Lost Treasure: Rokenbok
For this new blog tag I want to jump into some childhood treasures that may have fallen off the grid in today's time.
We are starting the tag off with Rokenbok. This company started in early 1995 under the name - Rokenbok Toy Company and they had one purpose. To build children toys that were high quality interactive pieces.
Pictured above is a truck that when connected with a little adapter would bind it to a controller to drive it. You could pick up the little red/blue balls and dump them into the truck. Once collected - you would drive the collected balls to a lift that would sort them by color.
Now that of course assumes you built a similar structure then the one above, which might not be the case. You could design whatever you wanted - granted if you had the pieces. The main pieces you built designs around was either the lift (to carry balls up) or the shoots (to dump balls into the back of a truck).
Though, I want to do a deep dive into the history of the company behind the toys and see how it has changed/evolved since 1995. The first obvious change is the name, which Rokenbok Toy Company changed to Rokenbok Education and then finalized on Kid Spark Education.
It seems in 2010 the company pivoted to attempt to place these tools in K-8 schools worldwide as part of the STEM program. It took a few years until 2015 when the company restructured as a 501 c(3) non-profit. After that a few more years and these toys were used in 22 states around the United States.
I couldn't find much out besides that, so let's jump back to this toy and creativity.
I remember my goal when building these structures was to always build a 1st floor so you could accidentally "fall" off the structure with one of the cars. This would evolve into battle of the cars with the brother or friends.
We would use the controllers to drive the cars up to the 1st floor to compete in basically king of the hill. Whoever got the sweeper would normally win as it could over power the loaders (green cars) anytime it got in a 1v1 situation.
At the end of the day though you were basically building a structure to move balls around - the replay ability wasn't really there unless you created ad-hoc games like king of the hill.
I went digging and I found one truck remaining in childhood boxes. The colors and design of the current toys have appeared to change, but as shown above and littered over eBay - the design was once pretty basic.
With that, one lost treasure down - many more to come when I remember what they are.