TIME Gadgets

Necktie with a Built-in Laser Pointer? Make It Real, Please

thinkgeek tie
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek’s April Fools’ Day fake-product lineup is a must-see for gadget lovers – this year’s offerings included a Keurig-like beard growing machine, a NERF Nuke to end all dart-gun wars, Rosetta Stone for Klingon and more.

The only problem with these fake gizmos is that sometimes they’re cool enough that people actually want to buy them. And in a few instances, ThinkGeek has brought its April Fools’ creations to life: the Star Wars-themed Tauntaun sleeping bag and the iCade iPad arcade cabinet being two prominent examples.

The $30 Laser-Guided Tactical Necktie isn’t an actual product, but – BUT! – it could be. The pitch: it’s made of durable nylon, and sports a D-loop, a militarily-inspired MOLLE system, and two removable pouches – one for carrying small items and the other housing a laser pointer.

As you can see in this photo, the tie looks wonderfully ridiculous:

Laser Tie
ThinkGeek’s April Fools’ tie features a laser pointer and more. ThinkGeek

Search your feelings. You’d either wear this or you know someone who’d wear this. And more than a few people in the comments section of the product page are trying to will it into existence, too.

I’m going to go out on a short limb and guess that this becomes an actual product. If you’ve got a hankering to accelerate the process, you can vote to have it become real (along with the other April Fools’ items) on this page here.

Laser-Guided Tactical Necktie [ThinkGeek]

TIME Video Games

No, Thanks: Dark Souls 2 Doesn’t Need a Lower Difficulty Patch

Bandai Namco

The only problem: the game's first dozen hours are already too easy.

I’m starting to worry about Dark Souls 2. It’s turning out to be pretty easy compared to my sojourns with both its predecessors. Too easy. And I’m definitely not a great player, so don’t read that as me boasting. I’m not. Chances are you’re better. I’m just thorough, and as I noted yesterday, playing the game on its own terms by clearing each area before moving on.

That put me into the mid-30s, level-wise, by the time I squared off with the first boss (think Ent and you’re close), one of four majors I’m supposed to tangle with over the course of the game. But man, what a drag. I went in expecting to croak at least once. Death is required reading in this game, the way you’re expected to learn how to grapple with a problem, the presumption being that each problem should be unique, as well as uniquely difficult. But it turned out to be the easiest, lamest encounter I’ve yet had in a Souls game.

That’s more than a little troublesome, as would this likely April Fools’ joke be — about From Software preparing a patch to lower the game’s difficulty by folding in a new effigy — were it true. The hypothetical effigy would reduce the amount of stamina you consume, eliminate the gradual half-health penalty that occurs when you’re undead (or “Hollowed”) and make enemies easier to dispatch. But joke-maker GameSpot attributes a quote about the effigy to Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki…who wasn’t directly involved with Dark Souls 2, and I can’t find the quote on the linked patch page, nor does the effigy appear in the patch notes.

The Souls games aren’t for casual players, of course — another reason to flag this story as suspect. Even if you sheared off more of the difficulty and made the game as hack-and-slash rote as Diablo III tends to be much of the time, it’s still too visually esoteric, stat-riddled and convoluted, interface-wise, to lure (much less hold) a casual player’s attention.

That leaves mainstreamers and enthusiasts, but are they complaining? Do any of you find the game too difficult? Would you want a difficulty reduction option? Are you playing the game on its terms, or just rushing through the areas, fast as you can?

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

TIME April Foolishness

Google HQ Is Now a Pokémon Lab, and Google Maps Has Been Overrun

Google Maps / YouTube

Catch all the Pokémon in Google Maps and Google says you'll be in the running for its new Pokémon Master position.

If you don’t know what Pokémon are (or, if we’re talking about the ongoing phenomenon, is) this isn’t the place to find out. But I’ll do my best, since you’ll need to know the basics now that Google’s unleashed the little critters on the world for a day. Just a day, as far as we know, but I assume nothing in a world where Google and Pokémon publisher Nintendo suddenly join hands.

Grab your iOS or Android device: they’re the only way to see what I’m talking about. Bring up Google Maps (or download Google Maps if you don’t have it — see what’s happening here?) and tap the “Search” bar. Notice that little thing that looks like the CBS logo, only light blue?

Tap it and you’re off, the screen swinging across the country to Mountain View, California. That’s Google HQ, a.k.a. Google Campus, a.k.a. a bunch of Google buildings with numbers like “2000” and “1900” and “1950.” Pitched between the latter three you’ll notice a tiny house with a chimney. That’s Google’s new Pokémon lab, originally located on Cinnabar Island, according to some all-official-sounding Pokémon compendium called the Bulbapedia.

The idea behind Pokémon is that a bunch of cute little fantasy pets smack each other around, but first you have to catch them, and that’s where Google Maps comes in: beside the Pokémon lab, you probably noticed a few in the wild. Tap them to catch them, simple as that, after which you can take a closer look in Google Maps’ new inline Pokédex (basically a Pokémon Rolodex).

You can go for all 150 yourself, scattered around the planet, or skip the hunt and tap the Pokémon April Fools’ wikia, which catalogs the lot, plus one more. That “one more” allegedly only appears once you’ve found the other 150, and then randomly across a potential set of locations.

Oh, and if you do catch ‘em all, Google says you’ll be in the running for a new job with the company: Pokémon Master. You probably think I’m kidding, don’t you.

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