Thursday, October 29, 2009

Because you're never too old, Part II

In addition to GeoTrax, I have also been putting together a considerable Rokenbok collection. I consider Rokenbok to be perhaps the greatest toy so far invented by humankind: it's a construction toy, a remote-control toy, a model train and an action toy all rolled up in to one. I started collecting Rokenbok before Kirby was even born, but due to his age didn't really start playing with it and him until earlier this year.

Over the summer, the Rokenbok company issued a "monorail building challenge:" build and create a video of an original and unique Rokenbok monorail system, and have a chance to win a $100 Rokenbok gift certificate. I decided to enter the challenge to have fun building and playing with Kirby (and to get some free monorail components in the process), so I cleared the living room floor at my parents' house (they were out of town for most of the summer), and set to work. Here's Kirby playing with what I came up with:

The layout featured two separate monorail trains which interacted with various action modules. Other action features included a remote-control crane and several remote-control trucks. Even though Rokenbok is recommended for children ages six and older, Kirby has already mastered the remote control aspect of the toy:
Needless to say, Kirby and I were very sad when the time came to dismantle the layout and return mom and dad's living room to its original state:
Here is the video I created, edited and submitted in time for the early September deadline:

I didn't think I had the technical expertise, the materials or (especially) the time to create a layout worthy of winning. I also wasn't satisfied with the quality of the video I submitted. Like I said, I didn't expect to win anything and, indeed, I did not come close to winning the popular vote held on the Rokenbok forums.

So imagine how surprised I was when I was informed that I had received the "Judge's Award," bestowed upon my design by a panel of Rokenbok employees who decided that my layout best demonstrated "all of the capabilities of the Rokenbok Monorail System and how it interacts with the rest of the Rokenbok world." Needless to say, I was pretty pleased. Not only did it mean a $100 Rokenbok gift certificate - more stuff for me and Kirby - but I have now been officially declared a "King of the Rok" by Rokenbok creator Paul Eichen himself!

That being said, I'm not merely being humble when I say my design was honestly not the most complicated or inventive. Take a moment to view some of the other entries in the contest. Some of the designs that were submitted are nothing short of amazing.

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