ZOOB Building Set

Geek Culture

A building toy in the same vein as Erector or Lego, ZOOB is a set of five different pieces that can be connected by a simple arrangement of balls and sockets to create anything you can imagine… buckyballs, bridges, dinosaurs. Inspired by the nucleotides that make up DNA, the balls and sockets permit the finished sculpture to move and the ZOOBs’ smooth edges invite casual play and manipulation. How often do you pick up your buddy’s ornate Lego AT-AT sculpture and play with it? You’d get geek-slapped super quick.

Inevitably, as a plastic modular building toy, ZOOB must be compared with Lego. The fact is, it holds up pretty well. The simplicity of ZOOB is its strength. Nowadays practically all Lego sets are sold as special kits — robots, cars, what have you. Fewer and fewer bricks per kit are standard, and many are specialized pieces that must be sifted through to get to the more utilitarian parts. ZOOB, by contrast, uses the same 5 pieces in nearly all kits, requiring kids (and adults!) to use their imaginations more. And, as mentioned, the ZOOB’s crazy appearance and ball-and-socket flexibility cause hands to reach out and begin playing almost automatically. Best of all, while the toy is rated for years 6 to 10, you never really tire of ZOOB… I have a 16-piece tangle on my desk at work.

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