Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of movies, toys, comics, collectibles, and anything else I can get my grubby hands on!

“Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab” Toy Review

I have always had a fondness for Iron Man, especially for the fact that he shoots laser beams out of his hands. We all want gloves like that, but sadly, not all of us can have shrapnel embedded in our chest so badly that we must be powered by an ARC reactor and can therefore go ‘Pew! Pew!’ out of the palm of our hands. However, the “Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab” from Uncle Milton, another toy in their Marvel Science line, allows kids to harness the power of Tony Stark’s primary weapon and put it on your living room table. Instead of shooting blasts, this item uses air power to suspend spheres in the air that you can create obstacle courses for to understand the science part of what a repulsor ray is. The kids over at Foodie Tots are lending us a helping hand once again on this one, and will give us a real child’s opinion over whether this product is worth your time, or if you should start selling your Stark Industries stocks now.

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Here is a shot of the complete kit from a bird’s eye point of view, out of the box (which is a very colorful package and hard to miss in a store). The kit includes two round balls, three obstacles, and the arm. The pair of spheres are thankfully very soft, made from a foam-like material that is very squishy – so no need to worry about any broken windows with those.

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This contraption would be the magic behind the Repulsor Ray Tech Lab, namely the device that makes the air flow happen. Sporting the traditional red and yellow pantones of ole’ shellhead, the arm-like device rotates in and out of position around the base, which resembles the repulsor rays on the palm of the armored Avenger’s hand. The repulsor ray would seem much cooler and more “magical” if it didn’t sound like a leaf blower, since it is very noisy, but that is also the price you pay for a toy that shoots a steady stream of air out of it.

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Here is a close-up of the three different sized obstacles that you get to navigate your balls through. This trio also alters the difficulty of getting the balls through them, with each one having less space than the others. I wonder if Uncle Milton will offer an expansion pack for this one with more obstacles?

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This is a great toy, but unlike Thor’s hammer and Spider-Man’s web creator which we also reviewed, the box didn’t make a lot of sense to the kids. Foodie Boy was generally unimpressed with it until he opened it up and began playing with it, at which point he had fun with it and began to understand the concept better (keep in mind that he is seven years old at the time of this article, so do keep age in mind when buying this for a child).

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Thar’ she blows! Here is the toy in action, with both Foodie Boy and Foodie Girl giving it a try. The Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab just needs batteries to get it started, no assembly required. You push the blue button to get the air flow going, and from there you can set it to the two different modes that it has, “Tabletop” and “Handheld”, which is created by swiveling the part with the air so that it faces outward. The item also lights up and is recommended to try playing with in dim light (which we did not snap photos of because iPhone cameras are awful at dim light without a flash).

Foodie Girl is operating the toy while Foodie Boy is testing how the air flow works by waving his hand underneath the levitating ball. You can clearly see both kids having a good time now that the product is doing something, and really makes the science aspect of this very enjoyable.

You place it on the air flow and once it’s airborne, you try to move the ball by moving the repulsor ray unit. Once you’ve gotten used to moving it, the next step, or as they call it “phase”, is to move the ball through the energy sphere obstacles. This is where things get really tricky. It’s difficult to master but a lot of fun. The instructions recommend setting up an obstacle course once you get more used to it. Once you master that, they provide instructions on how to make your energy sphere fly through a tube, but that was a science experiment left for another day since the kids were having enough a good time just playing with it as is.

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While Foodie Boy had a lot of fun with it and even managed to get it through the obstacles several times, it turned out to be Foodie Girl who really loved it. The obstacles were a little too much for her at three years old, but she began to create her own experiments like seeing if she could get two balls to share the air flow at the same time, or seeing what happened if she moved her hand through the flow while the ball was in the air. Perhaps it is a sign for Uncle Milton to find a way to start targeting the young girl market with their science products as well, and offer Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk or Black Widow science kits…

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Overall, our Foodie Tots testers both enjoyed this item, although this is definitely one of the more science-oriented toys in the Marvel Science kit catalog. That does not take away from the joy of it at all, but it is one that would benefit from parents playing with their kids, and may not be meant for kids that are too young to appreciate it. As a toy, it’s a lot of fun, but the educational aspect might be above certain children’s heads, so make sure you parents out there play with your kids with this one, too.

The Uncle Milton Marvel Science Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab is available from Amazon.com for around $15, and is normally in stores for $25. At either price, it’s a great toy that will not let you down, and your kids will have hours of fun experimenting with the air flow and trying different ways to manipulate it.

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Want to read more about what the Foodie Tots are doing, and learn from their parents about how to get kids to eat well and support locally-grown food? Head over to their blog to hear about all of their escapades!

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“Thor Lightning Energy Hammer” Toy Review

What kid would not want to harness the power of the Norse god of thunder? Mattel and other companies have versions of Marvel Comics’ Thor’s hammer on toy shelves around the nation, but Uncle Milton had a different idea. The Thor Lightning Energy Hammer toy from their company combines the fun of Mjolnir and science to make for a perfect balance between plaything and learning toy.

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Who better to wield the enchanted hammer than Foodie Boy, one-half of the Foodie Tots kids from the Foodie Tots blog, a site devoted to teaching kids about proper nutrition and not just eating right, but eating the right way from the right places. When he is not tasting yummy cheeses that make me wish I was not lactose intolerant, Foodie Boy is a big fan of Marvel Comics superheroes. He even has his own Captain America costume, so it only made perfect sense to give him the abilities of a Norse god, too. He also really enjoyed his Spiderman Web Creator kit from Uncle Milton, but that’s a different review!

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This is one of the easiest of the Uncle Milton Marvel Science products to put together and use, as you simply get it out of the very easy to remove box and start using it. The only thing it really requires from you is some batteries to get the hammer to make lights and sounds. The hammer features a magnet within it, so whenever your child finds something that is also magnetic, the two will connect just like your average horseshoe magnet. Most kids love the magic/ science of magnets, but the genius that put a magnet into Thor’s hammer deserves a raise!

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Besides the hammer, this toy also comes with a base for the hammer that also lights up, a plastic coin with Thor on a metal part of it (which fits into the front of the base) to get you started picking things up with it, and a pamphlet on the science that the toy is based on – magnetism. The lights look bright and great when metal is detected, be it from the Thor coin or another source, or when it is put back in the station, glowing with a cool blue hue.

When your child swings the hammer around, it makes a swooshing noise as if you really are using the real Thor’s hammer. One of the best aspects of this particular toy is the lack of set-up and the ease of playability. The science aspect is (literally) built into it and is not a gimmick, but rather, this feel likes a toy with a fun magnetic feature that is not pushing the educational part of it (meaning most kids would not even bother playing with it again).

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You can order the Uncle Milton Marvel Science – Thor Lightning Energy Hammer from Amazon.com for under $15, and is normally $25. At $25, I would have said it was a great toy to buy with no reservations, but at $15, I have to ask why you already don’t have this? This toy is great for the kids to play and learn with, and feels like something that will get a lot of longterm usage, as well. Out of all of the Uncle Milton Marvel science kits, this is the one that truly makes you feel like a superhero, and is the easiest to jump right into using and learning with. This one comes highly recommended from NerdNewsToday, as well as the Foodie Tots!

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Want to read more about what the Foodie Tots are doing, and learn from their parents about how to get kids to eat well and locally? Head over to their blog to hear about all of their escapades!

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“Linsanity” Documentary Review

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Jeremy Lin did not fit the mold of what an NBA player was supposed to look like. He excelled at basketball wherever he went, but never got the credit he deserved and worked so hard to earn. After making it to the big leagues, and days away from the chopping block, a miracle happened that allowed him to prove his mettle not just to his team, but to the entire world. And thus, “Linsanity” was born.

It also happens that “Linsanity” became the appropriate name for Evan Jackson Leong’s documentary about one perseverant basketball player’s story. Lin’s tale is not just hoop dreams, as Jeremy battled against expectations of other people, stereotypes, and keeping his faith whole while being tested during his journey.

As a young child, Jeremy was always interested in basketball, in part thanks to his father becoming addicted to it. Jeremy and his brothers would constantly play, mimicking the moves they would see during televised games, and Jeremy quickly rose through the ranks in school, coming out on top at the end of his time in High School. However, it seemed few schools were interested in him despite his abilities, and Lin ended up playing ball for Harvard University. As time went on, Lin climbed through the ranks, and eventually made it to the NBA, a tumultuous period for him with much time spent wandering from team to team, praying that he would find a team that he could call his permanent home.

Lin soon found himself on the NY Knicks, where he spent the majority of his contract sitting on the bench, even during team practice. Sleeping on his teammate’s couch and then his sister-in-law’s, Jeremy was running out of options, but never ran out of his faith in God. You could call it a convenient coincidence or an act of a higher power, but Lin found himself pushed into a game with days before his contract expired, and Lin played the game of his life, breaking out and finally proving to the rest of the world what he already knew – that he could not only hold his own with the best of the best, but that he was one of those best in the world. From there, Jeremy began a craze and started to change the way people saw not just him, but Asians in the pro sports world.

This inspiring look at Jeremy Lin effectively transcends its own expectations, making it a documentary that is as human as it is about race and religion. Jeremy is incredibly down to earth and a guy that has left more sweat in the gym in a year than most do in a life time, but his humility and openness make him a great role model to viewers of all ethnicities. What might be my favorite thing about this entire doc is how it does not linger on the negativity of racial stereotypes in the sport, nor Lin’s Christian background and how important it is to him. While these topics are absolutely discussed and are critical to the doc, it’s the fact that anyone can be inspired by this story, because it’s the tale of the underdog who refuses to give up, no matter who says he should. Lin never stopped moving forward, even when he was pushed down, and came out on the top and will forever have a legacy as something more than a short-lived crave.

As someone who is not a basketball fan, I still greatly enjoyed the film and the story told and quickly got into it. You barely need to know anything about the sport to appreciate and be affected by it, making it a universally watchable story. Lin overcomes his adversity through his strength in God, as well as hard work, and it is a story that resonates in all of us. The cinematography feels like the viewer is a bystander in a story that even the film makers did not expect to turn out the way it did. I did find it odd that Jeremy himself does not talk as much as I expected him, especially in the first hour, with most of the film being talking heads discussing Lin with footage of him in various games to support them. Once we get into the meat of Jeremy’s rise with the Knicks, we get a more consistent amount of him, but for the first two-thirds, it’s other people telling us their stories about him.

Special features on the DVD include a “Behind the Scenes” feature that is under two minutes long and shows the green screen process of him doing certain interviews and some of the special effects scenes, such as where he is walking on water. That has a quick interview with Jeremy talking about being part of the documentary, which is not too much to write about. You also get the two-minute long pitch video that was part of the director’s Kickstarter campaign, and the trailer for the film.

You can order “Linsanity” from Amazon.com for about $20 and is worth picking up. I found myself very into the narrative by the end of it, and it reminded me with a great quote from Sergio Aragones that I felt was appropriate to share here. During an interview he did with Stan Lee in his “Comic Book Greats” series, Stan asked Sergio about his cartoons, and he responded with something to the effect of that he has to use certain stereotypes with his drawings to make them easier to understand, such as a nurse being a woman and a doctor being a man (nothing necessarily racial). The cartoonist said that he hopes that one day he will not need to do that, but it is up to us as the viewers to begin to make those disconnects of what we expect from a certain person so that drawings, and anything else, can open to being about the topic and not about who is doing it. This documentary is a great step in that direction, and is a great doc to watch and learn from.

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“The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange: Volume 3” DVD Review

Who knew that a simple flash cartoon with a superimposed human face on it could become a successful TV franchise? Apparently, Cartoon Network did when they took a chance and greenlit the “Annoying Orange” into his own cartoon show. Alongside his fruity friends and a shopkeep, the fruits get into all sorts of adventures (that more often or not turn into loose movie parodies) that end with Orange laughing himself silly and amusing little children while infuriating adults. Truly there was never a fruit more annoying that this one voiced by Dane Boedigheimer.

Vivendi Entertainment has released their third volume in their series of “Annoying Orange” DVDs, and I got my grubby mitts on them to take a look at it. Episodes in this DVD include “The Fast & Fruitious”, “Trans.Fruit.Bot.”, “Fruit Loose”, and “Meet the Oranges”. My personal favorite on this disc would be “My name is Orange”, where Orange discovers he has mold and will ultimately meet his demise. Seeing these outrageous cartoon characters deal with their concept of death is wacky enough as is, and has a few chuckles in there.

There are no special features on this DVD at all, and there is basically nothing here except for the ten 11-minute episodes and a single menu that loops the first 15 seconds of his theme song to the point where you will want to slice your ears off with a buzzsaw.

I tried to find more to say about this item, but unfortunately, it is a very niche product for a very specific market, and that would be fans of the “Annoying Orange”. There are plenty of times where I review products where I am either unfamiliar with, or not a fan of, a certain show and I can get through it and appreciate it for what it is. However, this DVD is really for kids who are fans of the show and want to watch the toon whenever they feel like it, instead of waiting for Cartoon Network to re-air the same episode in the morning and then again in the afternoon. If you are a fan, this is for you – if not, stay far away from this. That’s not to say it’s a bad show, which it is not (I admit that even as a non-fan, it has its moments), but it’s a show people either love or hate, and I am not the right market for this particular product.

You can order The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange: Volume 3 from Amazon.com for under $14, and is a bit steep considering that you are getting just under 90 uninterrupted minutes of a show that is on nearly nightly on Cartoon Network. But, if you have a serious fan of this toon in your house, you may want to consider buying it for them, just get them a pair of headphones to go with it so you do not have to needlessly suffer through that theme song or that insidious citrus laugh…

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“Boxers & Saints” Graphic Novel Review

Gene Luen Yang has made a big name for himself in the graphic novel community, earning himself acclaim and awards for his ever-growing body of work. His latest release is a two-book set, “Boxers & Saints”, that tells two very different stories from the same time period, intertwined with historic and mystical elements.

“Boxers & Saints” brings us to China at the turn of the 20th century during a time of great change and upheaval. Focused on the formation of the Boxer Rebellion and the events thereafter, each book in this set gives us two pieces of the puzzle. While they may be taking place in the same timeline with the same events happening, the stories are loosely tied together, but in the end are both tragic tales. “Boxers” gives us the side of Little Bao, a young man whose love of Opera aids his mental transformation from a weakling into the eventual leader of the Big Sword Society. During his struggles, he learns that he is channeling the spirit of a mysterious presence that he is not familiar with, and solves the mystery of who he is and what he will become.

In “Saints”, we meet “Four-Girl”, an abused and mistreated girl who takes her anger and frustation out into becoming a “devil”, which leads her ironically down the path of Christianity (to become a “foreign devil” like the British imperialists) to start a new life as Vibiana and down her own path of martyrdom as she takes solace from Joan of Arc. Both characters go down drastically different paths, and meet only twice in their lifetimes – first, as children, and later towards the conclusion of their tales.

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Yang’s writing always blurs the lines of humanism with socio-political messages, and this book expertly continues that difficult divide. It’s hard to tackle a book that deals heavily with political themes and to not favor one side of the argument, but through the strong and often-stubborn characters of Bao and Vibiana, Both characters make difficult decisions to consciously change their situations, both deluded into thinking it will be for the best, but the outcome for either is debatable.

The setting for this book is a piece of history that most Americans may only vaguely remember hearing about in their Middle School history classes, if they learned about it at all. Setting it in this time period makes for an interesting chain of juxtapositions. First, you have the characters themselves, displaced in their own worlds so much that they take up new mantles to delude themselves into becoming the person they think they want to be. Second, the visions they see that lead them to make the choices they do are just as opposite as the two protagonists are (but one of them might be a spoiler, so I will not say much else about that). Ultimately, it is these two major juxtapositions that lead us into the biggest ones of the pair of books – that of the Chinese traditionalists against the “secondary devils”, which were Chinese people that converted to Christianity.

Yang’s artwork is simple but bold lines, stark blacks for a stark world, but with subtle hints of thinner line work when needed for a brief moment of clarity. The color palette is often pale and cold, with the warmth coming through with the characters fantasies. They live in a bleak world that lacks compassion, and through their transformations they get the love that they desire so much. No one in “Boxers & Saints” is perfect, everyone is flawed (especially the protagonists), and this is what makes the book so interesting. How do you invest yourself into two characters that seem both confused at their roles in life, yet sure that what they are doing is the right thing and only way to accomplish this path they forged.

Thought-provoking, startling, chilling, depressing – these are all adjectives that came to me while reading this set. While the themes are nothing new for Yang, the way he depicts things with his art and mature writing set this apart from his previous books. Yang has never sugar-coated any of his words, but “Boxers & Saints” takes what Yang has done before and add a new level of depth that is unnerving at first due to the subject matter, but by the end leaves the readers in a similar state as the characters on the final page of the tale.

I definitely recommend “Boxers & Saints” for so many reasons. An intimate look at a period of time in China of mass violence, pain and sorrow, you will leave the book wondering who really were the winners and losers of the Boxer Rebellion. You can pick up the “Boxers & Saints” Boxed Set from Amazon.com for just $25, which is an amazing deal on a pair of must-read books, and certainly one bound to win Yang a few more awards.

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Admiral Ackbar Mimobot Review

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It’s a trap! Actually, it’s a flash drive! Behold, the might that is the Admiral Ackbar flash drive, courtesy of Mimoco.

Made by Mimoco, who also make flash drives of other licensed properties such as Transformers, Star Trek, GI Joe, and even My Little Pony, this is one of the many Star Wars mimobots. If you are not a fan of this native of Mon Calamari, you can also get Boba Fett, Darth Maul, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, Yoda, C-3P0, R2-D2, or even the rare limited-edition Jar Jar Binks just to name a few (hardcore fans will appreciate the obscure Lobot and Boushh mimobots, as well as Slave girl Leia drives). This stylish little piece of tech honors the man who led the rebellion to victory in “Return of the Jedi”, as well as the creature responsible for creating the B-Wing fighter. Plus, he tastes great fried with a side of marinara sauce.

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Standing two and a half inches tall and one inch wide, this high speed USB 2.0 flash drive comes in a few different capacities, ranging from 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, all the way up to 64 GB. Compatible for both Window and Mac operating systems, the drive comes pre-loaded with desktop wallpapers, app icons, and avatars to pimp your computer out. When you plug this mimobot into your computer, a little red light glows between his legs to let you know it is being read. The illustration of Ackbar on the front is not only cute, but captures the intensity that this military genius was known to have. Plus, he is one of the few mimobots to have a unique mold, with two eyes jutting out of the sides. The paint job has tremendous amount of detail, from his 80’s ochre smock to all of the weird grooves on his fishy head.

This is not my first mimobot, in fact I believe it is my seventh (my collection includes Captain Picard, Jake the Dog and Finn the Human from “Adventure Time”, and Bruce Lee to name a few), and they are a lot of fun to have. Being that they are shaped differently and feature a fancy design, they do cost more than the average flash drive, but it is worth it. The hard plastic shell makes them more durable than most flash drives, and they are definitely conversation pieces when you whip one of them out to do a data transfer, something I do often in my line of work. For the price you pay, these are also pretty fast drives, making that exchange of info quick and efficient.

You can order the Admiral Ackbar mimobot flash drive directly from Mimoco, starting at $25 for the 8 GB model, and $70 for the 64 GB one. I love Mimobots, and if you are as nerdy as I am, there is no reason not to own at least one, especially when it has the face of a martial arts icon like Bruce Lee on it. This drive is both fun and functional, and I definitely recommend you get one for yourself.

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“Marshmallow Stryker” Mini-Marshmallow Gun Review

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You have not had fun until you have shot a marshmallow gun! I was in love with these at NY Toy Fair 2013, and now that I have a few of my own to play with, I thought I would share the joy with you and let you know if these were as great as I remembered. Last time, we reviewed the two mini-marshmallow blow guns on the market from Marshmallow Fun Company, and today we look at the “Marshmallow Stryker” guns, which are one of the big sellers for the company.

The Stryker’s are more gun-like than the blowguns, measuring in at around 10 and a half inches long with two pistol grips (one on the chamber and the other on the handle). There is no trigger with these weapons, you simply use the pump to create air pressure to fire a mini-marshmallow out of the chamber. Loading the mini-marshmallows (which are sold separately and can be easily found in any supermarket) is simple too, just open the loading area and slide in up to 11 mallow payloads into it. I do suggest you clean this in between uses, or else it will get sticky and become very difficult to use.

Loading the gun is simple, firing it is equally easy. The mini-marshmallows will fly up to 20 feet, but on a good day outside with the right amount of wind, you can send it soaring pretty far. Like most of the Marshmallow Fun Company guns, they come in two colors – red and blue, and camouflage. This is a very fun outdoor activity, even if you are not a fan of toys that are weapons. Although it has weapon-like qualities, there is no trigger and the design greatly differentiates it from resembling an actual gun of any kind. It’s basically a system of cylinders with a pump-handle to create air pressure to force mini-marshmallows out, so if you can find a firearm like that, let me know.

The product I was reviewing in this post was actually a twin-pack with a pair of guns, but I could not find it at the time of this review from Amazon. However, I did find the guns sold as singles for only $8 a pop, and a twin-pack would run for roughly the same cost anyway. A typical Nerf dart-gun costs around $16-20 for one about the same size as these Stryker’s, so this is a good deal already compared to the cost of those. Plus, using edible ammo makes it more expendable, as opposed to loosing darts or balls with the Nerf guns. For that price, these are fun little marshmallow guns that are great for outdoor fun year-round!

You can also browse for other marshmallow guns on their official website.

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“Pub Trivia” Board Game Review

We met University Games at NY Toy Fair and covered some of their upcoming releases for 2013. Aside from preparing to release a “World War Z” board and card game soon, as well as reviving Colorforms (remember those? I do!), “University Games” is also pumping out plenty of new and original games like “Anti-Monopoly”, “Murder Mystery Mansion”, and “Smart-ass” (and it’s counterpart, “Dumbass” – no, really), the folks over there were kind enough to send me one of their newer titles, so today we are taking a look at “Pub Trivia”!

As the game says, this is good ole’ fashioned team trivia – but trivia is not limited merely to answering questions. Made for gamers age 12 and above, the concept is simple enough. Earn the most points through the various trials to win the game, lather, rinse, repeat. A “host” acts as your dungeon master in this, selecting the trivia cards and reading off the questions before giving the teams two minutes to write their answers down on the answer sheets. Whoever has the most points wins.

Games are fast-paced and move quickly, especially with the two-minute time limit, and can get pretty hectic if you are stumbling with your partner to decide on an answer. Each card has its own topic or category, including entertainment, science & technology, history, geography, sports & recreation, and the fan-favorite “Anything Goes”. The first five questions are “short answer”, where you and your teammate[s] write short answers to solve the questions. The sixth question is where you list four correct answers to things that have multiple correct answers, like what are the four heaviest land mammals or naming the four kids in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.

The seventh is the “Who Said” category, where a quote is read and players must figure out who said it. Question eight is where you have to figure out what decade something happened in, although you can earn bonus points for guessing the exact year. Question nine is a problem that is answered with a number, and the final question involves drawing a diagram or picture. All in all, a nice change to just asking questions, and allows players to use different problem-solving techniques to answer the trivia.

Technically, there is no board to march a character or game piece around, but there is a “Quiz Card Sleeve” that you can slide the cards into for easy maintenance. There are also 100 quiz cards, which hold a total of 1000 questions on them, 10 score sheets, 200 team answer sheets, and four pencils to write on the aforementioned answer sheets. The trivia is a good mix of difficulties, although there is no batch that is labelled as easy, medium, or hard. It’s more just who happens to know what, but that is the fun of team-baed trivia.

You can order “Pub Trivia” Board Game from Amazon.com for $20, a savings of $15 as the game normally retails for $35, or you can also purchase it in stores from Wal-Mart. For that price, it’s a fun game to play with friends (and even more fun if you are fueled by alcohol like in a proper pub) with plenty of question to keep you guessing and a variety of ways to answer them to keep everything as fair as possible. There will no doubt be expansion packs as well if you need more questions, but there are enough to keep you busy for a pretty decent amount of time. “Pub Trivia” is challenging and fair, offering different ways to hold a quiz game with plenty of versatility and options to keep everyone having fun!

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Marshmallow Fun Company Blowgun Reviews

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Back at NY Toyfair 2013, we fell in love with the Marshmallow Fun Company and their massive arsenal of mallow-based projectile weapons. Let’s ignore any talks of political correctness and talk about the joy of firing off tiny marshmallows onto inanimate objects, which is absolutely immense! Today, we are taking a look at some of their blowgun style offerings, specifically the “Marshmallow Straight Shooter” and the “Marshmallow Blower”. These narrow toys use mini-marshmallows as the ammo, and are quite the cost-effective way to have some edible firearms fun.

The packaging on both of these guns is very simple and easy for a child to open, being simply on a card with no twisty-ties or inner casing around it. Although there is no target on the back of the cardboard, you can easily glue or tape your own targets to the sturdy backing and utilize it to keep your house a bit safer with all of the mini-marshmallows flying around (although it is suggested that you use these outdoors instead of inside).

The “Marshmallow Straight Shooter” is like a blowdart gun, measuring 11 3/4 inches long. You load a single mini-marshmallow into the chamber, which is located near where you would blow into it. If you have a hearty lung capacity, the projectile should fire up to 30 feet. For best results, I recommend only putting one marshmallow into the gun at a time, and also to do your best to clean the inside, otherwise your gun will get clogged with sticky mallow remains and may cause jams.

The “Marshmallow Blower” is similar to the Straight Shooter in design and measurement, except it has a pistol grip and handle on the barrel to make your accuracy better. The way you fire this gun is not blowing into the chamber, but rather you blow through a flexible pipe that connects to the chamber, which works surprisingly just as well as the other blow gun. Due to the chamber being connected separately, the distance is not quite as great with this weapon, but 20 feet is still enough to clear most rooms (or cubicles if you want to annoy your co-workers). Both of these guns come in a variety of colors, but the ones I reviewed were the classic red and blue style and camouflage colors.

The company does not recommend eating the marshmallows after you have shot them, mainly since its an easy way to share germs, but I leave that decision up to you. The best part about these two blowguns is that you can buy them together as a pair, in either of their color schemes (see below for links to them). For $10, you can have a lot of fun with your friends of any age, as they are recommended for ages six and up (and being much older than six, I can say I had a lot of fun trying these out). The marshmallows do not come with the guns, but you can easily pick them up at any supermarket. These are a lot of fun, and for parents who like the idea but do not like the idea of traditional guns, these two weapons do not have triggers and are vastly different in appearance and functionality than a toy gun. Plus, mini-marshmallows. Need I say more?

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“Star Trek FAQ” Book Review

Space. The final frontier. This is the review of the “Star Trek FAQ” book. It’s 400 page-long mission, to explore strange merchandise and pop-culture, to seek out new stories and new statistics, to boldly go where no FAQ book has gone before. Does this book from Applause succeed, or was there an error with the transporter machine that caused it to horribly deform and die before our eyes? Okay, nothing can be that bad, but let’s take a look at this FAQ.

Written by Mark Clark, who has also written about film history in other books and journals, this sourcebook is everything you ever wanted to know about the original Trek series from the 60’s. While there is a thumbnail guide to all of the episodes of the show, this is not a book simply looking at each episode of the series, but is the story of the origins of Trek, what happened once it hit the airwaves, and how it has affected sci-fi since then.

You can order Star Trek FAQ: Everything left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise (FAQ (Applause)) from Amazon.com for under $14,

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