4 Reasons We'll Never Get a Real Hoverboard
Hey buttheads, did you hear? The hoverboard is a real thing! Great Scott! Power of Love! Some other Back to the Future thing! It appears the Zemeckis vision of the future is finally upon us, at least according to every Marty McHeadline on the interweb:
Look out for Steven Spielberg's "Help Me Finance 15 Jaws Sequels in a Year" Kickstarter.
For those awful human beings who have never seen the BttF movies, a hoverboard is exactly what it sounds like: a skateboard, except with air instead of wheels. But wait, before you throw your life savings at a crate full of flying future-toys, give us a minute to explain why this whole story stinks worse than a truckload of manure ...
"Hoverboards" Don't Work Like in the Movies (and Never Will)
Buried under every over-excited headline you'll read about hoverboards are these very disappointing words:
"However, DeLoreans do travel through time. But only to the future, at a speed of one minute per minute."
Like every version of it before, this new hoverboard is not so much a hoverboard as it is a screeching magnetic lie that lasts mere minutes of battery life and can operate only on a track. So, unless there are plans for a follow-up Kickstarter to repave every city in the world with magnets, we're afraid you're not going see teenagers floating past you on the sidewalk or spray-painting hoverboard-related slogans behind the local Kmart.
"HOVERBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME (EXCEPT AGAINST THE LAWS OF PHYSICS)"
But hey ... maybe someday, right? Sorry, but that's a big no as well, because ...
There's No Practical Reason to Invent a Real Hoverboard
In 2013, a Google employee actually made an attempt to build a no-bullshit hoverboard, getting as far as levitating a small piece of carbon over magnets before the project was scrapped. What happened? Did the inventor run out of money? Did Facebook send ninjas to sabotage his project? Nope: he just couldn't think of a practical reason to put in the work. And no, "making you look cool and futuristic and shit" isn't a valid reason.
"We've tripled our 'old and shit' steampunk budget, though."
At its most useful, a hoverboard could transport large objects on rough terrain -- something we've been doing just fine with a thing called "wheels." Then you have stuff like hovering bullet trains, which can already be achieved with the aforementioned magnet system ... and that's it. Why should science put years of research and billions of dollars into making Christmas 2016 really bitchin' for the kids? That's Nintendo's job.
"Uh, Back to the Future and us don't mix well ..."
Practicality aside, hoverboards are only good for one thing, and that is ...
It's Just an Easy Promotional Tool
People have been salivating over the idea of being on a hoverboard since the first time they watched Michael J. Fox steal one from a little girl and get stranded in the middle of a fountain. And the companies know this: you bet your ass that Universal came out with a hoverboard-shaped skateboard in the '90s. At least that one had wheels, unlike the money-vampire Mattel thought up back in 2012:
"Get stranded somewhere, just like Marty did in the movie!"
Yep, we want a hoverboard so fucking bad that we'll spend $120 on a piece of plastic shaped like one for no reason but to gently caress it at night. The people behind the hoverboard Kickstarter knew this, which is why they reshaped what their project is actually about (using magnets to architecturally prevent earthquakes) into an '80s-movie reference to get people's attention. As the creator himself puts it, "If one in 10 people realize there is another (better) use for this stuff, that would be a great success."
So, in marketing terms: '80s movie tie-in > Helping you not die
But why the ruse? Well ...
Because We Fall for It EVERY SINGLE TIME
Imagine for a moment that J.K. Rowling sarcastically told kids that magic wands are totally a real thing, and then those kids went on believing that lie for the next 30 years -- to the point where they'd pay $10,000 for a stick that makes "woosh" sounds. Well, that's exactly what happened with hoverboards and Back to the Future.
You see, back in the late-'80s, director Robert Zemeckis made an offhand joke that toy companies were hiding hoverboards from children, unaware that he was accidentally creating a whole industry. Naturally, every kid in America took this as the truth, because kids are idiots ... but what's our excuse now?
This is the single most effective case of dad humor in history.
That headline is from earlier this year when an obviously fake video of Tony Hawk, Moby, and others using a hoverboard surfaced on YouTube and half the Internet believed it. Despite growing up in every other way, we all still turn back into stupid children the moment someone says the magic "H" word.
"Haha, look at this fake shit. Anyway, how much are they?" -the Internet
It's time to let this one go, people. Let's focus on something more feasible and productive, like those shoes that tie thems- Jesus Christ, we were joking.
For more butthead headlines (buttheadlines?), see Cracked's long-running series on B.S. News Stories That Went Viral.