Guest Recommendations: Adrian Hon

Adrian Hon, CEO of Six to Start and author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects, thinks you should play games about trains, buy wireless headphones, and eat corn.

North American Sweetcorn

Thanks to globalization, everything that exists in North America also exists here in the UK. Game of Thrones, Solange, Five Guys — we have it all. And so, one could be forgiven for thinking that things with the same name are the same. But not sweetcorn.

The first time I visited Canada, I stayed with a family a couple of hours out of Toronto. I can’t remember exactly what we ate the first night, but I know it included sweetcorn. I remember biting into it and almost weeping with joy at its intense deliciousness.

“What’s wrong?” they asked.

“What… what is this?” I stuttered.


Illustration for The Bygone Bureau by Hallie Bateman

“Uh… it’s sweetcorn? Don’t you have that in the UK?”

Yes, we have sweetcorn in the UK. But it’s not actually sweet — certainly not compared to North American sweetcorn. It looks the same, it has the same texture, but it doesn’t actually taste of anything. Maybe it’s because of the climate, or the soil, or the genetic modifications, or the delivery chain. I don’t know and I don’t care to know — that would kill the magic.

Such is my love for the vegetable that I sometimes fly back with fresh cobs in my suitcase. It could be illegal, but what the hell, it’s worth it.

Mini Metro

Tired of Threes and/or its unholy spawn, 2048? Too superior for Candy Crush? It’s time to board the Mini Metro train. The gameplay is simple; you draw subway lines that connect different kinds of station, and try to get passengers where they’d like to go as fast as possible without stations getting overloaded. Each game takes about 10-20 minutes, which detracts from the crack-like nature of other casual games, but on the other hand it’s plenty satisfying to build up seven interconnected lines serving dozens of stations and thousands of passengers. Minus point: it’s not on smartphones yet. Plus point: it’s free.

Sony SBH80

It stands for “Stereo Bluetooth Headset” (who knows what the “80″ means, though…) Catchy, huh?

Wireless headphones aren’t new; plenty of people use them with home theaters or to annoy people on public transport. Lately, though, they’ve started getting much cheaper, better, and smaller.

I got my pair because I run a lot with my phone in an armband and I didn’t want my headphone wires getting tangled up all the time — but I’ve experienced constant smaller pleasures when I’m using them at other times. When I was watching a movie on my iPad during a flight, I didn’t have to worry about wires looping around my seatbelt or knocking things over; when I’m at work listening to recordings on my laptop, I can stand up and walk around rather than staying tethered to my desk. It’s not in the iPhone-level of “life changing devices” but it’s definitely made it a lot more pleasant.

Adrian Hon runs games company Six to Start and is the author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects. He possesses a media time machine that only allows him to listen to music three years old.