Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spaced Out: Marbles’ Block Builders Product Review

I had this vague idea that I needed to work on my visual perception and spatial relations. So yesterday I zipped over to nearby Marbles: the brain store.

While I’m not a naturally born shopper – I’m more of a ”get in and get out” buyer – I can wander around a Marbles store and just plain forget about the time. Each game seems different and interesting and more fun than what you see in any other store in the mall.   

Something I  really like is that the store has a few puzzles just lying around that you can fool around with…which I do.

Another thing I like about Marbles’ stores is that the employees on the floor actually know their products.  Char, the lady who helped me, was nice and knew her stuff. She steered me towards a couple of products and I picked Block Builders Architecture³.  Actually, the hard part was getting out of the store without buying two or three other puzzles or books. (I’d forgotten about all the brain books at the store and have now added Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain to my reading list.)  

When I got  home, the first thing I noticed about Block Builders  is that the package didn’t open like I expected it to – it hinges up on a tilt which immediately made me think – “hmmm, I wouldn’t have thought of doing it that way, these guys are different.”

The light-blue plastic pieces come in six different blocks that unfold into hinged shapes with long diagonal slopes, curves and dips and sudden slants that are stackable.  Without closely reading the directions or trying to get familiar with the shapes I started doing the easiest exercises.

I was a bit frustrated when I couldn’t get the very first easiest damn puzzle right.  But then I aced the second puzzle.  Ok, I got this figured.  Oops, I then got stumped on puzzles three, five, seven, eight….

I ended up doing the first eleven easiest puzzles because I quickly realized that this is something I need to work on.

What I like about these puzzles is the three-dimensional and in-your-hand aspect.  If you’re like me, you’re the house handy man and have to fix toilets, assemble furniture that comes unassembled and basically repair anything that breaks. Somehow, I don’t think that an online animated game is going to help me do that better.  I can see, though, how practicing on these puzzles will help me better imagine the end result of some desk that I have to piece together for one of my daughters.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

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