach. This will keep your LEGO in sight, and give you a chance to play around a bit whenever you get inspired.
  • Do not give away your LEGO collection; you may want to share them with siblings or friends, but do not give them away. The chances are very high that you will regret it later, and when you do it will be very sad indeed. It might take years to build back up what you had before and will likely take much money and time. Again, feel free to share them by all means – you might even get inspired by the creations of others – but do not give them away!
  • Do not force yourself to use them; getting through the Dark Ages is normal – it is just the way your mind and interests shift. So if you want to do other things go ahead, nothing is stopping you. If you force yourself to continue building with LEGO when you don’t really want to, it will be an un-enjoyable experience, and that is not how you want your memories of the LEGO hobby to be. When you do return to the wonderful world of LEGO it should be because you want to and you truly enjoy the experience. After all, that is what LEGO is all about.

Getting out of the Dark Ages could be just as sudden as entering it. You may see a wonderful LEGO creation online, end up in the LEGO-isle in your local department store, or rediscover your LEGO collection while clearing house for moving. These are just some pointers about the Dark Ages period many LEGO fans experience at some point in their life. I realize this is a big topic, so please feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences. Have you gone through the Dark Ages before? How did you cope with it? Did you give away your LEGO collection or made other decisions that you later regretted? Do you have any suggestions or tips for others? You are welcome to share in the comment section below! 🙂 

This is my first article here at theBrickBlogger so thanks for reading! You may also like to check out the following related posts: 

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

admin May 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Gen, thanks for sharing! How do you like the new flickr? I know a lot of LEGO fans (and also other people) are outraged. I’m planning to write a post about the topic, once i figure out how everything works.

gid617 May 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

It is somewhat annoying. I don’t like the tremendous black space around each picture nor the crazy layout of the home page. In fact I’m not sure there’s anything I positively like better other than the increased space, though I can live with the changes. I do miss the how many views on your photo-stream thing though (I was almost to 5000! 😛 ). As far as the cover photo, I don’t mind that, though having the pictures all smashed together below it with hardly any space isn’t that great, especially since it means there’s less info per photo without clicking on it. Neither do I like the shorter comment section (that is, I don’t like how you have to hit see more to see all the comments if there’s more than some number).
But I’m not sufficiently outraged about it that I’d leave Flickr for MOCpages, Brickshelf, or something. I would just hope Flickr tones down a bit on some of the changes and re-introduces things like the view number…

gid617 May 23, 2013 at 5:19 PM

I discovered that by hitting the edit button on the right of the photostream-sets-favorites tab or by adding ?details=1 (actually read that part) to anyone else’s photostream, you can get it to look the normal way + the cover photo. Not sure I’ll use it for anyone else’s stream, but that URL will be replacing the other link I had on my favorites bar!
Actually, as far as the photostream itself goes, I can see how the new format is nicer for normal photographs, since you don’t necessarily want text all over the place. It would be nice to have a customizable option though. It’s really the homepage that’s most annoying.

admin May 23, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Those are great little tricks! I wish the setting would be permanent though! I have been poking around today too trying to see how things work. One thing I haven’t figured out that under the Contact section the Recent Photos and Photos of Contacts are totally different, but I don’t knwo why? The Recent Photos also seems to be from my contacts (I know because they are LEGO related, not just random Flickr photos, but it is not the same as the Photos of Contacts. I can’t figure out what is the criteria for each. Any ideas? 😕

gid617 May 23, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Actually I believe that that’s the same as before the changes (though I never used either one that much, I generally relied on the homepage. Guess that will change!). The ‘Photos of’ are pictures where someone has added someone else to the picture; eg. this photo:
has two people in it (AK_Brickster and K.Kreations, if you scroll down you can see it), so if either of those two are in your contacts it would show up on the photos of list (pretty far back though!).

One other change that I like would be that I can now add photos to as many groups as I feel like (previously it was limited to ten for non-pro users).

Comet May 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

hey admin im 11 and I went through the dark ages cause of drawing. Now Im back in the game!
It isnt really that bad…

admin May 24, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Yeah, it will take a while to get used to it, but I don’t think it’s that bad. Besides the homepage. I ahve done the same as you; just saved direct links to the pages I visit the most, and those pretty much look like the old ones anyway. I think I can get used to it, even if I don’t like it. I do like the 1 TB storage though. I was just at 200 pictures before the change. 🙄

admin May 24, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Comet, that just sounds like a mini Dark Ages. The real one will happen when you are a teen. 😉

Håkan May 24, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Don’t quit drawing, though! Keep your passion and strive to improve your skills!

What are you drawing? Any particular motifs or styles?

Tobymacboy May 24, 2013 at 4:52 PM

“Long time no see Sonic , my loathsome copy!” HAhaa I LOVE Sonic!!!

Commander Cold May 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM

I am going through this right now.
I have a big room for my LEGO stuff (Mostly Ice Planet 2002 and Blacktron sets) but I am Definetely NOT selling any of THAT.
School is a major factor.
When my brother moves out, I will probably play with them again because I am gravely nostalgic and I miss the good old days.
I have a page in MOCpages for all my Ice Planet 2002 creations (About 50) but I am inactive and no one pays any attention to me.

admin May 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Commander, thanks for sharing. The Dark Ages can have many layers. For some it is just that they are busy with work/school/other hobbies, but they still appreciate LEGO and are planning to be back. It can also get darker though when someone feels like they don’t even want to touch LEGO ever again, for whatever reason; burnt out from collecting, feeling embarrassed, or whatever. Sounds like your Dark Ages are quite heatlhy and you will be back to the hobby at some point. Ice Planet and Blacktron are awesome and have many fans. I have even seen this huge Blacktron city someone built and displayed at a LEGO convention. It was way amazing! Maybe a few years from now that will be you! 😉

gid617 May 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Yes, 1 TB is certainly nice! I was at 500 some-odd before though… 😛

yodaman5556 May 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I’m a bit late reading this (I don’t remember getting an email about it, but oh well). Great article for your first one, Strider! 🙂 I already knew what the LEGO Dark Ages were before this, but for those who don’t know this is a great article.

In response to some of the comments on this post…sometimes the Dark Ages doesn’t actually happen to some people. If someone is really passionate about LEGO and can play with it all day and not get bored, they might not even go through the Dark Ages.

Its just the people that sorta like LEGO when they were young, but then moved on to other things (like work and/or studying) when they got older (the period inbetween playing with LEGO as a child and rediscovering it and playing with it as an adult is called the Dark Ages by LEGO fans and AFOLs). Some people just forget about LEGO all together and think that its not that important anymore.

Man! That was a long comment. I’m nearly 12, but I’m the founder of BrickExtra (a popular LEGO news/fan site) and I participate in the online LEGO fan community and have been for the past couple of years. I sorta hope that I don’t go through a Dark Age, but maybe I will. Its quite hard to tell what will happen in my future, which will obviously dictate whether I have a Dark Age or not. Obviously, work and school always come before LEGO (because you need them to do well in life more than you need LEGO). I’m not really worried that much at the moment, though.

If you read this whole long comment, then you probably deserve a medal. 😛 😛

admin May 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

I think it makes a big difference that today’s kids can participate in the LEGO community online. This can make the whole “feeling awkward still playing with LEGO” completely irrelevant as you can see kids, teens and adults building incredible stuff. Very inspiring. But there are still girls, cars, school and friends that could be a very strong distracting factor. 😉

lego king June 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM

I just got out of my mini dark ages.For 3 months I became intrested in computers instead of LEGO sets.Im happy that Im out of the dark ages.I didnt let go of any of my LEGO sets,luckily.I still visited the LEGO section at my local TRU.Im happy Im out of it.LEGO will always stay with me forever.

lego king June 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

The dark ages creeped up on me when my friend said”You still play with LEGO?Your a geek.”now we are n0t friends anymore but that mainly did it for me.

admin June 10, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Yeah, I know the feeling… 🙁

random guest June 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM

i think my oldest known friend is in his dark ages… not buying lego?!?! seriously….. although he has been softening up to his newly reconstructed surge…. the one with the hero cuffs.

Andy July 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I think my mom is trying to destroy me,my mom threw out most of the stuff in my basement including 70% of my lego collection!:( :,(

admin July 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Oh! That sounds terrible! 😥

George Habskoupa December 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Hi! I’m George and I first started playing with Lego when I was 3 and a half years old. Whenever I talk about lego in school, everyone says, “Wow, George.” I am always saddened when I hear this. What should I do?

admin December 10, 2013 at 8:36 PM

George, you may be just talking to the wrong kids. Many schools and public libraries have lego incorporated into their classes and programs, so you might consider checking out if in your location there is a LEGO related club. LEGO is a very popular hobby with kids, teens and adults. If you don’t find anyone locally you can also join online groups where you can hang out with other LEGO enthusiasts and if possible also go to LEGO shows and conventions. Those are especially excellent ways to really see how huge and how cool this hobby is. 😉

George Habskoupa December 10, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Wow, good advice! Keep in touch=)

George Habskoupa December 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Are you on g+?

ColdGoldLazarus February 24, 2014 at 3:53 PM

I initially got into Lego through Bionicle, mainly. I’d had a passing interest beforehand, but it was Bionicle that really ignited the flame. From there, I branched into some traditional brick-building via Life On Mars, and things went pretty well.
While I can’t place exactly when my Dark Ages occurred, as it was more a gradual decline in interest over the course of several years, with some ups and downs. By 2008, however, it had hit rock-bottom. I still bought sets on occasion, but usually shelved them as soon as they were built, and made little to no attempts at custom models.
Perhaps ironically, then, it was Bionicle’s ending that definitively ended my dark ages. There was a huge hullabaloo about it wherever I looked, and more and more I was drawn into these discussions, having my own opinions – and getting nostalgic enough to start digging out old sets. At first it was just rebuilding the originals, but then I branched back into custom models. (something further helped by the rediscovery of Slizers, the fascinating predecessors to Bionicle) I mainly stick to technic and “constraction” stuff now, but I do have a fair collection of normal bricks at my disposal as well. All told, it’s fun.

admin February 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Very interesting! We actually have quite a few Bionicle fans here, so it is nice to have you over! 🙂

Stevie June 23, 2014 at 2:59 AM

Hi this is my first post I am just a kid I have truly not experienced the dark ages yet but I know I will soon :P. I am a bit worried, though. I really love lego and when I become older I am scared I will quite my favorite hobby because of embarrassment or someone saying its ‘childish’, or ‘stupid’. I hope you realise my situation and are able to help me get through that. Thanks for your time.

admin June 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Stevie, yes, it is true that most kids will go through a withdrawal period from LEGO. This is quite natural as other hobbies and interests take up your time and attention. However there is no need to worry. When the time comes you can just pack away your LEGO nicely and keep it for later. You will be back as an adult when you no longer care what other people think and your interests in your old hobbies rekindle. Also, there are huge adult LEGO communities both on the Internet as well in the real world. When you start to regain your interest you can reach out to these groups and you will be up to seepd in no time. 😉

I hit my Dark Ages when I was 13 or 14, and didn’t come back to it until as an adult. As I said; it is a natural process most kids will go through. Having said that, there are also kids who never have a Dark Ages period. They just continue the hobby through their teens and adult years. Being part of a group of likeminded individuals really helps with this – be that either online or in your local area. But the point is just be natural. If you loose interest that is fine, and if you don’t that is fine too. LEGO will wait for you. 🙂

Cobey Kauffman November 21, 2015 at 5:34 PM

I’m now 21 years old, have a job that I absolutely love and I’m gonna have some money in my pocket! I was really into the hobby as well, especially the StarWars and Indiana Jones sets but I’ve also wanted to do WW2 diaramas! I was wondering g if there was a term for this lol! But I hit the dark age when I was a Freshman in highschool, for the reasons listed above ha, then I got out of it cause I figured it was embarrassing. I gave away most of my collection to a boy who didn’t have a good home life at all and figured he could have fun with him and it made me feel good I could give him some happiness from my childhood! But I didn’t get rid of em all! I kept 6 sets that I favorited and I saw em the other day and before I knew it I was messing with em all lol! U wanna get back into it, especially the WW2 building thanks to Brickarms! Any advice on how to build up a collection and buildup my bins for pieces? Also I forgot to mention that the Lego movie sparked up the old flame haha!

admin November 21, 2015 at 8:28 PM

Cobey, nice to have you back to the hobby! As far as building up your collection, this is a great time to do that with so many sales going on for the holidays. Since you like WW2, you might want to get some of the sets that are compatible I color; like they include a lot of grays, olive greens, brown, black, etc. Star Wars sets are good for this as well as some of the Super Hero sets. You can also buy individual pieces from BrickLink, if you like. So yeah, this is a good time to stock up on pieces. And it’s awesome that you were able to help a kid and make his life brighter! 🙂

Pierre June 11, 2017 at 8:05 PM

I went into my LEGO dark age 3 times, back when I was 5, i started to like thomas the train toys, though before lego, i liked hot wheels (my first hobby) but then i went back to liking lego at the age of 12, i was 15 when i started getting into transformers and girls, then i went back to liking lego again at the age of 17, at the age of 18, again i stopped and went hardcore collecting hot wheels (i even found redline hotwheels, which costs $100 a car) after a year, i got back into lego, all because of a small set, the octan race car, it was probably the first time (correct me if im wrong) lego released a minifig size-appropriate race car and not the gokart sized cars or F1, neither the speed champions, theyre too big. I was so fascinated by it because it was the first time lego ever did it, through out my whole building life, ive always made race cars for my minifigs, all ending up to be 4-wides, but then again, lego made that 6-wide beauty.

admin June 11, 2017 at 8:13 PM

Pierre, thanks for sharing! Yeah, you can definitely go in and out of your Dark Ages. For some people it happens, ones, but for others it could be a waxing and waning like you experienced.

Jeremy July 11, 2017 at 1:22 AM

I entered the Dark Ages around age 16 when I started dating (1993). I emerged briefly in the middle of a long-term relationship, but I didn’t fully escape this period until I had been married for ten years. It helped that my SO developed a brief interest in Lego. Although she quickly escaped its grasp, I have been blissfully drowning in Lego ever since.

admin July 11, 2017 at 1:36 PM

Jeremy, thanks for sharing! Yeah, that’s a pretty typical pattern for getting in and out of the Dark Ages. Enjoy your LEGO! 😀

david September 11, 2019 at 9:46 AM

Thank you for the great article! Really enjoyed it.

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