Explore Alastair's thoughts across two blog collections: 

 

contemporary

Articles surrounding the latest movies, TV shows, and more. 

classic

Classic TV & film retrospectives from Alastair's personal movie collection.

Tomy's Lights Alive

Tomy's Lights Alive

Don't get me wrong; I liked my Etch-a-Sketch as much as the next kid, but it was nothing compared to the awesomeness of Lights Alive.

When I was a young boy, this was one of the most fun things I ever got my hands on. It had a screen that consisted of a black piece of plastic with various holes covered by magic. When you used the included tools, they'd interact with the magic by using sorcery and witchcraft to allow lights from beneath to shine through. The light on the underside could also be rotated using a wheel at the front, causing a really awesome psychedelic effect as it cycled through all four available colours; red, green, yellow and blue. With its impressive 31x23 dot matrix display, you could make higher resolution images than any other tablet available on the market at the time.

It was amazing - you could make circles and squares and triangles and even diamond shapes, all thanks to the included tools. There was a wheel that would go vertically and horizontally and another that could let you draw diagonally. Still not good enough? Then how about flipping those line-making babies around and using the pointy bit at the opposite end to poke individual holes? Yeah. So badass.

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But the fun doesn't end there! When you're done, all you have to do is slide the black screen up and everything resets, line by line, with the most satisfying clicking noise your four year old ears have ever heard.

Only want to erase the top half of the display? Then don't push it all the way, silly. You're in control. 

Want to know how the lights work? Mystery solved! There's no hiding the magic here - you get to see how the lights twirl and reflect on all the mirrors all for yourself all whilst resetting the board ready for your next masterpiece!

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Tomy toys were always the best, and this was no exception. I drew so many things on my Lights Alive. Mostly just lines and shapes and smiley faces, but they were all wondrous pieces of art that changed colour at my command.

I miss having that kind of power.

 

Nintendo/Sony Playstation prototype surfaces

Nintendo/Sony Playstation prototype surfaces

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web