Inside the utopian, brick-loving world of LEGO’s adult fandom

I used to enjoy buying my kids a $4 set of Legos for no special reason, figuring that some people spend that much for a fancy cup of coffee. My kids would cannibalize their Indiana Jones and Star Wars sets in order to create characters from the steampunk bedtime stories I used to tell them. Then one Christmas, the boy (then a young teen, now a young man) told me I didn’t need to buy him any more Legos. That set still lies unfinished on a shelf. I still sometimes detour down the toy aisle.

“Where else will you find a group of people who lovingly designate a piece of plastic as a BURP (Big Ugly Rock Piece)?” says Zak, also known as Brikkyy13, an editor or ‘patroller’ of the online LEGO encyclopedia Brickipedia. “The acronyms developed over time out of necessity – it’s much easier to use the term ‘MOC’ than ‘my own creation’, but they’re extremely important to the community as it helps to identify us and makes us stand out from the others.” And that community is increasingly rare online: everyone is nice to one another. It’s a block-filled utopia. | For some, however, finding utopia takes time. | “The ‘Dark Ages’ is a period of time, usually between your mid to late teens, when someone gives up the hobby for years or even decades, to pursue other interests,” says Anna Golson, editor of TheBrickBlogger. —Wired