upgrade review

The Upgrade Gimmick is a clever little utility gimmick which enables a range of clever card magic to take place. The demo video features some amazingly visual changes, but did the reality match up?

First up, we should say, some people don’t like using gimmicks – and certainly some limitations come as a result. But on the plus side, they enable some very visual magic with little or no sleight of hand. For me the effect is always the thing – method is largely irrelevant – so don’t rule this out just because of the gimmick.

The gimmick is simple, but will have a shelf-life – in the sense that with use it will wear out. With very little practise you will find that you can achieve some great visual effects with ease. My only real issue is that ‘loading’ the gimmick is a little angle-y – and so some of the handling feels slightly less natural than would be ideal. There are always trade-offs in magic – and for most people the value of the effect will outweigh the drawbacks of the handling.

Danny gives half a dozen ideas for different ways of using the gimmick – as a climax for an ambitious card routine, with a blank card, even for a great card-through table, etc. etc. And, as the old saying goes, you are only limited by your imagination – which to be fair seems to be quite a limit for some magicians! One of the really nice things is that the visual change can occur literally in the spectator’s hands – which is a great result.

Although Liam says he likes the fact that the gimmick can sit in your deck ‘unobtrusively’ I would take slight issue with that. I suppose it would fly by in continuous handling – but there is a fairly unavoidable ‘natural break’ caused – which is great for locating the gimmick, but not so good for ‘unobtrusive’ if the deck were, for example, sitting on the table.

As Danny Weiser is a ‘new face’ in the magic world, the interview slot with him is interesting. He comes across as a nice guy and I appreciated hearing a bit of his story.

The DVD is produced to BBM’s usual high standards – easy to navigate and sharply filmed. In addition to the DVD and the actual gimmick, you are also given ‘some supplies’ which will help you repair or replace the gimmick when it wears out.

I’m in two minds about the final verdict on this. I love how visual the effects which are made possible with this gimmick are. And I can see that for ‘that special occasion’ – where I might take a little more effort to achieve that moment of wow, I might go armed. But I’m not sure it’s going to make the cut into my regular working deck.

The Upgrade Gimmick is available from Merchant of Magic (with thanks to BBM who kindly supplied the review copy) for a modest £17.99 (at the time of writing).

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