Thursday, February 23, 2006

Videogame Workout Q&A

Q: What is this site about?

A: Getting in shape by playing videogames.

Q: Why?

A: Going to the gym is inconvenient and kind of boring. Playing videogames is fun and easy and (if it's at home) extremely convenient. You don't have to get dressed or travel anywhere. Just turn on the TV and game machine whenever you're free.

Q: How does one use videogames to get fit?

A: In the arcades, play movement-oriented games such as Dance Dance Revolution and MoCap Boxing. At home, you can (a) purchase special controllers to play movement-oriented games, (b) purchase controllers that force you to exercise while playing traditional games, or (c) if you want a more rigorous fitness experience, buy a fitness program. There are two major comprehensive fitness programs for home machines: Yourself!Fitness (for PC, PS2, and XBox) and EyeToy:Kinetic (for PS2).

Q: What if I want to get fit using videogame technology, but I don't own or want to buy a modern game console?

A#1: Do you have a PC? Get the version of Yourself!Fitness that runs on Windows PCs.

A#2: Would you be willing to buy a console if it were smaller and cheaper than a PS2 or XBox and could ONLY be used to play games that are exercise oriented? Get a Xilinx console and start with the Jackie Chan Fitness J-Mat.

A#3: The cheapest option would be to find a used original Playstation and an old copy of DDR Konamix or DDR USA. you'd still need to buy the soft pad, though.

Q: I already have some (non-movement) games I like to play. Can I get a controller that makes playing them into a workout?

A: Sure. You can make forward movement in your game a lower-body workout with a pedal controller such as NeoRacer or with a treadmill controller such as GameRunner. You can make moving your character around an upper-body workout with a Kilowatt strain-gauge controller.

Q: I already have a treadmill (or eliptic trainer, or exercise bike). Can I make it so I have to keep exercising or the game shuts off?

A: Yes, you can force yourself to keep your heartrate up as a condition of playing a game (or watching a movie, or watching TV) with an EnterTrainer controller.

Q: Which is better - Yourself!Fitness or EyeToy:Kinetic?

A: Better for what? Both are excellent, both can help keep you or get you fit, both can be addictive and both can be frustrating at times. Kinetic is more "game-like"; Yourself!Fitness is more like having a personal trainer lead you through a customized exercise video.

Q: What are some home motion games?

A: Dance Dance Revolution - many versions exist for every platform. EyeToy games for PS2 such as Play, Play2, and AntiGrav. Music games such as Taiko Drummer, Samba De Amigo, and Donkey Conga. Xilinx games - golf, tennis, boxing, etcetera with positional controllers.

Q: What are some arcade motion games?

A: Dance Dance Revolution and its variants, Para Para Paradise and other arm-motion sensing games, Mocap Boxing, Police 911, Skiing and Stateboarding games, Drum Freaks, Heavy machinegun games like Gunblade, Firefighting games, sword-fighting games, and many more.

UPDATE: added some linkage. This is the start of an FAQ - I'll be building it out over time. Got a question? Ask in the comments!

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