Video game shuts down Long Beach airport

Apparently a prototype of a new game system developed for Mattel looks very threatening.

Published July 26, 2007 11:56PM (EDT)

Long Beach Airport is one of the best places to fly in to Southern California. It's small and thus quick to get in and out of, and it looks great. (JetBlue has done up the place in 1950s flyboy style -- think "Catch Me If You Can" and Eero Saarinen's TWA terminal at JFK.)

But today an unidentified nonflying object gummed up the works at Long Beach. Hundreds of people were evacuated after security screeners found a strange device in someone's luggage. Nearby buildings were shut down too, and all planes were grounded. In came the bomb squad. They inspected the threatening object. Looked unlike anything they'd seen before. But the thing wasn't so dangerous, turned out: It was a prototype of a new electronic toy that a contractor had developed for Mattel.

"It is basically a handheld game board that a passenger packed," Jennifer Peppin, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, told Fox News.

How a handheld game could look at all suspicious is beyond me, though that's true for much about airline security. But even though I'm now curious to see it, I hope Mattel takes the incident as a sign it needs to go back to the drawing board on this thing.

By Salon Staff

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