Why do adult men play video games

Pneumatic pump! Gripper arm with 360 degrees of freedom of movement! Winch! Crane! Suspension wheels! The Lego Unimog U400 is a man’s dream - but one first has to be plugged together from 2048 components.

The ambitious Lego builder needs at least 15 hours until the monster made of orange, yellow and gray plastic blocks is finished. Then you can use the 1: 12.5 scale model - almost like a real Unimog - to drill holes in the ground, clear branches out of the way and transport sand. The hobby designer can then convert the crane and winch into a snow plow for use in winter.

Whimsical guys

"11 to 16 years" is printed on the packaging of the Unimog as the recommended age, but that's nonsense. Which eleven-year-old gets a toy that costs just under 200 euros? And which 16-year-old would still admit to playing with Lego bricks? The giant Unimog is clearly aimed at the child in the man.

Previously there was Duplo for babies, Lego for toddlers, Lego Creator and Lego Technic for older children, now there is Lego for adults. The new product line "Lego for men" is intended for men who like to assemble the Tower Bridge from 4287 individual parts in their spare time, recreate "Star Wars - Attack of the Clone Warriors" with spaceship models or a large construction site with a low loader, crawler excavator and crane on a small scale simulate.

Adults who don't devote themselves to the typical adult things after their work, but prefer to play, are quickly viewed as whimsical types.

A publisher who doesn't read books on Saturday afternoons but does pirouettes in his remote-controlled helicopter? Strange. A Prime Minister who doesn't roll over files around the clock at the weekend, but runs Märklin trains in his cellar? Very strange. A manager working on a model of the Taj Mahal out of matches at night? Very, very strange.

Are men who play Lego in their free time, spend hours building sandcastles with their children or fly stunt kites with a three-meter wingspan just boring? Do you have too much time?

According to a study by the Statistical Office of the European Union, German men have five hours and 24 minutes of free time every day (women half an hour less). The men spend most of this time watching TV, resting and other kinds of messing around, with 41 minutes a day devoted to hobbies and games.

Women mistakenly think of men at play as big kids. They smile at them and tolerate the gimmick as a lesser evil. The instinct to play is inherent in people's genes, and playing seems to have an evolutionary sense.

The Homo ludens, of whom the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga spoke, originally developed culture, politics and science "out of playful behavior," he writes. Only in the course of the millennia did the game become serious through ritualization and institutionalization. Players became philistines.

The urge to play lives on in the subconscious, and sometimes it breaks out. Women are also sometimes playful, they may then get used to scented candle sets, reverse glass painting and pottery courses. Men prefer to play with machines. "A child is hidden in a real man: it wants to play," wrote Friedrich Nietzsche.