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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Andrew EisenYes, the Wii U upscales but rendering in a higher resolution looks a hell of a lot better.08/01/2014 - 10:35pm
Andrew EisenIt's pretty. Lots of videos of it floating around. Just search "Xenoblade dolphin" and you'll find them.08/01/2014 - 10:32pm
ZippyDSMleeThe WII upscales tho. Matthew: It might be becue cartoonish desings do not age as fast as presudo realisim.08/01/2014 - 10:29pm
Matthew WilsonPeople who have run the Mario Galaxy games on a emulator have said they look better then most xb1/ps4 games when upscaled, so it would be interesting to see a upscaled version of Xenoblade08/01/2014 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenHeck, it would probably sell better to newbies anyway. Even with its awesome art direction, the game looked dated when it came out years ago. I imagine an SD version would be a tougher sell.08/01/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenBecause it would be cool, would serve the game's fantastic art direction well and encourage people who've already played it to buy it again.08/01/2014 - 7:42pm
ZippyDSMleeWhy bother with an HD relese just repack the damn thing and promote it since it will play on the WIIU anyway....08/01/2014 - 7:04pm
Andrew EisenPlus, with Nintendo carrying the Wii U almost all by itself, it could help plug one of the unfortunately inevitable release schedule gaps.08/01/2014 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenAn HD re-release would be cool though. It's a great game (and quite the looker, especially when up-rezzed) and more people should play it (the game had a limited release at a time when the Wii was all but dead an buried).08/01/2014 - 3:21pm
E. Zachary KnightSo no, people are not going to need to play the Wii game to undstand or enjoy the Wii U game.08/01/2014 - 1:27pm
E. Zachary KnightFrom what I understand, the two games have as much to do with eachother as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2.08/01/2014 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's my secret hope that Nintendo announces Xenoblade HD to be released in the leadup to Xenoblade Chronicles X, or at least a mass market version of the first game so that people aren't going into this one blind.08/01/2014 - 12:40pm
PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
 

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