The 7 Dumbest Video Game Innovations That Actually Exist
When you look at the history of video games, most innovations come from stuff that gamers had been clamoring for all along: better graphics, more intuitive controls and the ability to tell fellow players to eat a bag of dicks through a computer screen.
These are not like that. These are the ridiculous innovations nobody asked for, and yet somebody went ahead and made them real. Like ...
Metazoa Ludens -- The Game That Lets Your Pet Murder You
If you own a pet but don't have time to play with it because you're too busy, you know, playing GTA and stuff, the Metazoa Ludens project was made for you. It's a system that allows humans and animals to interact in fun, productive ways. For example, by turning your hamster into a giant monster that wants to kill you.
Only one of those things isn't true in the real world.
In Mice Arena, developed by Mixed Reality Labs, you and your hamster share the same virtual space, only the tables have somewhat turned. As your actual hamster chases a piece of bait in the real world, in the virtual world you are the one being chased by a giant hamster.
By making the character in the game run in terror, the human is actually controlling the crane that carries the piece of food the hamster is chasing. At the same time, the movements of the hamster are replicated by its oversized man-eating version inside the video game thanks to a series of sensors and cameras built into its tank.
But this isn't just for hamsters: Other possible Metazoa Ludens games in development include Jellyfish Trone (a Tron-like game where a real jellyfish is the snake that cuts you off) and Chicken Pacman (in which the chicken is represented by a ghost chasing you through a maze).
So to summarize, it's a way to play with your cuddly pet without actually touching it (you can even play over the Internet), and it trains your pet to successfully chase you down and eat you (since it's learning all of your real-life evasive maneuvers and how to defeat them).
"Animal is prone to shit-talking, even though he's barely ahead if you look at it hourly."
To be fair, it is also a great research tool: scientists can learn more about animals from the decisions they make. And we won't really feel the downside until all those trained hamsters escape and figure out a way to make themselves giant. We can only hope that they'll let us play video games when we're the ones put in cages.
Gnilley -- Play by Screaming
Are you so bad at video games that even Lego Star Wars makes you scream at your monitor in frustration? Then you'd probably be perfect at Gnilley, the game that is played entirely by screaming. Watch this demonstration:
You navigate the suspiciously Zelda-looking backgrounds with your keyboard and destroy enemies by screaming at your computer as loud as you can. The louder you scream, the faster they die. Yelling at different intensities allows you to bypass certain obstacles, and ... yeah, that's pretty much the whole game. If you get stuck, don't worry: This is the only game where getting frustrated actually helps you.
The best part is that makes no difference what you scream as long as it's screamed at the correct volume -- if your throat gives up, simply start an argument with your spouse or coworker, point the microphone at them and breeze through the levels. Alternatively, you can play while doing some angry karaoke.
"DANCING QUEEN! YOUNG AND SWEET! ONLY SEVENTEEEEN!"
We're not too shocked to find out that the developers created Gnilley in only two days for a game contest as a last minute idea. Originally, they intended to make a game that would use pitch and color in a creative and innovative way, but then decided "Fuck that, let's make it about incoherent screeching." Still, Gnilley turned out to be a success, and they are currently working on a smartphone version, which would be a fun thing to play on the subway or walking down the street if you're a dangerous lunatic.
"Hey, Chad, I'd like to talk to you about that wedding gift you got my wife."
Biotic Games -- Living Video Games
Who among us has never enacted mild acts of torture on a video game character, gone a little overboard with the friendly fire in an FPS or spent an entire night building elaborate death traps in The Sims? After all, it's not like our video games are alive, so there's no (real) harm here. Well, apparently a group of Stanford researchers is working hard on changing that.
Biotic games look just like old school video games, only instead of pixels, they are made out of living organisms (paramecia) ... which you control by zapping them with electricity. For example, in the game Enlightenment you guide a bunch of shrimps across a small box in order to light up all the squares:
Not exactly Skyrim.
It looks like something that could come preloaded on your phone, but what's actually going on is this:
Which could actually be living inside your phone.
What you're watching is a fluid chamber charged up with an electrical field -- a charge that the player can shift from positive to negative by pressing the buttons in a small NES-like controller. The tiny paramecia inside the chamber react to the electricity by fleeing in the direction that you command them to. The chamber is also hooked to a small webcam that transmits the images to a computer in real time, instantly transforming them into video game screens for our perverse amusement.
Fact: Most serial killers start out by torturing single-celled organisms.
There's also a soccer game where the little guys have to push the ball into the net, a pinball game and creepy living versions of classics like Pac-Man, Arkanoid and Pong (sadly, they couldn't secure the rights to Shaq Fu).
The objective here is to teach kids about biological processes in the only language they can understand: torture (and video games). The researchers make sure to point out that paramecia are brainless microscopic organism that can't feel any pain -- but once the technology has been developed, what's stopping someone less scrupulous from trying this with sea life? Or insects? Or babies? It's only a matter of time before we get to that point -- mark our words.
The soccer ball is actually like a billion paramecia chained together.
You're in Control -- The Piss Controller
Frustrated over the fact that not enough video games require you to whip out your dick and start peeing all over the place, a group of students at MIT created You're in Control: a video game system entirely operated through streams of urine.
That may look like a regular urinal, but it's actually equipped with a series of sensors that measure the exact force and location of your golden stream, translating that valuable information into actions in the video game screen mounted on the wall. The game is actually a version of Whack-a-Mole where the hamsters turn yellow upon being hit and are presumably so grossed out that they drop dead.
The game's designers see urination as "an activity rich with social significance" (we're not sure which kind of parties they've been going to) and argue that the game promotes cleanliness because it encourages people to aim properly. And by "properly" they mean "directly at expensive technological equipment." They also envisioned a wealth of other uses for this technology, from cooperative games to browsing through stock quotes with your penis.
*Sigh* ... Yes, Japan.
These "Toylets" are produced by Sega and equipped with several games, including one where the potency of your pee causes a girl's skirt to move up (but that goes without saying). Another one measures your peeing abilities against the last person to use that urinal and the results are displayed in the form of milk coming out of your nose. You know what, if we're ever in Japan, we'll probably just go in the stall.
And we're not even done: A game designer in the Netherlands managed to transform a urinal into a racing game named TopsPEEd (get it? It says "PEE"), devising a system in which the car will switch gears depending on where you urinate.
Is it a law that all urine games must have a pee pun in their title? Are we the first people to ever type those words?
The problem with this sort of thing (one of the problems) is that going in a public place is an uncomfortable enough experience without people gathering behind you and cheering you to victory. And if you actually enjoy the game, what are you gonna do, stick around until your bladder fills up again?
Dark Room Sex Game -- Sound-Only Wiimote Porn
Dark Room Sex Game is an erotic video game created by a group of students in Copenhagen who apparently never got over the fact that Nintendo's Wii remote sort of looks like a dong (if dongs were rectangular and had little buttons in them). However, even if you're the sort of person who has been waiting for a Wii porn game since 2006, you'll probably be disappointed to find out that this game has no graphics. (You might want to mute the following video if you're at work, though.)
The game is played by standing before a speaker that makes erotic sounds and whipping your Wiimote in tandem with a partner. There's no screen, so to an outside observer it might as well be a female tennis match simulator. If you and your partner follow the audio cues correctly and achieve a good rhythm, the game will let you know you have won by having a loud orgasm.
The winner is then rewarded by an overwhelming feeling of shame.
The designers, who classify this as a party game, say they took away the visuals to make it "more erotic" and force players to "user their imaginations" (but not too much, because no one likes the guy at every party with the visible boner). They also admit they were inspired by the "phallic shape (and rumble) of the Wiimote" and that the ultimate goal is to make players feel embarrassed and satisfied at the same time. A less obvious objective is preparing us for when the machines take over and robot handjobs become a thing.
For extra awkwardness, there's even an "orgy mode" where two couples compete to see who can reach climax the fastest (so it's more like "premature ejaculator" mode). While Dark Room Sex Game is designed to be played with Wiimotes, it's actually a PC game. Of course, if they do license it to Nintendo at some point, we're guessing they'd probably find a way to slap Mario on the cover.
"It's-a me, thumbing your brown eye!"
Kiss Controller -- Turn French Kissing into Bowling
Bowling video games probably reached their zenith with Nintendo's Wii Sports mini-game -- once you are able to play by performing an actual throwing-ball swinging motion, where else can you go? Well, artist Hye Yeon Nam found the next innovation: kiss bowling.
One of the players wears a headset in front of his mouth and the other has to stick a little magnet to her tongue with some Fixodent. The one with the magnet then inserts her polarized tongue into the other person's mouth and uses it to maneuver the virtual bowling ball.
The strength of the throw is controlled by the potency of his boner.
At this point you have to try to keep your tongue as straight as possible in order to maintain the direction of the ball, while at the same time wiggling it as fast as you can to increase the ball's speed. This goes on for the most horrible 20 seconds of your life. It's like this was designed by someone who has only ever been kissed by overbearing psychopaths.
"Well, that score was definitely worth souring our relationship forever."
So, as impressive as this invention may seem, we're just not convinced that the tongue is the optimal choice for a controller, especially when you consider factors like bad breath, possible muscle cramps and the human need to breathe. Add that to the fact that the deep throating has to be carefully coordinated, and that you have to be wearing all that shit in your face and keep glancing at the screen to know how you're doing, and it's like someone really went out of their way to suck all the fun out of kissing and bowling both.
Deep Sea -- The Creepy Gas Mask Game
Turns out sound-only games aren't just for porn: whereas Dark Room Sex Game wants you to feel aroused, Deep Sea wants to scare the living shit out of you. For starters, it forces you to wear this thing:
"Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me."
That is a gas mask, yes. So it's not just that you can't see the graphics: You can't see anything at all, and you can only hear the creepy sounds that come from the game itself (everything else is canceled out by the headphones). In Deep Sea, you are underwater and surrounded by unthinkable creatures coming at you from all sides. An AI character tells you which way the monsters are coming, more or less, and you have to try to shoot them down with your joystick. If there's a hit, you'll hear a scream -- if you miss, all you will hear is your shot drifting away into the sea (and, eventually, your own scream).
The game is extremely claustrophobic, and this is all quite intentional: In this interview, the game's creator admits that "It's meant to be a difficult, frustrating, scary experience." Even worse, he says, "I saw somebody rip off the mask and I realized ... I think I'm on to something here."
"The fear-urine was another big indicator."
In fact, the more scared you are, the harder the game gets -- the game actually keeps track of your breathing and plays back an exaggerated breathing sound that increases the more nervous you get, sooner or later drowning out the game's commands and getting you killed. Even if you're not claustrophobic at all, you might be after playing it.
And as if the experience wasn't traumatic enough, the game is also designed to be played in public spaces only, meaning that as soon as you take off your mask you realize people have been watching you lose your shit for the past 10 minutes.
Which is still less shameful than playing Wii tennis in public.
For more things we wished wouldn't happen in the gaming world, check out 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted and The 6 Most Ominous Trends in Video Games.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover the things Bucholz does around the office that nobody ever asks or wants him to do.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!