Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device Replica

By sheer dumb luck I was able to grab a Portal gun replica before they ran out of stock. With only 5000 produced, these things are in high demand. Several are being sold on eBay for 3 to 4 times the retail price.

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I’ve heard that some retailers just slap a UPS label right on the product box, and it arrives scuffed up and torn. I got my ASHPD  directly from NECA Club. It came shipped in a cardboard box, so the original packaging was in good shape.

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I’ll start with the good news. The gun is a spot-on reproduction of the one in the game. The construction feels mostly solid. The claws on the front aren’t flimsy, but do feel like they could break off if not handled with care.

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The gun grip inside is roomy enough to accommodate my big hands. A slide switch changes the light color, and a trigger activates the sound effects. The trigger and switch feel sturdy. They should stand up to frequent use. The red LEDs on the claws are super bright. The blue and orange lights look great. However, the light on top bleeds through the white plastic housing. The sound effects, while accurate to the game, don’t sound very clear.

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For the most part, this is a quality replica. But there is one glaring flaw that sours the entire product for me. Where the wire attaches to the top claw looks like it was glued together by my 3-year-old niece. I can’t believe this made it past quality control. There is super glue residue all over the place.

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I should be able to clean it up. The majority of the residue will probably wipe off with a little soap and water. Some of the heavier spots may require acetone.

The only NECA product I’ve purchased prior to this was the Bioshock EVE Hypo. That one also left me underwhelmed. The needle fell off right after I opened it, and the batteries inside were corroded. I’ll be leery of buying anything else from NECA in the future.

The Trifecta

Earlier this week I received a coupon from GameStop for $100 off a PS3.  After some debate I decided to bite.  Along with some trade ins and gift cards I walked out with a 160GB PS3 and God of War III for just under $90.  Now I own all three consoles, although the Wii hasn’t been used in a couple years.

Fixed

I repaired my Xbox Thursday night and gave it an extensive workout over the weekend to test my work. About $3.50 worth of materials and a hairdryer was all I needed. I could probably make a little cash on the side by fixing 360s.

Red Ringed

I’ve been having the worst luck with electronics lately. Last night I started a new game of Marvel Ulitmate Alliance 2 and halfway through the first level the screen started to go haywire. I rebooted my 360 and got the dreaded E 74 error message. Unfortunately, my 360 is out of warranty. If I want to send it to Microsoft to get it fixed, it’ll cost me $100. I might as well just buy a new 360 Arcade now that they’re $200. But before I do that, I’m going to attempt to fix this thing myself.

CRT'd

My LCD monitor suddenly developed a vertical red line down the right side last week. I’m a little over 2 years into a 3 year warranty, so I shipped it off to Samsung to be repaired or replaced. In the meantime, I’m having to make due with a 17″ CRT. I feel like a caveman.

New Stereo

I decided it was time to finally put a stereo in my truck after driving around without one for over two years. I chose one that would give me some of the features of my failed truckputer, the Pioneer AVIC-F700BT.

The model with the DVD player was out of my price range. I plugged my Zune dock into the USB and A/V inputs so I can charge my Zune while playing music or videos, and control it with the remote.

Like most in-dash units of this type, you can’t watch video or punch in navigation destinations while driving. While searching for a way to bypass this, I discovered that the unit runs Windows CE. So it’s more like the truckputer than I thought.

Zune Love

I’ve been out of the loop regarding new Zune developments for several months. The combined efforts of my dog and myself left me with an unsyncable Zune 30. So when the 3.0 update rolled around I was still stuck with 2.5. The silver lining was that I didn’t experience the leap year freeze that everyone else did.

With the cash I got for Christmas and some of my Amazon gift certs, I picked up a shiny (and I mean shiny) new Zune 120. After upgrading to the new firmware, I started reading up on all the new additions (games, wireless Marketplace, etc.). Like with the Xbox 360, Microsoft is encouraging people to write games using their XNA Game Studio.

Although intended for game development, people are using XNA to write apps for their Zunes. I need to do some studying on XNA and Visual C#, and then I will probably adapt my random restaurant selector for the Zune.