Thursday, August 22, 2013

The most unwelcome invention of 2013: the "urinal gaming system"

I'm sick and tired of sports events and leagues being used to promote trendy and politically-correct charities and causes. In recent years the Canadian Football League season has been commandeered during the month of October by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, with teams wearing pink uniforms for selected games (I'd like to see what would happen if a player balked at supporting the cause). Now a guy can't even go to the men's room at a baseball game without being exposed to a moralizing lecture about his health.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the International League are the AAA farm team of the National League's Philadelphia Phillies. The IronPigs play their home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As reported by Jon Schaeffer of the IronPigs on March 26, 2013:

(Allentown, PA) - Coca-Cola Park will be the first sports venue in the world to feature a brand new revolutionary "Urinal Gaming System", allowing fans to interact with the world's only truly hands-free urinal game controller, when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs open their 2013 season this April. The p-controlled video game systems will be featured within all men's restrooms at Coca-Cola Park and are exclusively presented by Lehigh Valley Health Network.

"These games are sure to make a huge splash," exclaimed IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes. "Our fans are always looking for the next big thing and these 'X-Stream games' are another example of our commitment to providing an unparalleled entertainment experience in all aspects of Coca-Cola Park, including our restrooms."

When a user approaches the urinal, the video console flips into gaming mode, using patented technology that detects both his presence and stream. Algorithms then allow the user to engage with the screen by aiming in different directions to test their agility and knowledge. The games are 100% intuitive and custom-built to provide a unique user interface along with an easy and seamless experience. The Urinal Gaming System was created and developed by United Kingdom-based Captive Media. For more information on Captive Media, or to see a video of the p-controlled video games, visit www.captive-media.co.uk.

Upon completion (an average of over 55 seconds according to published research), users will receive their score and a code to enter. They can then view their position on the leader board or check the website to see how they stack up with the rest of that night's competition! High scores will be displayed in real-time across various videoboard displays within Coca-Cola Park.

"Baseball fans know all about RBI, ERA and OBP," said Angelo Baccala, MD, of Lehigh Valley Urology Specialty Care and chief of Lehigh Valley Health Network's division of urology. "But when it comes to their own PSA, many men don't have a clue. We see this game as a fun and unique opportunity to remind men about the importance of prostate health."

Understanding what prostate-specific antigen (PSA) means is just a first step, Baccala said. He hopes the game will motivate more men to talk with their physician and, if appropriate, get screened. "Baseball, above all, is about team, and so is prostate health. Men should work together with their physician to devise a game plan that makes sense for them."

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