Heeee-ya: Dragon Grip puts 1970s kung fu in the palm of your hand
By Paul Ridden
May 11, 2012
Imagine if you could accompany all those cool new moves you've just learned from Mortal Combat or reruns of Bruce Lee's finest celluloid moments with some genuine sound effects ... it would be like actually being in the game or movie. With a Dragon Grip in your Fist of Fury, that's precisely what's on offer. The joystick-like device is pre-loaded with fighting sounds inspired by the cheesy-but-classic kung fu movies of the 1970s like Enter the Dragon, that had all the kids in our neighborhood running around barefoot and shirtless with red lipstick wounds painted across their chests.
If, like me, you grew up glued to the TV screen watching larger-than-life martial arts movies with terrible dialog and even worse lip sync then there's a good chance that you tried to simulate the lightning-quick fight sequences of your heroes, too. No matter how authentic and fluid such attempts may have looked, though, the chop, kick and miss sound effect mimicry never seemed to sound quite right. While it never spoiled the fun, it would have been so much better if something like the real thing was on hand to help things along.
Obviously Los Angeles-based developers Paul Mark and John Fearon feel similarly, because they've created a new toy that puts numerous pre-recorded fight sounds, verbal taunts and other sound effects from kung fu movies and video games at the beck and call of its users. Although meant to be headed for the eager hands of karate kids, I suspect that it will make more than one appearance at the parties and pub crawls of a slightly older user base.
The Dragon Grip features a joystick/controller-like grip with a four-way directional pad, an audio circuit housed in the body and a front-facing speaker. As the user simulates kicking, blocking and chopping through dozens of evil opponents, the sounds of punching, karate-type chopping, karate-type slashing, slapping, and swooshing mis-strikes can be recalled and played through the handheld device.
While it won't help you to snatch a dime out of someone's hand and replace it with a penny before the palm closes, like the legendary Bruce Lee is reported to have done, it could add a new level of authenticity to play fight choreography.
The patented Dragon Grip toy runs on two AAA-sized batteries and is currently looking for backers on the Kickstarter crowd-funding portal to take it beyond design and prototyping and into production. A standard black model with red dragon motif is being pitched at US$25, and a special Kickstarter edition in red with black motif is also on offer for $50.
The funding window closes on June 24. In the meantime, check out the project video on the Kickstarter page (via the source link below). It's sure to bring a smile to your face, as it did mine.