Beer for books

Vibrator video game

In the saved-by-technology department, I turn your attention to the video game Rez. It’s a sort of rave game, in which you attempt to kill viruses in a mainframe, flying through euclidean hyperspace composed of gorgeous vector graphics. The game lets fly with a ton of cool trance music, and all the onscreen eye candy vibrates to the beat.

In the Japanese version of the game, though, Rez also ships with a vibrator that pulses to the beat. This led the fine folks at game girl advance to take the vibrator for a test ride, with the expected apocalyptic results:

Now, let me confess that this is not the first time that I’ve used a game component to, er, stimulate myself physically. Ever since they invented the whole rumble pack/vibrating technology in controllers, it’s been on my mind, and sometimes in my practice (fellow game girls, you know what I’m talking about). The thing is, though, it’s often frustrating since the vibrations are not nice and steady, but sporadic. Also I found it’s tough to actually play the game and use the controller in nasty ways at the same time. I did discover that Halo was a pretty good game for this (although for not much else), because as the gunner in the Warthog, you have unlimited ammo and you can just park yourself somewhere and rat-tat-tat to your heart’s content. Another issue, and one not solved by the Xbox controller, is the shape of the device — less than ideal. That’s why I was so excited by Rez’s trance vibrator, since it seems to have no other purpose than to act as a masturbatory aid.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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