Gam­ing uri­nals pro­mo­tion prompts a stream of con­scious­ness

Public Spirit - - OPINION -

This may be the most bril­liantly stupid idea I’ve ever heard: Coca Cola Park, home of the Le­high Val­ley Ironpigs, the 7ULSOH $ DI­fiOLDWH of the Philadel­phia Phillies, has in­stalled a “Uri­nal Gam­ing Sys­tem” in its men’s URRP, WKH fiUVW sports venue in the world to of­fer such a thing to its fans.

It’s be­ing billed as a “hands free uri­nal game con­troller.” Here’s how it works: Guys drink a lot of beer and then go to the men’s room. As one ap­proaches the uri­nal, a video con­sole goes into gam­ing mode, us­ing a patented tech­nol­ogy that de­tects the user’s pres­ence and “stream.” (And why wouldn’t some­one patent this? We wouldn’t want the Chi­nese to get ahold of this tech­nol­ogy.)

$OJRULWKPV — WKH fiUVW WLPH WKH words “al­go­rithms” and “uri­nal” have ever been used in the same sen­tence — al­low the users to “en­gage” with the screen by aim­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to test their “agility” and “knowl­edge.”

I don’t know about the rest of you gents, but ev­ery time I go into a men’s room at a ball­park, my pri­mary goal is not to test my “agility” and “knowl­edge.”

Of course, the Ironpigs made a big “splash” last week with the an­nounce- ment of this new “un­par­al­leled en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence” for their fans. All the me­dia out­lets went gaga over this be­cause when one thinks about the Open­ing Day of base­ball sea­son, one thinks of uri­nals.

I must have heard from a cou­ple of dozen friends who wanted to know if I had seen this news item and if I planned on writ­ing about it. I guess my friends know “Mike’s wheel­house” when they see it.

Here’s how news­wor­thy this is: Base­ball fa­nat­ics will travel to Chicago to see his­toric Wrigley Field. They will travel to Bos­ton to see his­toric Fen­way Park. They will travel to Coop­er­stown, N.Y., to see the his­toric Base­ball Hall of Fame. They will travel to Iowa to see the his­toric Field of Dreams.

And now they will travel to Al­len­town, Pa., to take a his­toric leak. Stoo and Pid. And bril­liant. But that’s not all. Ac­cord­ing to the Ironpigs’ press re­lease, “The games are 100 per­cent in­tu­itive and cus­tom-built to pro­vide a unique user in­ter­face along with an easy and seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In all the years that I’ve used men’s rooms in all the ball­parks I’ve vis­ited, I have never once gone in look­ing to “in­ter­face” nor have I ever ex­pected a “seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence.” The high­est as­pi­ra­tion I’ve ever had at a ball­park men’s room was to come out with dry shoelaces.

There are ap­par­ently a num­ber of games the guys will be able to try while they are stand­ing at the uri­nal. One of the more fun-sound­ing ones has to with alpine ski­ing, which al­lows users to speed their way through snowy moun­tains on a snow­mo­bile while at­tempt­ing to hit car­toon pen­guins.

(They’ve missed an op­por­tu­nity here, I think, by not hav­ing a game that in­volves race­horses, be­cause that’s how bad guys have to go some­times af­ter sev­eral beers.)

Upon com­ple­tion of one’s “busi­ness” — which pub­lished re­search sug­gests takes an av­er­age of 55 sec­onds ac­cord­ing to the Ironpigs’ press re­lease — the uri­nal gamer will re­ceive a score and a code to en­ter, which al­lows the user to check his po­si­tion on the “leader board” and go to a web­site to see how the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion stacks up for the evening. High scores will then be posted in real time across var­i­ous video boards dis­played through­out the sta­dium.

I’ve al­ways wanted to see my name in lights on the score­board at D EDOOSDUN IRU EHLnJ WKH PRVW SUR­fi­cient uri­nal user of the evening.

Hon­est to Pete has any­thing ever been so stupidly bril­liant? I really think the Ironpigs ought to take it a step fur­ther — can there pos­si­bly be a step fur­ther with this? — and have ac­tors por­tray­ing The Three Stooges stand­ing out­side the men’s rooms giv­ing out com­pli­men­tary eye pokes to those who failed to score at a cer­tain level.

The gam­ing sys­tem was devel­oped by the United King­dom-based Cap­tive Me­dia. Can you imag­ine the meet­ing by the Re­search and Devel­op­ment De­part­ment, where this idea fiUVW FDPH uS? YRu MuVW NnRw WKHUH was some guy at the ta­ble who sug­gested that they spend money to de­velop a game that guys can play while pee­ing in the men’s room at a ball­park.

And then an­other guy said, “Ya, and let’s put some car­toon pen­guins in there” be­cause when one thinks uri­nals, one thinks pen­guins.

Ev­ery­body started yukking it up and slap­ping the ta­ble and then the de­part­ment head did some­thing use­ful and called the main­te­nance de­part­ment and asked it to have some­one wheel an­other keg of beer up to the R&D board room.

There is no way that beer wasn’t part of the devel­op­ment of this idea.

There doesn’t ap­pear to be any com­pa­ra­ble loo games in the women’s rooms at the ball­park, but that’s only be­cause ev­ery­body knows that women would never en­dorse or par­tic­i­pate in any­thing this stupid.

But I guar­an­tee you that I am go­ing to drive to Al­len­town this sum­mer to use the men’s room at Coca Cola Park. And of course, I will report back about the ex­pe­ri­ence beFDuVH , DP D WKRURuJK MRuUnDOLVW.

We’ll call it a stream of con­scious­ness col­umn.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­ This col­umn can also be found at www. mont­

Mike Morsch

Outta Left­field

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