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PainStation (Arcade)

missing cover art
Genre
Perspective
Gameplay
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

PainStation is a multiplayer-only Pong variant housed in a custom cabinet, and is a completely reprogrammed version of the original PainStation that was released in 2001. The cabinet is outfitted with two feedback sensors called Pain Execution Units, or PEUs, which the players must have their left hands on at all times. Every time a player scores, their opponent's PEU will inflict pain in the form of a shock, burn, or whip to the back of the hand. The first player to remove their hand from the PEU loses, regardless of their score.

Four PainStation machines currently exist. The first machine is referred to as PainStation 2.0, while the others comprise the PainStation 2.5 series. Two of the 2.5 cabinets include functionality to increase or decrease the level of pain inflicted by the PEUs.

This game was designed to be exhibited at museums and festivals, and has been playable in several different countries throughout the years. Refer to the trivia section for a list of locations and date ranges.

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Alternate Titles

  • "The artwork formerly known as PainStation" -- Developers' nickname

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Trivia

Exhibition Locations and Dates

This version of PainStation was first revealed to the public on June 25, 2003, on Germany's late-night Harald-Schmidt-Show. However, the first playable public release came a month later. A list of public appearances for the game is as follows, though note that not all machines were available at all locations.
  • Bochum Total in Bochum, Germany, from Jul 31 - Aug 3, 2003
  • Netgamez 2003b in Nieuwegein, Netherlands, from October 3 - 5, 2003
  • LEVEL UP Gamefest in Utrecht, Netherlands, on November 5, 2003
  • International Media Art Award 2003 in Karlsruhe, Germany, from Nov 15 - Dec 21, 2003
  • d-motion 2003 in Halle, Germany, from November 27 - 29, 2003
  • Bang the Machine in San Francisco, USA, from Jan 17 - Apr 4, 2004
  • Feel in Hasselt, Belgium, from Mar 13 - Jun 6, 2004
  • DETOX - The Murmansk Connection in Kirkenes, Norway, from Mar 26 - Apr 18, 2004
  • DETOX - Testing The Nation in Trondheim, Norway, from May 15 - Jun 20, 2004
  • DETOX - Crossover Jam Culture in Kristiansand, Norway, from Jul 6 - Aug 15, 2004
  • DETOX - Today's Energy Today in Stavanger, Norway, from Aug 21 - Sep 19, 2004
  • Evoke 2004 in Cologne, Germany, from August 27 - 29, 2004
  • Emergences 2004 in Paris, France, from Sep 21 - Oct 3, 2004
  • DETOX - Out Of Control in Notodden, Norway, from October 2 - 31, 2004
  • Gamexpo 2004 in Utrecht, Netherlands, from November 12 - 14, 2004
  • Kaufbereit - Automatic Lounge in Cologne, Germany, on November 13, 2004
  • DETOX - Aftershock in Bergen, Norway, from Nov 23 - Dec 5, 2004
  • TOUCH ME in London, England, from Jun 16 - Aug 29, 2005
  • etoy Berlin Operation in Berlin, Germany, on July 23, 2005
  • Robodock #8 - Technology & Arts Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from September 21 - 24, 2005
  • Microwave International Media Art Festival 2005 in Hong Kong, from Oct 21 - Nov 2, 2005
  • Artgames. Structural analogies of art and game in Aachen, Germany, from Jan 1 - Mar 5, 2006
  • Blind Spots in Dundee, Scotland, from Jan 30 - May 19, 2006
  • pong.mythos in Stuttgart, Germany, from Feb 11 - Apr 30, 2006
  • Electrical Fantasista in Yokohama, Japan, from Feb 24 - Mar 14, 2006
  • STRP Art & Technology Festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands, from March 23 - 26, 2006
  • Gamezone DeSingel in Antwerp, Belgium, from May 24 - 28, 2006
  • pong.mythos in Leipzig, Germany, from August 23 - 27, 2006
  • Festival Emergences in Paris, France, from Sep 29 - Oct 1, 2006
  • Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal, Canada, from October 18 - 28, 2006
  • Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin in Berlin, Germany, from Nov 3, 2006 - Apr 9, 2007
  • pong.mythos in Frankfurt, Germany, from Nov 15, 2006 - Jan 21, 2007
  • Schmerz in Berlin, Germany, from Apr 5 - Aug 5, 2007
  • Play with Technology in Vienna, Austria, from Jun 14 - Nov 18, 2007
  • Zone_V2 in Taipei, Taiwan, from Aug 11 - Oct 7, 2007
  • pong.mythos in Bern, Switzerland, from Aug 17 - Sep 16, 2007
  • Design and the Elastic Mind in New York, USA, from Feb 24 - May 12, 2008
  • Computerspielemuseum Berlin in Berlin, Germany, from January 21, 2011 - present

Machine Names

The three cabinets in the 2.5 series have each been given individual names. Willi and Harri are identical machines colored grey and black, and are the two that have adjustable pain levels. Rudi is an orange machine without the added functionality.

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Harmony♥ (11903) added PainStation (Arcade) on Dec 21, 2015