Modular behaviours: cube world&cubees

[Written by jose|sound, image|07.01.06]

http://www.radicauk.com/product/05%20-%2075039.htm

Play with one or stick two or more cubes together to build an interactive world(…) As you stack, they’ll interact and visit one another’s cubes.

http://www.takara-usa.com/toys/cubee/index.php

(…) if you interconnect additional Cubees, the one on top of the singing pyramid will belt out the lead while the others “sing” back-up.

Even though the possibilities of interaction between electronic toys has been already explored for a while (like in the most recent versions of the Tamagotchi or the Digimon), it looks as though there’s a new generation of toys on the horizon which are characterized by their ability to interact with each other regardless of the active presence of the user.

These toys generally come shaped as cubes which provide special connectors on several of their sides. Each cube is entertaining by itself, but in order for the interactions to happen, the user should connect two or more. The different kinds of modules behave accordingly to the type and number of other modules interconnected, which allows for endless variations; even more, once interconnected they behave with autonomy. In the case of the cubees, putting them together will create a choir (they sing rather cheesy songs, but that doesn’t make the idea less interesting). The cube world modules come with a screen which shows the guy living inside each cube. If you shake the cube, the guy can yell at you or get dizzy and puke, and if you connect several cubes together, the guys socialize and move from cube to cube, partying, quarreling and even falling down a pile of cubes if you stack them one on top of another.

Overall, I find these toys interesting not only because of the amusement they provide but especially because they have succeeded in implementing modular behaviours in a field where they had not been used before: in a way, the cubees are not so different from a moog synthesizer… well, they look different, but believe me, the concept is the same (and you can geet cheesy tunes out of a moog, too!).

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