Liked on YouTube: LEGO 10308 Holiday Main Street feels confused

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Christmas is coming, whether you like it or not. With Christmas comes a new festive LEGO for Adults set, and this year’s offering is 10308 LEGO Holiday Main Street, which is…uh…it’s…
This 18+ set is…
Hang on a second.
This one? This set right here?
This is a LEGO for Adults, 18+ set?
Then…why is it so…play…y?
It’s all disjointed, the backs of all the buildings are shallow and open, to better allow for play.
The LEGO Group sent us a promotional video which we can’t show you because they’ll inexplicably issue a YouTube copyright claim, but the whole way through the video, this kid is playing with the set while his grown-up watches from a distance.
This is not a LEGO for Adults set.
By this point, the LEGO Group has drawn a very clear line between buildings designed for adults and designed for younger fans.
Previous festive sets such as 10293 Santa’s Visit, 10275 Elf Club House, and the eternally beloved 10267 Gingerbread House are all very clearly designed to be put on display as part of festive decorations, and while you definitely can get in there and do some playing, that’s not their primary purpose.
In contrast to this, the new 10308 LEGO Holiday Main Street features exactly the same architectural design as, for example, the hotel in 60200 Capital City, or 31105 Creator 3-in-1 Townhouse Toy Store. Or, indeed, basically anything from the LEGO Friends range.
These buildings lack the detail and depth – the literal depth – of sets normally given the LEGO for Adults branding. They’re typically just the facades of storefronts, nice and open, they’ll look great on a display, but they’re mostly designed with play in mind.
There are some definitely adult-priced building sets that feature this design, most notably 75978 Diagon Alley, but even in this case, this looooong set is intended to be displayed as a single unit. It’s not split up into a bunch of tiny segmented parts, nor does it include a tram that’s definitely intended for whizzing back and forth as a child acts out Christmas shopping.
To be clear: there is nothing wrong with a set like this that is not designed with adults in mind. These play-focused shop sets are actually tremendous fun for LEGO fans of all ages – 31131 Creator 3-in-1 Downtown Noodle Shop is one of the coolest, quirkiest sets of the year from any LEGO range.
It’s odd, though, that we’re at the point where the LEGO for Adults package branding is so strong that the LEGO Group will dress up a clearly aimed at kids set to make it seem sophisticated and mature.
There’s that now iconic black packaging which really undersells the set. With such a dark, sparse design, it’s hard to get a sense of the wonder and fun this set holds in the right hands. Something more snowy and, well, festive could have been better.
Compare this, for example, with the packaging for Chinese New Year sets, which are allowed to be bright, eye-catching, and decked out in festive patterns and designs.
What’s more, the 90th Anniversary sets and 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay were given more inventive box designs. The rule that grown-up sets need blank black packaging isn’t set in stone.
So why make this set look, comparatively, so…dull?
Can we not just let the fun, cutesy, play-focused sets be fun, cutesy, and play-focused?
Is it really so difficult to get kids to play with LEGO that the only viable option is to sell the sets direct to their parents instead?
This move is probably very calculated, based on marketing and sales data analysis which shows that Christmas sets sell best to grown-ups, but get used most by children. That actually would make complete sense.
The question, though, is: if LEGO for Adults sets just sell better, regardless of who the sets are actually designed for…
How long will it be until all LEGO sets are LEGO for Adults sets?
Maybe next year’s LEGO for Adults set will be DUPLO.