When you got to the toilet you’re most likely only thinking about one thing, but there is one thing that especially us blokes have been guilty of. Well, at least I hope it’s not just me anyway! I’ve used the time in the toilet to relax with a good book, or I’ve played games on my iPhone while sitting on the loo (according to a survey a lot of us tend to use our phones in the loo!). It’s not a pretty thought, and I’m terribly sorry for putting that thought in your head, but it’s sometimes the only time I get to seal myself away from everyone else for at least 10 minutes or so.
When it comes to public toilets it’s obviously a lot different; it’s get in, do your stuff, and get out as soon as possible. I don’t really think you have the time to be bored, but some companies are making strides to offer bathroom distractions to give you a little something to do while you’re carrying out an act of nature. They’re taking playing a game in the bathroom to a whole new level, and that’s not just sitting on the toilet playing Angry Birds!
An American baseball team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Pennsylvania, has become the first team in the country to install urinal-based games in the men’s bathrooms. This “Urinal Gaming System” works with a screen placed above the urinal, and unsurprisingly you control the game by the direction your stream of pee is going. Basically, it makes peeing fun!
The video below shows a skiing game, and the direction you’re skiing down a mountain is directly controlled by where you direct your stream of urine into the urinal. It takes into account the speed and accuracy of your pee, so hopefully you’d improve over time! The game lasts for 55 seconds, which to me sounds like an awfully long time to be peeing but it obviously depends on how much you’ve been drinking. I could see myself drinking a lot of water just to have another go on the game, and maybe it would even lead to big queues for the urinals just as we tend to see with the queues outside women’s toilets.
Leaderboards will bring more of a competing element into the game too, but it’s not all just for fun. The games, which will apparently rotate throughout the baseball season, are sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Health Network to raise awareness about prostate health. You can also try the games in some pubs around the UK, as the system is actually developed by the UK based Captive Media.
Surprisingly it’s not the only bathroom gaming system to have been released, with video game company SEGA in Japan creating a version. It calls them “Toylets” and works similar to the first system I talked about, in that a monitor is set into the wall above the urinal. However, you get a choice of games to play, interspersed with adverts that the company hopes you will pay more attention to if you are enjoying a game while viewing them.
The first game, “Mannekin Pis”, simply measures how you urinate while the second game, “Graffiti Eraser”, has you removing a picture with the power of your pee. “The Northern Wind, the Sun and Me” sounds a bit perverted if I’m being honest, with the aim to bow a girl’s skirt up to see her underwear. The harder you pee, the harder the wind blows. That’s Japan for you!
Finally, “Battle! Milk From Nose!” may have one of the weirdest names you can think of, but it brings a little competition into the urinal game. It pits you against the previous user of the urinal, whose stream of urine is depicted as milk spraying out of the contestants’ noses. The player with the strongest stream of urine is declared the winner.
It’s all a bit odd, but it brings a whole new dimension to visiting the bathroom I guess. Would you like to play one of these games? Or are you happy enough just taking a pee without any silly distractions?
Words by Thomas P Mulrooney.