It has now been over a year since I walked into a public space without wearing a mask.
In that time, American society has quickly walked down the Orwellian path toward madness. There have been economic power grabs by large corporations, taking advantage of a pandemic to make a profit over saving people. The first robotic police dog was revealed by the NYPD, even while police abuse is not only rampant but accepted by a large portion of the public as normal, or even good. Taco Bell removed potatoes from their menu.
It’s been a dark year.
The dystopia isn't some fiction waiting to happen in the distant future, it happening now and I say it’s time to lean in! That is why I am going to buy the Razer Project Hazel mask whenever it finally starts production. If the dystopia is here to stay, our scavenger masks might as well be RGB.
Razer announced its conceptual mask design in January of 2021. Touted as the “world's smartest and most social-friendly face mask,” Project Hazel immediately captured the imagination of many consumers. Their concept included RGB lighting that illuminates your mouth through the transparent front panel, a microphone to magnify your voice, a built-in bacterial filtration system, and a UV light charging case that disinfects the mask.
Co-founder and CEO of Razer, Min-Liang Tan, explained: “The Project Hazel smart mask concept is intended to be functional, yet comfortable and useful for interacting with the world, while maintaining a sociable aesthetic.”
I don’t know about you, but everything about these masks screams sociable to me! If I met a fellow traveler in the wasteland left behind by factory farms and climate change and they were wearing this mask, I would find them very approachable.
In recent months, Razer has been circulating a series of surveys online to ascertain what people want in an actual production model of this concept. The two most requested features in the comment section appear to be the fan power ventilation and the voice magnification. Many also liked the idea of the self-cleaning function, and others requested it be affordable, though we probably can’t have both of those things.
Personally, I want to see active ventilation, voice amplification, and RGB lighting. If this mask doesn’t make me feel like Esports version of the bad guy in Mad Max Fury Road, then honestly I don’t even want it. Go big or go home Razer.
And you know, even if society doesn't collapse sending us all into a cyberpunk primitivism reminiscent of Horizon Zero Dawn, the mask will still be a pretty useful piece of tech with an explicitly gamer-centric aesthetic. Though it is unquestionably extra, the mask will nonetheless look plenty stylish on an esports stage, at a rave, or just picking up groceries... which is mostly what I plan to use it for.
There you have it, the Razer Project Hazel mask — your versatile companion for all epochs. Razer's upcoming mask is perfect for everything from our burgeoning current dystopia to the future wastelands of the apocalypse, and every time in between.
8 / 10
Let's be honest, it's not that practical. It's bulkier than other masks, it needs to be recharged to work properly, and voice amplification could end up sounding pretty silly. But for me, it's everything I dreamed it could be. Even after COVID mask mandates lift, I will wear this thing to raves, esports events, and the grocery store. It may look pretentious outside an esports gaming space, but I really don't care at this point. I am leaning into my cyberpunk aesthetic, so this mask is perfect for me. Now if only Razer could make a nice Hazmat suit.
- Voice amplification feature
- Disinfection system
- You are ready for a dystopian future that has no running water
- It requires charging
- You'll look completely pretentious almost everywhere you go
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.