The Null Device

Two designers in Germany (where else?) have developed a video game which inflicts pain when you lose. Called the PainStation, the game is a two-player tabletop version of the ancient TV game of Pong, only players place their hands on anelectrical plate. An electric shock is delivered to a player when they miss a ball; it can do several sorts of pain, including heat, punches and electric shocks of various duration, and looks likely to be a big hit with the Big Yellow Shorts crowd:
"When you're playing in public against a friend with people cheering you on, it's very hard to throw in the towel without putting up a good fight. I've seen people leave the table with blood on their hands and their skin completely raw because they didn't want to back down in front of an audience."

There are 5 comments on "":

Posted by: Graham http:// Fri Mar 8 08:03:40 2002

Wow. Reminds me a little of Seagram's experiment.

Posted by: epaul http:// Fri Mar 8 13:00:43 2002

Heh, there is an industrial band (probably German) called PainStation.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Mar 8 14:34:56 2002

Seagram's experiment? Is that some early unsuccessful anti-piracy technology from Universal or something?

Posted by: Paulo http:// Fri Mar 8 16:38:11 2002

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Seagram's experiment was that one where subjects were asked to inflict pain to supposed "subjects" of a fictitious experiment when they made a mistake. It showed that, even when the people in front of them were screaming in agony, the subjects were willing to keep pushing the "pain" button, as long as they felt that they were under someone else's orders.

Posted by: Paulo http:// Fri Mar 8 20:10:05 2002

Correction: the above mentioned experiment was the "Milgram" one. See http://designweb.otago.ac.nz/grant/psyc/OBEDIANCE.HTML



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