Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dance! It's Your Stage drops on XBLA. First Multiplayer-Multimodal Exergame (MME)

Can't wait for Xbox 360 Kinect or Playstation Move? The newest dance exergame will be dropping within a couple of weeks for XBLA and it will be truly a multi-platform gaming system as it will be playable on Xbox 360, Nintendo DS & Wii, PC. It will also be compatible with Wii Mote, Xbox 360 controller, Wii Fit Board and a DDR dance pad. It will be interesting to see how this game plays as we've only seen the trailer and some uploaded in-game footage. [Via Joystiq]

Dance - It's Your Stage promo
Uploaded by exergamelab. - Discover more gaming videos.

Exergaming Benefits
  • 20 different dance routines that may incorporate the upper-body as well as lower (competency)
  • 8 dance stages to choose from (autonomy)
  • Design your the look of your own avatar (autonomy)
  • Play with your friends (relatedness). Thinking about having one player use her DS, another on a laptop and another on a dance pad or Fit Board is fascinating and may be they first truly multiplayer - multimodal exergame (MME)
  • Hip-hop, rock, and reggae dance routines (autonomy)
  • Improved play moves your dance status from street performer all the way to star stage performer (presumably baking up Justin Bieber or Lady GaGa.)
  • The training mode looks to be useful way to help players learn the dance moves. (competency)
Exergaming Concerns
  • The arrows seem awfully small, even with a big screen tv, and off to one side. 
  • When you miss a step or move your instantaneous feedback (competency) is "Yuck!" From the many discussions we've had with youth, they don't like these judgments being displayed after each error. 
  • At the end of a failed routine, your avatar will go into a disappointed forward slouch. 
  • The arrows are confusing for me as I'm used to playing DDR, and iDANCE but I assume the reason they are done that way to avoid legal trouble from Konami and their IP patents.
WIBC - Wouldn't It Be Cool
  • To integrate heart-rate monitors into any game and have extra points for being in your target heart rate zone
  • You could customize the amount and type of feedback given instantly and summative.
For more information on exergames be sure to check out The Exergame Network and the ExerGame Lab Blog for the latest in how technology and gaming are colliding for a healthier tomorrow.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

GYROXUS - Partial Motion-Gaming Chair, SEEE- Spectrum of Exergaming Energy Expenditure

Getting more into a game usually isn't a problem for most exergamers, but to say that that the following gaming accessory is "Full-Motion" is a little stretch - Gyroxus Full Motion Game Chair, especially with PS3 Move and Kinect coming out shortly. [Via HubPages]

Exergaming Benefits:
  • The controls you use, in turn changes the chair's position, which in turns changes how you are positioned in the chair.
  • Seated positions require you to actively resist (initially) large movements (front to back, or side to side).
  • Most muscle contractions, once placed in a non-neutral position, would primarily be isometric (trunk muscles).
  • Self-righting reflex and vestibular responses are also initiated by the changing seat positions.
  • Makes you feel more "immersed" in the game, at least according to the people in the videos. Of course playing on such large screens can also have the same effect.

Exergaming Concerns:
  • You are NOT controlling your character's playing position.
  • You are passively moved into different seated positions. Your conscious movements have no impact on game play
This chair looks cool to play and I would love to play one. It reminds me of the one I played in Korea, but I really wonder what the energy expenditure is from playing in a moving gaming chair.  Definitely more than traditional seated, but it has to be less than standing and of course less than really full-motion gaming options like EyeToy, Kinect, Move, etc..

What do you SEEE?
Many people have been calling for labels on games that highlight the workout that can be gained by playing exergames (commercial off the shelf - COTS). As a brief non-exhaustive view of exergames, I propose to use the following spectrum (SEEE) to highlight where many games fall in terns energy expenditure.

Spectrum of Exergaming Energy Expenditure  (SEEE) --- graphic to follow ---
Seated < Moving Seated < Standing < Walking < Cycling < Step Machine < Dancing < Boxing < Full-Motion
If you want to be involved with The Exergame Network's efforts please join us on Skype Thursday morning to discuss our Exergame Experience Rating System among other things. 

Gyroxus is the ultimate full-motion video game chair. It is easy to set up and fully adjustable for game players of all shapes and sizes. The smooth gliding controls allow you to become fully immersed in the game as your body controls each movement. Take gaming to a whole new level • Full motion game experience • Feel the movement / put yourself in the game Easy to use • Sets up in minutes • No tools required • Intuitive interface Plug-n-Play • No drivers to install • Supports game controller and keyboard
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Concussion Research Using Wii Fit [Exergame, WiiHab]

Can an off-the-shelf video game be used to collect data and diagnose/treat concussed athletes? Here is a pretty  balanced article from the Washington Post article about universities (Maryland, Ohio State, and others) using Wii Fit Balance Board and the software to collect data on their athletes.

The CDC estimates 1.6-3.2 million concussions occur yearly in sports and other recreational activities. A concussion can happen in any sport, and it is important to quickly recognize and treat the injury. Unfortunately, this does not always occur, and athletes are at risk for complications.

Like all fields in the Games for Health sphere, we are at the beginning stages of research of using consumer off-the-shelf (COTS) games and customized games (like Red Hill Studios Parkinson's Therapy Game) for exercise, diagnosis, and rehabilitation, of various conditions.  The following list (non-exhaustive) of uses is certainly growing and it looks like that trend will continue as professionals in all areas seek to find better solutions to their problems. If I've missed something please let me know and point me to a link that I can add to this list.
  • Exercise (cardiovascular, strength, balance, flexibility)
  • Rehabilitation with appropriate baseline info (cardiovascular, strength, balance, flexibility)
  • Cognitive training
  • Mobile Games
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Psychological Disorders / Learning Disabilities
Be sure to check out the resources for Exergaming at the Exergaming Network Wiki.

After the Good Morning America Health video segment we did in New York City a couple of weeks ago, it's good to see more news pieces focusing on different areas of Games for Health.  Let me know if you spot something in the news and we'll do our best to share the info to the rest of our interest groups.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fighters Uncaged for Kinect (Exergame)

Fighters Uncaged is a new fighting game for Xbox 360 Kinect due in November from AMA Studios.

Exergaming Benefits:

  • Controller-free for full-body interaction
  • Power-up by using voice recognition
  • Lower-body with upper-body movements (expends more energy with lower-body typically)
  • 10 characters to choose from
  • 70 different strikes in 21 different environments
  • Multiplayer (2, 4 or more?)
Exergaming Concerns:

  • Not suitable for school settings (violence and character)
  • No female characters
  • Not suitable for large groups
  • How will the calibration effect leg kicks to the head of the opponents or jumps?
  • It would be great to see heart-rate monitoring integrated as we've typically seen boxing games elicit some of the higher levels of physical activity intensities.  Will the exertion required to play be sustainable throughout the single game or life-play of the entire game.  
  • Would love to see an assessment of self-perceived exertion level after each game or session.  That I think can wait for one of our research studies. Any students ready to take this one on?
After reading so many comments and complaints about Kinect, it will be really interesting to see how people actually experience it.  According to the Joystiq article, 

In order to execute 'super strikes' you 'need to shout while unleashing your strike,' says Project Manager Luc Verdier. 
...and it sounds very reminiscent of Kick Ass Kung Fu "power ups" which is now Kung Fu LIVE for PS3. Actually I'm not sure if that feature was kept or not.  With the microphones on PS3 Eye and Xbox Kinect at least the hardware is available. Seeing the POV game footage also reminds me of two PS2 titles that never made it big, Gametrak's Darkwind and EyeToy Kinectic Combat (hmm any trademark litigation going on over the work Kinect vs Kinetic?)
eyetoy kinetic combatImage by jontintinjordan via Flickr

WIBC - Wouldn't It Be Cool
  • if you could talk your way to an easier or harder fight/fighter/place 
  • if you could trash talk your opponent to doing something they're not used to doing thus putting you at an advantage - some cool AI for you programmers out there.  Kind of like the Coaching mode or campaign modes in other games.

Continue reading Ubisoft announces Fighters Uncaged for Kinect ... why were they caged in the first place?
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