Bloxels Requires Kids To Design Video Games Before Playing Them, Keeps Brain Rot Away

Not all video games will rot your child’s brain. In fact, the imaginative inventors at Pixel Press believe in the opposite. Some video games can increase problem solving skills, sharpen the analytical side of our brain, and open the door to endless creativity. Bloxels is the latest project from Pixel Press, and the promise is that it will exercise both sides of your child’s mind.

Who do these people at Pixel Press think they are with such a promise?

The co-founders and their team at Pixel Press, located in Saint Louis, Missouri, are dreamers, really smart dreamers. Their childhood love of video games turned into a desire to create their own. I had the chance to ask Robin Rath, CEO and Co-Founder of Pixel Press about this passion.

Rath, “Growing up I always thought I could make the games better if I had the chance. My friends and I would often draw game ideas on paper but were never able to take it any further. In 6th grade I made a hybrid Monopoly and LEGO game that's not too different from some of the LEGO board games available today. Instead of collecting properties you collected blocks to build a small house. It was for a school project and I remember it being a big hit!”

This inspiration drives the ideas at Pixel Press. They want their products to allow anybody to make their own video games. Using a process called computer vision, Rath and this team found a way to turn static images into interactive games. Kids can now do what they couldn’t as kids: Turn sketches and blocks into playable video games.

Tell me more about this interactive game called Bloxels.

Bloxels is a video game building system. It comes with one game board, 250 blocks in eight different colors, a guide book, and the free app called B.R.A.V.E Squad, the first game for Bloxels.

I am not a gamer—Duck Hunt was about as much gaming as I did as a kid—so I will spare you my attempts to give you the full details of B.R.A.V.E Squad, its floors, characters, and unlockable features. But know this: It is a top-down, role-playing game with good guys (The Heroes) and bad guys (The Bosses). Defend and destroy. Find and collect coins and gems. But not before you build the arenas in which all of this happens.

Each of the eight colored blocks represents an element of B.R.A.V.E Squad. Use one or all of the colors to place keys, doors, villains, barriers, gems, coins, walls, and turrets on the game board to create your video game.

Creativity and strategy are needed to make a workable maze that your players can run, smash, and fight their way through in order to reach a door which leads to another room.

Once your board is complete, take a picture with your tablet or smart phone, and use the app to turn your blocks into a video game. Before playing, you can customize the characters, colors and more elements of the game to suit your mood or imagination.

And once you create one room, you can clear your game board and make a new one, which can be digitally stitched to another. This adds another layer of complexity to the building process as well as the actual video game. It also allows more than one player to make a room to add to one game.

My kid isn’t into playing good guys vs. bad guys. What other games will Bloxels offer?

With time, many more games will be added to Bloxels. From building cities, 3D models, and arcade games to making music and art animations, Bloxels will be your child’s favorite tool to take an idea and turn it into a playable digital game using physical elements.

But it’s still a video game. Isn’t screen time bad for my kid?

Too much of anything is probably a bad thing. Our kids have more access to screens and devices than we did as kids. And screens will continue to be used at home and in the classroom for entertainment and education. It’s really up to you to decide how much screen time works for you and your family. Bloxels is not your average definition of screen time. It is not meant to be played with a comatose expression for hours on end.

CEO and Co-Founder Robin Rath reiterated to me, “Bloxels gets kids solving problems, building with their hands—all off the screen. It's a fun, physical experience without trying to remove them from the video game experience entirely. Bloxels is a hand on, brains on, video game.”

I’m sold. How do I get Bloxels into my child’s hands?

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, backers will receive their pre-orders this fall. Everyone else can pre-order their Bloxels from the Pixel Press website. The Pixel Press team will also use their website to let everyone know when sales are live. And according to an early tester, nine year old Mateo, the wait seems to be worth it, “If LEGOS, Skylanders, and Minecraft had a baby, it would be this.”

Our kids are going to be bombarded by screens, and they are going to play video games. Give them Bloxels to keep their imaginations firing and brain rot at bay.