LEGO Snowman, GAMES Magazine

The December 2004 issue of GAMES magazine featured a six page article about me and my career as an independent LEGO builder. In addition to the article, a LEGO snowman that I designed was used on the cover of the magazine to create a puzzle for readers.

This was all a very cool thing for me, personally. GAMES magazine is a national publication that focuses on word puzzles, games, interesting toys, and so forth. I have read the magazine on and off for as long as I can remember (I remember vividly working on one of their contests involving the world "Albuquerque" when I was around 12 years old, probably -- over twenty years ago). Each December they publish their "Buyer's Guide" for the upcoming year which discusses the top games on the market (the top 100 traditional and top 100 electronic games). It is their best selling issue every year, and this is the one in which they included the article about me.

Months before, as the writer of the article was interviewing me, I offhandedly mentioned that it might be cool to include LEGO bricks on the cover somehow. Each month the magazine features some type of puzzle on its cover and challenges the readers to solve it.

Being the winter/Christmas issue, they said they thought LEGO on the cover would be great, if they could think of a puzzle and an appropriate LEGO construction. It was soon decided that a puzzle of the sort "which of these many things are exactly the same" would be used. The editor asked if they might use my LEGO Santa for the puzzle. I warned him that, because that model is so large, if multiple photographed copies were placed on a single cover (so that they could be compared), the resolution would be so small that people would not be able to even tell it was LEGO.

I then thought of a much better idea. I had recently been browsing other LEGO pages and was marvelling at a creation by builder Bruce Lowell: a beautiful 6.8 Studs-Not-On-Top sphere. With its seeming simplicity, and extraordinary roundness, I have to say that this is one of the most inspiring LEGO models of any size I have seen in a long time.

The sphere turned me onto the idea of a LEGO snowman, and so I used Bruce's model as a basis for the head and then extrapolated to larger spheres for the next two sections of the snowman's body (I did have to do some non-trivial modifications to the head to get the eyes, nose, and hinged hat to all stay together without glue).

I used an orange 1x1 cone for a 'carrot nose', black 1x1 plates for the eyes, and other elements for buttons, arms, a scarf, and even a rake held in one hand.

I shipped the model (partially glued) to GAMES so that they could photograph it. I included serveral alternate pieces so that they could change the model slightly and thus form the crux of the puzzle.

Magazine publishing is not a particularly speedy endeavor. All of this was done over the summer of 2004. I had been told that the target issue was the December one, so I just waited at this point. The 'street date' for the issue was the first week of November.

Having a subscription to the magazine, I got my copy in late October.

Overall, I was very pleased with how it turned out. As should be expected from a major publication, the writing was quite good and accurate (I found only one minor error). And something that LEGO enthusiasts will note: unless I am mistaken, I believe the word "LEGO" is used correctly throughout the whole article (I had pointed out to the writer that "LEGOs" is bad form).

Several other LEGO personalities besides myself are mentioned and quoted in the article, including: Todd Lehman (LUGNET is mentioned and URL-ed), Henry Lim, Brad Justus, J.P. Brown, and Sean Kenney. Several photographs are included of mine and Henry's work. Website addresses are included throughout.

Now, if only I had thought to mention my Scrabble playing history or Puzzle Parties... oh well... maybe there can be a second article [grin].

Certainly the best article about me I've seen to date.

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