A Japanese entertainment company has combined men’s obsession with video games with their perennial inability to aim straight to create a range of distractions in selected Tokyo urinals.
Sega has installed the Toylets in male lavatories at four bars and games arcades in the Japanese capital.
The games use pressure sensors attached to eye-level LCD screens that test users’ accuracy as they answer the call of nature.
The four games include one in which the object is to spray the screen clean of graffiti. Another, Manneken Pis, named after the famous statue in Brussels, measures the volume of the urine stream.
Splashing Battle, meanwhile, pits one user against another – though thankfully not directly – by challenging him to produce a more powerful stream than the previous visitor.
In the fourth game, the North Wind and the Sun and Me, sensors control a digital wind blowing up a young woman’s skirt. The greater the stream’s intensity, the higher the skirt travels.
The games sit (or stand) well with Japan’s open attitude to all matters micturition.
Children are raised on tales of ghosts who inhabit toilets, perhaps to encourage cleanliness, while girls are encouraged to keep on the good side of the female deity who supposedly resides in domestic WCs.
While many foreign visitors to Japan find themselves befuddled by hi-tech “washlets” in upmarket hotels and restaurants, locals are accustomed to heated sets, multidirectional jets of warm air and water, and even face-saving “perfume bursts”.
For the easily embarrassed, the toilet maker Toto offers Otohime (Sound Princess) – a gadget tailored for women’s public lavatories that emits the sound of running water.
Sega said the Toylet games would be available only until the end of the month, and it had no plans to market them commercially.
Household versions would be unlikely to succeed. According to a 2009 survey by Toto, more than 33% of Japanese men prefer to urinate while sitting down.