UFC Personal Trainer and Blurring the Lines on Violent Video Games

August 4, 2011 -

Is using a Kinect martial-arts simulator like UFC Personal Trainer like practicing martial arts or like playing a videogame? The answer is neither, according to a guest editorial on Wired's Game|Life written by Paul Ballas, a Philadelphia-area child psychiatrist. Ballas's editorial, "UFC Trainer Is Helpfully Violent," comes to the conclusion that, while UFC Personal Trainer is based on a violent fighting franchise, it could also have positive effects on kids' health.

He opens with his description of the game:

"In this game, playable with the controller-free technology of Kinect for the Xbox 360, the user will, according to THQ’s website, “learn over 70 [mixed martial arts] and [National Academy of Sports Medicine]-approved exercises including moves from disciplines such as wrestling, kickboxing and Muay Thai.”

Some in the enthusiast gaming press considered UFC Personal Trainer one of the most violent games presented at E3 this year. It’s comparable to Ubisoft’s 2010 title Fighters Uncaged, a Kinect-enabled videogame in which the player makes fighting movements in order to make the game’s avatar fight a digital opponent in hand-to-hand combat.
"

He then points out the odd ratings for the aforementioned games; while Fighters Uncaged is rated "T" for teens, the UFC game received a softer rating of "E" for everyone. The reasons for the different ratings have a lot to do with how each game is labeled. Fighters Uncaged contains "mild language and violence," while the UFC game contains "violent references."

Using these two games as an example, Ballas then explains why, with the introduction of new technology that provides greater interactivity, it is important that the ratings systems and certain people's attitudes have to change with the time:

"The ESRB rating system exists for a variety of reasons, but I believe videogame technology has reached a point where the way a parents choose games for their children is dramatically changing, and this change is something that needs to be considered by consumers, researchers and politicians interested in the effects of violent media on children. It appears that in the very near future, we will have to consider certain kinds of computer programs not only as not bad for children, but potentially good for them, and will require brand new research to justify our beliefs as to their effects, both good and bad."

The topic then turns to the point that Ballas is trying to make: new technologies and games such as UFC Personal Trainer, shouldn't be called games at all because - as technology improves and allows for unprecedented levels of interaction and social activities - it becomes like its real-life counterpart. Further, he notes, psychologist have never been against children taking part in martial arts training because it offers so many benefits.

According to a 2011 article in the American Association of Pediatrics, "martial arts are known to improve social skills, discipline and respect in children."

So his conclusion is that when games like UFC Personal Trainer and future games that teach martial arts training to children become more realistic due to technological advances, it becomes more difficult for critics to complain about "video game violence." After all, their own research says it's "good for children."

Of course, the discussion isn't completely black and white. You can read the entire article here and draw your own conclusions.


Comments

Re: UFC Personal Trainer and Blurring the Lines on Violent ...

Good stuff. Martial arts are definitely to be encouraged for the reasons mentioned here.

Regarding MA games in this instance, I can't help but thing the ESRB ratings wouldn't make too much difference to a parent - if their kid is interested in an MA game, then they'll get them one or the other, especially if both games don't feature bloody fighting or such.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Matthew Wilson@zippy there is no way they are going to merge with capcom becouse both companies are not in good shape. sony, Nintendo, and square are the only companies with enough money to pull it off in japan.04/27/2015 - 4:27pm
ZippyDSMleeCutesy name for motherboard. My 300$ mobo fried itself one night...04/27/2015 - 4:23pm
Andrew EisenNo problem. No idea what a mobo is but it's easy to overlook stuff in the Shout box.04/27/2015 - 4:18pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Ah sorry, last 2-4 days I been dealing with a dead mobo then my new laptop came in trying to get it up to date and stuff transferred over....blag04/27/2015 - 4:16pm
Andrew EisenAlready linked about 10 shouts ago.04/27/2015 - 4:00pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.polygon.com/2015/4/27/8503893/konami-delists-itself-from-new-york-stock-exchange This just in Konami and Capcom merge so they can ignore more IP's.04/27/2015 - 3:50pm
E. Zachary KnightNot really. I think people are overly critical of other game projects. Delays should be expected and shouldn't be considered a major failing and worthy of the crap they get.04/27/2015 - 3:09pm
Matthew WilsonI agree that Double Fine gets off way too easy compared to others.04/27/2015 - 2:40pm
PHX Corphttps://twitter.com/Nibellion/status/592762131264733185/photo/1 a Transcript reguarding the Situation at Konami has been found(CEO Went Nuts over mobile and wanted kojima removed from the company)04/27/2015 - 2:25pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, delaying games has been amassive point of contention for games that raised a fraction of what Double Fine did.04/27/2015 - 2:14pm
Matthew Wilsonand yes they went way way over budget from what I read.04/27/2015 - 12:33pm
Matthew Wilson@AE if they cancaled it there would be massive outrage, but people tend to be ok with a delayed game.04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
IvresseBleh, can't edit shout on my phone :-/04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenHell, the Kickstarter itself raised WAY more than DF was asking but I saw no accusations of impropriety.04/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenA little over three years later (two and a half years after the estimated delivery date), the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter finally delivered the game. Oddly, I never saw anyone accuse Double Fine of scamming or conning anyone.04/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Ivresse@PHX Corp: Not only that, but Konami have just delisted themselves from the NYSE:http://polygon.com/e/826793404/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I felt bad for everyone outside the US who wanted to watch the HOTS finals, the fact it was on espn 2 in prime time is a major major step forward for video games.04/27/2015 - 12:14pm
james_fudgeThanks Papa!04/27/2015 - 10:43am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/its-official-silent-hills-is-cancelled-1700379816# It's Official: Silent Hills Is Cancelled04/27/2015 - 9:48am
Papa MidnightI also hope that legislation holds the individual(s) who initiated the action is criminally liable for any and all harm that may come to persons involved (whether it be the cops or the victim(s)), as well as any property damaged suffered by any party.04/27/2015 - 8:16am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician