Daily Game

Dec 12, 2008

Ann Tancio


SumoSac Sultan: “Butts On” Review

Sometimes the sofa just doesn’t cut it for gaming. Sometimes a leather recliner seems too formal for watching movies. Sometimes, well, sometimes you just need a change. Say, a beanbag. But don’t call the SumoSac Sultan a beanbag chair; it’s more like beanbag 2.0.

I’ve plopped my way through at least three beanbag chairs in the past decade, generally because they either lost their “cush” or got punctured and vomited their miniscule Styrofoam beads all over the floor. As if sensing my problem, Sumo Lounge sent along a SumoSac Sultan — basically a massive 54-inch-diameter hockey puck — with the promise of a whole new level of beanbag-like comfort. Having watched a half-dozen movies and played just as many games on the SumoSac Sultan, I have to say this is by far the most durable casual seating “device” I’ve ever had. The most comfortable? That’s debatable.

When you first open the box of the SumoSac Sultan, you’ll think you received the wrong item in the mail. Showing up in a 36-inch square box, the SumoSac Sultan ships in what’s got to be one of the most tightly wrapped vacuum-sealed packages ever engineered. In fact, the shredded furniture-grade urethane foam (think “egg carton mattress”) requires you to literally “break it up” to give the material room to breathe and expand. After breaking up the biggest chunks, you then insert the foam-containing bag into its machine-washable cover and zip it closed. That’s when the magic happens.

Watching the Sultan grow in size during its first 24 hours of unwrapped life is nothing short of a pay-per-view event. Seriously, the SumoSac at least doubles in size, creeping and crawling its way to unfathomable dimensions. When I say “54-inch hockey puck,” I’m being completely serious. And not only is it 54 inches in diameter, but it’s 42 inches tall. Nope, this ain’t your mama’s beanbag. While it expands, the Sultan gives off a very distinct chemical smell (the urethane foam vapors), and if you spend any extended periods of time on the Sultan during that first day, you’ll find that your clothes smell faintly of a carpet store. Exercise some patience, though, and make sure you properly ventilate the room for a full day, and you’ll be off to the sedentary races.

Because the SumoSac Sultan doesn’t use Styrofoam beads, plopping down and getting the “proper beanage” doesn’t make any noise — a very welcome change for those of us who grew up dreading the late-night beanbag noise waking a roommate. However, because it uses shredded urethane foam, getting the divot (butt print) just right takes a bit more work than a traditional beanbag, and in fact can take upwards of five minutes to make sure your tush is properly positioned for an hours-long game or movie marathon. Once you get the chair positioned correctly, it never loses its form, but getting comfortable can take longer than expected. In fact, for the first few days of Sultan ownership, getting the right “beanage” can seem impossible. Think of it as something akin to breaking in shoes, and you know what to expect.

Fortunately, because of its size, the SumoSac Sultan easily accommodates two people, so the fact that it takes up mass amounts of room doesn’t mean its size is pointless. Likewise, if you get two people working on the divot, it takes less time to get comfortable, because you’ve got twice the weight working against the foam. But again, this is more of an issue for the first few days; once you break it in, the SumoSac Sultan is plenty comfortable. (As an aside, it provides a novel diversion for toddlers, too.)

If you’re looking for something for a studio apartment or dorm room, the Sultan is likely too big for your needs, even if it can double as a loveseat. In that case, Sumo Lounge has a few other styles from which to choose, each of which has more than enough color choices to meet your needs. But if you’re just looking for a change, something to break the monotony of the love seat, sofa or recliner, give the Sultan a whirl. Your butt might not immediately thank you, but give it a few days, and you’ll likely have some cheery cheeks.

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