Quick: What do skiing, penguins and urinating have in common?
While you’re thinking that one over, here’s a story. I was back on the east coast to visit relatives on my annual I’m Back On The East Coast To Visit Relatives trip. My wife and I have two four-year-olds (this is mostly my wife’s fault) and with running, yelling, yelling, yelling, breaking things, running, more running, and occasional yelling while running (and breaking things) there are times when even the best grandparents get overwhelmed. Thus, my wife thought it would be nice to get the boys out of their grandparents’ house for a day. To accomplish this, she settled on a minor league baseball game: The Charlotte Knights versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of Allentown, PA.
I was excited about this, as I’ve attended a few minor league games in my life and always enjoyed them. The baseball is usually better quality than I expect and the stadiums are geared toward fan enjoyment, much more so than major league stadiums, which are more about asking, “How much money can I charge for a beer and still sleep at night?”
When telling me about her plans, my wife casually mentioned that the IronPigs’ stadium, Coca-Cola Park, has, and I will quote her, “peeing games in their urinals.” Were this a choose-your-own-adventure story, most of you would probably prefer to follow the “dad takes his twins to their first baseball game” storyline, but we’re headed in another direction. “Peeing games in their urinals?” I practically yelled back at her, probably while waving my arms and jumping up and down.
Basically, the IronPigs installed a gaming system in select urinals before the start of the 2013 season. General Manager Kurt Landes told Jon Schaeffer of the IronPigs’ website, “It’s truly an honor to be recognized by Minor League Baseball for our commitment to providing an unparalleled entertainment experience at Coca-Cola Park,” which is the most corporate way possible of saying, “Peeing in our urinals now makes you ski into penguins.”
Here are two things that I love about serious articles devoted to games requiring peeing in a urinal.
1. Often they have to avoid being too illustrative with their graphics, like this one, which shows either a yellow laser-pointer aimed at the urinal targets or a computerized urine stream coming from nowhere at all. Also, it features the superimposed words “Pee Right,” which should be printed on a T-shirt immediately.
2. The idea of someone having to “cover” this.
Editor: [chomping on cigar] Johnson! Get in here.
Johnson: What can I do you for, boss?
Editor: I got a plum assignment for you, Johnson. Plum!
Johnson: Sounds great, boss! You know I’m itch’n for some news to break. What you got?
Editor: The IronPigs installed a pee-pee game in their urinals. Get down there right away.
As you might guess, the game itself is a pretty simple setup. You just stand at the urinal and the screen above the handle uses magic to sense you are there. There are three little targets in the urinal that look like little French Air force symbols (that might be unintentional). The screen shows a character in the middle moving forward through space. Your job, should you choose to pee on it, is to move him right and left by peeing on the corresponding symbols. The character either avoids or collects things that cross his path*. The game ends when you, not your character, run out of ammo. Then you go wash your hands in a normal sink with no penguins or skiers or anything.
* The game changes every month or so because the last thing you want is to get bored playing a video game installed in a urinal.
This is essentially what happened when I stepped to the plate, as it were. Instantly the screen showed a skier heading down a hill. Penguins were occasionally on the right or the left and my job was to move the skier into as many penguins as I could. I initially thought I was supposed to avoid penguins because, if you think about it, when you’re skiing down a hill and you see a penguin, your first instinct isn’t to go right through it. Eventually I realized my mistake and started bowling the little bastards over, but by that point I was close to the end. Considering how much beer I saw some guys consuming, my score was probably pretty bad, comparatively.
What’s the point of all this? The IronPigs have partnered with the Urology division of the Lehigh Valley Health Network so the game is intended to raise the awareness of prostate health. That’s an admirable goal to have, and a unique way of going about it.
By now, you at least know the answer to the trivia question posed at the beginning. The next time you’re in Allentown, check out an IronPigs game and be sure to drink lots of liquids. You’re going to need it. Minor league baseball is the greatest.