Do you even gift, bro?
It's that time of year once again; when door-to-door carollers cause untold suffering and quick clips of 'Aunt Sheila on ice' i.e. 'people falling on their arses' begin to attract millions of hits online. Of course, it's also the season of giving - kind-hearted generosity on a scale that puts even the 'light-sided Scrooge' and his big goosey giveaway to shame. Sadly, some folks are just damned difficult to buy for, and attempting to please any one of these picky particulars can turn even the most well meaning of gifts into an expensive, unwanted dud.
Enter the fictional Christmas gift guide, a run-down of gaming's greatest not-actually-existing gadgets and their real life equivalents. Some can be purchased while others are absolute hogwash - noggin floggin, brain punching balderdash. So step inside wont you? That perfect last minute gift idea could be just a series of strange, made up advertisements away. Let's get cracking.
Jak's JET-board (Jak 2 & 3)
Bid a brief goodbye to gravity with this highly desirable, custom-made, eco alloy JET-board. Rigorously tested to the highest of Haven City safety standards - 'We splatter street urchins so you don't have to!' - this Hagai Raceways design features the award-winning A-Grav 11 engine, complete with 'slow stroller evisceration shield' and jet jump energy suspension. Become the envy of all your friends and the bane of civilised society as you effortlessly grind rails, flip tricks and sashay your way through brutal police crackdowns. Hagai Raceways - 'Feel Uplifted'.
Sadly, the present state of hover board tech is a little less fanciful, albeit far from dull. Hendo's 'Hover' project recently won backing via contributors on KickStarter, offering early production models at the low low price of just $10,000. Unlike Jak's board however, Hover remains limited to specific metal surfaces, i.e. copper and aluminium - meaning you won't be seeing any would-be-Marty Mcflys bailing under a bus, at least not anytime soon.
Stealth Camo (Metal Gear Solid)
Arent you tired of being so darn visible - so incredibly and implausibly popular - the people's hero, the life of the party, the communal drug of choice? You're a social butterfly without its cocoon, a turbo key without the off switch. What you need is a little bit of 'me time' - the opportunity to stand and bask in your own reflected glory without the fear that someone else may do the same. What you need is FOXHOUND Stealth. Developed by the minds at Shadow Moses, Stealth represents the next great leap in eavesdropping technology. Evade speeding tickets with ease, scare off the neighbours; consider your own self-worth while strolling through the ladies' locker-room. All this and more, with Stealth.
According to various news reports and one intensely dated website, a company named Hyperstealth is currently working on 'Quantum stealth' tech for the US military. Little else is known about the design at this point, though experts warn it could lead to a 300% rise in military related pranks and/or instances of hullabaloo. As for the price tag, this must-have Christmas gift will set you back anywhere between 100 and 800 billion-million dollars, or whatever the bail fee is for breaking into US military R&D.
Poke Ball (Pokmon)
Make nature your resource and dog fighting fun again with the official Pokmon branded Pokball, from Pokmon Pokmon!!! Like Russell Brand at an STI clinic, you're strangely compelled to catch them all, and catch them all you can with this Pokmon-themed, Pokmon-coloured, Pokmon-irradiated Pokmon'd Pokmon Pokmon!!! Simply toss at a nearby plant, animal or insect - be it garden-variety grasshopper or French-Canadian fighting trout - and observe as it entombs your target (for all time) inside of a sparse metallic orb. After all, what good is wildlife if it can't be bent to your maniacal will! Muahaha! Pokmon!
Considering the impetus behind Pokmon's creation, i.e. Satoshi Tajiri's love for all things green and wriggly, gifting your local Pokmon nut a simple jam jar for Xmas seems like a fairly solid proxy for the real thing. Catch some insects, grab some plants and before you know it you've created your very own little eco-system. Follow that up by beefing up a few specific insects, and unleash back into the garden. The time of the protein-fed ladybird is nigh!
Multi-Vision Goggles (Splinter Cell)
Remember that time you and your best buds played an impromptu game of hide and seek? Man oh man, that thing took forever, almost as if they weren't playing at all and instead took the opportunity to ditch you and hit up a couple of clubs Well, the next game is going to be different! With the Third Echelon Multi-Vision 'Trident true' goggle system, secretive misfits of the world need never be alone again! FIRST select the built-in heat vision to see exactly who's at home, THEN roll on to nighttime display to view your target peeling off his or her underwea aaaand I'm being arrested again. Remember, for all things strange and voyeuristic, contact the black spandex experts at Third Echelon!!!
For a much less squalid set of goggles, check out the Spy Net Ultra Vision headset. Available from around $90/ 45, these kids-size surveillance cams boast five different types of output, and even allow users to record directly to an onboard SD card - perfect for everything from school camping trips to busting Mr. Wilson's diabolical grave-robbing racket.
Issun's Celestial Brush (Okami)
Paint the town and perform all-action exorcisms galore with the new Okami-brand Celestial Brush. Previously restricted to lupine goddesses and diminutive artists in training, this handsomely handcrafted device is now available to you at home for the rock bottom price of just 8000 sun fragments - that's just 8000 fragments of the sun! Order now and we'll even throw in the Amaterasu-brand litter tray, tic medicine and back-mounted sword harness, ABSOLUTELY FREE.
Despite the best efforts of David Koresh, Heaven's Gate and errTom Cruise, there isn't exactly a go-to technique for contacting heavenly beings. That's the celestial part out of the window, but what about the brush bit - you can still buy one of those, right? Absolutely, and hey, why not opt for a semi-magical one while you're at it? Sensu, Nomad and eKit all offer paintbrush-like styluses for use with a variety of tablet and mobile devices. Turn your tweets into artistic, barely legible sketches with these digital doodlers of the future. Prices range from $15 to $50/ 10 - 30.
Watch laser (GoldenEye 007)
*Comically inept man is shown prying at a tin of beans. He fails, before breaking out into total hysterics. His wife, kids, dog, postman, neighbours, and that one bloke who used to bully him back in high school all turn up to chortle at his misfortune.*
Has this ever happened to you? Are you at a loss to undo jammed jars, rusty lids and those ever-annoying vacuum-sealed packages? Then perhaps what you need is an intensely bright, steel penetrating, highly radioactive wrist-mounted laser ray! Gaze in manful satisfaction as priceless ornaments become hilarious floor goop. Giggle as potential burglars succumb to your new 'Red Queen home security system'. That's the GoldenEye watch laser, from Q Division.
Laser mad inventor Patrick Priebe recently unveiled his take on a Bond-like laser watch. Capable of burning through CDs - at last! - Priebe claims his device was slung together using various bits of kit leftover from his regular work as a prop designer. That being the case, he has absolutely no intention of selling his blindingly dangerous device. Price: 50 million dollars, or whatever a modern spy movie costs.
Detective Vision (Batman: Arkham City)
Say sayonara to the skin deep, and a big Bat-signal hello to neon-tinged innards, with the Wayne Enterprises Detect-O-Matic 4000. Developed in conjunction with Gotham's caped crusader - what, you think batarangs just grow on trees? - this patented design allows users to view the world just like the Dark Knight - i.e. - as a massive 90s rave. Additional features include crime scene analysis, trajectory tracking and TSA-approved genitalia scans. Never again will a poorly endowed ruffian lob a ketchup packet with impunity. Hundreds of unconscious hoodlums can't be wrong - this is the must-have gift every Gothamite deserves, just maybe not the one they can afford right now. Payment plans available! Order yours today!
Sadly, 'X-rave vision' isn't actually a thing, and the chances of being allowed to borrow your GP's old scanner are pretty much zero. Still, there's always those crappy 'X-ray specs' from the joke shop, right? Either that or some kind of mind-expanding narcotic Nope, probably just stick with the option that doesn't find you waking up in a Norwegian landfill site, cradling a crack rock and remonstrating with a discarded tumble dryer. Just say no, kids.
Jetpack (Ratchet & Clank)
Walk? I don't think so pal. This is freedom country, and I'm not about to sacrifice my god-given right to relaxation - my 'liberty of laziness', if you will - on the altar of some fat-cat shoe cartel. No sir, I'd rather ride my jetpack. After all, nothing screams patriotism like a one-man rocket ship. Chart your own course, feel the breeze in your hair, overshoot the landing site and explode on impact, NOT because the government told you to, but because YOU wanted to do it! Flutter, fly and glide in style with the new Roboshack Thruster Pack. Other brands offer the mere sensation of flight, only Roboshack straps its impossibly powerful rocket to a sentient robot buddy, yours to keep as our welcoming gift to you. Yours for only 5000 bolts. See your local mechanic for currency conversion.
Believe it or not, mankind mustered up a working, if extremely limited jetpack design as far back as the early 1960s. Dubbed the 'rocket belt', this hydrogen peroxide powered device allowed users to hover over short distances for small periods of time, and even appeared in a number of film and tv projects, including the 1965 Bond flick Thunderball. Modern spin-offs retail at around 100 to 250 thousand dollars, and allow for up to 30 minutes of flight time on a single tank of fuel. Great if you've got a few extra pennies lying around.
Morph Ball (Metroid)
Before he became the prophet of our order, Fred Vivian Durst was already inspiring the world with one simple message - 'Keep rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling.' Just what the 'Infredible D' meant by such a powerful and enigmatic call to arms remains the subject of much scholarly debate, with some even speculating that our divine leader was in the pocket of the sinister rolling pin industry all along. This is a falsehood. Durst is light. Durst is love. We simply must keep on rolling, and rolling, and rolling, and what better what to do so than as a tightly packed sphere of humanity? For your chance to achieve perfect circularity simply roll into one of our local chiropractic chapters today. Harmony is only 25 exceedingly painful procedures away.
Metroid's 'Maru Mari' may be a little outlandish, but the concept of buzzing around in a big ol' ball has been with us for quite some time. From TV's Gladiators to the thrill-seeking scene in general, plenty of folks have tried their hand (and chucked up their guts) courtesy of human-sized hamster balls. Those wishing to experience the strange thrill of 'zorbing' can book a ride for around $30/ 25. Tell 'em Fred sent you.
Time Manipulation Device (Singularity)
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In a nutshell, Singularity's TMD is all about warping the world around you. Menacing enemies from one timeline are completely absent in another, pristine cities become derelict ghost towns and youthful faces melt away to reveal tired, elderly eyes. That being the case, there's only one clear alternative to a proper TMD. Yes Breaking Bad fans, it's Crystal Meth!* Perk up your in-laws this Xmas by introducing them to a whole new breed of weight loss solution. Achieve that must-have haggard look in weeks. See your neighbourhood crumble into disrepair within months. Crystal Meth: all the fun of time travel at just a fraction of the cost!
*Do not take Crystal Meth.
ARI Added Reality Interface (Heavy Rain)
My oh my, which member of my saccharine, commercial-friendly family took a bite out of this apple pie? Was it you Bobby? Or Billy? Uncle Marvin or Mary Sue? How about you Rover? Ha ha ha! What an adorable bunch we are. I guess we'll just never know - but what fun we've had in guessing! Maybe I'll just pop on a pair of these nifty ARI glasses and rebuild the scene from scratch. What's this? A lock of red hair. Scanning It's human all right. And how about these footprints? Size 6! Confess, Billy! Confess to your crimes! I'll see you hang for this!
Science may not have quite caught up to the magical image manipulation of Heavy Rain (a Minority Report-style system that makes use of a smart glove and glasses combo), but it's a field that becoming ever more viable. For a basic approximation of the tech you can purchase a pair of Beta stage Google Glass lenses for around $1500 /1000, or for a more 'hands on', game-related experience, the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 now sells for around $350.
Lord gift me up
Are there any other gaming gadgets you'd love to call your own? What real life items mimic the madcap fun of a Portal gun, Omni-Tool or Gravity hammer? Leave your seasons greetings and/or slanderous beatings in the comments box below.
Looking for more Christmas content? Why the hell wouldn't you be? Have a look atThe 8 most Christmassy games (that aren't actually set at Christmas), and then check out 12 games where you beat the everloving cheer out of Santa Claus. You'll have a delightful time.