6 Insane Real-Life Versions of Video Games
In recent years, video games have morphed from something that you play while sitting down on a couch like a lazy bastard to something that makes you flail around in your living room like a moron. Games are slowly moving out of our monitors and into the real world ... but damn it, it still feels like there's something missing.
And that something is insanity. Fortunately, creative people right now are fixing that with ...
Real-Life Street Fighter II ... for Pyromaniacs
It would be easy enough to do a real-life version of Street Fighter if all you're looking for is for two guys dressed like E. Honda and Chun-Li to prance around and air-punch each other. But what if you wanted to imitate the spectacle of setting a guy ablaze with a fireball launched from your fist? You know, like this:
"I got next g- never mind!"
For that, Toronto-based art organization Site 3 created Super Street Fire, in which you can stand in the middle of a recreation of Ryu's stage from Street Fighter II surrounded by a series of propane tanks that emit large bursts of fire on your command. Yelling "HADOUKEN!" at this point is recommended, but not mandatory.
"We tried to do a sonic boom, but too many people kept dying."
And no, that guy in the first picture up there didn't burn to death. It's just an illusion -- the rails that create what appears to be a shooting ball of fire are safely positioned between the players and the audience, so from the perspective of the latter, the whole "stage" seems to light up with fire, sort of like those bootleg Street Fighter II arcades where you could fill the entire screen with Hadoukens. If you're having trouble picturing it, here's a diagram of the play field:
Not pictured: The car you have to beat to shit with your bare hands.
So how do the players control the flames? Pyrokinesis? Nothing so mundane: This is achieved by wearing special gloves with built-in motion-sensing technology and a headset that records brain activity, so you can make the flames go off by performing certain hand gestures or just thinking really hard about it.
Try not to do a wanking motion with your hand, because that's also the gesture for "setting yourself on fire."
Once you've performed a special move and activated the fire-spitting tanks, your opponent has to react quickly and launch another move to stop the fire from reaching their side of the arena, or suffer the consequences. But other than a getting a new tan, the players here don't actually suffer any real harm. Unlike in ...
A Version of Tekken That Inflicts Real Pain
Fighting games like Tekken are all about dishing out as much damage as you can to your opponent, which is usually measured through a life bar on the screen and the amount of times the player who is losing yells obscenities. An organization called C-Level came up with a much simpler and more effective way to help you keep track of the damage inflicted: Every time your character gets hit, you feel real pain.
It made for the most bullshit-sounding insurance claim of all time.
The game is called Tekken Torture Tournament, and it's played by literally wiring participants to a PlayStation console so that they'll receive painful electric shocks whenever their character takes damage. Back when it was still running, the only things participants had to do to enter the tournament was go to a basement in Los Angeles' Chinatown, sign a waiver accepting the risk of death and then strap this device to their arm:
Well, pussies strapped it to their arm. Real men chose other locales.
Apparently, the electrical shock received by players is "strong enough to make your arm pull your hand off the controller, so you literally lost the ability to fight back as you got injured in the game." If you thought getting cornered by a never-ending combo in the game was bad enough, imagine trying to fight back when you literally can't hold the controller anymore. At that point you probably can't even flip off your opponent and reset the console, since you're too busy drooling on the floor.
"Thanks for playing! Medics are en route."
The way it works is that the creators came up with a program that monitors the state of your life gauge on the screen, so every time it's reduced, you receive a shock, which also means that the more damage you suffer, the harder the shock will be. Although they are painful, the shocks aren't inflicting any serious damage on your body: They simply make you lose control of your arm (and probably certain other bodily functions).
Escape from an Abandoned Hospital, Resident Evil Style
There have been numerous official attempts to replicate the experience of the Resident Evil games in real life, most of them inexplicably food-related, like this zombie-themed restaurant or this butcher shop, which serves actual meat designed to look like human body parts. So they've got the "gore" part pretty well covered, but for a re-creation of the "survival horror" aspect of the series you'd have to go to Japan, where you can pay the equivalent of $40 for the privilege of being locked in an abandoned hospital, which you then have to escape. Or try to, anyway.
Or as they like to call it in Japan, "A completely normal hospital."
The event was created by a company called Scrap, which specializes in "real escape games," in collaboration with Resident Evil's creators at Capcom. The building in which you'll willing trap yourself has been "designed to look like the world of Resident Evil," but we're guessing that not a whole lot of work was required to make it look creepy, since it's an actual abandoned hospital in Tokyo where real patients were treated and presumably died (unless they're still roaming the hallways as undead creatures).
Sadly, Japan's health care doesn't cover zombism yet. And quite frankly, that shocks us.
In the game, you and your friends play U.N. investigators who are trapped in a hospital and infected with a virus that is turning them into zombies -- the players must collect clues and items to find a vaccine and escape the hospital before the time runs out. Basically, you have to complete real-world versions of those tedious video game puzzles, except you can't just go online and look up a walkthrough if you get stuck.
And while there aren't giant monsters chasing you like in the video game, bear in mind that the type of people this game tends to attract are likely to supply their own zombie makeup and costumes.
"We used our own blood for authenticity."
According to the game's official website, the success rate for these games is always less than 20 percent of the players involved -- as they point out (according to Google Translate), "It is not a simple kindergarten-style mystery. Please come with panache detective." We're guessing that the people who don't figure out how to escape are left in there and later used as part of the scenery.
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.
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.
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.
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.