Aug. 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM ET
A pair of masochistic French gamers has created a unique and terrible console modification. By attaching shock collars to the controllers and binding certain game events to their activation, they've made these classic Genesis games even more punishing than they used to be.
The two hackers go by the names Dyak and Furrtek, and their motives are unknown. But the "Genezap" project is well-documented, albeit in French, and is actually quite straightforward (not to say easy to pull off).
Each controller was cracked open and a circuit tapped into that would receive feedback from the console. The console itself remains unmodified, which is a plus for those of us who respect such venerable hardware. The shock collars were connected and would activate on a certain signal sent from the game.
Next, the games themselves were hacked with a ROM editor. When you die or receive damage in a game like Sonic the Hedgehog, a certain area of RAM will change its value; cheat cartridges like Game Genie would modify these values to give you extra lives or unlimited items, but this mod keeps an eye on it in order to tell when to shock the player.
The result? When you get knocked down in Golden Axe, blown up in Mega Bomberman, or otherwise fail at one of several old games, you get a couple hundred volts in the neck. Watch this video of the pair testing out their creation (warning, beacoup French profanity):
They even modded Battletoads; few enough gamers attempt to beat this infamously difficult game, and fewer still will do so with the added threat of electrocution.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.