We've been following the Sifteo Cubes for a while now, intrigued by their promise to give us an entirely new platform for fun, original games.
The gist is this: The system consists of a collection of cubes, each of which has a touch-screen and an accelerometer. The cubes are organized by a wireless base station, which sits in the middle. Games are built around moving, connecting, re-arranging and shaking the cubes.
Sifteo sent me a set of cubes (though technically: They're not quite cubes, are they?) and a base station, and I've been playing around with them for the past week.
I made the video above to show what the Sifteo Cubes are all about. You can find out more about them at the Sifteo site, and can be picked up at Barnes & Noble, though the Sifteo folks tell me they're currently sold out online, so you'll have to go to an actual store. It costs $129 for a base station and three cubes, and $30 for each additional cube.
Jury's out on whether these will still be cool next year, or if they're a neat but short-lived idea. But there's a lot still to come for Sifteo - a letter from the company co-founders mentions games from the creator of the Bit.Trip games, Cipher Prime, Magic: The Gathering designer Richard Garfield, and J.S.S. Joust makers Die Gute Fabrik. In addition, "Critically acclaimed designers Messhof, Tracer and Minusbaby are also producing a music-themed Sifteo game," which, considering Messhof is behind the wicked-cool game Nidhogg, sounds very cool indeed.
Even as it stands, Sifteo Cubes are cool—cooler even than I thought they'd be. They're certainly not essential, whatever that means, but they're fun, and would make for a great Christmas present for the hard-to-shop-for.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly credited Cipher Prime as being involved with the Bit.Trip series. It has been corrected.