It’s time for some fun! With all the terrible news throughout the world, family fun and fun with friends is long overdue. I’ve been having fun with something new that have elements unlike anything else I’ve seen called Blinks by Move38. Not a board game. Not a video game. It’s new, different and almost indescribable. Come along for a peek.
According to the company, “Move38 is a new kind of game company–A product design house with design, game, and systems engineering expertise founded by MIT Media Lab alum, Johnathan Bobrow. Blinks is the world’s first smart tabletop game system. It includes 30 games – built with AI-powered intelligent game pieces that respond to your touch, communicate with each other, and think for themselves. Every piece knows its own game and can learn new games. Blinks are portable and completely modular, so the more Blinks you have, the bigger games and experiences you can create anywhere you are.
Not only are Blinks portable and fun to play anywhere, taking users away from the computer screen/providing something tactile to play with, but it’s open source so all ages of developers can create their own games–Move38 has even published some of them!
The most recent community-built game is called Hexenwood and it allows users to play against real competitors or you can add an ‘AI’ Blink that you can play against! Or multiple AI Blinks!”
•This is an opportunity for MrGadget.com to showcase and support an entrepreneurial effort emblematic of so many today. I hope you will join me in this support!•
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Each hexagonal game piece is loaded with its own game and can send its instructions for that game to other game pieces with LEDs and can be physically connected by magnetic contacts. Once the pieces to be active in a game are populated with game instructions, it’s time to play.
There are 30+ published titles with many more in development.
To get started, there are a few options from which to choose. The kit I am using consists of the 9 Game Starter Set, $149, with 3 Game Ultimate Action Pack, $59, together for the bundled price of $179.
Where to start? The company has posted, “How to Play Blinks” YouTube videos. View the first one, “Getting Started with Blinks Game System.” I am fascinated with Blinks.
Each game has its own YouTube video, too. Readers will be directed to them shortly.
Blinks games are targeted at anyone age 14 and older, though there is nothing inherently age-inappropriate in them. I would not see an issue introducing them to younger players with supervision at first. The game pieces are small enough to not be safe for anyone who might put them in their mouth or otherwise use them inappropriately.
Here at Gadget Central, we were excited by the concept and execution of these games. Well made, they promote creativity, individual and group activities, family friendly fun, virtually unlimited play options and the opportunity to play on almost any surface, anywhere.
Consider the buy-in cost of traditional video games and other game systems. PC games, console gaming with Xbox and PlayStation buy-ins are all much more money. Granted, those offer added capabilities, including video and audio, but they lack the kind of portability offered by Blinks. Portable Nintendo Switch systems are also more costly. Each piece of Nintendo game software is at additional cost. The others offer play for no more than two persons, whereas many Blink games are multi-player, and the initial cost includes nine games that will provide users with virtually endless, challenging game play.
Blinks cost less and have their own set of unique abilities.
What powers Blink game blocks. Inside each block is an inexpensive, common and readily available CR2032 Lithium battery. Each Blinks block should run for more than 40 hours of active game play. I stocked up on batteries. Why not? Here is my Amazon search result to save you some time searching for reasonably priced CR2032 batteries.
**WHAT’S IN THE BOXES**
- In the 9 Game Starter Set are the nine game blocks, booklet with instructions for each game, two clever “sushi rolls” used for transporting five games each (watch the Getting Started video demo)
- Astro An asteroid field rich with rare space ore awaits you. Can you collect enough to fill your cargo hold before your competition does?
- Darkball is Pong for the Blinks Game System. Players put their timing to the test against a speedy disappearing ball and each other.
- Group Therapy It’s your job to get these Blinks what they need most: extraverts want neighbors, introverts need their space. It’s a focused frenzy for one or many!
- Heist It’s Crokinole for crooks! Fling your Blinks at the vault in an attempt to take the gold!
- Paintbrush is a deeply strategic game with pieces acting as both brush and canvas.
- Puzzle 101 Challenge yourself or work with friends to solve an endless supply of self-generating puzzles!
- WHAM! is Whack-A-Mole at any scale, in any arrangement, for any number of players.
- ZenFlow Sometimes you need to relax and bliss out at your desk. Be mesmerized by swirling colors and patterns as Blinks share their happiness.
- Widgets UPGRADE YOUR GAME NIGHT. The Blink becomes your favorite new game accessory! Need to roll dice, but don’t have the space? Use the dice widget. Settle the score with a coin flip. Spin your own wheel of fortune. You could even use these widgets to invent your own game! We’ve created 4 unique games that use Widgets: Takeway Dice, Spinomino, Flip Bet, & Topple Stones.
- 2 x Sushi Roll carrying case
- 1 x Game Instructions
- 1 x Blinks game box
In the 3 Game Ultimate Action Pack are the 3 game blocks and instructions for each game, with specifics:
- 3 Games (MORTALS, SPEED RACER, FLIC FLOP)
- Unique Commemorative Stickers
- Game Instruction Booklet
- Game Box
- READ the directions. ✓
- Choose the first game, then others. ✓
- Watch the videos associated with each game before playing. ✓✓
**PUT TO THE TEST**
Blinks simple demo 1
Blinks simple demo 2
Digging in, starting with Puzzle 101, a game for one player. A little bit of a learning curve. This is my first experience with Binks. Played for an hour and a half. This is fun!
Next, Darkball, ideally for two or more players. I set the field as demonstrated in the linked video for practice. Red/green color deficiency gave some issues accurately recognizing the colors. Reducing ambient light helped by showing the Blinks illumination more prominently. Played for about 45 minutes.
After a break, back to play.
WHAM! was the next challenge. Can I survive 30 rounds to win the game? As it turned out, no, not on my initial try, but I will be back to try again and beat this game! After 40 minutes, I decided that was enough for the day.
And, I’m back . . .
Picking up where I left off with WHAM!, I started playing a new game. All of a sudden, 90 minutes had passed without notice. This really is fun and obviously engaging.
Astro is next, this time with a friend. This short-duration game was played over and over again, resetting, attempting to best my opponent with quicker moves. Faster hands, fake moves, strategic gestures, lots of laughs.
And then in the following days, a little bit of time with each of the remaining games.
And so it went for more than two weeks, until now.
Folks smarter than I who may be interested in learning to make their own Blinks games click HERE.
It is easily seen that Blinks deliver as promised. There are hours and hours of fun and more, or minutes if that is the only available time. I will keep mine rolled into their cute sushi rolls at the ready for those quick breaks as well as for scheduled play for longer breaks and to enjoy with others. It has become easy to reach for Blinks instead of the usual distractions, and it is a relief to be disengaged from my phone and computer for these breaks.
With students back at school, really IN school, and with the upcoming holidays, Blinks should be on your short lists for youth and adult gifts for any occasion.
Please be sure to follow them on social media.