This week, I find myself contemplating monsters. I’m not talking about metaphorical monsters, or even terrible people who’ve done monstrous things. I’m talking about real monsters. Old-style mythological monsters. Like Godzilla. Or that giant amalgamation of dust and tax forms that currently resides under my bed. Scary stuff.
It’s not so much the monsters themselves that I find myself thinking about as their relationships with people. Why are we scared of monsters? Are they just different, or are they in fact evil as well? Do they go home to monster families at night, have monster dinner, then sit down to read the monster paper? People want to know.
Well, maybe not people. But I want to know.
Anyway, on this week’s Gadgetbox, we’ve got a terrible trio of monster-themed treats for you. First up, the tools you’ll need to survive a monster encounter, followed by a truly monstrous webcam, and we top it all off with a game that only a monster could love.
Survival of the fishiest
I went to see Cloverfield the other night with some friends. Since the movie’s been out about two months and it was 9:15 on a Monday night in suburban Springfield, Massachusetts, you might rightly guess that we were the only three people in the movie theater. We took that as license to break all the rules of moviegoing, chatting liberally about the film as it unfolded.
Amongst my repeated marveling that I wanted a video camera with a battery that lasts as long as the one on which the movie is supposedly shot, my friend commented: “It kind of makes you want to put together an emergency kit, doesn’t it?”
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to great lengths to assemble the kind of equipment you might want in such a package: ThinkGeek’s Sardine Can Survival Kit’s already done all the heavy lifting for you. The waterproof, air-tight, crushproof container has twenty-five vital items packed within it, including pain reliever, bandages, matches, a compass, duct tape, a waterproof bag, and more. And heck, the thing’ll even float if you drop it in the river.
Of course, you hope you never need one of these things, but should you ever be in a city attacked by a giant monster, you’ll be glad you spent the $13. Now, if only it had extra batteries for my camcorder.
As long as we’re on the story of world-destroying monsters, it seems only fair that you be alerted to the latest developments in the Whoniverse. We’ve covered many a piece of Dr. Who-related paraphernalia in these pages, from the Cyberman voice-changing mask to the Sonic Screwdriver. Now, from the terrifying depths of space comes the most blood-chilling one to date: the Dalek Webcam.
Little is known about the Dalek Webcam: its origins and specifications remain shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that it has a built-in microphone, it costs about £18 (~$36), and that it is a webcam shaped like a Dalek. No doubt we could have learned more, had the webcam not begun shouting “EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE” and threatening to plunge our toilets. Fortunately, I live on the third floor, so the problem was solved by putting the Dalek Webcam in the basement, at the bottom of a long flight of stairs.
Hulk no want surgery! Unless ice cream afterwards. Then Hulk okay with it.
I was never really a big fan of The Incredible Hulk. He’s just not that interesting; honestly, I got my fill of big lummoxes who shout a lot, use poor grammar, and solve all their problems with violence back in high school.
And yet I find myself irresistibly drawn to this version of Milton Bradley’s classic game Operation, which features as patient none other than the alter ego of Bruce Banner himself. More than anything else, though, it is the philosophical and epistemological questions the game raises that continue to fascinate me: why, for example, is the Hulk in surgery? How come he doesn’t transform back into mild-mannered Bruce Banner? And how the devil did that rocket end up in his toe? I blame the US military; the way they hound him, it’s shameful.
As in the original game, if you touch the edges while trying to remove one of the foreign objects, the Hulk’s eyes will light up and he’ll roar at you. Like that’s not enough to put even the most experienced surgeon on edge. The game itself will be released sometime in June, for about $30. Gamma ray exposure resulting from playing is said to be “within acceptable limits.”