LEGO City (also known as LEGOLAND, LEGO Town, City Center, and World City over the years) is the longest-running LEGO theme of all. It dates to 1969 when, after just selling boxes or buckets full of bricks and other parts, LEGO introduced a bungalow kit. 1974 saw the arrival of the first primitive minifigs with molded-on arms, one-piece leg parts, and no faces printed on the heads. LEGO Town was officially kicked off in 1978, together with the redesigned minifigs that could now move their arms, hands and legs separately and finally had smiling faces.
Most non-Technic LEGO themes were and are based on (and more or less compatible with) Town/City.
Some LEGO City tropes:
- Brand X: Most prominently, the oil company Octan.
- LEGO did feature several actual brands in the past such as Shell, Exxon, Philips, Maersk or P&O Stena.
- Cool Bike: Viewed from an early 1980s point of view, the two-part motorcycle introduced in 1983. Viewed by those used to this bike, the later, more sophisticated bikes.
- Cool Car: Depending on what you were used to seeing, there were several. A few examples:
- In the late 1970s, every car a minifig could sit in.
- The 6627 convertible with its hinged hood. Also, the first kit to introduce a Stetson hat.
- The car from 6655. Introducing clip-on wheels and a car jack!
- The 6361 telescopic mobile crane.
- The Light & Sound kits.
- The 6357 truck with helicopter. Not only was it cool to play with, it also looked cool.
- The sets from 1989 with suspension. Take 6660, remove the hook, and you've got the perfect car for re-enacting The Fall Guy.
- The 6646 Screaming Patriot. Flathead V-8 (well, V-4)? Check. External exhaust pipes salvaged from the discontinued Fabuland line? Check. Evel Knievel appeal? Check.
- Cool Plane: 1985 saw the arrival of aircraft with hinged fuselage sections which could carry minifig passengers. Quite cool in comparison with the 1970s planes with two-wide solid fuselages.
- The many Space Shuttles.
- Cool Train: The 6399 Airport Shuttle monorail. Nevermind that hardly anyone('s parents) could afford that and the matching airport.
- Built with LEGO: LEGO Town/City itself actually managed to subvert this trope in the 1980s already when more and more specialized parts were made such as horses (the famous idea book 6000 had horses and other animals made of bricks, as did the earliest LEGO Castle sets) or motorcycles (there were early kits with motorcycles made out of standard parts). The further the City theme developed, the more specialized many parts became, the less had to be made in the classic LEGO way, and the more LEGO resembled Playmobil.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: LEGO Town/City remains the only theme with no guns at all. LEGO even went as far as not making any opaque green bricks for decades so that nobody could build tanks.
- Long Runner: Depending on the definition, since 1969 or 1978 with no interruption.
- Retraux: The 7731 Mail Van and 7732 Postal Plane sets, both from 2008 evoke 1980's design cues (combined with modern parts) - in a sub-theme that has not been seen proper since the 80's.
- Threatening Shark: From the 1990s on, several sets included the two-part sharks originally designed for LEGO Pirates.