Pixelblocks ("The Evolutionary Building System") are a construction toy manufactured by Pixelblocks LLC. A Pixelblock is a small cubic block (approx. 8mm a side) with a Lego-style peg protruding from the top, a corresponding hole in the bottom, and narrow, jigsaw-like interlocking teeth in each of the other four sides. These features allow similarly aligned Pixelblocks to be connected on all sides to construct either two-dimensional mosaics or three-dimensional structures.

Pixelblocks are sold in sets of 250-2,000 pieces, each containing a set number of blocks in 8-12 different colours. These sets also come with sorting trays and activity booklets. The Pixelblocks website also sells bulk packs of single colours (including several not available at retail) for larger projects.

While the Pixelblocks marketing materials emphasise their educational uses and the potential of recreating photographs or original artwork in mosaic form, their main selling point is that they can be used to recreate sprites from 20th century videogames.

Entering 'Pixelblocks' into Flickr or Google Image Search returns some of the more popular subjects to have been recreated in Pixelblock form.

The main problem with PixelBlocks is that to recreate existing pixel art hundreds of specifically coloured blocks are needed, and the construction process is slow and painstaking. They're also quite fragile (variations in manufacturing meaning that the jigsaw teeth sometimes grip weakly), meaning that anything taller than ~20 pixels has to be handled carefully (or reinforced with additional 'scaffolding' on the reverse).

Lego have recently introduced a Mosaic product line which fills a similar role, and was presumably created in reaction to the success of Pixelblocks.

BQ2009

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