5 US tech trends we want brought to the UK
Big Buck Hunter
Some might say Big Buck Hunter – a hunting-themed arcade game in which players use plastic rifles to blast away at digitised deer, elk, caribou and a variety of other fauna – is typically American. And they'd be right. Unapologetically brash (the game features dolled-up, scantily-clad female "guides"), Big Buck Hunter also happens to be a moose steak-sized slab of fun, particularly when paired with that other great American trend: a beer and a shot of whiskey. Or several.
Big Buck Hunter has grown into something of a phenomenon Stateside, with a grand tournament taking place annually, a member's club enabling players to track their progress online, and arcade cabinets commonplace in the nation's not-so-salubrious drinking establishments. This year saw the release of the 1080p Big Buck HD (pictured), which this US-residing journalist can confirm is a level above the older CRT-equipped machines. Feast your eyes on the trailer below and feel your trigger finger itch.
If you want to try Big Buck Hunter for yourself, there are iOS versions of Big Buck Hunter Pro and Big Buck Safari (the latter for iPad). But we can't imagine it's the same without the stench of stale beer in your nostrils and a garish fake firearm in your hands.
The kind of bars that have a Big Buck Hunter machine often feature a jukebox. Yes, we know that they aren't "new" tech by any stretch of the imagination, but they seems to have become all but defunct in the UK – where you're more likely to be subjected the bar staff's compilation of X Factor rejects than music you'd genuinely like to put in your ears.
We're happy to report that jukeboxes are still going strong in the US, whether it's the Internet-connected modern variety that features every song under the sun, or a hulking old model with a "carefully curated" set of alt-country CDs to flip through. We've even found one local bar in Brooklyn where the jukebox is free – but for fear of causing a stampede of thrifty musos, we're keeping its identity to ourselves.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Max Howell
Air-conditioned, 24-hour subway trains
This isn't an America-wide trend by any means, but New York's Metro Transit Authority subway system makes the London Underground feel positively archaic. The trains don't run quite as frequently, but they do run all night, every night – a big reason why NYC really is the city that never sleeps. The subway carriages are also more spacious than our Tube trains, and all of them are air conditioned to provide welcome relief during the Big Apple's brutal summers. We'd prefer to keep the Tube's cushioned seats, mind you – the MTA use smooth plastic seating that's easy to hose down; we'll leave you to ponder just why that might be necessary.
Widespread 4G LTE
While 4G LTE is a relatively new technology in the UK and is currently available through only one network (Everything Everywhere), US smartphone users have a veritable wealth of options at their metaphorical table. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, US Cellular, Leap Wireless and C Spire all offer LTE, although coverage varies between the networks and is generally limited to large urban areas.
HTC Droid DNA
While weirdly-named, distinctly average Android phones are even more commonplace in America than they are here, we can't help but regard the HTC Droid DNA with envious eyes. Exclusive to the Verizon network, it features a 1080p full HD display – still rarer than hen's teeth on a smartphone – as well as a quad-core Qualcomm processor, 2GB of RAM, Beats Audio and 4G LTE capabilities. We want one, and we want one now.