Whac-A-Banker To Relieve Your Frustration

[Tim Hunkin], builder extraordinaire and host of The Secret Life of Machines is a bit frustrated with the current economic climate and decided to take out his frustrations with a game of Whac-A-Banker.

[Tim]’s version of the classic Whac-A-Mole game uses tiny air cylinders to actuate five banker figurines up and down. The figures were cast with polyurethane and are reportedly holding up well. The cabinet is really interesting. When the game isn’t being played, a really boring front panel is displayed. After inserting a few coins, the panel drops into the machine to show the fun and exciting scoreboard.

If you’re ever around Suffolk, England, you can check out the Whac-A-Banker and a lot of other [Tim Hunkin] creations at the Southwold Pier. Thanks [John] for sending this one in. Yes, we did get The Secret Life of Machines in the states on the Discovery Channel, but it has been replaced with shows about trucking. Here’s an archive of the entire series for your viewing pleasure. Kiss your evening goodbye.

31 thoughts on “Whac-A-Banker To Relieve Your Frustration

  1. What would people’s reaction be to a game of “Whac-An-Abortion-Doctor” or “Whac-A-Jew”? (BTW, I am pro-choice and Jewish.)

    Remember the fuss last year when the Republicans had a map targeting Democratic Congressional districts? And for decades, video games that depict violence against people have been controversial, from Death Race 2000 in the 1980s to Grand Theft Auto today.

    Is violence OK if the target is bankers?

    1. Of course violence against bankers is not ok. However it isn’t clear to me that this is excessive given the gestalt of the times. It isn’t aimed at a specific individual. It plays on a time tested game/gag (does anyone really believe playing whack-a-mole is harming moles)? Of course YMMV. I thought it was kinda funny.

      Nice projects btw… Gotta love a tinkerer that puts stuff in nice cases.

      1. DanJ, the fact that it isn’t depicting a specific person makes it worse. It means that instead of suggesting that Angelo Mozilo or Michael J. Williams deserve our violence, any banker does.

        It suggests that an entire group is responsible for the actions of certain individuals.

    2. Actually, Bob, it “suggests” that you have no sense of humor or child-like delight, and should go forth and acquire one as soon as possible. You sound like one of those people claiming that Popeye the sailor cartoons “suggest” actual deadly violent behavior is okay. Do you have problems distinguishing fantasy from reality?

      1. rallen, I see the humor in it. And I’m actually not too bent out of shape about it. My point is this: liberals have spent the last few years criticizing conservatives for “uncivil” language and behavior. But they get off scot-free for their own uncivil acts.

        And to illustrate my point, I suggested “Whac-An-Abortion-Doctor”, which many conservatives would find amusing, or “Whac-A-Jew” which would appeal to anti-Semites. Both of those would be met with howls of protest in major newspapers and other media, and rightly so.

        But for “Whac-A-Banker”, not only is there no protest, but it’s considered art and there’s dismissive comments like “you just don’t have a sense of humor”.

      2. Oh, I didn’t see that coming from a mile away. Bob puts his foot in his mouth some typical liberal/conservative hack rhetoric…

        Bob, you’re at the wrong website. This one is about coming up with novel ideas and re-purposing technology. You might want to find another site to comment on that is more apt to politics.

      3. Bob, your making a leap in logic if you assume I’m “suggesting that the things we make should be divorced from ethics”. Far from it, I suggest that instead of parading as if you’re genuinely concerned about individuals being targeted via a game of whack-a-mole only to spin it into a right/left argument vilifying liberals for unspecified uncivil acts (your words) that you post that sort of rhetoric in a more appropriate forum.

        1. Fair enough. In my defense, though, my initial post was that we shouldn’t promote violence towards bankers and I only “[spun] it into a right/left argument” when rallen dismissed my concerns, suggesting that I have no sense of humor and can’t distinguish fantasy from reality.

          I suspect – and hope – he wouldn’t have leapt to defend a “Whac-A-Jew” game. Which means he has a double standard.

    3. The harm done to people in society by banks and tax havens is immense. They have caused death and suffering through the social ills that result from the crisis they helped create.

      I know that those responsible will never be prosecuted or sentenced to anything because that’s how it is in a system where big money rules the political process.

      Taking a few minutes out of my otherwise utterly peaceful life to play the game of “whack a banker” would in fact relieve my frustration a lot. I’m glad the artist created it.

      1. bally, not every banker is responsible for what has happened. In fact, the vast majority of bankers had nothing to do with it. Directing anger at “bankers” instead of specific guilty parties is as bad as directing anger at any group (racial, religious, professional) for the sins of a few.

    4. Well, considering they are directly – directly – responsible for my children not eating more than 5 meals a week, and my wife and I being unable to eat more than three times a week; sadly I would say yes.

      Burn them all to the ground.

  2. Makes you wonder if tim ever needed a loan or finance etc? I also wonder if people would feel better about their lives if they weren’t wasting 40p a go on whack-a-banker, or is it post-modern irony that he’s charging people to use it and the only ones that can truly afford to play are bankers?

    1. To be fair, electricity is not free and neither are the materials to build the machine. I somehow do not expect him to make his millions by charging someone 40p to release some anger.

  3. I don’t get all the hate on wall street guys. Sure, they make a bunch of money after a few years on the job, but for the most part they work a minimum of 100 hours a week, have no vacations and may pull 3 all nighter’s in a row getting a deal closed.

    It’s a tough life, and the fat bonuses are the only things keeping them sane.

    1. LOL Perhaps the protest is about how it’s the financial sector that has routinely wrecks the economy. Evaporating the savings of those who genuinely work up to 80 hours per week, without padding the time sheet. Working outdoors when it’s 20 below or over 110, or in a plant that has no AC, and minimal heating, if any. Nothing special about the financial sector,a group that pooled it’s wealth to gain the power, control. The financial sector speculators are like the commodity speculators, the thing they produce most is grief for everyone else. [shrug]

  4. There’s a really extensive collection of Tim’s stuff on permanent display in the basement of the Science Museum in London, including many props from the Secret Life TV series. Much of it is interactive too, for the kids to play with.

    I was there just last week. Unfortunately a few exhibits were out of order, so I guess he’s due a visit sometime soon to fix them up again.

    Hope to get over to Southwold sometime this year. I work for a bank but I want to give this one a try. :-)

  5. More points for hitting a banker with the large national banks, deduct points for hitting a true community banker. Also randomly change the value of each hole from national banker to community banker. A display of a pile of burning cash where the flames diminish as the player does better, or increase as they do worse

  6. I knew that was a Tim Hunkin contraption as soon as I saw the photo. The man is a wonderful example of sterotypical eccentric British genius. My uncle has worked with him many years ago on special effects for Pink Floyd. Tim’s exploding flying sheep are well worth seeing.

  7. If you think this is great, you should check out the tv series he made some time ago “The Secret Life of Machines” lots of practical demonstrations and ingenious models in the same vein.

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