Exergaming Promoted at International Health Conference

November 6, 2008 -

Games that get kids up and moving are being discussed at the 2008 McGill Health Challenge Think Tank in Montreal this week.

As reported by the Montreal Gazette, conference organizer Laurette Dubé said:

When we talk about obesity, we often talk about the fast-food industry. But that's only one side of the equation - the energy-in side. We also have to look at the energy-out side, and that's why it's very important to look at ways in which we can reduce kids' inactive time and increase their share of time that gets them moving.

West Virginia University professor Linda Carson admitted that not everyone is comfortable with the exergaming concept:

There are some folks who feel that by promoting physical activity through the use of video games, children are being socially isolated or not be encouraged to go outside and play. There are some opponents who say that it takes away from traditional physical-education exercise.

[But] I think exergaming needs to be recognized as an exciting alternative to traditional physical education. There is a lot of value to children having physical activity options in their home and even at school.

Via: Edge Online

5 comments

Kids Burn 4X the Calories When Playing Active Video Games

September 4, 2008 -

A report released this week by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine maintains that kids burn calories four times as fast when engaged in an active video game than a passive one.

According to Medical News Today:

...over 83% of children in the US between the ages of 8 and 18 have video game consoles in their bedrooms. The alarming increase in obesity rates that coincides with this trend may not be a coincidence, as seated video games may contribute to time spent sedentary rather than active. 

While you might expect that the authors looked at the Nintendo Wii or perhaps multi-platform aerobic games like Dance Dance Revolution, the report focuses on the XaviX gaming system (see video), manufactured by Japan's SSD Company, Ltd. Among the XaviX's offering are simulations of bowling, fishing, tennis, and golf. The study authors comment:

In addition to the exercise gaming modalities, the XaviX system includes a gaming mat (XaviX J-Mat) that allows participants to travel the streets of Hong Kong at a walk or a run, avoiding obstacles and stamping out ninjas.


The study was performed at the University of Hong Kong's Institute of Human Performance. Kids who played games while seated burned 39% more calories per minute than when they were at rest. During an active bowling game they burned 98% more calories and during an action/running game they burned 451% more. Of this, the researchers said:

This translates into a more than four-fold increase in energy expenditure for the XaviX J-Mat game. Preventing weight gain requires an energy adjustment of approximately 150 kilocalories [calories] per day. The four-fold increase in energy expenditure when playing on the XaviX J-Mat would fill the proposed energy gap, if this game were played for 35 minutes a day...

 

Our data demonstrate that the two active gaming formats result in meaningful increases in energy expenditure compared with the seated screen environment. The next step is to test whether active gaming interventions can provide sustainable increases in childhood physical activity.

 

13 comments

At DNC, No Child Left Inside Group Blames Video Games

August 30, 2008 -

A friend attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. Among the many items he snagged was a pamphlet from the No Child Left Inside Coalition, a group which seeks to foster environmental awareness and activity among young people.

That's all quite commendable. Less praiseworthy, however, is the fact that the group's brochure (obtained by GP) takes a cheap shot at video games in its opening paragraph:

Young people across America are spending more and more time inside - hooked up to video games, computers, and television, instead of learning, playing and exploring outside. The results are profound: increases in childhood obesity, a lack of understanding of the environment and a disconnection from the natural world.

Why some kids don't go outside or don't get enough exercise or are overweight would seem to be very complex social issues involving a myriad of factors, including available recreational opportunities, socioeconomic status, neighborhood safety, parenting, nonstop marketing of high-calorie food and drinks, etc.

Thumbs-down to No Child Left Inside for pointing the finger at video games...

56 comments

Sony's Fat Princess Causing Controversy

July 24, 2008 -

It’s not always easy to predict which video games are going to upset people. 

One of the games that debuted at last week’s E3 was Sony and Titan Studios’ upcoming PSN title Fat Princess, a cartoony, capture-the-flag game in which the object is to rescue your princess from the enemy’s dungeon.  The hook is that the enemy is plumping up your princess with cake, making her more and more difficult to haul back.

It’s cute.  It’s colorful.  It’s surprisingly bloody. And, from many reports, it’s a lot of fun. But, according to Joystiq, at least two feminist bloggers have taken issue with the fat part of Fat Princess.

Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan says in an open letter to Sony:

[Fat Princess]  looks and sounds just adorable—but the only thing I can't figure out is why anyone would want to rescue a fat princess in the first place, since everyone knows that fat girls are unlovable human garbage at whom any sensible bloke would sooner hurl invective than cast a longing glance... I'm positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes.

Meanwhile, Feminist Gamers’ Mighty Ponygirl offers her take:

Honestly, the “core game mechanics” are brilliant, and if I didn’t care one whit about the objectification of women or fat-bashing, I would think this was the best thing since… well, Team Fortress 2…

 

Instead of running out into the forest to find cake to fatten up the princess with, why not go out and find gold (which is a lot heavier than cake) to stuff into a treasure chest. The more gold in the chest, the heavier it would be, and the harder it would be to carry.

 

Oh, but that’s not as “cute” as cake and fat chicks. Right.

For his part, Titan Studios' art director, James Green, said in an email to Joystiq:

Does it make it better or worse that the concept artist (who designed the look, characters, everything) is a girl?

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen prefers ice cream...
 

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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenNo but it is defaulting to a very low volume. Not muted though.11/20/2014 - 10:14pm
MaskedPixelanteIs anyone else experiencing this weird Youtube glitch where, no matter what you had the volume set at last time, it defaults to muted no matter what?11/20/2014 - 10:07pm
MechaTama31What was wrong with Remember Me? I liked that one... >.>11/20/2014 - 8:50pm
AvalongodI tend to see the violence and sexism issues as different. Historically we know that the violence issue is overblown. But sexism is real. Better representations of women in games WILL happen.11/20/2014 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenAnd unless I completely missed it, there's nothing in there about "how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta look deep for it."11/20/2014 - 5:10pm
Andrew EisenSeriously, you're upset, irked and fearful over an opinion piece that suggests the Pokemon demo would be better with more options and a better-written female character? SERIOUSLY?!11/20/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://gamasutra.com/blogs/PugetAlain/20141118/230420/Nearly_Ripped_off_to_death_by_a_publisher__Get_better_by_yourself_and_wait_for_justice_Maybe.php Topware screws over an indie studio because they can.11/20/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenAre you SURE you provided the right link?11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99And yeah that sucks, especially when bonuses are tied to it, but that is more a problem with crappy publisher policies and scoring in general than any discussion on what may or may no be sexism in games.11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99But no one is on their legislative high horse or on the litigation war path, for that matter. The biggest effect is that a reviewer might give it a lower score and drag down their meta critic ranking.11/20/2014 - 4:56pm
Wonderkarpyup11/20/2014 - 4:51pm
Andrew EisenOh for crying out loud. Wonderkarp, I apologize for how rude this question is but seriously, did you actually read that article?11/20/2014 - 4:47pm
Wonderkarpits a stigma. people in power hear this crap and start getting on their legislative high horse. but I feel like we've already paid too much attention too a demo.11/20/2014 - 4:46pm
Andrew EisenHarm gaming how?11/20/2014 - 4:35pm
Wonderkarpcause it gets parroted around and is used by people to harm gaming like Jack Thompsons did with Violence. http://www.themarysue.com/pokemon-oras-sexism/ here's the article.11/20/2014 - 4:28pm
Andrew EisenNo idea why such an opinion would upset or irk you so I'd be interested in reading it. Got a link?11/20/2014 - 4:13pm
Wonderkarplook deep for it....reaching much. those kinds of people are what urk me.11/20/2014 - 4:07pm
WonderkarpI got upset the other day when a known feminist blog wrote a large article on how the demo to Pokemon Omega Ruby was Sexist cause you couldnt play as a girl. It was a Demo....who cares? but they went off on how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta11/20/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenHere's the panel that Sarkeesian quote from earlier comes from. Amazing what the proper context does, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qxtKz2vZw11/20/2014 - 3:32pm
NeenekoSomething to keep in mind, we tend to look at physics as 'hard', but math and physics are trivial compared to soc/psych (I have worked in both), but FEELS like it should be simplier.11/20/2014 - 3:17pm
 

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