Gamercize Fitness Gaming on Xbox 360 LIVE.
The World's first console exergaming tournament takes place on Monday 30th June and you can follow the progress live on the net and TV in the USA and UK.
School boys and girls aged between 12 and 14 years old will compete against each other on Xbox LIVE playing Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 with Gamercize providing the fitness element. While they are not working out they have no control over the on screen players, making this contest a true test of skill and fitness.
To keep up to date with the latest news on Facebook go to the Gamercize page and RSVP either the USA or UK supporter events.
To get the scoop on MySpace go to the Gamercize page there and attend the USA or UK fan event pages.
When the tournament starts boys and girls will start live blogging on Twitter before and after they have played their matches to keep you up to date with the scores if you can't watch on TV.
Follow the live progress from Team Gamercize UK and from Team Gamercize USA.
Saturday, June 28
Gamercize Fitness Gaming on Xbox 360 LIVE.
Wednesday, June 25
Get Involved with the Live Tournament on the Net!
Next week we will be running the first ever console exergaming tournament between school children in the States and here, in the UK. We’ll be using Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 over Xbox LIVE with our very own Gamercize Pro-Sport providing the exercise element.
The Team UK is based out of a school in Derby, England and Team USA comprises of pupils from Green Valley, California. Due to the time zone differences the US team will be kicking off at 8am PST which makes it just after the school bell in the UK.
Microsoft, the console manufacturer, and Konami, the game publisher, have both wished us good luck – which we’ll need considering the technology involved in live TV, online blogging, US/UK feeds, live webcasting and playing the games over the net!
The teams will introduce themselves to each other later this week by videos on YouTube, as this international sports competition will be the first where the competitors don’t actually meet face to face! Maybe this eco-friendly way of competing with a minimal carbon footprint is how the Olympic Games will be run in the future? I wonder!
Here’s how you can get involved and give your support to the two teams. Follow them on twitter – Find the UK Team at http://www.twitter.com/TeamGamercizeUK and the US team at http://www.twitter.com/TeamGamercizeUS. Don’t expect much response from them now, as they are practicing hard!
You can also join up to the Gamercize Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gamercize/8863157725 where you can select to attend the UK or US supporters event page which has pictures, videos, links and behind the scenes content added daily.
Saturday, June 21
Year after year people wanting to get fit end up failing because exercise is too boring. Maybe exergaming (combining video games and exercise) could solve this problem. Home fitness gaming is really enjoyable, and can keep you exercising long enough to see results. Today I’m hoping to show that fitness can be fun.
Let’s go back to January. After a long break watching TV, eating rich meals and nibbles to your heart’s content, you now have to start back at work. You soon need something to look forward to - the first holiday of the year. Rather than a cold rainy commute to the grind you imagine yourself on the beach in the warm sun. So much for the mind, what about the body?
To get in shape for summer you resolve to join the gym or start cycling and running on a regular basis. You think that’s enough to get the beach friendly body you desire. Your new exercise regime should work, if only you could stick with it. But the odds are against you - surveys on new gym members every year show that by April their attendance is nonexistent.
Simply put, it’s hard to find the time to workout when there are so many more enjoyable things to do."
Simply put, it’s hard to find the time to workout when there are so many more enjoyable things to do. Exercise gets boring fast and becomes a real effort. Now it’s June, your summer holiday is mere weeks away and the clothes from last year just don’t fit. And worse, it’s too late to do anything about it - despite wild advertising claims anyone can lose 20 lbs in one week by some ridiculous means - it’s just not going to happen.
What went wrong here? You gave up regular exercise. But maybe you’d have kept up your regime if only it wasn’t so baring and time consuming. Exercise will always be an effort (that’s sort of the point), but maybe I can make it more fun for you, let me introduce fitness gaming.
Let’s look at the most generic piece of kit on the market for example. You plug an exercise machine into your games console, put your favourite video game in and play while you work out. The Gamercize kit I am referring to pauses the action should you stop your workout, so no slacking off!
Just like when I go out for a long run, the mind starts to wonder as the rhythm of running settles in."
Now you can happily executing reloads, double jumps, fastest laps and smack downs (or whatever it is your favourite game has to keep you amused) at the same time as getting fit. This simple bit of kit combines video games and exercise so now you can be a fitness gaming. Fun eh? Exercise may feel a little clumsy at first, but the body is very adaptable and after ten minutes you will be well into your stride.
Playing the game while you work out is not only fun, but has the added benefit of distracting your brain from the pain of those basic motor functions. Just like when I go out for a long run, the mind starts to wonder as the rhythm of running settles in. Sometimes it almost feels like I am a passenger and there is no conscious physical effort. As you continue playing the games you are not only solving the problem of exercise being boring but also getting two things done at the same time. The result is a much better chance for you to keep on working out.
A wonderful drug starts to be pumped around your system."
And as you pedal, step or jog away with no conscious effort something strange starts to happen. A wonderful drug starts to be pumped around your system. A little upper called endorphins, that will make you feel on cloud nine. In a response to prolonged exercise these chemicals are produced - often referred to as the 'runners high' - and result in pleasure and enthusiasm to keep going. Not only this, but our brain’s neurons also benefit resulting in increased learning capacity, memory function and general motor response.
There you have it, games and exercise are a match made in heaven. Whether you invest in an Exergaming peripheral, Wii-Fit or just jog on the spot while you play GTA IV, you never had a better reason to keep exercising.
If you like this article you can read more from me at http://www.gamepeople.co.uk/lukepyper.htm
Friday, June 20
The Four Cornerstones of Active Gaming Gamercize allows people of different abilities to compete and play together to make exergaming social not solitary. Read more here.
During the last four years I have experienced active video gaming, commonly called exergaming, first hand as the founder and CEO of Gamercize.
There are two core aspects of exergaming, namely video gaming and exercise. The games provide the fun and the exercise provides the fitness. Many exergames did not balance fun and fitness so have come and gone.
Seeing this industry grow I have come to understand the four main principles that surround a successful exergame product like Gamercize. We have hit the magic formula and found the perfect balance by common sense and design from experience. This is what I have discovered.
1. Exergaming must be appeal to anyone.
Gamercize works with all video games taking advantage of the massive variety of games to gain universal appeal. Read more here.
2. Exergaming must be affordable for home use.
The entry level Gamercize machine is the least expensive product on the market at the same cost of two games. Read more here.
3. Exergaming must be easy to use for everyone.
4. Exergaming must be fun to get fitness benefits.
Gamercize supports games that have not yet been released, making it part of the games console rather than a throw away fad. Read more here.
The future is bright for exergaming, and so as long as heavyweights keep public awareness high with their latest attempts to match our level of achievement in the four cornerstone principles - the future is very bright for Gamercize.
Gamercize allows people of different abilities to compete and play together to make exergaming social not solitary. Read more here.
Sunday, June 15
This Saturday I went to lend support to a great charity at a fantastic venue. The charity, Parentline Plus has a focus on strengthening family bonds with helpline and email support, this weekend they ran an event for fathers. Parents and children were introduced to quality time activities in one of the UK's top leisure centres which included video game fitness with Xbox and PlayStation made possible by Gamercize.
As Gamercize was created from the experiences and needs of my own family, I was very happy to attend and help raise awareness of the event and introduce other families to Gamercize. The only problem is how can you demonstrate the ability of Gamercize to support every game in such a short period of time? The enjoyment of the products depends on the enjoyment of the game, get it right and everyone loves it, get the game wrong and people don't go home as enthused.
The Xbox 360 Gamercize Gym Pod is available in Chamberlayne Leisure Centre already, so I brought along a standard school set up - the GZ Mini Pod with a regular two player PS2. This is very popular with schools as the cost and range of games is unparalleled in exergaming. I had to choose one game for each console.
There are a lot of games based on first person shooter engines, which is not exactly what the parents of 7 to 14 year old children want to see. Luckily these consoles have been out long enough for some great family alternatives.
I still had to be careful though the games for this event should really be co-operative, and not competitive, to help the bonding theme. I chose Lego Star Wars for the PS2 and Crash of the Titian's for the 360. Both games are excellent action adventures with an emphasis on co-operation, puzzle solving and game progression.
Gamercize levels the playing field for fitness ability, making it the perfect exergame for parent and child together. When you have stood side by side with your child facing the dark forces together you will walk away with a stronger bond.
Both games were a huge hit, parents and children played well together, getting good quality exercise at the same time. Parentline provided fathers with information about Internet safety and the local heath trust showed how healthy eating can be fun too.
Despite all the children I would have thought that the large plates of raw vegetables would have been left at the end. Not so; all of it had been eaten and the trick was low calorie dips! As Gamercize makes exercise fun, this was a perfect healthy partner, making healthy food interesting!
Sunday, June 8
Tuesday, June 3
Monday, June 2
Where's the game in Exergame?
There is a lot of research being planned for exergames this year and next, over $2m in funding has been released so far. There will be a lot of work on intervention, that is to say, does the exergame actually deliver what is required. I have already covered making exergames sustainable and accessible but not yet addressed the key aspect of if an exergame can engage individuals.
The exergame audience is, oddly enough, not a tiny minority of people that desire fitness through video games but a vast majority of people. Recent developments with Wii Fit have shown the demand, although it is hard to know how much is genuine interest and how much is reaction to strong marketing. This one implementation is not for everyone, and highlights the problem of engagement.
The appeal of video games is widespread so exergames should be perfectly placed to put extra activity into people’s lives. In order to engage such a large audience in video gaming over 10,000 individual game titles have been created for the 250 million video game consoles sold worldwide. Imagine if only 100 games had been produced over the twenty years, and all of them just variations on a single same game play theme. Would console gaming be so engaging? Probably not!
There are enough racing based exergames available for me to use this as my example without singling out one machine or manufacturer. Between 10-15% of video games sales a year are racing games, which is not a high engagement rate for racing based exergames. Even adding the novelty of exergaming may increase the engagement, but interest through novelty is unlikely to be long lived. Gamercize can also be used with racing games, but we recognise a single genre is not enough to engage everyone.
The key interaction between exercise and video games with Gamercize is the minimalist approach of exercise and play, or stop and pause. This allows us to support tens of thousands of games, over all genres and for all consoles without diminishing game play. No matter what video game you enjoy you can become engaged in video game exercise with Gamercize.