Published on September 22nd, 2009 | by travors8
CSI: The Experience
Last Sunday the weather in Dublin was a little gloomy, so my wife and I decided to visit CSI: The Experience, in the Ambassador Theatre on O’Connell Street. We were both big fans of the original CSI TV series when it aired a few years ago (up until the constant repeats & spin offs got a little overbearing), so we’d planned to drop in to this exhibit for a while.
So with some excited trepidation we arrived at The Ambassador around 5pm, and purchased our tickets in the lobby. When buying our tickets we had two options: €18 per person to “investigate” one crime scene or €50 to visit all three. We chose to visit crime scene 1, paid our €36 and headed off to the debriefing room armed with our CSI clipboard (this had a preprinted, multiple choice crime scene sheet on it) and pen, given to us by some slightly bored and contemptuous looking staff in lab coats.
In the debriefing room (a dark room with 3 TV screens) we joined a small group of people and waited a while for the recorded message to start. Our introduction ended with the actor telling us to go to our chosen crime scenes and start taking “evidence” notes on our clipboard. Everybody waited around for a while expecting a staff member to arrive and show us were to go next (it seemed like this was supposed to happen), but after a few minutes it became obvious that nobody was coming, so we shuffled back out to the lobby and found the entrance to the crime scenes ourselves.
Our crime scene consisted of a sitting room with a car crashed through the front wall. We had to stand behind some crime scene tape (it was actually Garda crime scene tape, it looked kind of silly and out of place and elicited a few unintentional sniggers), and draw notes on our preprinted map of the scene from a safe distance, without actually examining any of the evidence (no interaction here folks). The whole scene looked like it had been put together on a shoe string budget, by a freckle faced American kid, for Science experiment day. My wife thought she had found some interesting evidence until she realised it was the trolley that the car prop had been wheeled in on (evidently left in place to save a bit of effort closing up shop after the show). And this was the highlight of the exhibit. After that, we continued on to the information booths, which provided information on the various types of evidence.
I’ll tell you what, let me save us both some time here and cut to the chase: The whole exhibit was shameful exercise in squeezing as much money as possible from unwitting CSI fans, whilst at the same time providing the flimsiest, cheapest excuse for a CSI experience in return. You could have created a better experience yourself at home by squeezing some tomato ketchup on your walls, chucking some chicken giblets at your cat, donning your mums favourite apron, throwing fifty quid out the window and watching a crappy interactive CSI cd-rom.
At least then you wouldn’t have to do the I’ve-just-been-ripped-off walk of shame, to get back home.
Included on our CSI experience for our entertainment were:
- Touch screen terminals, some of which nearly needed to be hit with a 16 pound lump-hammer in order to elicit a response.
- A UV torch booth demo, which contained a single UV torch with dead batteries.
- Absolutely no interaction with a single live actor or presenter.
- An awful recreation of Grissom’s office with laughable hand drawn butterfly props, all of which had to be looked at from six foot away behind a glass wall.
- Tedious waiting around for looped videos to begin and consoles to become available.
- Buggy demo software which liked to skip right back to the beginning, before you’d finished entering your information.
- A dummy autopsy demo which looked promising, until it became obvious that the video track was 2 minutes ahead of the autopsy projection.
- The cheeky request for another 5 quid, just to print out your 1 page CSI cert towards the end (we opted to have ours emailed to us for free).
Then at the very end (after we’d passed through the poorly stocked CSI experience gift shop), came the final slap in the face: Your CSI clipboard was snatched back by the surly lab coat folks for the next victims visitors to reuse.
Within an hour we were back out on the street, wondering what the heck had just happened.
So, on final, careful analysis of the evidence, I have deduced that a crime was indeed committed upon my person last Sunday afternoon: €36 was nicked from my wallet by this rip off, crappy exhibition. Please folks, protect yourself from a similar traumatic experience: stay away from the CSI one.