My girlfriend and I once drove across Michigan's Upper Peninsula. One day, after we downed a couple pasties, we stopped in to the VFW post in Ontonagon for a few beers. There, in the men's room, I saw something I'd never seen before: Hanoi Jane Urinal Targets.
In an era before Smart Technology, slapping a Jane Fonda sticker on some porcelain was the best the world had to offer in urinal target-practice games...at least in certain circles of disgruntled veterans and political malcontents. However, full-bladdered fellas, the future of mens' room gaming is upon us.
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Last year, we told you about Captive Media, a London-based start-up that created a urinal entertainment system. Think of it as X-Box meets Hanoi Jane Urinal Target, with the joy stick already in your hand.
Well, the company has had a golden year since it's launch. Co-founder Gordon MacSween told Wired the response has been "beyond his wildest expectations." After being on the market in 18 bars, hotels, corporate offices and private residences across the U.K. and Europe, the company is set to soon aim its success at the U.S. market as early as next year.
In case you forgot what the system entails, here's a refresher:
Mounted on the wall above the urinal is an LCD screen that plays advertisements loops until you step up to the trough and unzip. By the time you let it flow, the game is on. Infrared sensors below the screen shoot into the urinal and detect your pee stream. That data is fed back into the system and used to control the game. For you stray shooters out there, there are decals in the urinal to correct your aim.
There are five games that, unfortunately, you don't get to choose from. They just randomly pop up. As you'd expect, a few titles are very tongue-in-cheeky. There's "On the Piste," a POV ski run game where you navigate the slopes trying to hit penguins; "Clever Dick," a trivia game and Art Splash, a coloring book of sorts that lets you email your masterpiece to loved ones, friends and art critics once you're finished.
As Captive Media's website proclaims, the gaming doesn't have to stop once you've zipped up. The system is well-endowed with high-score features and an online leaded board that let's you take your measuring contest to new lengths.
The company just raised $700,00 from U.K. investors, so at least they'll have a pot to pee in for awhile. British blokes like their pints of ale. That they're rewarded with urinal video games the more they drink must be making bar tenders swoon. In fact, they already are. According to Wired, one bar in Cambridge reported a 22 percent spike in sales of a cocktail advertised on the game screens.
American dudes, I know you're anxious for your favorite watering hole to get one of these, but you'll just have to hold your horses. However, between now and then, if you're looking for a little target practice, you can always head up to the Ontonagon VFW lodge.
credit: Captive Media