Home > Musings, Off-Topic > Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?

Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?

December 29, 2013

Yesterday we had an epic family outing to Cardiff for a visit to the Doctor Who Experience. Miss B, being a budding Whovian, donned her shiny new TARDIS t-shirt, picked up her cuddly knitted dalek, and took her place eagerly in the back of the car for the journey.

The blue of Dalek Sog -- sorry, Daleky -- is perfect camouflage against this TARDIS sign.

The blue of Dalek Sog — sorry, Daleky — is perfect camouflage against this TARDIS sign.

The cuddly dalek’s name, incidentally, followed one of her standard naming schemes and had been dubbed Daleky. Not the most imaginative name, but it’s her choice. After an incident at Magor services, where the Dalek spent some time in a puddle, S suggested that Dalek Sog could be an appropriate name, but Miss B was having none of it.

We met up with a couple of our South Walean friends for lunch before the five of us bravely ventured into the exhibition.

I have to say that I was really impressed. I don’t want to say much in case of spoilers, but the experience kicked off with a moment of pure SFX magic, had us flying in the TARDIS, escaping from daleks and other foes, and finished with some really great use of 3D technology before spitting us out into a superb exhibition of props and costumes from the show. Most of the exhibits were the genuine articles blagged from the studios across the road, including several that were newly arrived from the Christmas special episode.

Then, of course, there was the gift shop, with opportunities to buy t-shirts, sonic screwdrivers, cuddly weeping angels, badges, jigsaws and games…


Umm, right, where do I start? There are a lot of games out there, several about Doctor Who, and some are really quite good, so what games did they have available for purchase? Well, there was a DVD quiz game, a Trivial Pursuit variant, and a Top Trumps set, but taking pride of place was Doctor Who Monopoly.

Doctor. Who. Freaking. Monopoly.

Nothing speaks to the spirit and heritage of the Doctor Who franchise like a game of taking hours to grind your friends and family slowly into the dust with ruthless capitalist dice rolling.

What makes this worse is that the properties in the game aren’t even locations, they are stories. So you can roll the dice and find that you have landed on Terror of the Autons, which has a hotel on it, meaning that you have to mortgage Genesis of the Daleks in order to pay the rent. In what portion of time and space does this make sense to anyone?

I guess the only sense here is that there are people out there who collect Monopoly sets, and there are people who collect Doctor Who stuff. Nowt wrong with either of those, but the superset of those two sets of people is sufficiently large that Hasbro (and the BBC) can make some money from it. Shudder.

I would so love, one day, to go into one of those gift shops and find a game for sale that I could actually point to and say, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

Sorry about the rant there. This sort of thing makes me sad and upset.

Anyway, forgetting that side of it, if you (and/or the kids) enjoy Doctor Who and are in the vicinity of Cardiff, the Doctor Who Experience is a great use of some money and a couple of hours of your time. We’re thinking that we’d love to go back in a year or two to see what they have done with the 12th Doctor…

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