10K Club Interview: Meet Garett Yoshimura of Sega Classic Arcade Machines
Did you grow up spending your allowance and weekends playing videogames at the local arcade? If so, then today's 10K Club member Garett Yoshimura a.k.a. SpacySmoke has a treat for you, as he built quite the nostalgic project - Sega Classic Arcade Machines - that makes you want to time travel back to play some of these classic games.
Help us congratulate Garett on joining the exclusive LEGO Ideas 10K Club and for sharing his story with us!
- Where are you from?
Southern California in the United States.
- How old are you?
I’m 39 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a web consultant for a Japanese software company.
^ Garett shows of SEGA LEGO builds.
What hobbies do you have?
I play videogames (I guess that’s obvious), collect action figures (mostly Star Wars and Transformers right now), and I like to draw.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I think my first LEGO set was Fabuland set 3634 and I kept playing with LEGO as a child until around 1987. As an adult, I would buy the occasional Star Wars LEGO set because of my love of Star Wars, so that was always a reason to check out the LEGO isle. However, I didn’t truly become an AFOL until around 2010, when I bought set 3177 – Small Car. It was meant to be something to fiddle with on my desk at work, but eventually it led to me buying more sets. I then joined some LEGO forums and started building MOCs and was pretty much hooked at that point.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I’d have to say set 6990, the Monorail Transport System. It was the very last LEGO set I owned as a child, and it was also the largest and most impressive. The monorail was just amazing and it was great fun adding all my space sets around the track to make the ultimate space base. Sadly, I sold it when I was in college.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I love brackets! They’re just so useful for SNOT-work and for making builds more detailed. My arcade machine builds would be much less detailed without them! I’m waiting for a 1x1 bracket to be made.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I’d have to say Jamie Berard. It’s not because he’s a popular designer necessarily; after becoming an AFOL, my first modular building was the 10197 Fire Brigade and it really opened my eyes as to what was possible with LEGO bricks and it was a great set to learn new techniques. It was only later that I found out who the designer of the set was.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I mostly visit Brickset for LEGO news and reviews. I also enjoy New Elementary because I love how they showcase new LEGO parts.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I always loved going to the arcades as a child, and these SEGA games always impressed with the experience that the moving cabinets provided along with the stellar graphics and gameplay. When I got back into LEGO as an adult and started making MOCs, these were on a shortlist of things I wanted to build.
^ Garett's LEGO builds matched up against their SEGA videogame companions.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Overall, the biggest challenge was making them at minifigure scale. For a long time, I didn’t even think it would be possible with the amount of detail that I wanted, so I didn’t even try. Eventually, I gave it a shot and built the Out Run machine and was pleased with the results, so I forged ahead.
Another challenge was getting them to move like the real thing. These arcade machines were known for their ability to move, so it was important for me to recreate that motion as accurately as possible. This led to a lot of rebuilds and tests to find out what worked best for each machine.Aside from those things, I think I had the most difficulty with the front section of the Out Run machine. The real thing has a very sleek shape that is difficult to recreate in LEGO at this scale. I rebuilt it several times while the project was gathering support and I’m still not quite happy with it.
- How long did it take to complete the model?
It’s kind of hard to say. I built the original three models (Out Run, Space Harrier, and Thunder Blade) over the course of maybe three months of light off and on building. At the time, I was busy with work and getting ready for my first child to be born, so it wasn’t exactly something I could devote a lot time to at once.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt surreal! I was excited, relieved, and just feeling very grateful to all the supporters who helped promote the project. The videogame and LEGO fans have just been amazing with their encouragement and support. I feel like the Shenmue videogame fans, in particular, really helped rally support and push it to 10,000 in the last few months. Huge props to everyone who supported though; it really motivated me to start making more updates even though I don’t have a lot of time to devote to LEGO these days.
The project took 711 days to reach 10,000, so there were only 19 days left! It really went down to the wire!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
In total, there are 447 LEGO bricks for the four arcade machines I built. Out Run has the most bricks at 160, while Hang On has the least at 55.
^ It all started with some basic sketches.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
This is something I wish I could have told myself: think a lot about the scope of your project and be willing to adjust according to feedback. In other words, is the scope of your project general enough to attract a wide audience?
As an example, the title of my project was general enough, but the models were based on games only from the 80’s. There were a lot of younger people who wanted to see classic Sega games from when they grew up, such as Daytona USA and SEGA Rally. I think if I had included games from multiple decades, the project would have gained support much faster as it would have spoken to a wider audience instead of favoring people who grew up or lived during the 80’s.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
Right now, I really like “The Vintage Motorcycle of BMW R60/2” by maximecheng03; great build and presentation! I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast by any means, but that’s a set I’d buy.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I think what attracts me is that any idea can be made into a real set and I love the diversity of the sets that have been released so far. It’s been great seeing licenses and ideas that we’d probably never see if not for the LEGO Ideas platform.
If you are serious about getting your project to 10k votes, think about how you are going to promote your project. Make a marketing plan. Think about what audiences would be interested in your idea and how to best share your idea with them such as through a forum or Twitter. Create a tinyurl for your project so it’s easier for people to remember how to view your project page (especially important for platforms that don’t allow clickable links, such as Instagram). Remember, your potential list of supporters is probably bigger than you think, so really think about any non-LEGO groups that may be interested in your idea. For example, Road & Track wrote an article about my project because of the Out Run machine; I never thought to contact them though, so think outside the box.
- lego ideas
- 10k club
- garett yoshimura
- sega classic arcade machines