originally published June 7, 2012
Tired of peeing like a common schnook? Do I have a treat for you.
If you’re like me, and I believe wholeheartedly that you totally are, you find urinating to be a dull, uninspiring task. “Why is it,” I have often asked myself, out loud and in a mezzo-soprano Scottish brogue so as to confuse and alarm whomever may be within earshot, “that we can control our garage doors with our phones, infuse bacon into beer, and have sex with moody robots, but we can’t somehow make this laborious expulsion of liquid waste a little more jazzed?”
Luckily, the Belgians are on it. Like all great ideas, the concept of urinal interaction thundered to earth and landed in a frothy beer. Werner Dupont and Bar Geraets were drinking in an Antwerp pub in 2004, when it dawned on them that the process of peeing needed to be brought into the 21st century. We have advertisements and even flat-screens to lure our eyes and attention away from the task at hand – or away from comparing your unit with that of the guy at the urinal next to you… seriously, stop doing that – but what’s missing is a truly engaging experience.
So they developed the Pleestation. I know – best name ever, and it works on multiple levels since ‘plee’ is the Dutch word for ‘toilet’ (which means if you’re ever arrested in Belgium, you should not request to enter a plea because they’ll think you mean something else). For whatever reason – and I would not be surprised if Sony had something to say about it – they changed the name to PlaceToPee.
The key to the interactive urinal is the pressure sensor. Dupont and Geraets installed two sensors behind the initial wall (the gross part) of the urinal. Those sensors act as the controls to the videogames you see on the screen in front of you.
Before I go any further, a note to my female readers. This may seem disgusting to you. Even worse, you may be offended at the sheer injustice of it all, the fact that these toys are being built for men’s urinals, with nothing fun for you to enjoy. Well, yes. But blame the inventors, not the reporter.
The first game designed for the PlaceToPee was a first-person racing game, with the sensors acting as controls for your car. If your steering causes a wreck, the urinal accuses you of drunk driving. I looked around the net and found no quality images of the game. There are, for anyone interested in looking, plenty of online images of the game’s fuel, but I run a classy joint, and refuse to post them here.
Dupont and Geraets’ concoction debuted at the 2007 GamePower Expo in Ghent. It was a huge hit, until Belgian police decided that smiling during the course of urination was an indecent act, and shut it down. The inventors retooled the games, crafting a space-shooter game and a skiing simulation, though since most skiers refrain from peeing while descending a mountain, maybe ‘simulation’ is the wrong word here.
The newest incarnation of the PlaceToPee urinals are found in a mobile Tinkle Trailer (I just made that up – I’m in the wrong business) that you can rent for parties, company picnics, or to really disturb your neighbors. While I couldn’t find a screenshot of the games themselves, I did find this picture of the trailer in action:
And also, strangely enough, searching for ‘PlaceToPee’ in Google unearthed an image of this 1997 album by Wild Linoleum, which I share here only in the interest of science:
The PlaceToPee trailer is way over in Europe, so my hopes of renting it, then stealing it and affixing it permanently to my home will probably never happen. It’s more likely I’ll experience competitive peeing, Japanese-style.
That’s a screenshot from the Japanese ‘Toylet’ interactive urinal system. The Japanese have been innovators in video game technology for decades; it should come as no surprise that they’re ahead of the North American curve when it comes to interactive lizard-draining.
Oh, and the Toylet? Yeah, it’s made by Sega.
A Canadian site, which appears to be strictly a fan site and not a purchasing vehicle, states that over 100 units have already been installed in Japanese businesses, which means it’s only a matter of time before we’re inundated with these games in finer bars, brothels and churches all over North America.
Unlike the multi-directional action in the Belgian game, Toylets operate on a single sensor. Given the likelihood that these devices will gain popularity in bars, among drunk men who are already weaving back and forth without trying to change urinary course in response to a computerized tree in front of their skier-avatar, the one-sensor system might make for less clean-up. I’m not quite sold on the ‘fun-sational’ Sega games, however.
This is Mannekin Pis, named after the famous statue of a urinating boy in Brussels (because, apparently, everything pee-related brings us back to Belgium). This game is an example of how far down the fun ladder Sega has slipped since they stopped making Sonic games. This game keeps track of your urine volume, which is helpful if you feel you want to keep a log of this personal statistic. Not sure why you would, but I’m not judging.
Battle! Milk From Nose, which you can see above, is a 1-on-1 competitive event. The might of your urine stream is measured against that of the person who visited the urinal before you, and the outcome is displayed in a sumo-style battle on the screen. If your urethra muscles are superior to those of your foe, your little dude will blow the other little dude off the screen. With the milk from his nose.
Because if they reenacted the battle with pee, that would be in poor taste.
Speaking of poor taste, The Northern Wind, The Sun And Me is another strength challenge. The harder you propel that Diet Dr Pepper you had with lunch at the little censor within the porcelain, the harder the wind blows at the anime girl on your screen. If you can get a real gale going, her skirt will lift higher and higher. How this won’t make you feel foolish, well that’s up to you.
The Toylet also features a graffiti-eraser game, and according to the official Toylet site, there are more in the works. The text on the Sega site is mostly embedded in images, so Google Chrome’s translate feature doesn’t offer much help. You can watch videos of a number of these urinal games, including one in which you apparently fill up some penis-shaped reservoir with Japanese characters:
The technology also comes equipped with a USB port so that you can record your scores and compare them with your friends at a later date. Because your friends will want you to do this.
I’m coming out in full support of the PlaceToPee, the Toylet, and any other interactive urinal technology. Not only to alleviate the drabness of the waste-expulsion routine, but because its proliferation elevates our species yet another notch toward complete awesomeness.
Oh, and the PlaceToPee guys offer a cardboard cone in case women want to get in on the action.
And ladies, how could you not?