There’s a lot to envy about James Bond, what with the gadgets and the suits and being allowed to drink on the job. Take a look at column B, though, where you’ve got a whole lot of people trying to kill him. Those baddies are the subject of “Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains,” a new, interactive exhibit at the International Spy Museum. Artifacts include such tools of evil as Jaws’ steel teeth from “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker” and the platinum asthma inhaler Le Chiffre puffs away on after losing a ton of money in 2006’s “Casino Royale.” In addition to a comprehensive history of 007’s antagonists — and a fascinating look at how they reflect the evolution of evil in the real world, from the Cold War to cyberterrorism — visitors get to experience some of what it’s like to be on Her Majesty’s Secret Service. (Bond girls not included.)
Spy vs. Spy
In this two-person game, one person crawls through a tunnel to access a four-digit code. Another visitor (or, in our case, a maniacally laughing museum employee) manipulates mirrors and lights to make it more difficult. (Thanks to one-way glass, she can see you struggle, but you can’t see her.) Even if you get all four numbers, the real challenge comes when you have to punch in the code on a keypad at the end and realize that you don’t remember that second number. Worst. Spy. Ever.
Bond spends a lot of time dangling from high places. Here, you get to re-create that experience, but with a greatly reduced risk of death. An employee sets up a bar relative to your height (so little kids and adults are both only about 6 inches off the ground) and you grab it and try to hold on for as long as possible. It’s easy, until wind starts blowing and the bar starts moving and you wish you wore a longer shirt because your tummy is hanging out and then you fall off. Yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!” for effect is highly encouraged.
It seems simple enough at first, like a higher-stakes game of “Operation.” All you have to do is lift a metal cylinder out of its casing without letting it touch the sides of the shaft. Oh, and you have 14 seconds. Do it, and you save the world; fail, and BOOM GOES THE PLANET. It’s just complex enough that the game quickly reaches a slot-machine level of addictiveness, and you may find yourself hitting the reset button over and over and over.