"Red to green, get ready to scream." That's the tag line for the most ominous toy ever created, the Lightning Reaction XTREME from Jumpin' Banana. The game, which supports up to four players, is a delicate mix of Jeopardy and torture, with a little Deer Hunter and Alfred Hitchcock thrown in for good measure.
Allow me to break that down for you, in case you've never played (and if you haven't , good for you). When you turn on the game, choosing either the low or high setting, the white circle in the middle begins to glow red and the device plays a disquieting tune that sounds like a cut from the score of Vertigo. When the music stops, the players must depress the red triggers at the top of the handles as quickly as possible. The last person to hit his or her trigger, or any person who hits their trigger prematurely, gets a fierce, painful jolt sent through their bodies.
"Tee, hee," you say. "I bet it's no worse than those cheesy joy buzzers which don't even hurt," you say. Well, friend, although I understand your credulity regarding the pain this device inflicts, let me tell you now that you're wrong. In fact, I've included quotes from AOTS staffers and Feed writers that might help you understand the gravitas of this supposed child's play thing. These aren't kids either, they're grown ass men (and a grown ass woman)!
"I don't want that thing anywhere near me." - Mike D'Alonzo of Attack of the Blog
"I'm not touching that f---ing thing again." - Stephen Johnson of TheFeed
"[It shocks you], not in a fun way, but in a way that makes you never want to mess up again." - Adam Jenkins of Attack of the Show
"It left a metallic taste in my mouth." - Dana Vinson of Attack of the Blog
"If you play it with a group of friends, you'll find out who the screamers among you are." - Scott Moschella of Attack of the Show
Don't think the quotes were in jest, they weren't. When asking about the game, the mood around me went from happy and frivolous to grave. It was like the scene from every cop movie where the hard boiled detectives show up to a bar full of crooks and start asking uncomfortable questions. Those young men had the fear of Lightning Reaction XTREME in them.
So, should you ever be tempted to buy the game, don't. If you're invited to play, decline. Most important of all, don't try to prove your bravery by testing Lightning Reaction XTREME. It's taken down stronger men than you and you don't want any of this!