New game uses real hamsters
IN A BREAKTHROUGH that will surely lead to more live rodent-based interactive computer games, a Singapore company is developing a game in which players are chased by a real-life giant hamster.
Why prissy, order-compulsive Singapore, where you can get flogged for spitting gum on the sidewalk, is developing games in which giant hamsters attempt to eat people, was not explained in an article at NewSceintistTech.com. You'd think that Singapore computer nerds would be coming up with a game in which people who accidentally "miss the target" while urinating in a public restroom are chased around by the Singapore Secret Potty Police, armed with toilet plungers.
But apparently, Singapore, known as the cleanest, neatest, most orderly police state in the entire world, would rather hassle hamsters.
Here's what the game developers have done: They have rigged a cage containing a live hamster with infa-red sensors that track the movement of the varmint as it chases a piece of bait around its enclosure. The hamster's movements are mimicked by a monster hamster on a computer screen. It chases a virtual character representing, you, the human player. The human player attempts to avoid the marauding hamster. According to NewScientistTech, the game ends "when the human's onscreen persona has been caught and eaten or when it's survived for a set period of time."
SEEMS TO ME that when I was a kid my mom always told my brothers and me to leave our hamsters alone. We played all kind of games with them, the most fun one was "astronaut," where we'd launch hamsters through the air from a scrunched up pillow case onto the top of the bunk bed. They'd usually land on the top bunk. Some times they'd hit the wall, bounce off the bunk and tumble to Earth.
As part of their astronaut training, we'd spin their exercise wheel really fast when they were running on it so they could get used to the "G-forces." When they came off that wheel after spinning at Mach 4, well, ever see a hamster stagger?
But Mom finally taught us, through liberal doses of cod liver oil and whackings with wooden spoons, not to torment God's little creatures.
This Singapore game takes tormenting hamsters to a whole new level. Now you can annoy God's little creatures from another continent, using computers and satellites. Because, while the game purports to be about giant hamsters chasing humans, it's really about hungry hamsters chasing a piece of real food around a cage, mostly unable to get at it. The game is called, curiously, "Mice Arena," which hints that hamsters may not be the only rodents to be enlisted in this strange new form of computer entertainment. If our friends in Singapore come up with a hamster-based computer game called "Astronaut," I'm suing.
LIPINE FUALAUTOALASI-AVEA, the 17-year-old aspiring actor from Punaluu, has screamed his way into the finals for a part in the upcoming slasher/horror film "Dead Girls Club."
Lipine beat out more than 100 actors in a national online competition for the part. He is now up against just two people: a 15-year-old San Diego kid and a 25-year-old actor (isn't 25 a little old for teen slasher flicks?) Hawaii voters helped put Lipine in the finals after reading about him in a column here last week. It's time to put him over the top.
Go online starting tomorrow at deadgirlsclub.com and vote for Lipine in the final "scream off." You will see a video of him screaming, which itself is pretty scary. Voting will run online from Friday to Sunday and the winner will be announced next week, according to Dead Girls Club executive producer Debra Rahal. So get your votes in and help Lipine scream his way into stardom.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org