#3. Turn the Real World into a Giant Pac-Man Maze
Some years ago, the government of Singapore proved that its priorities are definitely in the right place when it funded a scientific project that allows people to experience what it's like to be Pac-Man. Cleverly named Human Pac-Man, the game is played in the real world using virtual reality technology that allows you to walk the streets seeing floating, edible white dots.
You can get similar results by inhaling massive amounts of glue.
Basically, by putting on a set of virtual reality goggles, the entire city turns into a huge version of a Pac-Man maze filled with dots you have to eat, special items you have to find and, of course, ghosts you have to stay the fuck away from. The ghosts are actually other goggles-wearing players that can "eat" you by sneaking up on you and tapping you on the shoulder. Meanwhile, any confused onlooker who sees the players chasing each other and acting strangely will probably assume that they're cyborgs from the future.
Or that one of the smaller alien-looking cyborgs has attacked the face of a frighteningly calm human.
So how are the players supposed to find each other in an entire city? What stops Pac-Man from just going into a bar and staying there for the duration of the game? That's where the Internet comes in. Each player is equipped with a GPS tracking device that transmits their location to "Helpers" participating online -- the Helpers can track the players wherever they go and communicate with them through text messages (for example, letting the ghosts know where Pac-Man is headed or helping Pac-Man avoid the ghosts, depending on which side they're on and how much of a dick they are).
Also, like in the classic version, the player controlling Pac-Man can find the power pellet that allows him to turn the tables on the ghosts and eat them. To the players on the street level, the whole thing may look like a massive manhunt, but on the Internet, it's presented in the form of a cutesy 3-D video game, as seen here:
Singapore's military became interested in the project because the technology could be used to give real-time position information to soldiers on the battlefield, plus help them be prepared in the case of a poltergeist attack.
#2. A Racing Game Cabinet You Can Drive on the Street
Twenty-six years ago, Sega introduced OutRun, a racing game where you could sit inside an arcade cabinet that resembled an actual car and hold a steering wheel. The idea was widely imitated by arcade games everywhere, but now it's finally time for the next logical step: a racing game you can actually drive down the street.
"This is way too safe. Can someone inject me with heroin?"
This is the work of Garnet Hertz, whom you may remember from a prior article as the guy who decided to reanimate dead frogs with electricity. Using components from an electric golf cart and combining them with a real arcade game cabinet, Hertz created a version of Outrun that can be driven on real roads, in front of real (possibly terrified) pedestrians. The craziest part, however, is that instead of watching the road, the player/driver is actually looking at a pixilated simulation of reality, created in real time.
Beatrice da Costa
Well, most of it.
The vehicle has a camera on the front that captures the environment, and then specially created software simulates the road in front of you in 8-bit imagery. The software can even tell how fast you're going and adjusts the speed of the vehicle in the game accordingly. So when you turn your car in the game, you're turning in real life, and when you run into an item in the middle of the road, that's probably someone's grandma.
But on the plus side, it always looks like you're driving by nothing but scenic beaches and palm trees, even if you're cruising through downtown Newark, New Jersey, and there's always a hot blonde by your side. Here's a video demonstration:
However, Hertz isn't proposing that you drive an OutRun machine to work, and acknowledges that using his experiment "in the real world will likely be difficult or dangerous" -- according to him, the game is actually a commentary on how much we rely on technology like GPS navigation to get us around, even though the information on the screen doesn't always match up with reality. In the future, computer-assisted driving is going to be nearly indistinguishable from playing a racing game, so we guess that the lesson here is to start stocking up on banana peels and blue shells.
#1. Dance Dance Revolution With Flamethrowers
We just told you about a version of Street Fighter where you can pretend to set people on fire, but somehow that isn't reckless or extreme enough for some arcade fanatics. For a game where players are literally set ablaze, you'd have to look at something more hardcore ... like Dance Dance Revolution. You know, that rhythm game you play by jumping on colored arrows to crappy music.
In Dance Dance Immolation, a special version created by a group called Interpretative Arson, two contestants play a game of DDR with a few small differences: First, you have to wear these goofy suits that make you look like an extra from a post-apocalyptic movie ...
It's kinda hard to do "the worm" in these things.
... and the second difference is that if you make a wrong step, you get shot in the face with a flamethrower.Seriously.
Science has yet to find a thing that isn't automatically improved by flamethrowers.
If you still can't believe that this is a real thing, here's a video of it:
So those B-movie costumes are in fact the only thing keeping the players from burning to death, since they are actually aluminized proximity suits identical to those used to protect firefighters from extreme temperatures such as aircraft fires. Contestants must also wear forced-air respirators under a fireproof mask through which they are fed oxygen through a tube that acts like some kind of robotic umbilical cord. But once you get all that bulky gear on, it's time to strut your stuff!
"Hey, when you go up there, hold this hot dog for me."
While playing, the only part of your body that isn't protected is your feet (you just wear normal shoes), since, as any dedicated DDR player will tell you, being able to dance freely is way more important than not sustaining third-degree burns.
For more fictional things that jumped into real life, check out The 6 Most Incredible Real World Beast Masters and 5 Bizarre Real-Life Gangs That Put The Warriors to Shame.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 6 Bizarre Gadgets That Punish You into Being a Better Person.