Did you play with Bristle Blocks when you were a kid? I know I did, but I forgot all about them until I saw Edushape’s Magic Brix Starter Set while browsing for a gift online. Just looking at those plastic blocks with little pegs sticking up brought back a ton of memories.
Apparently, the concept behind Bristle Blocks is public domain, so there are many different manufacturers of plastic blocks that look pretty much the same. I decided to roll the dice on the Magic Brix and see if Prima and Secunda are as intrigued by these toys as I was.
The short answer is, yes, they are. There are 100 blocks in this starter set, and they come in far more variety than I remember. There are the classic long rectangles, short rectangles, and squares, but also a bunch of other shapes: triangles, windows, and even axles and wheels. That’s right, you can actually make a car with this set. Consider my mind totally blown.
The thing I like best about Bristle-style blocks is that they are general, rather than specific. Here’s what I mean: When I was young, all Legos were generic: you had a bunch of small, colored, plastic blocks, and you could make a pirate ship, moon lander, or race car from the same little pack, if you had enough creativity. Sure, it didn’t look exactly like any of those things, but to a kid with imagination, it was close enough. Now, it looks like most of the Legos (at least the ones I see) are very specific; there’s not too much else you can make out of the Death Star set besides the Death Star. To me, that ruins the appeal of the toy: you might as well be putting together a model kit (something I never was able to do as a kid). So I like having a box of blocks that let kids build whatever they can imagine, even if it doesn’t look exactly like that they’ve seen in a movie or cartoon.
So far, for example, we’ve built a few different houses, a few cars, a helicopter car, a jet car, and a fairly accurate representation of the space shuttle orbiter (the wheels make good main engines). There’s really no limit to what you can do with these.
I’m happy with the quality so far, and at about $33 they seem to be a decent value, with lots of potential replay. And, just admit it, you’re probably going to have more fun than them playing with these.