Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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December 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Technology

When I was a kid they had science sets, chemistry sets, build your own radio sets, etc. Who listens to the radio anymore right? We have podcasts.

But when I was in the toy store today I was looking for something different. God, no more video games, action figures, nerf guns…

Perhaps I was looking nostalgically at Parker Brothers games (they didn’t have RISK though), Lego and Labrynth but I kept thinking I couldn’t get those for him because he wouldn’t play with them very long. RISK? As great fun as it is kids like first person shooter games and I’m not allowing those in my house (not that he doesn’t sneak that in with his uncle).

But, lo and behold I saw the Hexbug Habitat set and some of the creatures. I’d blogged about Hexbugs (see previous post) after seeing some demonstrations at the 2010 Holiday Showcase Awards and even picked up a sample. I secretly wanted more but was already coming home with a bag of toys so I figured not to push it.

But now that it’s shopping time, seeing the Hexbugs laid out on the floor of my local toy store in Brooklyn served as an instant reminder to me of where I needed to start this year’s shopping. Rarely do I get this much of a head start as I don’t “buy” into Black Friday mania. The smiles on the kids in the play area said it all as they watched in fascination as the robotic creatures scurried around, back and forth, responding to obstacles and hand claps.

I got a Habitat set and a few bugs including the original Charlie and some of the nanos. I can’t wait to see my son’s face. He flipped over one nano and played with it for hours. It sits proudly on my bookshelf with a lot of other collectibles and we take it out all the time. But the little nano has no one to play with.

Until now.

For those of you who don’t know, the Hexbugs are robotic creatures that react to touch and sound. In fact if you are a fan of Science Fiction you’ll know that as we venture into space, the machines that take us there and will do the exploring are based on insect forms. These toys move and feel their way around, sensing objects along the way and avoiding them. They can even hear!

That’s right, you can guide them through hand claps, loud noise or table slap. The toy actually moves until it hits an obstacle or hears a loud sound. It will then backup and then move forward in a different direction. Yup. These little robots use the physics of vibration according to Amazon’s description.

Price isn’t a factor when it comes to buying toys (we also are getting Nodari a mountain bike and his first cell phone). But the set goes for about $35 in stores and the collectible bugs are about $10 each. Not that bad when you consider a Harry Potter Lego Playset goes for $130.

But the track is what I love. The pieces easily connect and disconnect, the doors swing open and closed. There are so many fun things you can do with them with little people and cats…. it goes on and on. There’s quite a community on YouTube with some funny videos. People can’t get enough.

Here’s a video of Hexbug. I’ll be making some more – it’s definitely going to be a fun morning under the tree.

Hexbug Is The Number One Toy On My Christmas Wish List

Hexbug Is The Number One Toy On My Christmas Wish List

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