Okay, so the first thing we think of when we think of Samus Aran is a totally kickass armcannon-equipped powersuit. Let's be honest, if you're a fan of the series, you've probably had the thought, at least once or twice, of what it would be like to have such hardware at your disposal. Well, the good news is, several different entities are developing powered armor or exoskeletons! The bad news is...they're usually either military-grade, or prohibitively expensive. They also don't exactly fulfill the fantasy of super-people yet, they're more geared towards restoring mobility to paralyzed people, or making it easier for soldiers to carry and move heavy gear loads.(EDIT: I decided to tackle the idea of a home-built powersuit, just for the heck of it. Check out the first post in the series here)
So what's a wannabe power armor user to do? Well, there are some cool "force multiplier" type devices out there for the amateur augmented human.
The first is jumping stilts. Marketed under brand names such as "Poweriser," "Air-Trekkers," or "PowerStriders," jumping stilts enable you to run at 20 MPH, or jump 10 feet in the air. A pair can cost anywhere between $100 and $500, depending on the model, which is pretty cheap considering how much powered exoskeletons can cost. I've never tried them myself(for money reasons, not lack of want), but they look like a lot of fun to me.
For armor, you can purchase body armor online relatively easily. My favorite ballistic protection site is BulletProofME. They offer affordable vests and body armor of all different ratings and sizes, for very affordable prices. They also have a lot of info on body armor. Something to keep in mind, however, is that there is no such thing as "bullet proof." Only bullet resistant. A vest can protect you from a shot or two, but the vest is then unsafe for continued use, and you're still going to end up with some bad bruising, even if the vest stops the bullet.
For arm-canons, that's tough. Samus' gun fires bolts of energy, electricity, plasma, or lava, depending on what upgrades you have and what game you're playing. I've linked before to the Prometheus Device, which is nifty. You could also start experimenting with magnetic rail and gauss guns, which fire projectiles, yes, but using magnetics and electricity rather than gunpowder. Of course, you could always just go learn to shoot a gun, which is a fine force multiplier itself and something I recommend everyone at least learn how to do. For that, you can check out local shooting ranges, or ask around at your local sports/outdoorsman store.
The other skill Samus Aran has that anyone can use and make use of is the art of exploration, and observation. The Metroid titles are all about exploring your surroundings, finding new upgrades and areas, and solving environment-based puzzles. If you want to be really intrepid, you can start learning about cartography, the art/science of mapping. It's really neat stuff. If you don't want to go that far, you can just learn about how to use/read maps, which is a skill in and of itself. You can also get into geocaching, which looks like TONS of fun for outdoorsy/exploring types. It's basically participating in a giant, GPS-based treasure hunt. Well worth your time. Urban exploration is also tons of fun, and a personal favorite of mine.
Really the spirit of Samus Aran is relying on your own devices and skills in unknown situations to overcome obstacles and reach new areas or goals. If you're creative, you can apply this to many situations in your life. Try to visit new places or try new things often. Be more aware of your surroundings when you go places, and see if you can spot things that people who aren't paying as close attention might miss. You can even make a game out of it, if you're with friends. Kind of like an open-ended version of "I Spy."
Give it a shot! This concludes our second weekend post(ever!). I'll see you all tomorrow, when we look at the mind and psychology of a space-bound bounty hunter! Until then, make sure to follow me on Twitter, like the blog page on Facebook, and continue to be awesome.
Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace