Tuesday, August 26 2014 16:22

Review: LITE-BRITE Gets an Upgrade for 2014 with the Magic Screen...

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About a year ago, my girls got their first LITE-BRITE, which on the surface, I would've called "an upgrade" from the classic toy that Hasbro has been marketing in one form or another since 1967, if only because it borrowed styling from the iPad and called itself the "Lite-Brite LED Flatscreen." Thing is, while the nostalgia factor was certainly there, the version was clumsy, not as bright as it's old-school counterpart (remember the, big hot light bulb inside?), and the pegs were meant to fit within a flip-open storage tray at the bottom of the unit... one that didn't really fit all the included pegs, and to be stored in it's box, had to be folded flat - thus dumping the pegs. There were design issues (Amazon reviews have not been kind), but at it's core was the peg fun that generations have enjoyed, complete with black paper designs that were essentially use-once-then-toss, but as in the past - we kept them and made them work more than once. Fast-forward a year and the Lite-Brite has received a true upgrade, and what it appears to have taken is some fresh eyes on the project, these courtesy of Basic Fun, who have licensed the Lite-Brite brand from Hasbro and have run with it, sending us for review their first incarnation - The LITE-BRITE MAGIC SCREEN.


Zeroing in on modern kids by retaining some of that last-generation Hasbro design inspiration on the "tablet" note, the new version has cleaner lines and just feels better when you hold it. The storage tray is removable, and comfortably fits all the included pegs. By being flat on all sides, the design possibilities are greater (portrait vs. landscape).

For the first time ever, the Lite-Brite templates are reusable! Color-coded and pre-punched (no mess), they easily attach to the screen, and that's where the "magic" happens. Instead of being a grid filled with open holes that are only blocked by the paper template, the Magic Screen is essentially "self-healing" and allows light to shine through only when a peg is inserted. And the pegs? They got an upgrade, too - with the basic round pegs now accompanied by square ones and even fun shapes like wheels and animals.


Rock Father Approved!In an age where digital entertainment is taking far too much priority for the little ones, it's always great to see how the classic toys still hold their ground, even when taking cues from the tech that now surrounds them. Lite-Brite is one of those things that should be around forever.

Rock Father-Approved!

Plus, my Lite-Brite skills are pretty impressive, right?

The Lite-Brite Magic Screen is shipping to retailers now, and is also available via (my associates) Amazon and Entertainment Earth.


James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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