The game is based on the Japanese game show Ucchan Nanchan no Honō no Challenger: Kore ga Dekitara 100 Man En. The player's goal is to use a trackball to maneuver a metal rod through a course without touching the sides. In the arcade original touching the sides causes the player to feel a jolt of air that is passed off as an electric shock. In the PlayStation version the player simply moves the stick with the controller and the controller rumbles if a course is failed. The original arcade game also features colorful flashing lights designed as a distraction but the home port features a voiceover shouting annoying phrases. The home version is regarded as being of particularly bad quality.
Both games feature the following tropes:
- Advancing Wall of Doom: The Arcade's Intermediate Course and home version's Advanced Course features one section where the player must outrun a buzz saw. In addition, the Ultra Course of the home version features a mountain section with falling rocks, log flumes, and a large waterfall with large logs flowing over it.
- Amusement Park: One of the features in the home version's Ultra Course is a spinning teacup ride.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Subverted with Zap-Robot the First and Second on the Professional Course. They don't attack, but they take up the middle and final leg of the course. In the Advanced course of the home version, they are both known as Mr. Robot. The home version's Final Course also has Mrs. Robot and Mech Man Ace.
- Bizarre Puzzle Game: Get the rod through the maze. Don't touch the sides.
- Casino Park: A section of the Novice Maze is a slot machine. In the home version, it is the Elementary Intermediate Course.
- Deadly Walls: In both games, all of the walls are deadly, touching them equals failure.
- Dummied Out: The U.S. release of Irritating Stick does not include the Japanese voiceover during gameplay.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of Mrs. Robot's features in the home version are her large nipples which extend and retract as hazards. Despite that, the home version has an "E" rating.
- Level Editor: The home version has a level creator where the player can make three stages with assets from the in-game levels.
- Maze Game: Of the "Get to the end of the stage" variety.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The arcade game warns not to play if you are pregnant or suffer from a cardiac disorder.
- Randomly Generated Levels: The Maze section of the arcade Intermediate Course and home version's Advanced Course is randomly generated with every playthrough.
- Widget Series: The game is based on a Japanese game show, which in turn was based on a carnival attraction.