actual gadget

Millennium Falcon Guitar Rocks Your Space Off

by James on Jul.21, 2010, under actual gadget, colossal waste of time, kids today

Artist Builds Working Millennium Falcon Electric Guitar from Vintage Star Wars Toy

Only drawback is flawed hyper drive.

The Millennium Falcon guitar. It was inevitable. I mean, look at the size of that vintage toy. Who got that for Christmas? Maybe Donald Trump’s kids get GIGANTIC models of movie toys for special occasions. Maybe Ted Turner’s kids. But seriously. I mean, look at that thing! And now, this guy ruined it by making into a guitar. RUINED! It is SO not in mint condition anymore. It has been significantly DEvalued.

Artist Travis S. has been building custom guitars with his father since he was in high school. Plus, he’s also an avid fan of the Star Wars series (hopefully just IV – VI). So, it was only natural for him to combine his two passions at some point. Because the guitar is electric, making the body out of a toy does not affect the sound. But he did have to add a maple support beam down the back of the toy so it could withstand the tension of the guitar’s strings. He’s also fitted it with blue LEDs supported by their own batteries.

I sort of hope this guitar snaps at the first strum. A guitar’s bass string pulls about 20 lbs. “If I leeeeeeave here tomorr-SNAP!” What a bastardization this is. Shameful. It would be okay if maybe this artist organized a whole band of Star Wars-looking dudes, and one guy plays a Tie-Fighter, and one guy an X-Wing, and one guy has like a gold bass made to look like those stupid Naboo ships from Episode I. The guy on the drums would have that upside-down droid who’s being branded in Jaba’s palace. Then a dude dressed like Chewbacca could be their roadie, sent to fix the hyper drive when it fails on stage.

We Americans can’t have nice things. It’s only a matter of time before someone disgraces Lord of the Rings by making bridal gowns to like clothes from Rivendell . (DOH!) Or Terminator red LED bluetooth headsets. Or Leaving Las Vegas brand vodka. The Passion of the Christ thorn hats. Little Miss Sunshine stripper outfits for girls 10 and under. Silence of the Lambs bacon.

I could go on.

Unless you’re Billy Gibbons, respect epic legends; even if they are just movies that got lucky. Or don’t. Just know you’ll be mocked on the Internet either way.

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Watch live hummingbirds drink from your face

by James on Apr.14, 2010, under actual gadget

Yep. It’s real.

The inventor is a man from California’s Humboldt County. You sit outside with this on your head, and hummingbirds drink from the tube coming out from between your eyes. It costs $80 and you can get it from, the most professionally designed website ever. Here’re some tips on how to get birds to eat off your face:

Using and enjoying the feeder is a two step process.
The first is to acquaint the hummingbirds with the
feeder. We set an old can of paint on a small shelf
on the side of the barn and slipped the feeder onto
the can. It wasn’t long before the hummingbirds found
it, and after a little searching, found the feeding
station. Then we let them get familiar with the
feeder for a few days. Finally we set a chair next
to the shelf, removed the feeder from the can,
slipped it on and waited. One never forgets the first
time a hummingbird suddenly arrives at the feeder
right in front of your eyes.

Awesome. I actually invented something like this. It’s the wild lion feeder mask, and it’s a steak with two eye-holes poked into it. You lay out in the sand in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park with this on your face, and usually in less than an hour, Kenya’s mane-less male lion (the one featured in the movie “The Ghost in the Darkness”) will find you and eat right from your face. Results vary, however, as sometimes they devour the person wearing the mask also. But, you get to experience this right up close like you never would otherwise!

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So controversvial, they were super popular

by James on Mar.02, 2010, under actual gadget, kids today, you can't turn away

The 12 Most Controversial Video Games

When I first read this article, I was all, “more like the 12 video games I gotta have!” But, then I read closer and that was simply not the case. While some of these games are just mischievous, others are downright evil. Which, of course, is what makes people like them so much. Few things in life are as satisfying as coming home from a rough day and blasting a few undead zombies. And even if you relieve stress by beating up hookers and taking your money back, in the games, they all come back to life when you play it next, stopping your morals from being quite so irritating.

Anyway, here’s the list. Enjoy. Or don’t. That’s your choice as an adult. And yes, they’re all real.

1. Bully

Reason: Violence in a school setting.

Bully has caused controversy among parents and educators. Groups such as Bullying Online and Peaceaholics have criticized the game for glorifying or trivializing school bullying.

The game’s ending depends on how you, the player, pilot your 15-year old character, Jimmy, through his first year at the unfriendly Bullworth Academy prep school. If you choose to defend the geeks, they’ll have your back if you run afoul of the jocks. If you team up with the bullies, you might find yourself at a disadvantage with the preps.

2. Tomb Raider

Reason: Sexuality.

When Tomb Raider hit the games market, it did so with a good degree of corporate muscle behind it: indeed the game was launched as a significant part of the Sony Playstation offensive. The success of the game is arguably attributable to this synchronicity between new techniques, a highly immersive and involving game space and game narrative and the controversial (and opportunistic) use of a female lead. Lara is provided with a narrative past appropriate to her status as an adventurer and an aristocratic English accent – a greater degree of characterization than the norm. Certainly, fans and critics suggest that none of these factors alone can explain the world beating success of the first game and its many sequels. “Lara’s phenomenal success wasn’t just about a cracking adventure, other games had that too. Lara had something that hooked the gamers like nothing has before. At the center of Tomb Raider was a fantasy female figure.

3. Ethnic Cleansing

Reason: Extreme racism
Ethnic Cleansing (2002) is a controversial computer game developed by Resistance Records, an underground music label specializing in Neo-Nazi and white supremacist bands. In the game, the protagonist (the player can choose either a skinhead or a Klansman) runs through a ghetto killing black people and Latinos, before descending into a subway system to kill Jews. Finally he reaches the “Jewish Control Center”, where Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, is directing plans for world domination. The player must kill Sharon to win the game.

4. Muslim Massacre

Reason: Critics say the game of modern religious genocide contains a blatantly destructive message but there is little authorities can do about it.

Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide is a controversial 2008 amateur computer game by Something Awful forum member Eric Vaughn under the screen name “Sigvatr.”It is a top-down shoot ‘em up video game. The aim of the game is to kill all Muslims that appear on the screen.

5. Resident Evil 5

Reason: Resident Evil 5′s 2007 E3 trailer was questioned for its depiction of a white protagonist killing black enemies in a small African village. Newsweek editor N’Gai Croal began the criticism, stating, “There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery.” He acknowledged that only the preview had been released.

6. Six Days in Fallujah

Reason: The game was opposed by both the public and critics alike for “Glamorizing” and “Glossing over” the real-life massacre at Fallujah. This caused the former publisher, Konami, to oppose the game and stop publishing it.

Six Days in Fallujah is a third-person shooter video game described by the developer, Atomic Games, as a survival horror game. It is the first game to focus directly on Operation Iraqi Freedom, mainly the Second Battle of Fallujah or Operation Phantom Fury. The game follows a squad of U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion 1st Marines over the span of six days. The premise of the game has been the subject of controversy; questions have been raised as to its appropriateness, especially given the fact that the true event the game is based upon was so recent. It was originally to be published by Konami. On April 28, 2009, a spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press that Konami was no longer publishing the game.

7. Left 4 Dead 2

Reason: The cover art in the UK had to be altered due to a potentially offensive hand gesture being depicted. The game was banned in Australia for its excessive violence and gore. The game’s New Orleans setting so soon after Hurricane Katrina was considered “a bad call”. Finally, Left 4 Dead 2 was accused of being racist after incorporating black infected into the game, Valve quickly stated this was only for population diversification purposes.

8. State of Emergency

Reason: Military-style violence including political assassinations and coup d’etats. Additionally, the game caused controversy in Washington due to the game’s similarities to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle.

State of Emergency is a controversial 2002 action-adventure video game released by Rockstar Games. It was developed by Scottish firm VIS Entertainment for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. Hip Hop artists D-Stroy and Jean Grae provided voices for State of Emergency characters.

The game was supposed to cause considerable controversy for the level of military style violence and its coup d’etats styled, grass-roots ‘urban political revolution’ subject matter, featuring political assassinations of Orwellian, corrupt government executives. It faced accusations of being a “hooligan simulator” and calls from numerous groups, most notably from a number of tabloids and ‘concerned parents watch-dog’ groups in the USA & UK to be banned. It received an “M-18″ certificate, for amongst other things, the use of vicariously simulated military firearms.

Additionally, the game was denounced by Washington state politicians for its similarity to the real-life 1999 World Trade Organization riots and protests in Seattle which caused $3 million in damages. The game features the fictional “American Trade Organization” as the antagonistic establishment.

9. Silent Hill

Reason: for graphic violence and very disturbing imagery.

In 1999 Konami released the original Silent Hill on the PSX. From the outset the game caused a lot of controversy with its dark, deeply disturbing psychological gameplay and horrific visual effects. This was a game with a twisted storyline unlike any other survival horror release that was on the market at the time. Cut scenes showed disembowelled bodies hanging crucified from stakes and weird, tortured unearthly creatures that could have come straight out of a Clive Barker novel.

10. Grand Theft Auto IV

Reason: Sexuality and extreme violence. GTA IV was referred to as a “terrorist simulator” due to Liberty City being an exact replica of an American city. This is the reason why the plane is not available.

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a video game series created by Scottish game programmer Dave Jones, then later by English brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke and primarily developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games.

The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, driving, and occasional role-playing, stealth and racing elements and has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organization, or who have the most impact impeding their progress.

11. Mass Effect

Reason: Falsely accused by evangelical blogger Kevin McCullough of containing rape and sodomy, as well as by Fox News host Martha MacCallum of including “full graphic sex”. In actuality, the game’s most explicit content is an indirect shot of a humanoid alien breast.

12. Death Race (1976 game)

Reason: Rejected by the public and denounced in the press due to the sound effect issued by enemies who are driven over, coupled with a grave marker which rises where they were killed.

Death Race is a controversial arcade game, released by Exidy in 1976. While not the first violent video game to appear, it was the first video game to inspire a great deal of protest and controversy in the United States.

In the game, designed by Howell Ivy and inspired by the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 by Paul Bartel, one or two players control an on-screen car (two cars if two players played) with a steering wheel and an acceleration pedal. The object was to run down “gremlins” who were fleeing the vehicle. As the player hit them, they would scream or squeal and be replaced on-screen by tombstones. This increased the challenge of the game as the screen cluttered up and the player had to avoid the tombstones.

The controversy increased the game’s sales, causing another product run, but the game inspired so many protests—including the first-ever organized protests over a video game, led by Ronnie Lamm—that in the end only about 500 units were made. There were even stories about the stand-up consoles being dragged into parking lots and burned by protesters.
by Nora Vega @

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Just when your addiction died down

by James on Feb.11, 2010, under actual gadget, kids today

The Complex gets a gut rehab

Dyslexics of the world! Untie! The old Goldeneye for Nintendo 64 gets a source code overhaul using the physics engine from Half Life 2. Bond has never looked better.

Remember the crows’ nest in the complex where you could be virtually invincible? Look how much better it looks! Remember how you’d fall asleep and all your dreams had a hand holding a gun in the foreground? Now that Klobb will look awesome!  Remember how you grew up in Texas, and therefore spoke fluent Spanish as a child but because of this game you couldn’t get even a C on a Spanish exam in college? Oh.

I feel like one of these days, a programmer is going to accidentally discover the Grand Unified Theory of Physics while programming physics engines for games. It’ll be some dude’s job to streamline 300 lines of physics algorithms into 50 lines, and he/she will accidentally reconcile Einstein’s Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. That’s how good this mod looks. They keep calling it a “source mod” on the site, but it doesn’t look source anymore.

But. Even if it had looked this good when it came out, it would still be bad form to play as Oddjob. Who throws a shoe, I mean, honestly?

Check out the site, and the trailer below. Try not to have flashbacks.

Videos & Audio – GoldenEye: Source Mod for Half-Life 2 – Mod DB

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Technology Ruins Another Pastime

by James on Feb.11, 2010, under actual gadget, kids today

the game controlled by screamingIf screaming worked on all games, I know a few gamers who’d be dead. Gnilley is an Australian game prototype where enemies are destroyed by screaming. The angrier you scream, the faster the baddies get dispatched.  Developed by Glen Forrester (a.k.a. Radix) for Sydney’s Game Jam 2010, the concept started as being about “pitch and color” but eventually dissolved into “yelling at everything.”

Some game aspects are controlled simply by the volume of your voice–walls may disappear, doors unlock–but enemies must be screamed at. And angrily.

The video demonstration below is hilarious. Wait at least until the giant rabbit boss fight at about 1:30.

Usually when I yell at games, I simply want to know “why.” WHY, GAME? How is that guy still alive! I threw a grenade right next to him!

This game will be good for people like this kid I knew in jr. high, who used to get so angry, he’d put the old NES controller brick in his mouth and bite it. Like an angry German shepherd grabbing a fleeing criminal’s arm. It was kind of astounding. He also liked to burn things.

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