May 22, 2012
Remember when “Men in Black” first came out and thinking how awesome it would be if the neuralyzer (that memory-erasing gadget seen above) really existed? Parents ground you for a week? Use the neuralyzer to make them forget that bad thing you did. Girl says no when you ask her to the junior high dance? Use the neuralyzer to make her forget you being all nervous and dumb when you invited her. And these are just things a 13-year old would have conceivably used it for. I figured the neuralyzer had to be an actual device by the time the second sequel came out.
Well, it is now 15 years later, the third “Men in Black” comes out tomorrow and the neuralyzer is still not a real thing. Or even an iPhone app. OK, so I guess I had rather lofty hopes for the future as an adolescent, but can you blame a guy for dreaming? But it’s not just the neuralyzer. There are several other devices from films and TV shows of my youth that should actually exist.
To mark the return of the neuralyzer to the pop culture lexicon, I have decided to make the following list regarding this very issue – The Fictional Devices From My Youth That Should Really Exist As iPhone Apps By Now. And to demonstrate that there are practical uses for these devices other than for a 13-year-old in 1997, I also decided to share how a modern day 26-year-old marketing professional could use them.
The “Back To The Future” DeLorean: Getting the obvious one out of the way first. I would probably use the DeLorean app to go back in time and get all my relatives to buy tons of Apple stock. Or travel to 2022 to see if any of these devices are apps yet. Tough to apply to the modern agency setting. Let’s discuss the more obscure ones.
Recall Implants From “Total Recall”: Need a quick vacation for a little rest and relaxation? No need to take your vacation days. Nope, with the Total Recall Dream Implant app you just have put in your earbuds, hope you don’t lose your identity or accidentally have a lobotomy, and you can take a beautiful trip to anywhere in world (or Universe, even) for two weeks while only being plugged in for an hour. And you can go as whoever you want. Want to be Brad Pitt while on your vacation? You got it. Unplug and you’re hopefully all refreshed and ready to return to work.
Mind Machine From “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”: Yes, I understand the “Men in Black” device also erases memories, but the “Eternal Sunshine” Machine works a little differently. With the neuralyzer you can only erase chunks of time from someone’s memory. With this app you can erase just certain parts of memory. So, for example, let’s say you’re having an awesome day. You had strong coffee, your clients are happy and your afternoon schedule is wide open. But then you accidentally tweet something from the wrong client’s account and your boss saw it. Just access the Eternal Sunshine app, connect it to your head, and then your boss’s, and that tweet might as well have never happened.
Zack Morris’s Time Out (“Saved By The Bell”): My personal favorite. Zack was awesome even without his ability to freeze time by yelling “Time Out!” He had the girlfriend, the hair, the high tops and the big cell phone. Add in the fact that he can be in trouble with his principal, Mr. Belding, and pause the moment so he can think through the best way to talk himself out of a jam? He should have his own superhero movie. Just think how useful this ability would be as an iPhone app. Get called on during a conference call or brainstorm session and not sure what to say? Just use your Zach Attack Time Out app to freeze the moment, think for a few minutes, a few hours or, if you so wish, a few days, and come back to the situation when you have the most awesome idea/answer to share.
If you could make any fictional device an iPhone app, what would it be? If you need me, I’ll be over at Kickstarter.