Unleash your Inner Spy with these Cool New Toys

April 25, 2016

One of the benefits of working at a place like the Barrister is that you’re able to get in touch with your inner child on a regular basis without anyone thinking there’s something majorly wrong with you. Every time I come into work I’m surrounded by toys and games and it’s my job to talk to people about them. Needless to say, it’s a pretty cool gig. We obviously are getting in new toys and games all the time, but one set of recent new additions reminded me of being 8 so much that I just had to write about them. There are a few things from popular culture that are just undeniably cool. Ninjas. Pirates. Dinosaurs. There’s a reason that we keep seeing these things recycled over and over again in movies, TV and, yes, games. They’re cool. You know what else are cool? Spies. There’s just something about the suave sophistication combined with the secret missions that makes spies irresistible. I spent many a day slinking around my house as a child pretending I was infiltrating a secret facility or collecting intelligence on a target. I can distinctly remember being in a mall in Traverse City, Michigan, when I was around 10 years old and coming across some spy “gear” for sale. There was night vision goggles, listening devices, the whole gamut. Unfortunately, 10-year-old me didn’t have the financial wherewithal at the time to actually take any of it home with me that day and I never ended up getting my spy stuff. With this in mind, it probably goes without saying that coming into work one day and finding modern incarnations of this gear was quite the pleasant surprise.

There’s so much cool stuff here I don’t even know where to begin. Looking over it all made me so giddy that I wished I knew a child I could buy this stuff for (alas, my nephew is only two and this gear is recommended for ages six and up). Probably the first thing I noticed was the invisible ink pen. Probably not the most glamorous spy gadget, to be sure, but if you want to send secret messages (which is a quintessentially spy thing to do), there’s nothing better. Not only does it write in invisible ink, it also includes a built in black light to read the messages. How cool is that? Next is the Recon Watch, because what’s the point in being a spy unless you have a cool watch? Not only does it look pretty slick and very gadget-like, it also has a built in motion alarm. Seems pretty useful for being stealthy. Speaking of being stealthy, this would pair nicely with the Micro Listener, which I think is the spy gadget I was most intrigued by as a child. I was never able to try out the mid-90s toy listening devices, so if you know about this new one, please let me know how it works. If you really need to protect your safe house, there’s always the motion alarm. Paired with the watch, you should never get caught off guard again. Finally, there’s the big one; to me, the mother of all spy gadgets: the night vision goggles. I remember first seeing these in Jurassic Park in 1993 and falling in love with them. Obviously that wasn’t a spy movie, but they seem more at home with spies than they do dinosaurs. Not only are these essential for any night ops, they can also make a game of hide and seek in the dark a lot more interesting.

So we’ve got the gear covered. With any of these gadgets you’ll be looking like a spy. But what about acting like a spy? For that we have undoubtedly is one of the coolest game concepts I’ve seen in years. What’s the best part of any spy or heist movie? It’s almost always when the hero breaks into some secret facility, making their way through an entire grid of lasers. Well, someone made a game about that and it’s called Chrono Bomb. Coming in its own slick case, Chrono Bomb gives you a set of wires and clamps to build your own laser field. At the center will be the case itself, containing the “bomb.” Like any good movie, the bomb will be constantly ticking down, so you need to make it through the laser maze in a hurry if you’re going to defuse it. It’s pretty portable and you can constantly set up new mazes for an added or lessened challenge. You can even download a soundtrack to accompany the game, just in case you really needed to feel like you’re in a spy movie. I can’t even tell you how cool I think this is. This is on “how come we didn’t have this when I was a kid?” level. At least the gadgets were around when I was a kid. This is something else. I mean, is it socially acceptable for a grown man to buy this and keep it for himself? I’m asking for a friend.

And that just about covers it. We’ve added a whole slew of excellent spy toys recently that I’m sure almost any child—young or old—could enjoy. So come get some for any kids you know. Or just keep them for yourself. No judgements.BacktotheBlog

Brian K

Brian K was born the same year the Nintendo Entertainment System was released, so he's been a gamer all his life. When he's not working at the Bayshore store, he's busy teaching composition and working on his PhD at UW-Milwaukee. His favorite games include Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Pandemic and King of Tokyo.

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