The Return of Talking Time

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  #421  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:02 AM
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No. 37 LEGO Castle
LEGO
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Have fun storming the castle!


It's time to address the "L" word. LEGO, the famous Danish building toy, is diverse enough in its themes that they ended up having enough points for their own entries.

The first of these is Castle, one of the most venerable kingdoms in Legoland. It will turn 40 next year, with the first sets dating back to 1978. Back then, the Castle sets had no clear factions or sub-themes. It was just knights, horses, and peasants. The earliest sets didn't even have a dedicated horse figure – they were all made of blocks.


The original Yellow Castle set. Here's another famous early set, the Guarded Inn:


This is still one of the more famous and popular Castle sets due to its rare focus on townspeople, rather than your typical knights and squires.


The theme expanded and evolved through the 80s and 90s, growing to include multiple, warring factions like the Black Knights, Forestmen, Dragon Masters, and others. LEGO added unique pieces for dragons, as well as Majisto, a Merlin-like wizard, who was one of the first minifigures to be given a specific name. The theme continued well into the 2000s, dipping in and out of fantastic elements like Vikings, ninjas, and orcs.


LEGO was a hugely important toy for Kid Dracula, and Castle was a big part of that. I was a kid around the time the sets started introducing the wizards and dragons. In the mid-to-late 90s, me and my younger brother would forego the whole "Christmas list" and just circle the LEGO sets we wanted in the catalogs they'd mail to our house.


One year, we got one of the flagship Castle sets – the Royal Knights' Castle.

Just looking at this photo fills me with nostalgia. There was – is – nothing else quite like getting one of the big LEGO sets. The company has always been great at packing these sets with fun features. This castle had hidden chambers, treasure rooms, a throne, a haunted tower, a skeleton, a ghost, and just lots of love in general. Once assembled, we rarely took the castle apart, instead just building our own scenes into it with minifigures and other sets. Things like the skeleton, the chrome greatsword, and other parts were new for that time period and felt special. I also loved the raised baseplate that the castle was built on.

We'd use the minifigures to play out Zelda and Final Fantasy stories, as well as JRPG-type settings of our own make. There was just no end to the uses for the tiny swords, helmets, and shields that filled our minifigure bins.
I am still in the process of forgiving my brother for giving away 99% of our childhood LEGOs to a thrift store. But that's a story for another time.

I have one request: Since we will be returning to the LEGO well later on, I'd ask that right now we limit the LEGO discussion to just Castle. There will be time for the rest in the future.

Last edited by Dracula; 11-13-2017 at 10:34 AM.
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  #422  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:07 AM
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This image is triggering some nostalgia. I think i was particularly fond of the dragon’s flames. Not sure if I owned or played with this set.
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  #423  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:14 AM
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I had a big dumb LEGO castle, but I don't recall which one. I made my mother keep it intact on top of the piano for years, where it collected dust and dead bugs until she finally couldn't take it any more and spirited it away. It took me ages to notice that it was gone.
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  #424  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:31 AM
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Ah, I was wondering if Lego would get multiple entries - and it did, so my gushing will mostly have to wait as I expect one or two themes from my list to show up. For some reason I never got into collecting Castle, though I played with some that friends/relatives owned. I just ended up concentrating on other themes.

I did like all the fun helmet variations Castle got. The flat wall panels with stones painted on that some sets got felt a little like cheating, though.
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  #425  
Old 11-13-2017, 10:48 AM
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I had a ton of LEGO Castle stuff, though most of my LEGO was bought at garage sales and the like so I had few complete sets. I also included LEGO as its own entry on the list instead of dividing it by set. I was more of a Space and some underwater sets that could easily be made to work as additional space stuff.
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  #426  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:03 AM
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Astounded LEGO didn't crack the top 25, but I guess too many bare feet still harbor a grudge
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  #427  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:04 AM
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minifigs are just less detailed Funkos
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  #428  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:13 AM
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Astounded LEGO didn't crack the top 25, but I guess too many bare feet still harbor a grudge
I am fairly certain this isn't the last we'll see of LEGO on the list.
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  #429  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:14 AM
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I remember my parents buying my brother and I a ton of unsorted Lego and instruction booklets at a garage sale, and Castle sets made up the bulk of it. The variety of figures you could get was mind-boggling at the time. I have many fond memories of playing endless Fantasy RPG-style scenarios out with castles and ruins and stuff.
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  #430  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:35 AM
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Castle Lego was dope
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  #431  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:41 AM
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I have many fond memories of playing endless Fantasy RPG-style scenarios out with castles and ruins and stuff.
The best was having our little JRPG party and playing out battles with Final Fantasy music playing and everything.

We even built an airship for them.
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  #432  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:49 AM
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I never got any of the big sets like castle.
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  #433  
Old 11-13-2017, 12:11 PM
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Ah, yes, the Royal Knights Castle!

My best friend growing up (our dads were best friends in high school, were each others best men and continue to keep in touch to this day so we grew up together) had the Royal Knights Castle. I wanted it. I Lusted it. In my house, Legos were used. There was a near constant construction, demolition and reconstruction effort. But Tae-friend was not like that. He was into model building. Legos were built and then observed. He would set up elaborate battle scenes in and around his Royal Knights Castle, frozen in time and just BEGGING to be played with. But we weren't allowed to touch. So I would just picture the battle and play it out in my mind.

If I asked for the Royal Knights Castle or something like it, my dad would get me a small set from the same theme. I didn't really like the smaller sets as much in Castle, so i usually picked stuff from other themes. Castle narrowly didn't make it on my list, but I did mention it in the Lego I did vote for and the above story is why.

EDIT: LOVED the photo scenes for this one Drac
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  #434  
Old 11-13-2017, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
I am fairly certain this isn't the last we'll see of LEGO on the list.
Ah, you're right. I saw "Lego" and didn't see the "CASTLE" modifier after it. Well, that fixes that.
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  #435  
Old 11-13-2017, 01:09 PM
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Castle is interesting in that's inspired several sub brands, like the Nexon Knights and the Bionicle adjacent Knights Kingdom.



It'll be interesting to see further permutations.
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  #436  
Old 11-13-2017, 01:26 PM
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I never cared for LEGO's medieval stuff. The space line, though. That was my jam.

Edit: A space jam, if you will.
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  #437  
Old 11-13-2017, 01:41 PM
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The 1984 Castle was my first other Lego set. My parents bought it when I was too young for it as a family project; I keenly remember trying to thwart my dad assembling it by pressing bricks onto the baseplate and finding it hilarious when he pried them off. It had a jail cell, porticullis, and drawbridge; the string for the drawbridge regularly got tangled but every other feature was endlessly fascinating.
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  #438  
Old 11-13-2017, 02:12 PM
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I had Black Falcon's Fortress and then somehow ended up having two of them and because the castle folds out you could combine the two of them to make a huge castle.

I also had the Fire Breathing Fortress (seen above), the Dragon Wagon, and the Dragon Defender. That was a hell of an Xmas.

I think my favorite LEGO set of all time though was Castle adjacent? It was Robin Hood's hideout. But of course they didnt call it that. They called it Camouflaged Outpost

That set was great two secret entrances. A dynamic playset with a tree growing out the rock. Robin, Little John, and some merry men. Ah, it was amazing.
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  #439  
Old 11-13-2017, 02:31 PM
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Yeah, the Robin Hood types were called Forestmen and were part of the Castle theme. The Fire-Breathing Fortress was my brother's holy grail and he didn't get one until he was an adult (it was awesome). We did have some of the smaller dragon-themed sets.

Something I always found interesting about the older (80s-90s) Lego themes was that there was never any clear indicator of which faction was "good" or "bad." Castle characters like the Black Knights that you could interpret as evil just based on iconography, but LEGO left it up to you to figure that out. They weren't branded in that way. Everyone had the same smiley face (sometimes with a beard), so nobody looked mean or angry.

Later on, starting in the late 90s, starting around the time they got the Star Wars license, good/evil got way more clear cut. The 2008 Castle theme had knights vs. orcs, and it's pretty clear who was supposed to be evil there.
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  #440  
Old 11-13-2017, 02:41 PM
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Saw LEGO in the "Not #1 Slot" and knew there had to be a catch.
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  #441  
Old 11-13-2017, 07:45 PM
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Castle LEGO was great. It's how I played Final Fantasy Tactics before Final Fantasy Tactics existed.
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  #442  
Old 11-14-2017, 10:21 AM
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No. 36 Yo-yo
Duncan; Yomega; many others
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Around the world from the palm of your hand


The oldest known toy on our list so far, Yo-yos are confirmed to date back as far as 500 B.C. The concept is simple: a string wound around an axle suspended between two wooden discs. The string is tied to one of your fingers, and you throw the disc to make it spin.


Yo-yos in their current form became popular in the 1920s, and like Silly Putty before it, blew up into worldwide recognition after an entrepreneur and marketing genius – Donald F. Duncan – started selling them under the name of his company, Duncan Toys in the late 20s. The name of Duncan is practically synonymous with the Yo-yo, and you can still buy them, much the same as ever, today.


Ninety years has given us plenty of time to figure out what to do with our Yo-yos. The most basic trick is "sleep," where you cause the discs to continue spinning when they reach the end of the string. This technique wasn't possible until Pedro Flores, a Filipino immigrant, modified the basic design of the Yo-yo such that the string is looped around the axle. It was from Flores that Duncan purchased his Yo-yo factory and his future toy empire.

While sleeping, many more tricks become possible. You can roll the Yo-yo along the ground ("Walk the dog"), swing it around in a wide arc ("around the world"), or create a triangular shape with the string and swing the Yo-yo from its apex ("rock the baby").
When I was in junior high, around the turn of the century, Yo-yos were enormously popular. All of my classmates wanted a high-tech Yomega Yo-yo, which came with ball bearings that allowed for extremely high-speed spinning and extra-long sleep. I had a Yomega Brain, which came with a great little booklet that detailed all sorts of tricks, most of which I never mastered.


Speaking of mastery, there's a huge Yo-yo trick community in Japan (because of course there is), and there's also a World Yo-yo Contest, which is typically dominated by Japan. In conclusion, here is a video of 13-time world champion Shinji Saito using Yo-yos to demonstrate the obvious truth that gravity isn't real.


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  #443  
Old 11-14-2017, 10:23 AM
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Near the bottom of my list. They are great, but I can't do tricks so they don't keep me entertained TOO long. Still, when I was finally able to use one, it felt pretty great.
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  #444  
Old 11-14-2017, 10:28 AM
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y'all voted for the wrong one

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  #445  
Old 11-14-2017, 11:14 AM
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Yo-yo was one of the last cuts from my list. I had several as a kid, but I was bad at using them. I wanted a Star Trek yo-yo, so my mother made me one out of wood and string and painted the insignia on it. I think I still have it upstairs in my storeroom.

Anyway, here's a picture that I posted in the NES Top 50 thread for reasons that I'm sure made sense at the time of me mugging for the camera after getting my favourite yo-yo as a birthday gift:


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  #446  
Old 11-14-2017, 11:56 AM
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Holy crap I had that same TMNT yo-yo.

It felt pretty flimsy next to the deadly Duncans, tho. Those things could chip skulls.
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  #447  
Old 11-14-2017, 12:47 PM
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Like all kids, I had a "dumb" yo-yo as a kid. Failing to figure out how to make it sleep, or even come back, the thing was promptly forgotten. Like Drac, I was part of the yo-yo craze when high-tech yo-yos became all the rage. I had a Yomega with the ball bearings and a clutch. It might have been the blue one in Drac's post, though I think I had a butterfly style. With that technology, I was able to make the yo-yo sleep and perform a bunch of the tricks mentioned and it became super fun.

I saw a juggler who did a show with a chinese yo-yo. I was super interested, but never ended up getting one.

for being the only thing I played with for even a brief time, yo-yo made it to 9 on my list.
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  #448  
Old 11-14-2017, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
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y'all voted for the wrong one

Lord knows that was the Yo-Yo I had the most success with.
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  #449  
Old 11-14-2017, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
I wanted a Star Trek yo-yo, so my mother made me one out of wood and string and painted the insignia on it. I think I still have it upstairs in my storeroom.
Your mom's the coolest.


I had a light-up yo-yo when I was in fourth grade but someone stole it from my school desk. I learned a lot about life that day.

Kick balls: We had plenty of kick balls on offer in elementary school for recess but I don't recall playing much baseball-style kickball. Instead we played a vicious, anything-goes style of rugby in the field farthest away from the school building. I remember jump kicking some kid in the back of the knees to take him down and not feeling like it was too out of place. Then again there was a subsequent day when multiple kids used my head as a doormat so I got mine. Playing four square suddenly became a lot more appealing.

We also played a variant of dodgeball in which we lined up against a wall instead of having a court. I can't remember the exact rules of who got to throw and who was stuck on the wall. I preferred being on the wall because I liked the thrill of being evasive.

And finally, kicking the balls up onto the flat roof of the building at the end of recess was oddly popular even though it meant we'd have less playthings later. The custodians weren't very punctual in retrieving them either, but of course that backfired because some of us kids got pretty good at climbing up there to get them ourselves.
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  #450  
Old 11-14-2017, 01:28 PM
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I've had a few yo-yos but never got really into 'em. I did play around for a while with a diabolo, which is a tangentially related thingamabob evidently descended from the Chinese Yo-yo, with a bigger axle that's unattached from a string held between two sticks, so you can throw it up in the air and stuff. That thing was kind of fun.
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