A Pac-Man game that electrocutes you

Researchers at the University College London’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging have hacked up a game for "research purposes" that may recall fond memories of the nuclear war video game scene in the Bond movie Never Say Never Again. The Pac-Man-like game the researchers designed shocks players when they’re caught by the "artificial predator" in the game. From the press release:

When the artificial predator was in the distance, the researchers observed activity in lower parts of the prefrontal cortex just behind the eyebrows. Activity in this area – known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex – increases during anxiety and helps control strategies on how to respond to the threat.

However, as the predator moved closer, the brain activity shifted to a region of the brain responsible for more primitive behaviour, namely the periaqueductal grey. The periaqueductal grey is associated with quick-response survival mechanisms, which include fight, flight and freezing. This region is also associated with the body’s natural pain killer, opioid analgesia, preparing the body to react to pain.

Nothing like a little harmful bio-feedback to up the ante on your game of Pac-Man. Maybe Sony should integrate this into the new Sixaxis controller designs, so PS3 faithfuls can make sure never to forget the company’s unending hatred for its consumers.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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