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Tesla vs. Edison Is a Video Game That Will Literally Shock You

Fight the ‘War of the Currents’

smithsonian.com

Who would win in hand-to-hand combat—alternate current (AC) booster Nikola Tesla or direct current (DC) defender Thomas Edison? If you know anything about the epic rivalry between the men, the thought may have crossed your mind a time or two. Now, reports Ryan Whitwam for Geek, you can find out who would prevail in a new video game that pits the scientists against one another—and shocks you in the process.

The game is the Dayton-based Proto BuildBar’s Tesla vs. Edison - War of Currents, and it just debuted at SXSW. In its arcade form, reports Whitwam, players of the four-level, Street Fighter-esque game receive electric shocks from a conductive joystick when their opponent manages to zap them.

Pitting historical inventors against each other isn’t just an excuse to game—it's also a chance to educate players about the rivalry that once raged between Edison and Tesla. The one-time collaborators turned into bitter enemies during the so-called “War of the Currents.” Tesla was all about AC, while Edison thought his DC was the electrical wave of the future.

Though rumors link a scorned Edison with electrocuting an innocent elephant with AC to prove a point, the rivalry’s only real casualties were the people who died in electric chairs secretly financed by Edison to shame Tesla and Westinghouse, his AC backer.

Spoiler alert: Tesla prevailed, and AC is today’s preferred means of electrical transmission. But that doesn’t mean the rivalry is anywhere near over. Rap battles, thinkpieces and even operas continue to be devoted to the electrical titans.

You can take the game for a spin yourself now. Just don’t be shocked if the rivalry that wouldn’t die comes to life again while you’re behind the joystick.

(h/t mental_floss)

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