Videogames + Exercise

  By Shamus   Feb 6, 2007   52 comments

Dance Dance Revolution has a good reputation for helping young people stay in shape. Now someone has lost weight just by playing the Wii – presumably by standing and waving the wand around and not by parking himself on the couch and just exercising his wrist. For the last couple of years years I’ve been expecting a game focused on exercise to show up. It hasn’t happened yet – at least not on a large enough scale to appear on my own limited “industry trends” radar – but recent controller innovations indicate that someone might start thinking in this direction soon.

TOP: A high-end DDR Dancepad.  MIDDLE: Nintendo Bongo controller. BOTTOM: XBox360 Guitar Hero controller.
TOP: A high-end DDR Dancepad. MIDDLE: Nintendo Bongo controller. BOTTOM: XBox360 Guitar Hero controller.
I think the success of DDR, Guitar Hero, and (to a lesser extent) Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, proves that people are willing to pay for a new input device if the device leads to new gameplay. I also think the bajillion dollars people spend each year on trying to not be so dang fat demonstrates they are willing to shell out some non-trivial bucks towards that laudable goal. The question is: Can these two purchases be combined? Would gamers be willing to pay for an input device what one would normally expect to pay for exercise equipment? Oh yeah: And buy a game on top of that?

I think so. Maybe now that Harmonix is no longer making Guitar Hero they will investigate something along these lines in their now-copious free time. Maybe someone else will take a crack at it. Maybe we’ll have to wait for the next console generation before someone works up the nerve.

I have a pretty clear picture of how something like that should work, and an excellent picture of how it could be royally screwed up, which is more than likely.

The key here is that we want to harness the “just one more level”, or “just a few more minutes” nature of videogames, and tie it in with some form of steady, low-impact exercise. You want the player to keep going, keep playing the game, and keep exercising.


And here is where things are likely to get hosed:

The game should in no way be focused on racing.

The most obvious thing to do is to plug an an exercycle into the XBox and have the player “race” against the CPU. This is a terrible idea which is doomed to failure. Here is how that little drama will play out: The player is going to select a challenging race, and then pump furiously for two minutes. They will then stagger away from the machine, exhausted, dizzy, and suddenly keenly aware of their heart and the role it plays in sustaining their life. They will walk – perhaps crawl – away from your device and your game, not feeling particularly fulfilled, either from an exercise or gaming perspective. They will not return.

I suggest that the exercise in our theoretical game should be an aspect of the gameplay, not the entirety. It should be steady and prolonged, not intense and short. It should allow the player to slow down when they feel fatigued and speed up as they recover, without punishing them for the respite with things like total failure. All of this lends itself to more interesting gaming, and (as an added bonus) is less likely to kill them.

So the idea is to present the player with a more or less “normal” game experience, and then provide them with motivation to keep pedaling. Let’s outline our needs:

  1. When it comes to how much energy they can put out over the course of an hour or two, there is at least an order of magnitude between healthy people and (ahem) not healthy people. The game needs to provide the proper challenge for everyone.
  2. The game needs to be interesting and have a generally broad appeal. Grim, bloody combat is probably a bad idea. So are angst-ridden teenage heroes.
  3. The controller needs to be as cheap as possible, no more expensive than a decent piece of exercise equipment. This means something between $100 and $150, which is the price of a basic treadmill.
  4. The game needs to be something that can be played while exercising, which means the controls will need to be pretty forgiving. Forget about asking players to do timed jumping puzzles while they are moving their body. Reading and navigating menus are also annoying while exercising, so those should be kept to a minimum.

The Controller

It probably wouldn’t be nearly this fancy, but you get the idea. On the upside, it wouldn’t need that display screen / control panel mounted on the front.
It probably wouldn’t be nearly this fancy, but you get the idea. On the upside, it wouldn’t need that display screen / control panel mounted on the front.
The ideal controller would be a reclining (recumbent) cycle. This leaves the player free to use their hands to manipulate the controls. It also means it will be low to the ground, which will limit how much metal goes into making the thing, which might help keep costs down. The player is going to need to be looking at the television, and a reclining cycle seems better for this than a normal one. It also seems like it would be more merciful to the player’s spine, as opposed to an upright bike or a treadmill.

The player would plug their traditional controller (dual shock or whatever) into the cycle, then plug the cycle into the console gaming system. The cycle just provides one additional input channel: Pedal movement.

The Game

Picture some sort of combat-based game. Cliché, I know, but the broad appeal of these games cannot be denied, and I think this will aim the product at the most likely early adopters.

The nature of the combat itself doesn’t matter: Guns, kung-fu, swords, or Mario-style head-bonking. Whatever. One way or another, the player will dispatch enemies, as they have done since the dawn of videogames. The controls should be very simple and very forgiving. It should feel like a regular fighting game set on “easy”. The player is not defeating enemies with their reflexes. Skilled use of the keypad can give them an edge, but anyone should be able to muddle through with some good old-fashioned button-mashing. They are going to be getting tired and sweaty, and so we can’t demand too much precision from their digits.

The Gameplay

Instead of using the pedal for locomotion we use the pedals for replenishing health.

At the start of the game, enemies do very slight damage. The player can fill it back up by pedaling very slowly for a nice, gentle experience.

The player can remain in the initial area of the game as long as they like; they are never forced to move on. While here, they can earn rewards which will make their health bar larger, and decrease how fast they have to pedal to fill it. Earning these rewards just takes time. Defeat N enemies, and they earn the reward. So, if they hang around here long enough and keep pummeling bad guys, then the game gets even easier.

This will get old pretty fast. Whenever they like, they can seek the gateway to the next area. Here, the enemies will do just a bit more damage. If the player didn’t hang around in area 1 and earn those bonuses, then they will will need to start pedaling a little faster to keep their health up. As before, they can stay here and build up, or move through quickly for more of a challenge.

An area never runs out of foes, which respawn at a steady rate. The player can get some breathing room by running away, but there shouldn’t ever be a spot where they can stand with impunity. Unless the game is paused, they must keep pedaling, at least a little.

Balance

Someone who is in great shape might sprint through the first ten areas before they feel challenged. They will be pedaling along at a speedy clip, but will suddenly find it is just barely enough to keep up with the continuous stream of foes. They know it would be suicide to move on, so they hang around until they get enough rewards that it is safe to proceed.

If the player dies, they are sent back to the entrance to the previous area. So, if they were in the middle of area 5, they are sent back to the very start of area 4. They can push through area 4 again, or they can retreat back into area 3 if they are getting tired and need to slow down or earn some more rewards.

Notice how everyone can seek their own level? Lance Armstrong will be able to cruise through the first twenty levels, but sooner or later the bad guys will be hitting so hard that he can’t stay alive no matter how fast he pumps. He’ll hang about for a bit in that area, earn a couple of rewards, and then keep moving. Everyone, from Lance to Grandma, can play this game. They don’t have to set a difficulty slider or fine tune it as they improve. They can have a light workout or a hard workout, based on how fast they move forward. Their desire to progress in the game will encourage them to push themselves, and they will naturally balance the game to their own abilities. Longtime readers might recall that I’ve talked about this dynamic before.

Behind the scenes, the game would be scaled so that they can keep the same speed as long as they earn an average of (say) 2 rewards in each area. Players will vary this as they go, based on their own capricious whims as they explore the gameworld, as well as the ebb and flow of their fortitude.

Area transitions should be obvious: The player should always be making a deliberate decision to move forward, and should never accidently blunder into more difficult territory. Ideally, there should be a nominal boss fight which will test them, and if they can’t beat the boss then they probably need to refrain from moving on anyway. Perhaps there should be “shortcuts” that skip a couple of areas, (like Mario warp zones) with appropriate warnings. This will let bored players move ahead a little faster.

Motivation

The player should never, ever feel like they should stop pedaling, or like their energy is being wasted. Never give them an excuse to stop. If their health is full, then their effort should go into something else. Perhaps a “special attack” meter. Once full, they can unleash it for a big room-clearing attack. If the special meter is full, then give them something else. (Like a sprinting speed boost so they can hurry on to the next area, since this place is clearly beneath them!)

There shouldn’t be cutscenes in a game like this, but there might be a short camera-pan through an area as the player enters it for the first time, or brief pauses for a bit of dialog. Even when this sort of thing is going on, their health and special meter should still be visible, and still be charging as they pedal.

Positive Feedback

The game should give the player little achievement awards as they go. It should keep track of things like how many “miles” they have pedaled, what their average speed has been (all time and for this session) how many foes they have defeated, how long their game has been running, and what their top speed was. (Top speed being the highest speed they have maintained for a full minute.) Once in a while when they break the previous speed record or reach a new distance milestone the game should give them a little message, and bestow some nominal reward. (Maybe a new special attack, or a new hat, whatever.)


20201252 comments. It's getting crowded in here.


  1. Gothmog says:

    Heck, I’d buy this. I could certainly use the exercise. :)

  2. I’m in great shape and I’d buy this. The feeling of accomplishing something while enjoying a video game is definitely something that I’d pay for, and the game you’ve described would be one I’d like to play.

    Seriously, get with a game design company.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    Sounds really cool. I was in a group (for class) last year, and we did some research into this kind of thing because we wanted to make a non-DDR game that used a DDR dance pad. We came up with a basic 2D fighter game. The idea being that certain combinations, say UP->RIGHT would punch, and the game only accepted inputs at certain times, to give a sense of rhythm. Was only a 2-semester thing with 90% of the work being done the 2nd semester, but it was a fun project and even with our non-existant drawing/animation capabilities, it was pretty fun to goof around with.

    I, like alot of nerds/gamers/geeks/whatever could use more exercise, but I strongly resist. But, hey, for a pretty straightforward idea, this is pretty awesome and something that could really be capitalized on by the right people. Make it multiplayer to really push competition, and I could see people going crazy over it.

  4. ScottM says:

    Well thought out… it does sound appealing. The distraction from the work you’re doing is a very important element… I know I find traditional exercise boring, so this would offer something new on that front.

  5. bkw says:

    There’s the Eyetoy, which is somewhat gimmicky and perhaps just before its time — the tech just ain’t there yet. But I have a friend that uses the EyeToy for her exercise regimen.

  6. JFargo says:

    I think something like this would be great for a FPS/flight “simulation” kind of game. I can definitely see some major benefits, and would love to see something like this come out. I love my DDR (it has helped me lose weight), and this would be even better.

    Now, if this were on the Wii, with the way their controls are, I could see this REALLY going somewhere. That would be cool.

  7. wintersweet says:

    I’d argue that Wii Sports, which is included with North American Wii consoles, is at least 50% exercise-oriented, even more so than the calorie- and weight-tracking mode that some DDR releases have.

    Your idea is intriguing, though! Maybe you should talk to Greg Costikyan, in his current incarnation as cranky video game industry revolutionary, about it. http://www.costik.com/weblog/

    Hmm, there’s a Wikipedia article on exercise-oriented games, but it needs updating, and there’s no mention of any Japan-only games (which I figure there must be): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exertainment

  8. Kris says:

    I actually participate in bicycle road races and would LOVE to be able to do this kind of training while playing a decent video game! In fact, I often play video games at my friends house, who has a recumbant like you pictured in their living room, and I usually am pedaling while we play!

    Brilliant Shamus. Seriously, get it made. I’ll play.

  9. Rich says:

    I was going to reply to this, but too lazy to fin

  10. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Dude. I love the idea! And you really don’t even need a whole set thing. Just make up a pedal set to be used from a chair and there’s no way that it would end up costing more than 100 bucks.

  11. Monkeyman says:

    I established a way to use my recumbent exercise bike while playing Galactic Civilizations II, and it was some of the best exercising I have ever done. The only downside was that there was no motivation to keep pedalling, short of willpower. Your idea as outlined here is brilliant. I hope someone is smart enough to act on it in the near future.

  12. Richard Dragonbane says:

    C’mon, make the exercise topical. Take your concept, but add a bit of flavor and spice: Twist the FPS aspect, and turn this into a Paperboy vs. the Zombies game! You pedal around and throw newspapers at zombies who are invading! You also have windows you can break, squirrels you can hit, and so forth for bonus points. Your “power-ups” could be fresh newspaper bags I suppose, though you can’t really do a required ammo drop as that would run counter to some of your outlined needs… Still, I think there’s promise here. :)

  13. AngiePen says:

    I think this is an awesome idea and I’d definitely get it. Heck, I’ve never owned nor wanted a cartridge game system but I’d buy one just for this.

    Angie

  14. Tym says:

    I can understand the idea that pedalling would add only one input, but for an excercised-based game to really fulfill excercise requirements in addition to gaming requirements, it seems to me that additional inputs are also required.

    Most professional-level exercise equipment these days accepts a heart-rate input, in addition to manual input of age and weight in order to calculate gross calories expended and to track/warn on heart rate levels.

    These additional settings translate well into the properly designed gaming environment for distance traveled, as well as effort being put into the exercise.

    Additional inputs such as persperation level and breathing rate could provide additional levels of interactive input.

    If we’re going to design the excercise game, we must consider really inserting ourselves into the game, at as many physical points as possible.

    In ‘The Lawnmower Man’, the emphasis was on full body integration (also full sensory, but we’ll ignore that for now as technically infeasible) via the support rig. As this is economically infeasible, the addition of the body support inputs (heart rate, age, weight, breath rate, etc.) that aren’t that expensive to track, become prime integrators.

  15. Telas says:

    This is beautiful. I’d play it for hours, especially if the base mechanic could be plugged into FPS, RPG, or just mario-style scrolling stuff.

    Tangent: Just got a Wii, and I’m amazed that they’d risk millions on a gaming console that bucks so many trends. The pallets of PS3s and the scarcity of Wiis tells me they’re right. Thanks, Nintendo.

  16. Carl Klutzke says:

    I sometimes play GameCube for something to do just so I’m not bored while I ride my exercise bike. Other times I read, but I found that while playing Lego Star Wars I pedaled faster and got a better workout than while reading, because I was excited about the game and didn’t pay attention to how hard I was working. It helps that it’s not a very difficult game, as it was indeed a little harder while pedaling.

    Your ideas are good. I’ve been wanting a game like that for a long time.

  17. Ryan says:

    This is a great idea. Given some creative though it could be appliled to several different types of games – pedaling to fill a strength/hit meter for a combat game comes to mind – and could be made to entice even the laziest of games (me).

  18. ArchU says:

    Namco released a game along these principles back in 1996 called Prop Cycle. Click here for more info.

    I like the ShamusCycle idea better.

  19. Eloriane says:

    I would completely purchase this, and I hate fighting games (primarily because I suck). I have a stationary bike, but I never use it precisely because I can’t do anything interesting while riding it. This is a brilliant idea.

  20. CNH says:

    Here’s an idea: make an expansion to World of Warcraft with areas only accessible/navigable using propeller driven craft… either extremely high altitude or in the depths of the sea.

    Or create a new propeller craft centered MMORPG; that should meet the objective of a game that always entices you to play one more hour.

  21. Selki says:

    I’d buy that. I really like the pedal for replinishing health idea.

    I also like the suggestion in comments for Paperboy vs. the Zombies.

  22. Aaron Nowack says:

    Hmm… I don’t really see this game as described taking off.

    The issue I see is that the whole pedaling/life bar regeneration thing just feels to me like a clunky add-on to an already existing style of gameplay, and not a top-tier implementation of that game type (one of you game design goals, after all, is that the fighting game part shouldn’t be challenging or involved). It’s the equivalent of an edutainment game that’s just a sub-par sidescroller, only you have to answer a trivia question every so often. (Or, more directly, of those exercise bikes hooked up to a TV where you pedal to power the TV.)

    What this type of game needs is for the “exercise” to be a key part of the game that actively contributes to the fun, as opposed to a task that has to be done to play the game. DDR is a good example of this – while you can play a DDR-style game with the gamepad or controller, it’s a totally different, inferior experience.

    That’s the reason why racing is the obvious genre for this type of controller, because it becomes a natural part of the gameplay that adds to the fun (it really _is_ you racing, in some sense). It seems to me that it should be doable to mess with the mechanics of a racing (or possibly a vehicle combat) game to encourage this desired activity pattern, and I think that would probably have a better shot of getting people who otherwise wouldn’t exercise to do so.

    I could always be wrong, of course. :)

  23. Dave says:

    I live in San Diego.. I saw a piece on the local news about a company doing just this.. I’m sure a bit of Googling will bring it up. .. but.. it looked like the club was aiming to bring in teens so their parents could exersize at the same time.. and I believe it was a race game.. and a kung fu thing… I think

  24. Huckleberry says:

    I really, really like the idea, Shamus!

    One more thought: To me, the online World of Warcraft game is one of the most addictive games I know; and I think one way this game creates this addiction is that there are many overlapping arches of achievement. For example: One of the things you do is levelling your character up: that provides obvious goals (reaching the next level) that, once reached, could make for a natural break point. It doesn’t, though, for various reasons:
    (1) There are some hooks directly linked to levelling up: After you’ve levelled, you can usually learn new spells/moves etc or upgrade old ones; sometimes you are finally experienced enough to use a cool new item that you have stored away beforehand.
    (2) Apart from the obvious levelling up, there are other “story arches”: you might want to just finish this one quest (and in doing so, start another) (which gives you enough experience points to come wihtin range of trying to level up just one more level in this sitting), you might want to level up one of your side skills, you might want to get an item that would fit so well with the rest of your equipment.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that there should be incentives on more than one level. Plus, people like a broad range of power ups. The more difficult areas should be clearly more rewarding in that respect than the easier ones: so not just more treasure, but also cool new items, abilities, buffs etc.

    Great work!

  25. Colin says:

    I think the idea here is a good one, Shamus – although I agree with one of the other posters that using the pedalling to replenish health seems like a “stuck-on” component. At the start of the article I actually envisioned something like the old arcade game Joust, where pedalling would get you lift and not pedalling would dump you in lava.

    If you don’t read Ars Technica, they did an article about gaming and exercise last month, it talks about DDR, Yourself! Fitness and the Eyetoy.

    For me the biggest drawbacks in the idea you presented are that stationary bikes (or treadmill, or other large cardio device) is a big, expensive item – you might be better off trying to tie in a power inout device (they make these for bike computers, could probably easily put one together for treadmills) – $150 instead of $1200. Also stationary bikes aren’t great exercise – they only work your legs and you need a looong workout to burn many calories – this is the advantage to a DDR (whole body movement) or Yourself! Fitness (overall exercise plan).

    But hey, some exercise for the sedentary masses is better than no exercise, right?

  26. Alex says:

    Another person who thinks this is a great idea. Couple things to add to the requirements, though:

    Any properly designed exercise routine incorporates a “cooldown” phase at the end. I can’t think off the top of my head how to incorporate that into the normal flow of a video game, where things normally get harder and harder until you either win or quit. Maybe give the player the opportunity to enter a cooldown “bonus round” of some kind that’s different from the main part of the game?

    Another thing, speaking of the addictiveness of a good video game: I can see people getting “hardcore” about a well-done game like this and playing until they hurt themselves. True, physical fatigue will put a natural end to the session for MOST people, but that’s another thing to think about…

  27. Autumn says:

    What a fantastic idea. I would buy this, AND play it.

  28. […] decision to buy one. However, rationalizations are another matter entirely A few days ago, Shamus pointed to someone using the Wii for weight loss; now comes word that video games improve visual acuity by […]

  29. Liritar says:

    My gods. Amazing. That is brilliant. I would buy that in a heartbeat. I WANT to exercise, but I can’t focus on it. It’s bloody boring. At a gym, your choice is to watch whatever sports game the guys have on the television. Not interesting. So you get bored that much faster.

  30. I was thinking about this last night, and Dynasty Warriors really fits the combat portion of your idea quite well. Massive replayability, long areas with clear breaks, and tons of enemies who do tiny to moderate amounts of damage to you.

  31. Shamus says:

    Crusader: I was actually thinking of DW when I wrote this.

    To the others who have pointed out that the game is a little flat as outlined: This is because I didn’t want to commit to any one genre. Obviously the game needs a couple of layers of depth on top of this – nobody is going to find it satisfying to pummel waves of enemies for it’s own sake. You’ll have to give the player some sort of motivation for fighting them, and present a world where they care about what happens and feel like they can change things. By pedaling.

  32. Dave H. says:

    Since we’re throwing around ideas to add to this (great!) idea, how about this one: You’re a shark. We’ve all heard that sharks need to keep moving or they’ll die, right? So, you need to pedal to move, which makes you breathe. The faster you pedal, the faster you move, so you can use that to chase fish to eat, run from Sheriff Brody and Captain Quint, and terrorize surfers. See, this way the movement/pedaling is more than just “charging a battery,” it’s both vital to survival AND your primary means of navigating the game, and as in your concept above, different levels of the game can require different levels of effort. You could have “sprinting” levels,” where it’s full of quick little fish, but only a few of them, and you have to go after them in spurts. You could have “endurance levels,” where you have a timed course to swim (maybe migrate from one area to another). You could have “challenge levels” where you have to put forth a greater effort for an extended period, say running from a scientist (who wants to tag you with a dart… if he hits you, you don’t die, you get a tracker stuck to you, which slows you down, so you need to work harder until it falls off).

  33. […] was inspired to write here today because I commented on a post over at Shamus Young’s “Twenty-Sided” blog section. When you comment there, he […]

  34. bbot says:

    Only tangently related here, but have you ever heard of Frets on Fire?

    http://louhi.kempele.fi/~skyostil/uv/fretsonfire/

    It’s a bog standard guitar hero clone, but with an absolutely psycotic user community, with something like 500 user-submitted songs.

  35. Brian says:

    Man, the late-night Twenty-Sided trawls are killing me… Greetings from the future, February 6th!

    Anyway, while reading this article I couldn’t help but picture Paper Mario 2 visuals; the head-bonking attacks, the crowd cheering when you do something impressive, the “combos” from occasional button mashing… Add a little charging meter for the Special Attacks, the aforementioned refilling health, and unhook it from the RPG elements (which, I believe, the newest Paper Mario is doing) and you’d have a game I wouldn’t mind losing 20-30 pounds and a few weeks of my life with.

    Just make sure no one IN the game is riding a bike; I hate recursive crap like that (I’m looking at YOU, Tingle Tuner).

  36. Felblood says:

    This is just what I need to keep myself in shape in the off season. (Wildland fire fighting is pretty demanding on the legs and physical endurance, but I spend my winters cooped up playing video games.)

    –Particularly if the heavy investment and potential for boredom are mitigated by additional titles that use the device.

    Now I am sad that it does not actually exist. Look what you’ve done.

  37. Neri says:

    To be honest, the ‘pedal to restore health’ mechanic just seems invented for the sake of making the player exercise.

    I just want a hack & slay somewhat like the old Golden Axe game (in 3D or psuedo 3D, obvious)with a twist. It would be a Virtual Reality-like hack & slay. Keep it primarily might-oriented (implementing magic rituals ala pattern recognition would be a major PITA) to keep people moving. The difficulty likely lies in implementing the input (and the ability to parry/deflect attacks as part of motion rather than simply pressing a button to block). The character model would also need to be able to perform the motions the player is (or close to it) or it’s just going to look silly.

    That, to me, would be more fun than any genre of game with bike-pedaling tacked onto it. Even if it would be more exhausting.

  38. Stickle says:

    This is a really cool idea. Why are you not a millionare, Shamus, so we can all profit from your brilliance?

  39. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    For the love of all that is holy, Shamus Young! You are clearly the Messiah of Nerds, here to deliver us from crippling fat and peripheral artery disease!

    Take this idea, bundle it with an idea for a game. As big a nerd as you are, you must have no problem coming up with a suitable idea or three to use for this.

    Take it and pitch it to *everyone*. Nintendo, Sony, all the developers… Everybody except EA, heh. :)

    I should note, though – when you’re riding a reclining excercycle pretty hard, the handles are there for a reason. If the player has a bog-standard controller in his hand, he won’t be able to use those, and that will degrade the experiance. You’ll need some way to help the player keep their place on the chair – either a seatbelt (hehehe), or make the normal controls part of the unit itself, and make them damned sturdy for the player to hold onto. (And make them very adjustable, because we know that for a lot of people (like me), this is going to be their first real excercize ever, and it’s just going to frustrate the hell out of them (and defeat the whole point) if they can’t fit in the damn thing.

    Also, since this is a videogame-based cycle, that chair is going to need to be a lot more comfortable than something people in the shape of those hateful visiges that do bowflex ads use hard for an hour and then get off. We’re nerds. We have addictive personalities. Give us something we can sit on and use for HOURS comfortably!

  40. Galen says:

    You know, I think it’d be cool to have a bicycle race game. Like in France. Naturally all bicycles will be outfitted with machine guns and rocket launchers of course… MegaRace anyone? Oh and all of the environment should have chain explosions if you miss. Just because.

    Oh and as far as controls go, I’d say to mount them on the handles and use your thumbs, and maybe index fingers too.

  41. Torsten says:

    Heh, somtimes it is good to read the old articles, you never know what stuff you’ll find.
    Very neat ideas Shamus, and I believe we could actually see this happening in next generation of gaming consoles. The controller would probably be made differently though. Better way would be using motion sensor technology like in Wii. It would be cheaper, smaller and offer more variety in using.

  42. Phill says:

    Replace your xbox power supply with a pedal-powered dynamo and you’re away!

  43. Cyclomega says:

    Might be tons of fun, if a little cumbersome in a cramped 15square-meters flat, but eh, if you do a good enough beat’em all with gradual challenge and enough skill induced (like a good game of Streets of Rage 2), I’d run for it without a second thought, hell, two player might even be better.

  44. Hipparchus says:

    I have an idea for this that might cut the costs, but still retain the main thing. Maybe instead of a an expensive and difficult to set up and carry excercise bike, you have a pedaller without a chair that has an adjustable height and has weights inside to keep it grounded (or however the bikes stay in the ground). Perhaps it should be made out of a plastic but have cheap weighting material inside inorder to keep it on the ground? The perpipheral possibly should be wireless, as cords could get pulled out of the console if there is alot of moving going on. If your console is a PS3 or Xbox 360, then the perphiral could be wirelessly tracked and be considered extra buttons on the controller.
    Because of the veristility of the projected device it could be used for more than one thing for more than one genre, making it a worthy investment for interested investors. Have you attempted to shop this around at all? I would design a prototype (I know you can, you’re a programmer, right? And with your huge fanbase you could proably find someone who is good at making this kind of stuff and collebrate) and a short game (again, you can do this too) then make a trip to California to pitch this to the guys at Logitech who love making do-dads like this.
    If you are worried about the blog, you could post how progress is going on the project to us and gives us a few behind-the-scenes stuff.
    If you did that, you would proably be getting a lot of money on your hands, or at the very least see your idea get some attention. Just an idea, though.

  45. […] becomes hard to play it for long stretches of time. The author had previously suggested something (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=917) that I feel would be a superior workout option, but it uses an exercycle. A two hour low impact […]

  46. dyrnwyn says:

    I like your idea as it solves another inherent problem with just racing. Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution have the physical aspect well balanced. The way they are meant to be played is the best, but with something like Wii Fit nothing is stopping you from putting the balance board on your lap and playing to win.

  47. Funk says:

    all the long loading screens are good for 5 qick press ups.

  48. Corylea says:

    Shamus, you’re brilliant!

    Somebody fund this guy to make the game.

  49. JoshR says:

    A nice idea, but I wonder if the people who say they would buy it would change their mind if they saw the price such an item would command.
    Especially if they already have a piece of exercise equipment…

  50. sebcw1204 says:

    im thinking of a combat/exploration game in a mech style. pedaling would fill up your “energy meter”. but you have to incentivise the player to keep pedaling. you explore planets that require life-support, provided by low level input from the pedals. more hostile environments would have more resistance from the pedal machine. you would have shields, lasers, and flight/movement engines that all drained from the same energy meter as the life support.
    combat would thus be more strenuous as the player tried to keep their energy meter full and it would reward gamer skill and healthy cardiovascular. healthy people would have more energy to burn (like in real life) and skilled gamers could make use of their skills (but only up to a certain point).
    the learning curve and focus required would be pretty easy since there would only be one weapon, one energy meter, and one or two modes of movement to keep track of.
    make something up about the mech being powered by bio-energy, and include a simple motivation for exploring and shooting (not hard), and you got a game that is not just healthy but also fun. and scales with the player since they can go to locations that have either harsh environment, low to high combat, exploration, all in ratios they feel they can handle.

  51. Researchers also believe that taking HCG helps to normalize the cholesterol levels of those on the diet.
    Regular intake of these drops doesn’t make a lot of change in your lifestyle.
    Some people claim that HCG itself does not produce any significant weight loss.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By rationalizing the inevitable at Haibane.info on February 7, 2007 at 10:30 am

    […] decision to buy one. However, rationalizations are another matter entirely A few days ago, Shamus pointed to someone using the Wii for weight loss; now comes word that video games improve visual acuity by […]

  2. By Been a while… « The Wit Farm on February 19, 2007 at 11:41 am

    […] was inspired to write here today because I commented on a post over at Shamus Young’s “Twenty-Sided” blog section. When you comment there, he […]

  3. […] becomes hard to play it for long stretches of time. The author had previously suggested something (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=917) that I feel would be a superior workout option, but it uses an exercycle. A two hour low impact […]

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