I am right now looking at a weird contraption known as a mindmania spelling clip.
It looks like the result of a mating between a chain watch and some exotic plastic fruit. The clip isn't like a typical keychain or belt clip, it's more like one of those clips you see that were originally used for rock climbing, the kind that looks like a metal loop with a bar on one side that folds inward. There's a thick plastic loop on the top of this thing that looks like a retarded Playskool version of that clip, and it's melted into the rounded-rectangle plastic body. The keys and screen are laid out like a miniature Nintendo Game Boy, with the screen at the top center, a bright yellow compass-point directional keypad to the left bottom, and two gray buttons labeled "mode" and "enter" to the right. Above the directional pad is a yellow button labeled "hint". On both sides and the bottom are ribbed gray bulges, perhaps for ease of handling, perhaps for comfort. Whatever the reason, it looks silly.
The default setting for the screen is the clock setting. Right now, glancing down at it, I can see the non-color, pixelated time, which is currently 5:08 PM. I only set it about ten minutes ago, after I had finished playing games on it.
So, you ask, what can you do with a mindmania spelling clip?
Well, there is a main menu to be accessed! So, you push the "enter" button. And there is your main menu. Quick, make a choice soon, else the big, bold, pixellated warning will show: "PLEASE MAKE A CHOICE". Well, your options are Snake, Secretword, Jumble, Daily Word, Word List, Clock, and Options. All in capital letters, just because. In fact, the makers of this game must have a fetish for the capslock button or something, because nothing is spelled with lowercase letters, except the purple "mindmania" label on it. Weird.
- Snake is a word game. All of these are word games. If you don't like word games, then don't play with the mindmania spelling clip. Anyhoo, it is a game in which you move a little worm snake thing around the screen (which is bordered with walls that may look like a border of pixels but are actually the PIXELY WALLS OF DOOM that cause instant death to snakes, obviously) and you run the snake's little head into letters which are oh-so-conveniently scattered across the board, all in an attempt to make a word. Sound interesting? Yes, until you realize that your word is "DUMB" and the letters are arranged in a nice neat horizontal row, in order, to the right of the snake. Whoo-hoo.
- Secretword is like hangman, except with an alphabet that you have to scroll across with your directional keypad.
- Do I really need to tell you what Jumble is? If I do, maybe you should go play the Snake game. This will be too complicated for your little mind.
- Daily Word
- Maybe the Snake game had sapped my braincells a bit, but I actually thought that the Daily Word was going to have a game or something with it. No, it's just what it says it is -- a different word and definition every day. Today's was "SPOON".
- Word List
- This one has two more options under it -- "WORD LIST" and "CHALLENGE". The Word List option is just that. A word list. But the Challenge option is a game! A lame one, but still, something to do. It gives you a word, and you try to guess the definition. At level 1, it gives you such words as "HORSE", "SPEED", and "CRUSH". Level three, however, has brainbusters like "FEDERATION", "PERISH", and "SINCERE".
- This is the only way to quit the main menu. Blargen. (However, if you leave it unattended for about a minute, it will revert to its natural clock state.)
- In the Options menu, you can do complicated tasks like set the clock, set the alarm, adjust the contrast, and turn the sound off and on. And that's pretty much it.
I bet you're asking, "Where oh where can I get this technological marvel?!"
Well, I can tell you where I got it. At the Sunday afternoon marching band banquet, this asshole drummer was sitting at our table (in a seat that we had reserved for someone else!) playing this monstrosity with the volume up. We asked him what he was doing, he said he was playing a snake game. We asked him where he got it, and he said he stole it from a Unitarian church. And he just sat there. The whole dinner. Playing Snake. So, when he left it at the table, I didn't think twice about slipping it into my bag.
So, if you want one of these, you should try your local Unitarian Church.