Google and Lego teamed up together and launched “Build with Chrome,” a beautifully designed and implemented application that lets you build Lego virtually.
It’s beautiful, it’s smart, it’s fun to play with.
More positives: it can be a wonderful and cheap introduction to Lego for kids who have never had the chance to play with the bricks. (One could argue that the demographics for those who have never seen Lego and those who have a laptop or tablet probably do not intersect, but let’s ignore that and focus on the good.) It allows way more flexibility than a regular Lego build, and from what I’ve seen you can build things that sort of ignore the laws of physics.
On the negative: Lego bricks are meant to be touched, handled, attached, taken apart, attached again, taken apart again. There’s fun in putting them together according to one of Lego’s plans and also according to a plan in your head. There’s so much to be learned by actual building, from interlacing bricks to working with a limited supply, that it seems a shame to give it up for the ease of building in a browser.
Bottom line, I think Lego building needs to stay firmly in the real world. Not everything needs a virtual app, Lego is one of those things.
There is one major plus to building virtually: no more stepping on bricks in bare feet…