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I Tried a Viral Electrocution Game Just to Feel Something

This viral zapping game has over 10,000 hot take reviews, so I tested it (and my friends' love) to see if the zap is really that addictive.
person game table
Photos by Author

I’m really not this kind of person. I have no urge to skydive, or feed sharks from a chum bucket; I hate Fear Factor, and the intro from Are You Afraid of the Dark? makes my brain break. But when I learned about this electrocution game—sorry, “zapping” game—online, I smashed that order button. Formally, the game is called Lightning Reaction Reloaded (what was the first loading?). Informally, it is called The Crisis Purchase of My 30th Birthday. 

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$34.99 at Amazon

$34.99 at Amazon

There was a logical marketing path towards this impulsive purchase, though: The electrocution game was a suggested item after browsing the Magnetic Ghost Hunting Paranormal Equipment Kit, which I stared at for three minutes, wondering what would happen if I suddenly awakened the 1920s Italian milliner tenants that used to live in my Brooklyn apartment? No, grazie. 

Then I got kind of mad at myself for being such a drag. Was I that closed-off to new experiences? Was I self-absorbed enough to think ghosts would actually give a hoot about me, when they could be haunting the M&M's World in Times Square, or Liv Tyler’s perfect brownstone? Anyways. If the pressure to get out of my comfort zone brought me back to the electrocution game tab, it was the 4.5 star rating and reviews of over 10,000 people that sealed the deal:

“What started out as a gag game, has turned into how I dictate which of my three kids will do chores. If I lose, I take the garbage out and do the dishes myself. Chores just got a little more fun around this camp,”  said one review.

“We couldn't stop laughing while playing this. Absolutely hilarious watching people panic that they are going to get shocked. Worth the price of admission for sure. The only drawback is that the power of the shock quickly drains batteries and lessens the shock,” said another.

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“This was a HUGE hit at an Easter party. Yeah, why not bring a shocker game to an Easter party right?!

Psychotic. I needed it. 

It arrived in a pretty big box, and looked like something a Marvel villain puts on superhero heads during a pivotal torture scene. In my memory, my roommate said, “Wow, those are big handles, how terrifying” about the plastic silver joysticks one is meant to grab during the game; in reality, she probably said it with her eyes. The packaging came with pretty sparse instructions, so we watched a few cringy YouTube videos on how it works.

Electrocution Game

In short, one to four people  wait until a menacing song (a mash-up between the ice cream truck and The Twilight Zone) stops playing—and at that precise moment, the players race to push a button at the end of their joysticks, lest they crave a shock, which goes to the player who responds last. 

We chose the Lord’s Day for our baptismal zapping, and I kindly asked (forced) my roommate and the friend who crashed on my couch to try it. We cracked our eyes, poured our coffee, and hunted down three AAA batteries. Again, there’s not much information on how to play the game on the packaging, but it does advise folks with pacemakers and heart conditions to avoid it—probably to cover the manufacturers' buns from getting sued, but still, my roommate with heart stuff was promptly out. There’s also a sliding scale of shock intensity, and more than one review online about how the game was too intense. Totally fair. 

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The electrocution game comes with its own suction cups, so it won't slide during the shock.

The couch-crashing friend, however, has white hot triangle bangs and grew up grabbing electric fences at farms in Nebraska, not caring if she pissed her pants. She wears enough metal rings to power a telephone pole, and she absolutely did not take them off for the game, which she called “cute.”  

The music was a delicious hell—amazing work to whoever scored that one—and as soon as the buzzer went off, I pressed the button and watched as my friend got shocked. I couldn’t believe I beat her to the button. Was it bad? Was it long? “It’s fun,” she said, “Not crazy at all.” I kept winning, which was weird because I legit am super slow to the draw, like in life and at Children’s Science Museum exhibits/competitive sports, so we finally decided that I just had to play myself. I took a joystick in each hand, and just as I realized that what we were doing made no sense, received a shock so powerful it made me keel over in a shriek. 

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Right after the shock.

I hated it. I kind of liked it. My hand was shaking. “Oh yeah, so is mine!” said my friend (still), giving her own casual flex; “You want to go again?” I was good. But you know what? I was thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it. I’m thinking about it at parties, or as a Love Island drinking game. It’s kind of like shrooms. Once you do it, the world has a different tingle. My fingers are haunted by ghostly vibrations, though my hands stopped shaking after a few minutes.  

TL; DR: God, this is dumb—and damn, is it memorable. If anything, it’s interesting to see how various friends react to it, and definitely a game I wish I had during lockdown. I’m still intrigued by who I was, or what I was trying to prove when I bought it, but that’s my own vision quest. Even if you are a wuss, like moi, you’ll be fine (although, for medical-legal reasons: please don’t take my health advice) playing this game. Just let me know how you got the song out of your head? 

Lightning Reaction Reloaded is available on Amazon.


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.