Lego asked game developers to make dong-detection software for its MMO game

Lego had a hard problem to solve.


Patrick Howell O'Neill

Internet Culture

Published May 31, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 5:17 pm CDT

Lego is a massively successful and historic toy company that’s made a ton of a smash hit video games.

So why was Lego Universe a flop?

One reason the massively multiplayer game—an attempt at building a bigger version of Minecraft—didn’t work is that Lego had a hard problem to solve: penises.

Lego, trusted by parents to the highest degree, wanted to do everything they could to keep that trust. Anyone who has played an online game knows that you can’t keep things G-rated 100 percent of the time. Anyone who has been online at all knows you can’t keep penises away 100 percent of the time either.

Lego tried to beat both. The futility of it all was described by graphics coder Megan Fox. In the battle of Legos versus dongs, dongs won big time.

“This is the answer to the oft-asked question, ‘Why didn’t Lego build Minecraft?’ commenter qq66 wrote. “Because big companies necessarily focus on risks to what they already have, while small companies focus on untapped opportunities.”

This also poses another big question: Are penises so offensive that the mere site of a phallic Lego should bring down a multimillion-dollar operation?

H/T Hacker News | Illustration via Lego

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*First Published: May 31, 2015, 1:07 pm CDT