The Evolution of a Fan
I used to be a hardcore completist.
Somehow, every year that BIONICLE existed, I was able to get every set from every wave. Once I had gotten every 2002 set, every 2001 set (they still sold 'em in '02) then got every 2003 set, it took on a life of its own. I felt as if I had gotten too far into the collection to turn away, past a point of no return. In the world of business, this is a phenomenon known as "escalation of commitment." If BIONICLE was still going, I'd still probably be a completist.
It wasn't just the sets, though; I was enthralled with the story as well. I'd memorize every new bit of story I could get my hands on. I remember thinking about how so incredibly epic the Rahkshi were (*gasp* knee articulation!) and wondering how they could possibly make the story any cooler. Whether or not they succeeded is a point of contention amongst fans, but I found 2004 to be a pinnacle of awesomeness when it arrived. (*gasp* Elbow articulation!)
At some point, subconsciously at least, it became something I did simply because I did it, and the sheer inertia of the tradition was enough impetus for me to continue doing so, year after year. It became a game. I waited until the sets went on sale and scrounged them up. 2009 was especially like this, and marked a sea-change in my time as a LEGO fan. I still enjoyed building the sets, no doubt about it, but I began a transformation. For the most part, I avoided the Bara Magna story. I simply had no interest in learning it like I had learned the story of previous years. It wasn't an active avoidance, not at first - I just lost interest, plain and simple. I still watched TLR and figured out that Metus was the traitor, but I never got myself into any other '09 story.
Then 2010 came along, and with it came confirmation of the dreaded rumors surrounding the end of BIONICLE as we knew it - and I felt fine. Of course, I felt an obligatory twinge of sadness at the loss of something that had been a constant throughout most of my life, but I recognized what I unconsciously had for so long: I had lost interest in the BIONICLE story to the point where I didn't care what direction it went in. What I was a fan of transformed from story to the building system. I cared about the parts in the sets, not the sets or story. That's why it makes no difference to me what LEGO decides to call their main constraction line. Hero Factory's sets are the natural continuation of BIONICLE's sets. I couldn't care less about the story.
The MOCs that I built, beginning in 2004, became the single most defining aspect of BIONICLE, its constraction line cousins, and LEGO in general. As I drifted away from the story, it was replaced by a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the LEGO system of building, the virtues of which I must extol in another entry, for it is too long and tangential to put here.
Oddly, I'm not particularly nostalgic for those olden times when story and sets mattered significantly to me. Greg's recent story revelations failed send the expected waves of nostalgia over me. I view it as closure, and I'm certainly glad we have it, but I don't want BIONICLE back. Let's face it, ladies and gentlemen: BIONICLE's return would most likely suck, as it would be a continuation of the downhill trend it exhibited in its waning years. It would be like Hero Factory all the way around: similar sets, simplistic story, etc. (Well, maybe it'd be like Ninjago a bit ... but that's another entry.)
My evolution as a fan of LEGO is, statistically speaking, rather stark: I haven't purchased a constraction set since 2010, when I got most of the first Hero Factory wave. Despite the interesting parts, I was unimpressed, and I swore off completeism - not like I really had to or anything. Since then, I've gone completely cold turkey on official sets. I've certainly gotten my fair share of parts from both part orders and BrickFair vendors, but I really have no interest in the new sets themselves. When new LEGO catalogs arrive, I'll only nonchalantly flip through them if I have nothing else better to do. Many times, I'll just recycle them.
Can LEGO get back to those olden days? I don't know. We'll just have to see.
But even if they do, I don't expect to return to my old days of completeism ever again.
NEXT TIME: SUMIKI GETS FRUSTRATED THAT THE PART HE JUST SAW A SECOND AGO ISN'T THERE ANYMORE. DANG IT, WHERE DID IT GO. I JUST SAW IT.