This time of year is what we like to call a "slow news week" around these parts. Many reporters fill their time with top ten lists. I prefer to look back at the odd story that I didn't get a chance to report on. Maybe it wasn't really that timely, maybe (most likely) I spaced out and completely forgot about it, or maybe - as in this case - it's just...well...
People are using pee to control video games.
Yeah, it's weird, but I can't pretend to be surprised. Men seem to have some sort of deep-seated thing for marking their territory. From peeing our names in the snow, to piddling out camp fires, to the endless "crossing the streams" jokes that come with watching Ghostbusters, pee is a part of dude culture. And now it's a part of pub culture in the UK, thanks to Captive Media.
Believe it or not, this is the third company out there (as far as I can tell) to make a pee-controlled video game. First came the Germans, with the oh-so-lovingly titled piss-screen, which featured a car game to un-subtly remind bar-goers that drinking and driving can very well kill you. Not to be outdone, next came the Japanese - Sega, in fact - taking things to a whole new, terrifically creepy level. Of course, not to let the British Empire be out-done in anything related to pubs, now comes UK company Captive Media's answer to Germany's Piss Screen and Sega's Toylets (I swear on Apollo's chest: I am not making this up) Featuring trivia games, action games, and even the delightfully-titled firefighting simulator Hosepipe Hero, the units (tee hee) have already been installed in one bar in South London and another in Cambridge.
Cue the "joystick" jokes.
As with the previous systems, Creative Media's design features sensors built in to the urinal so it knows where you're aiming, and the action is displayed on an LCD screen just above the urinal. Moreover, the system will have live leaderboards and it will give you the option to tweet your scores. Apparently, the patrons in the Cambridge location are enjoying the experience, and the staff is pleased with how much neater it has encouraged the washroom users to be. As if there weren't any reason to aim before now. But I guess any bit helps.
Captive Media plans to officially roll out their units across the UK in 2012.