There are some weird arcade games out there. Super Dinner Table Flipping was one of the best. Sega Toylet is one of the… whatever.
Basically, this was a Japan-only interactive urinal that launched back in 2011.
Yes, then, if you want to play some video games whilst taking a whizz, this was the one for you. Let’s take a look at why the idea didn’t catch on.
The Sega Toylet and the Joys of Interactive Urinals
Okay then, let’s start off by saying this is a very Japanese concept. If the Sega Toylet launched here in the UK you can bet The Daily Mail would have a meltdown about why “the woke” are ruining society with interactive urinals etc.
Well, whatever, the thing existed. It didn’t take off for Sega in Japan, but the idea was for players to go to the toilet.
Whilst standing before the Sega Toylet, they’d relieve themselves by aiming into the urinal’s basic. That is some high-tech kit right there, as it acts as a sensor point for calibration of the games taking place on screen.
So yes, peeing strength measures how well you do in the game. If you’re tanked up on tea and sake, then you’ll be a superhero on this thing.
The good news? Well, there are so many games to play in this concept! They include:
- Manneken Pis: The game’s mascot and also a model of the Brussel’s fountain art thing. This mini-game is all about how strong your urination process is.
- Graffiti Eraser: Players clear graffiti off the gaming screen (not by urinating on it), but by twirling the pee around in the basin.
- The Northern Wind, The Sun and Me: Player’s become the wind and blow a woman’s skirt up about her hair and all that. Again, this is a strength-based urination test.
- Battle! Milk From Nose: This is a competitive battle system where you compete against the previous urinal user in a show of masculine pee stream strength.
There were eight mini-games included with this thing, each as grotesque and morally horrifying as the other (or a bit of daft fun, if that’s your thing).
Sega took the game so seriously players’ scores are all recorded.
Plus, if someone really became dedicated to their urination habits they could save all their scores onto a USB memory stick. Presumably so they could take it home and show off to friends and family about their achievements.
Oh yes, the game also hurled ads at the player whilst they urinated.
Sega only installed these in four stations on the Tokyo Metro, most notably at the famous tech quarter Akihabara where that type of thing will have seemed normal.
But, really, given urination usually is over in about 10-20 seconds we can’t see the long-term a-pee-l of the Sega Toylet. At least not beyond the initial “What in the name of bejeezus is this thing!?” reactions.
The Exciting World of Interactive Urinals
Believe it or not, interactive urinals have a long and steady stream of products.
Contradicting what we said earlier, but some of these have ended up in the UK. British company Captive Media introduced some in 2011 in a bar in Cambridge and London. High scores could be broadcast straight to Twitter!
One of the mini-games was called On The Piste and was about skiing.
Basically, then, the history of interactive urinals is about dodgy puns and pressure sensors in the urinal’s basin.
Designs for these things seem to date back to 2006, when magazine Yanko Design suggested pressure sensitive basins could emit sounds. Thus, the urination process would become one of some serious harmonic beauty (see Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows for further toilet-based self-reflection).
Other examples include this one over in the US, it launched in March 2013 and was installed into a minor baseball team’s stadium toilets.
Others include PlaceToPee, also called the PleeStation, a Dutch contraption that first launched in 2007. Players would steer and on-screen vehicle with the direction of their stream of urine.
You get the impression some developers excitedly launched themselves onto the interactive urinal idea in the hope it’d be an extreme money-making concept.
Only for the harsh reality to hit… most people pee for less than 15 seconds.
However, there are two other examples worth covering here. One was from bioengineer Dr. Richard Deutsch who invented the interactive urinal communicator. The idea with this one was to provide a bit of light entertainment in the form of:
- A flashing light show activated by a urinal user’s arrival.
- Lenticular images (kind of a Magic Eye concept).
- Audio messages.
- Images activated by temperature.
Then in 2009, an artist by the name of Ricardo Carvalho (with the help of a programming colleague) invented an artistic piece called Global Warming. This was an interactive urinal showcasing the horrors of climate change through going to the toilet.
The interactive urinal would record the strength of the action taken and then update a 3D Earth model with a trail of place markers over its surface. Behold!
To be clear, this one was installed as an art piece and users would aim a water bottle at it. We hope to God no one (drunk or otherwise) mistook it for a real urinal.
All rather riveting, eh?
Quite what the future holds for interactive urinals we don’t know. We can’t see this being like a game-changer or anything. We confidently predict the PlayStation 6 won’t be a urinal you setup in your bathroom to play GTA VII.
But we should imagine some arcade dev will have a stab at something in the future for the hell of it.