Bandai Gun O'Clock alarm clock review (Verdict: Fun but too quiet)


Reader Tucker Cummings bought the Bandai Gun O'Clock. Here's what she thinks of it!

I have never been a morning person. I need at least a liter of coffee to function between the hours or 8 and noon. I pity anyone who tries to wake me in the morning. Sleep is an awesome, awesome thing, and woe betide anyone who tries to come between me and my REM cycles. My mom could never wake me up in high school without me swearing at her, although my alarm clock always seemed to take the brunt of my morning aggression. And I'm sure I'm not alone in my hatred of that most awful of inventions: the alarm clock. I can't even tell you how many alarm clocks I have broken over the years by throwing them across the room or pounding them with angry morning fists. So of course I was intrigued by reports of an alarm clock that actually encouraged you to shoot the damn thing.

So I pre-ordered my Bandai Gun O'clock from Strapya World, and I picked it up from the post office this morning on my way to work. It was totally worth the cash I plunked down to have the thing shipped here from Japan.

The clock is, thankfully, fairly intuitive to operate. The clock does come with instructions, but they are Japanese-only. Setting the time was easy to figure out, but I did have to refer to the directions to figure out how to set the alarm (thankfully I have 2 semesters of Japanese under my belt, but it was still embarrassing to realize all I had to do to enter the Alarm Set Mode was hold down the alarm button, instead of tapping it).

The clock and gun were both a little smaller than I expected them to be when I finally extracted them from the packaging. I ran around the house hunting down the 6 double A batteries I needed to run the clock (two for the gun, and four for the clock).

The gun itself is a cute little thing that looks like it was modeled after a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol. It's espescially fun to shoot because it makes a cute “pew-pew” noise, and the slide action actually moves when you pull the trigger.

The Gun O'clock has all the fun of Duck Hunt on the NES. Which is to say, it's fun, but I wish there was more to do. Both game modes are designed for very short rounds of play, which I found tremendously disappointing.

The clock's display goes to sleep after a few minutes. The backlight turns off, and the numbers turn from red to black, rendering the clock pretty much useless. Clearly, this is not the clock you should buy if you are looking for a useful time piece. But chances are, if you bought this clock, it was for the coolness factor.

And there is plenty of cool to be found. The sound effects that play as you cycle through the numbers to change the time sound like a gun being cocked and then fired. If you start a round of gameplay, but then change your mind and go back to the clock setting without shooting the target, a loud ARGH is played. When you hit the target in game mode, a very American sounding voice praises you in flawless English.

My only complaint about the sound is that there is no way the alarm clock can be used for it's intended purpose. The alarm buzzer is waaaay too quiet. It's a soft chime that does not increase in volume. I'm a heavy sleeper, and there's no way that chime would wake me up.

Overall, a great conversation starter, and a great item to add to your collection of quirky Japanese imports. But Gun O'clock is certainly not your best bet for an alarm clock. Until Bandai releases Gun O'clock version 2.0, I'll just have to keep shooting my alarm clock with my real gun every morning.

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