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Bizarre gaming peripheral seeks $250K from Kickstarter to bleed you out in real life

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Someone is seeking $250,000 in funding on Kickstarter for the purpose of developing a video gaming peripheral that will suck the blood from you. Literally.

"Blood Sport: The Ultimate In Immersive Gaming" opened its fund drive on Kickstarter yesterday and, as preposterous or satirical as the premise seems, its developers say it's real. The basic scheme: when the controller rumbles, a blood collection system starts, drawing out blood from the IV connected to a gamer. The theory is that rumble in a multiplayer shooter like Call of Duty signifies blood loss, and thus executes it in real life.

"Our goal is to develop a refined multi-player unit that can be taken across the country for blood donation gaming events," say the makers — "Brand & Grotesque" of Toronto.

The creators say they were behind a 2009 stunt called "Shoot the Banker," in which a paintball gun, controlled by Internet users, fired on someone dressed as a banker, assumed to be responsible for the economic collapse.

They also claim responsibility for "Prank House," a 2010 stunt in which residents of a reality-TV style house could be tortured by players with paintball shots, electric shocks and other harrassment.

"Blood Sport," the creators claim, uses an Arduino board to both draw the blood and keep track of how much has been sucked, in order to power down the machine before the user loses too much. Players "input [their] age, weight and any preexisting medical conditions" into the system to keep it from bleeding them out.

"We're not reinventing the wheel," the creators say. "All we're doing is hacking a pre-existing blood collection machine to take your gaming experience to the next level."

The Kickstarter page says they're aiming for a March 17 launch in Toronto "timed to piggyback the media hype behind the launch of Battlefield Hardline." March 17 is indeed the day that Electronic Arts' military shooter is due to launch; it's also St. Patrick's Day.

Backers are not shipped a peripheral; they're welcomed to try it out with the creators before they take it on the road — travel and accommodations not included, though at the $1,000 level they will buy a patron dinner.

As for the funding amount, if $250,000 (Canadian dollars) seems like a lot, "It did to us too, but after doing some hard math, it was the best we could do with a tour around Canada," the creators write. "Buying all the latest gaming equipment plus all new medical gear gets expensive fast, and then transporting all that stuff around the country with the help of professional staff isn't cheap."

Polygon has reached out to the creators for additional discussion of their plans, proof the prototype exists, and how they would spend the money.

Over the July 4 weekend, an Ohio man announced a $10 Kickstarter to make a batch of potato salad. He ultimately collected $55,000 in donations, using the largesse to fund a public festival and make donations to hunger-fighting charities.

Shortly after, a Kickstarter project called "Blood, Guts & Glory" sought $125,000 to develop a "real-life combat shooter" maze in which participants wore a "pain belt" that administered physical feedback ranging from vibrations to painful shocks. That project raised $2,912, or 2.3 percent of its goal.