NES Cartridge Breathalyzer Keeps Nerds Off the Roads

Ever been sitting around with your pals playing Duck Hunt and wondered if any of you are sober enough to go pick up the pizza?  Have I got an invention for you.

The best thing about the Internet is that it is optimized to bring together odd people.  As a result, we are blessed with wonderful inventions such as this NES cartridge breathlyzer.  A group of enterprising geeks, including coder Batsly Adams, chiptune composer Kris Keyser, and photographer Emi Spicer developed a functioning breathalyzer for all you gaming party animals.  The best part is, it not only does a fairly accurate job of identifying how soused you’ve become, but makes a game out of your alcoholism as well.

This feat was accomplished by stuffing a breathalyzer into an old NES cartridge and jerry-rigging the output to a controller cord, which can be plugged into the Nintendo Entertainment System.  I love the delightful nods to video game culture, including a high-score style ranking system to judge drunkenness.  Depending on your sloshiness, you might receive a ranking such as “Sew Bear” (sober) or achieve the coveted “Party Kitten” title.  Check out this video for some other rankings.

I am almost glad that this didn’t exist when I was in college.  I’m sure the competitive excuse to drink would surely have resulted in the pickling of me and my roommate’s livers.  As it is, requiring an NES system to utilize this cute piece of homebrew ensures that the breathalyzer will never save as many lives as an observant bartender.  But for those Zelda afficionados considering a late night burger run, a way to make sure you’re low on the drunkenness high score list might come in handy.

If you’re wondering how it works, check out this video of the contraption in action, at a real life nerd party (complete with lack of girls).

For more Nintendo mods, check out this one handed Gamecube Controller Mod and the Super Nintendo Toaster.

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