by Mr. Alex of Geekfoolery
Just six weeks ago, Christmas gifts were opened, and gift givers gauged the reaction of their giftees–was that a polite smile, or a genuine, “Wow! That’s cool!” Despite the vast array of product research available to any consumer with an Internet connection, it’s still a tough call to know if gift is going to get used and enjoyed, or is it going to end up on a shelf in the back of the closet, or exchanged, or worse–regifted.
That’s why this post-Christmas review is coming in mid-February. I picked up a Rubik’s Revolution for the kids almost as an afterthought. I wasn’t 100% of what it was, but the kids had asked for Rubik’s Cube, and this looked OK and was only about $13. In the shopping cart it went as continued searching for the kid’s “main” gift.
Unlike the original Rubik’s Cube, which requires a learning or discovering a fairly complex series of moves to solve the puzzle, Rubik’s revolution is simplicity itself. It looks like a shiny Rubik’s Cube, but the sides don’t rotate. Instead, the center square on each face is a lighted recessed button. The instruction sheet describes six different variation on the same game of simply pushing the button that is lit. That’s it, basically… a face lights up, and you have to spin the cube around, find the lit square and press it. Allowable time between presses gets shorter and shorter, and pressing the wrong button ends the game. There are two person variations, other similar themes.
What’s fascinating about it is how compelling this simple game is, for pretty much anyone who picks it up. Kids, of course love anything that beeps and lights up, and the fascination derives from rules simple enough to follow and succeed at. Older kids I watched play the game derive different strategies for turning the cube to get to the lit face faster. Get on the two person game with adults and it’s as compelling as eating potato chips. It can get a little noisy and exciting, but that’s all part of the fun.
We’ve taken the cube to friend’s houses, and their kids master the game in seconds and remain fascinated for… well, maybe not hours, but a long time, anyway.
There were more expensive, more complicated, more involved toys under the tree, but I have been amazed at the lasting appeal of this thing. At $13, it’s a bargain anyway–the fact that it will get used is icing on the cake.