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This is gaming that punches you in the guts

This feels like some kind of ritual initiation. We're hauling on a prototype of the TNGames 3rd Space FPS vest, a bit of PC plug-in technology that, when worn, enables you to feel the damage you're taking in a game. It's a pretty dry moniker for a thing that really ought to be called the 'Thwackvest' or 'Incredivest', and which gives you the chance to "get pounded on your own terms", according to its official website. What next? A pint of lager with a raw egg in it?

Developed by surgeon Mark Ombrellaro, this kickback tech was originally designed to allow Mark to "touch people remotely". No, not for use in internet chat rooms. Instead, it enabled prison inmates to be poked and prodded for medical purposes, without Mark even having to be in the same room as the hairy, frightening man he needs to poke and prod.

So, after watching one colleague spasm and twitch as the 3rd Space vest/helmet combo went to work, we steeled ourselves and got involved. There's eight 'bellows' in the vest - four front, four back - that piston into your body as you take damage in the game. Ominously, they're aimed directly at our kidneys, heart, lungs and liver. Tell mother we love her.

The helmet also carries a 'near miss' feature, which spits blasts of air over your ear for that bullet-whooshing effect. Though we were too busy being knocked about the head by the helmet's four pistons to notice when a bullet didn't slam us in the noggin. It was also slightly disconcerting that the jacket (and, effectively, us) is plugged right into the mains.

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