Occasionally yer man Scullion is sent free things. It’s one of the perks of having more Twitter followers than British TV and radio personality Paul Ross.
Recently I was sent a bunch of stuff by Numskull Designs, the UK company that specialises in official video game, movie, TV and comic book merchandise.
Now, I’m not the sell-out type: I’m not a big fan of people who tweet “HEY LOOK AT ALL THE FREE SHIT I GOT”. If people send me stuff it’s still going to get an honest review.
Here, then, are my deadly serious reviews of some of Numskull’s latest products, written in the regular hard-hitting journalism style that has earned me a greater following than the one from Milli Vanilli who’s still alive.
Let’s also not bullshit around here: each of these product reviews comes with an affiliate link to buy them on Amazon UK. While you can buy them in loads of other shops like GAME, if you buy them using these links you’ll be supporting Tired Old Hack and helping to keep it ad-free.
Object Transportation Device
(also known as Asteroids Artwork Drawstring Bag)
If you’re like me, you fucking love carrying things. There isn’t a day goes by where I don’t carry something at some point: my dinner to the table, my empty plate to the sink… the possibilities are endless.
Sometimes you have to carry things in a non-dinner situation, and in those situations Numskull has come up with this ingenious little invention they call a ‘bag’.
It’s emblazoned with artwork from Asteroids, the Atari arcade classic in which players have to destroy a bunch of floating rocks by blasting the ever-loving piss out of them.
If you wanted to be really clever you could buy some actual asteroid fragments from a questionable website and carry them around in your bag, so when people ask “what a cool Asteroids bag, what’s in it?” you can reply: “It’s got asteroids in it: the clue was on the fucking bag you moron.”
One of the other benefits of this bag is that it isn’t absolutely massive, like a bin bag (or refuse sack, if you’re well spoken). Sometimes when I’m walking down the street and carrying a large bag I worry that the feds think I’m carrying the body of someone I’ve just murdered.
This bag is just the right size to avoid such police suspicion, as there’s no way a full body could fit in there. Maybe individual parts, but if I were you I wouldn’t think about that too much. Just stick to putting bits of asteroid in there and you should be fine.
Irn Bru opener
I’m famously teetotal, which is why my drink of choice isn’t Hooch or White Lightning but the glorious Irn Bru, which is literally made with the tears of happiness that fall from angels’ eyes every time a new member is accepted into the kingdom of Heaven.
And yes, I know what ‘literally’ means. I used it correctly.
That’s why I’m extremely grateful to Numskull for creating this Irn Bru can opener shaped like the iconic Space Invaders arcade machine.
It’s got a good weight to it, and is made of lovely shiny metal. If you really wanted to, you could probably use it as a weapon, but it would still take a few shots to bring someone down so you’d better have stamina.
Unfortunately, when it comes to opening cans of Irn Bru, it’s fairly useless. I tried my best to get it under the ring-pull but to no avail. It’s almost as if it was designed for some other purpose, but that’s no excuse.
My wife Louise later informed me that she used it to open a glass bottle of Coke and that it worked flawlessly, so I suppose that’s a happy coincidence.
Asian Propaganda Clothing
(also known as Space Invaders Monster T-Shirt)
Look, I can’t read Japanese. For all I know, this shirt says “death to the west” on it and yet here I am, happily sporting it with the carefree attitude of a sailor hauling in a bass.
I am reliably informed by Google Translate, however, that the katakana text inscribed on the front of this shirt says “Space Invaders”.
On one hand, this makes sense. The image on the shirt is the famous ‘monster’ design that appeared on the Space Invaders arcade cabinet.
As such, it’s almost certain that this is indeed a t-shirt designed to promote that 1978 gaming phenomenon, with the Japanese text serving as a reminder of its country of origin.
On the other hand, perhaps Google is part of the same conspiracy and has coded Google Translate to read messages of an Eastern uprising and pretend they read something else so as to help prepare for the inevitable surprise attack.
This isn’t for me to decide, I’ll leave that up to you. All I know is the shirt looks quite cool so I’ll probably wear it more.
Aggressive Eastern Dominance Shirt
(also known as Space Invaders UFO Raglan T-Shirt)
This long-sleeved shirt also includes that Japanese writing that Google so-called Translate is adamant reads ‘Space Invaders’.
However, it also features the image of a large UFO, with lightning bolts firing out of it, which is nothing short of intimidating.
The cryptic phrase ‘Credit 00’ also appears above the illustration, prompting further analysis.
Most will tell you it’s a reference to the arcade version of Space Invaders, which did indeed say ‘Credit 00’ at the bottom-right corner of the screen until you inserted a coin.
Others, though, will (perhaps rightly) interpret it as a veiled insult to western civilisation and the growth of video games in our modern society.
“You think these video games are all your doing?” it (probably) asks. “You want to claim credit for its growth? Space Invaders was made in Japan: you westerners can take no credit for it,” hence ‘Credit 00’.
Endearingly Philosophical Drinks Receptacle
(also known as Pac-Man Cartridge Heat Changing Mug)
It’s rare that something as unassuming as a household mug can make you question your place on this Earth, but that’s exactly what this one does.
When it’s empty it shows the Pac-Man logo and nothing else. Full of promise, conjuring up images of the joys to come when you eventually get to indulge in what it has to offer.
However, once you pour hot water into it, the image changes and reveals that the logo isn’t for the arcade version of Pac-Man, but rather the Atari 2600 version which was famously terrible and helped contribute to the video game crash of 1983.
Your immediate response to this may be one of two things: either “that’s awesome, it’s usually the arcade one but this is different, which makes it cooler”, or “why would you promote a bad game” (to which I’d remind you that I’m a massive fan of Night Trap).
In reality, though, it’s actually a powerfully motivating statement on project management and the importance of recognising and handling your own capabilities.
“You may start with a great idea,” it explains, “one filled with the potential to be an enormous success.
“But if you find yourself in hot water, and let it engulf you, the result will be less than satisfactory.”
The lesson, then, is clear: work to your own pace and “do you”, as today’s youth says, and you’ll flourish both as an artist and as a person.
Also, you can make Cup a Soups in it.
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