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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Volker Morawe, Tilman Reiff

In developing „PainStation“, the question arose, how, first, the sensual contact, which is reduced in common computer games and, second, how the principle of sociability, which is still only inherent in haptic games, can be integrated. It was the aim to develop a PC game, which also releases, apart from the optical / acoustical man-machine-intersection, signals which can actually be felt. Additionally, a second human counterpart should be included in the PC interaction: not only should man and machine be linked, not only virtual opponents be fought. It was the aim that human beings in plural behave to one another in a given artificial landscape.
The concept of „Painstation“ was mostly inspired by these considerations and proved by great success in action. It was put into practice in a table console, where two opponents face each other eye to eye. The left hand is positioned on a sensor field, the so-called Pain-Execution-Unit (PEU). In this way an electric contact is made, and the game starts. It stops as soon as one of the players removes his hand. In this case he has lost. The content is based on the PC game pong , a simple console game of the first generation, also known as bar tennis, the course of which can be followed on a display in the middle. Extended by sound and graphic features, pong enables the player to directly enter the game due to its self-explanatory rules: the aim is to catch and return the ball which enters the respective fields. Thus the right hand operates a variable transformer, which can move a bar, acting as a bat, up and down. In the following rally, upon precisely manipulating the variable transformer, both players try to place their bar in such a way that the ball is smashed back to the opponent s side like a return in tennis. If the player misses the ball, it is not only annoying but also painful: at both sides of the field arbitrarily arranged so-called Pain-Inflictor-Symbols (PIS) representing different sorts of pain move: heat, punches and electroshocks of varying duration. If the ball hits one of the symbols instead of the bar bat, the left hand of the player concerned is inflicted with the respective sort of pain. To this end the Pain-Execution-Unit is equipped with additional instruments.
As a result the players suffer pain, if they miss the ball and experience the opponent s pain, if he fails. As both participants are indirectly armed with the same weapons, the interplay is absolutely fair and captivates the players until they - always with pride - carry off wounds. The setting up of the PainStation over the last 12 months at various occasions (game conferences, festivals of the Arts School in Cologne) results in that this new game concept meets with great approval. Moreover, there are usually many spectators who spur on the players and enthusiastically follow the course of the game.