Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: NECA Life-Size Portal Gun Replica!

We've just returned from an action-packed weekend at Perth's biggest ever Supanova Pop Culture Expo, and as our haul image teased, one of the most coveted items on the convention floor was the Aperture Laboratories Hand-Held Portal Device, NECA's life-size replica of your favourite problem solving gun. So coveted, in fact, that it sold out very, very early on Saturday morning, within seconds of the doors opening. But fret not! I managed to snag one and I'm going to tell you all about it! Plus, I'm never going to have to use stairs again!

To find out why you need a problem-solving portal gun... join me after the jump!

Shall we unbox it together? Rock!

My box was a little beat up, but sometimes things get damaged in the name of science. And when you have the rare opportunity to take home an experimental/possibly volatile device, you don't ask too many questions. This thing is massive...

The good news is that the contents are very safely stored inside thanks to a thick Styrofoam shell. The bad news is that now I'm going to have to vacuum again. It looks like it snowed in here.

Wrapped with the weapon/puzzler-solver is a simple set of instructions showing the operation. You're going to need to attain 3 C batteries too which, trust me, you don't have lying around. You're going to be all excited to start shooting portals and then you're going to have to stop what you're doing and go to a convenience store and buy batteries. Factor this in! Once you have the portal gun working trips to aforementioned store will be far simpler. Take comfort in that on your trip.

Here's the gun in its dormant state...

It's plasticky, but it's a sturdy plastic and it looks pretty sharp. The lens looks like it would turn (it doesn't) and the claws at the front are articulated and you can shape them how you wish. Hidden under the main shell at the back is the handle and trigger mechanism. Once you've unscrewed a panel and impatiently thrust in the batteries you are pretty much ready to go. And that's when it really comes to life!

The switch on the handle is operated with your thumb and has three positions. When the switch is centred, the device is off, when the switch is slid downwards, the lights turn blue...

The central tube lights up as well as the button on the top. Also note that there are red guide lights on the front claws.

Hit the switch to the upward position and you're firing orange portals with reckless abandon:

The handle also houses a trigger which activates the sounds. But enough talk.. you should see this in action so thrill as I harness the sense-pounding power of video. SCIENCE! Here's my girlfriend demonstrating. (Those are not my feminine hands). (Although, ironically, I do indeed have feminine hands).

Cool huh? Different sounds for different coloured portals. I currently have a blue portal open on the wall next to my desk and an orange portal open near the fridge downstairs. It's scaring the shit out of the cat.

Seriously though, let's flip the gun around and stare into its aperture...

I really like the detail on the lens there, but that leads me to the one point of disappointment. The light is bright within the gun but not bright enough to project onto a surface. I really wish they'd found a way to project a portal of orange light onto the wall. That would have been a triumph. Confetti would rain from the ceiling and everybody would high-five. But alas no. 

The light looks great when you menacingly point the gun at someone, threatening to transport them instantly to the moon, but it does not actually cast a light. In fact the red guide-lights are brighter. 

Function aside, however, it's a beautifully slick design. Let's all shut up and just admire it for a moment...



It's all the little details that really count.

If you're rabid fan of the game then I can't imagine why you wouldn't want this iconic weapon in your house. It's a brilliant substitute until geniuses at MIT invent the real thing. It's going to be a monster to try to display, and would perhaps benefit from some sort of stand, but if you can free up the space then I highly recommend it. 

I will solve portal problems in my pajamas. 
Now the bad news. You may have to really shop around. These highly coveted portal-pumpers are pre-sold out at a lot of places. I purchased mine from the good folks at Australia's online store Popcultcha but it doesn't look like they have any left in stock at the moment either! Let us know if you have any luck!

1 comment: