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Cock-blocking costs are a big drawback to kid MMO success, says Lego Universe dev

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Remember Lego Universe? A brick-building MMO for kids launching a full year before Minecraft was a thing, yet closing in 2012, how on Earth could that not succeed? Well, says one of its developers, you have no idea how much it costs to keep that kind of a space safe for kids.

E-specially if that space has a name on it that families trust, like Lego. Megan Fox, a senior graphics coder at NetDevil (which developed Lego Universe for Lego and Warner Bros.) took to Twitter on Friday to share her experiences of building the game, after wondering how a game like Splatoon moderates, if at all, a message system where people may draw anything they want.

Fox, who founded Glass Bottom Games (their latest work is Hot Tin Roof) unloaded an absolutely riotous tale about Lego Universe with equal doses of humor, caution and bewilderment. Lego Universe required an enormous moderation process, Fox said, to make sure that, well, the game wasn't overrun by Lego penises.

Yeah, good luck with that. Fox said Lego Universe was "entirely whitelist-based building," with the moderation team maintaining a catalog of every model and property in the game.

It wasn't necessarily that children were playing the game and might see a penis; it's that children were playing a Lego game and might see Lego penis.

Minecraft, which isn't attached to another brand (though it is by now an enormous enterprise owned by Microsoft) didn't face the same limitations or need to make the same guarantees when it was being built.

Fox related a story of a developer internally building Lego dong, and very nearly being fired for it. The dev was dicking around in his own property, Fox said, but a kid "wandered into it during a kid test." It was a "four alarm fire to find who built the penis," she said. After this, someone went off half-cocked and sent a memo laying down a "new absolute zero tolerance policy on building penises of any kind, anywhere, in the game."

Fox was swamped on Twitter after telling this story, and we don't mean to blow up her feed all over again, but the story is too good not to share. You can read the whole thing in sequence more easily here. She did ask earlier today that if anyone writes about this, that they use the picture above, by Lego Universe superfan PANGOLIN_2. We're happy to oblige there, too.