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Wearable Tech

Hasbro's new head games want to drive you mad

Heart-rate-sensing games, audio feedback loops, and dangly food helmets: Welcome to Game Night 2018.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I wore a heart rate-measuring hat once, but I've never tried a heart-rate gaming headband. It's beeping and glowing red, because I guess I've already lost my cool. That's 2018.

Hasbro's upcoming $20 game for kids and families and whoever else, Don't Lose Your Cool, involves a heart-rate sensor headband with a crazy light-up indicator light pole that sticks out of the top of your forehead. It also comes with three dice, which are full of instructions for how to act inappropriately and create discomfort.

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Stare closely at someone, be close to them, make fart noises, dance slowly. The other player presses the button on the headset to start measuring heart rate/stress, and you try to stay cool.

I was never able to keep the red light and alert from going off. Alas, I am not an expert at meditation, and I need to work at regulating my stress.

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I can't make sense anymore.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Hasbro has another chaos-inducing game: Speech Breaker. The headphones and microphone send your own voice to your ears at a slight delay as you speak. Delayed auditory feedback is a known cognitive effect that can cause stress (or, apparently, treat stuttering). Here, it's used to play a Taboo-like game where the player wearing the headset has to make someone guess clues without naming the clue specifically. I couldn't make it through two sentences without descending into a feedback loop of gibberish. It can be yours for $20 this fall.

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I'm sorry. (Chow Crown)

Sarah Tew/CNET

And, then there's Chow Crown. No tech is involved in Chow Crown, just humiliation. It's a spinning plastic helmet with bendy plastic fork-prongs that dangle, tantalizingly, out of mouth-reach. Load the forks with candy, or sushi, or broccoli, or meatballs, or whatever you'd like to embarrass yourself with. Then, try to eat the things by bending your head, like an old Nickelodeon game show. I didn't fare very well, but I did run into an old theater classmate who was at the Hasbro showroom, and I caught up on old times with him while trying to eat candy, which was fantastic. It'll be available this fall for $25.

Hasbro dipped into head-mounted games with Simon Optix, a visor-based version of the old musical pattern-memorizing electronic game. 

I'd wear any of these for fun, but I don't know if I'd want to play any of them for more than a single evening.