Gamification is an American addiction. There are apps that let us build levels in how much we recycle or how healthily we eat; there are apps that let us collect and hoard loyalty points from stores and restaurants; and of course there are apps to track how many miles we run, so we can ‘win’ fitness, or at least beat or friends at it. And now, a video game developer has taken things to a whole new level: his forthcoming game will finally allow us to do as we’ve always dreamed, and beat our friends at Kegel exercising. How do you like THAT high score, Linda?!
As the Daily Beast reports, the planned game from physicist Tom Chen is called SKEA, for Smart Kegel Exercise Aid, and it involves a highly, er, specialized game controller. After reaching several thousand dollars past a $38,000 Kickstarter goal, the product is planned for launch by the end of the month.
The – ahem – vibrating device will be Bluetooth-enabled, so that users can synch it with a mobile phone or tablet where the app is installed. While originally the game was meant to be a Temple Run-style jump-over-obstacles gig, the developers have announced a revamped and less-vaginally-challenging gameplay style shortly ahead of the planned January release. (I imagine if you keep seeing your character die while you’re playing, it’s a bit of a buzzkill, so to speak.)
Now, Guitar Hero fans may have an easier time than others with the game mechanism, which will involve a perfectly-timed squeeze on the strategically-placed controller at the same moment colored bricks falling from the top of the screen reach a line on the bottom. (Sadly, it doesn’t sound like it’s in budget for the game to play “Carry On, My Wayward Son” or “Less Talk, More Rokk” in the background while you’re playing to further enhance the experience – maybe that can be the subject of additional Kickstarter campaign though. Hopefully we can skip a multiplayer mode, though.)
Skea ”tickles” you every time it is squeezed, delivering a soothing pulse whenever you contract your pelvic muscles correctly. This biofeedback not only enhances the fun, but is also clinically proven to improve training results.
Chen’s Kickstarter site also refers to this mechanism as “real-time biofeedback”, but I like to call it “a partner that is probably more responsive than most men”. But my absolute favorite thing on the page is the reward for the top funding level ($600, a level at which two different backers contributed):
Kegel Parade! This is a group order for 10 Skea. A great choice as company, society or group gifts for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year.
“Merry Christmas! Your holiday bonus is a vibrator game (because we’ll be spending the rest of our cash on a lawyer for the forthcoming sexual harassment lawsuit).”
Kegel exercises sound to me like something that you probably shouldn’t need a game to convince you to level up in, unless you really enjoy peeing a little when you sneeze. (And if you do enjoy it, please don’t sit next to me on the bus.) But then again, as Chen points out, 20 minutes of daily Kegels for three straight months sounds hella boring. And since I’m a person who has an app installed on my phone that lets me unlock badges and earn levels for logging the different beers that I drink – and drinking a beer is definitely not something I need a lot of encouragement to accomplish – I don’t think I have room to side-eye. So if you want to turn your pelvic floor exercises into an opportunity to level up, I wish you all the best luck – and of course a sound Bluetooth connection.
(Image: Tom Chen/Kickstarter)