Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Snapshots (Play-a-Sound)

Background

Publications International Ltd. have long been the number one creators for Spider-Man books with built-in electronic audio gimmicks. This "Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Snapshots" is part of their "Play-a-Sound" brand.

This particular book raises the "Play-a-Sound" stakes to new levels, as it features a built-in electronic "camera" which has a low-resolution black and white LCD display (approximately 30 x 60 pixels) which displays short movie fragments to go along with the audio clips activated by each button.

Story Details

The book itself is a generous 11" x 11" hardback. The pages are thick cardboard, with 10 pages of actual content. Each page has a camera-shaped die-cut cutout in the center to accommodate the "camera" which is permanently built into the back of the book.

The story in those ten pages features Daily Bugle star photographer Peter Parker (alias the Amazing Spider-Man) as he photographs his heroic alter-ego fighting Mysterio, Electro, and the Green Goblin. On each page you are prompted to press various buttons at key moments in the brief story.

There are five dedicated buttons at the bottom which trigger extended audio/video scenes (each approximately 12 seconds long). On the left is a "take a photo" button which triggers a short, 2-second audio/video fragment. So as you travel through the story you first view each extended scene, then you "take a photo". The "take a photo" button also triggers the "flash" light at the top.

At the end of the story, you (as Peter) return to the Daily Bugle and press the final button which replays through each of the five short "photo" segments that you previously captured, much to J. Jonah Jameson's discomfort.

General Comments

I'm not going to beat around the bush here. This book is fantastic. It takes the classic audio press-button read-along story book concept and cranks it up to eleven with the LCD animated sequences. Whoever gave the green light to this product is a genius. I can only give Kudos to the guys at Publications International Ltd. for making this happen.

It must have taken a fortuitous mix of technical and creative skills to put together a product like this, and I don't think we're going to see too many imitators. So enjoy this one — it truly deserves a place in any serious Spider-Man book collection.

Overall Rating

This book isn't particularly cheap, and won't suit every family's budget. But when you consider the construction effort involved, it's not hard to justify that cost.

Five Webs. THWIPP!!!