Friday, August 2, 2013

#0074: GeoSafari


Keeping with the theme of old electronics, now we find ourselves face to face with the GeoSafari. This son of a whatnot was a Christmas gift, and it is an educational toy like most no other. It features a slew of cards depicting numbered illustrations, and a list of the names of these things on each side. What you'd do, see, is punch the unique card number into the GeoSafari, and one of the fourteen lights next to the words would illuminate. As you can see, the card I've got in the machine at the moment is of our solar system, and it appropriately features the planets of aforementioned system. This was back when Pluto was a planet, mind you, possibly rendering it as incorrect information in the folds of time. Kind of like a medical card depicting removal of toes with a hammer and chisel, or every single illness being solved with leeches.

Anyhow, say that the top left light (the one labelled Mercury) were to light up: you would then have to punch in the number for Mercury as quickly as possible in order to attain the highest score. If memory serves, that number would be 8. I actually haven't looked at the solar system for many years, because as you can appreciate, it doesn't fall into my daily list of required activities (a list that includes playing my 3DS and watching MasterChef).

At the end, the GeoSafari would tally your score. Hurrah! You were proven smart by a machine! Or perchance, boo! You achieved a miserable score of 3. If this toy were created today, it would contain online leader boards, a forum to discuss your favourite cards, and would exist in the form of freeware on your iPhone. Let's be honest here.

This device was so celebrated at the time, though, that even Mike Rowe wanted to tell you all about it. Mike fucking Rowe.



I'd love to give it a try and test my knowledge of Canadian landforms and waterways, but tragically, like most electronic toys of its time, it was powered by D batteries. Oh, D batteries, how I hate you so. Not as compact and versatile as AAs, and not nearly as much fun to draw as 9-volts. Obscene batteries have become the bane of my existence over the last few entries, and as such, I will not educate myself this sad winter evening. How D-sappointed you must be by this D-sgusting D-velopment.

That being said however, there is another distinct reason that it will not be in use tonight, and it comes down to the fact that my GeoSafari is not exactly in perfect operating condition. In case you were wondering, no, it does not typically come equipped with dusty buttons and built in grime, and I fear that opening the battery compartment would unleash an army of mice into my room, like a modern day Trojan horse.

Oh sure, it seems okay now, but look at how it was when I found it...


Back in the early 90s, it was worth endorsement from Mike Rowe. Now, playing it would be more akin to a Dirty Job. Also take note of the nearby Dinosaur FouFou. It may become relevant at some point in life.

If you fancy a demonstration of your own, it's readily available on Youtube, in one particular instance being operated by a sassy Spanish man, who describes it as being '¿Te gust√≥?'. Frankly, watching it in action is exactly how you'd expect from reading it in words, though I have to say, I dig that funky light cycling music. It's certainly aged better than the recently departed Speak & Read, which sounded eerily similar to the computer from Electric Dreams.

So sadly, the GeoSafari will find a new home in the garbage bin. Don't lament its fate too much however, because the cards will go on to good use, implemented in my fiancé's classroom. I mean, I haven't pitched the idea to her yet, but I will effectively force it upon her, even if it means appearing during recess and teaching the children myself.

...This is probably why I'm not allowed within thirty feet of playgrounds anymore. Which sucks, because I love monkey bars.

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