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SYFY WIRE Gamegrrls

How I kegeled my way through Flappy Bird

By Laura Dale

About three years ago, I first discovered a company called Perifit completely by accident. I’m a trans woman, I had just had lower surgery, and I was googling ways to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, as doing so was going to be pretty vital for the ongoing health of my new vagina. Search engine results brought up the expected — exercises you could do at home without any technology required — but I also got served a sponsored post that really caught my attention.

I saw an advert for a kegel powered video game.

So, here’s the basic deal with Perifit: you get a small silicone device, with two pressure sensors in its shaft, and a Bluetooth transmitter in its base, which you insert inside the vagina. Each sensor measures pressure on a different axis, and then sends real-time data to your phone. The idea being that by performing Kegels, you control actions on your phone, letting you know how good of a job you are doing at your pelvic floor exercises.

The app has a bunch of exercises designed to improve things like sexual pleasure or bladder control, but, really, I'm just here for the video games.

So, the Perifit device itself is pretty effective at being what it’s designed to be: a gaming controller. I had initially assumed it would function as a single digital button, an on or off switch, but it’s actually more akin to an analog trigger on the control. You have degrees of command over your button input, and as such could use this for nuanced gaming tasks like regulating the acceleration or brake pressure in a racing game. There’s minimal lag, and it’s comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions.

So, let’s get into the games.

Perifit Lotus

In Catch the Lotus, you contract your pelvic floor muscles to make a falcon or butterfly fly up into the air, and relax to let it lower. You’re collecting lotus flowers, and there’s no real punishment for failure. It’s basically Flappy Bird, but on a more relaxed basis, a good way to warm up to vaginal gaming.

Manage the Gate is a bit odd. There are gemstones and rocks floating up to the top of the screen in bubbles, and you have to contract to get clouds to move and block the rocks but let up the gems. I am pretty sure that rocks are strong enough to pass through clouds, so the basic premise of this game is sort of lost on me.

Right, let's talk about Perifit Bird. I played Catch the Lotus first and assumed it was there because the company couldn’t afford the rights to the real Flappy Bird, but nope, the real thing is here. The company's website straight-up calls it Flappy Bird, and it has the bird and pipe designs from the original game, but for some reason, they call it Perifit Bird when you're in the app itself.

Perifit Bird

It’s still about dodging the pipes and making fast rises and falls, but you are no longer moving quite so erratically. Rather than Flappy Bird’s rapid flapping to rise and nose-dive falls, it’s simply rising and falling smoothly. That seems like a wise move because doing Kegels at that speed would not have been viable for most people — unless I’m an anomaly. Does a slow Kegel speed make me a fake gamer girl?

OK, I was starting to see a theme here, because the next game, Underwater, is basically another Flappy Bird clone. Could you really not think of any different ideas for a single analog controller?

Their website also lists a game called Jetpack, which seems to be another Flappy Bird clone, with a sci-fi theme to its design. I could not seem to find it on the app. Oh no, what a shame, no more Flappy Bird clones for me to try.

With all the prepackaged games played, I was honestly a little disappointed by the lack of compelling software for this new gaming controller. Off the top of my head, I am pretty sure I can come up with a decent list of other gaming applications this vagina controller could be used for. 

You could make a slot car racing game, where you have to contract harder to speed up on the straights, but lessen your pressure on corners to not fly off the track and lose time. How about using the controller to play a music rhythm game, with contractions done in time with the music. Maybe a Pong-style game, where players contract to raise the paddle and relax to lower it? You could use it as a boost button in a racing game, or to launch your ultimate attack in a fighting game, or even use it to mash through dialogue in a text adventure game until the next actual choice based moment comes up. The possibilities are endless.

While Perifit doesn’t offer much in the way of games that are not Flappy Bird, or clones of Flappy Bird, I did still have some novel fun using my vagina as a hidden game controller. And if nothing else, I know if I ever break both my arms in some kind of accident and can’t play most of my gaming collection for a while, I’ll be able to keep playing flappy bird clones while I recover.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.