The Lemons coverage of live auto news airbag issues

In recent months, live auto news headlines have detailed the proverbial nails-in-the-coffin for an automotive mainstay, in the form of Japanese airbag giant, Takata. In recent years, it has been discovered that long-term exposure to extreme heat and humidity can cause the airbags to explode, releasing both shrapnel and harmful chemicals. And yes, such defective airbags have been responsible for dozens of fatalities to-date. But another round of recalls from Toyota seems to have sealed the deal.

With tens of millions of vehicles (across various automaker lineups) afflicted by these defective airbags, the company (now paying out in countless class action lawsuits) has been left with little choice but to file for bankruptcy. But is this the death toll for Takata? According to iconic family game-maker Hasbro, the answer is “not necessarily”.

In recent years, a string of ‘shock’ and ‘gross-out’ games seem to have overtaken the youth game market. In terms of ‘gross-out’, you might have been subjected to the phenomenon known as ‘Bean Boozled’, a game where not every jelly bean requiring consumption is a delicious fan favorite, in fact, it might taste like vomit, skunk, dog excrement or socks. Or maybe you’ve played ‘Gas Out’ a game that bridges the gap by combining UNO with flatulence. Draw a ‘1’, you push the personified gas cloud once. Draw a ‘5’ and press it five times. At random, the pushes will prompt the socially-awkward gas cloud to make a shocking fart noise, disqualifying the player last in contact.

Zhambeah Parker-Lisp, Hasbro Director of Concept Development, explains the appeal of such games as, “catering to a refreshingly more simple mindset, in such complicated and overly-sensitive times. As such, Hasbro’s goal for the elementary school demographic seems is based around a combination of juvenile humor and the hilarity of blatant surprise. And with that in mind, there’s a constant challenge to find new and innovative ways to exploit such sentiment, avoiding redundancy, and leading the market.”

Enter the Takata Airbag…

“Kids don’t want to think about HOW the game works, they just want to enjoy the scare. So, it shouldn’t really matter if the game is basically a randomly-timed ignition of ammonium nitrate, creating a small explosion. It also shouldn’t matter that the refillable ammonium nitrate container subjects the cartridge to various conditions that can make it explode sooner, or later.’

But couldn’t kids die?

“Well,” begins Parker-Lisp with a pensive pause. “They could die crossing the street. They could choke on a McDonald’s chicken nugget. We’re here to focus on the fun of it all. Kids love risk. And really…what could be riskier than the chance of subjecting your child to the danger of shrapnel, skin irritants and carcinogens? This is where Hasbro & Takata come into play, delivering on the evolving expectations of today’s game-playing families.”

And according to Ms. Parker-Lisp, this is just the first of many extreme games currently in development, including the highly-anticipated “No Seriously. The Floor is Lava!”. Just like we have to find a way of minimizing the risk of fatality while maintaining a sense of risk with Takata, we have to find a means of upgrading conventional home ovens to heat rock from 1,300-2,200º Fahrenheit. After all, these are family games to be played at home, right? I mean, to cover every floor in actual lava. Well, that’s a daunting challenge, but the ability to tackle such challenges is why Hasbro is the best in the business. “


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