ROLL IT OUT: The internal structure, nearly complete
(left). The final model encased in plexiglass (above).
McGinnis’ sister Mary (opposite) playing with
Superplexus Vortex at the Sonoma Valley Museum.
took a while to get the rights back. Freshly wounded
(but secretly relieved because I was not happy with
the results), I built a very involved 8-inch spherical
version unlike anything that came before. It was the
first version of Superplexus.
KID loved it, and asked that I make a new design
that could be manufacturable as soon as possible
because they were meeting with Tiger Electronics
Recently, we discovered several Chinese counterfeit versions; one even made it to the White House,
given as a gift to Malia Obama during a visit to
Pixar. One manufacturer, Buksi, has agreed to pay
royalties to KID and myself in order to market a version in the United States as Perplexus (perplexus.
net), distributed by PlaSmart. So you’ll soon see
Superplexus available again (sans electronics).
(Hasbro) in a week and wanted them to see it. One
hundred hours of work later, I had a design. It was
too difficult to draw, and could only be designed by
making it. Tiger went for it! I worked with engineers
and CAD designers almost nonstop. It was the most
intense, work-filled, rewarding six months of my life.
The latest phase in my creative endeavor is the
Giant Superplexus. I built my first 4-foot diameter
version for the 2007 Maker Faire in San Mateo,
and it was by far the most complex version to date.
By the spring of 2002, Superplexus hit stores
worldwide. It sold more than 700,000 units in a four-year period. It was listed in the “Top Ten Christmas
This design had little in common with the 7-inch
production model; it’s got so many circular shapes in
the design that I’ve dubbed it Superplexus Circles.
Gifts of 2002” in the United Kingdom. It did quite
well in Japan as well, where it was packaged with
stickers in the shape of eyes, to look like a brain.
Making the interconnected pathway system took
approximately 100 hours, a difficult and
This model has since been exhibited in many
venues, with amazing response. Thousands of
people have enjoyed seeing it, although only a small
percentage get a chance to actually play. I’ve tried
to limit playtime to around 5 minutes unless the
Photography by Laura McGinnis (left) and Michael McGinnis
Killed and Revived
Despite the game’s positive reception, the quantities sold were less than Hasbro’s vision of success,
and Superplexus was soon after discontinued.
44 Make: Volume 20