Saturday, June 16

Sponsor my Skydive to Support Exergaming Students!

I normally have the left seat when aviation is concerned and it's never occurred to me to land independently of the aircraft I took to the skies with. In all honesty I'm really not that good with heights at all! A skydive represents a significant challenge to me, so it's appropriate that I do this daunting task to support exergame research's equally duanting challenges.

Exergaming research is disparate and unstructured in it's approach and inconsistent with it's results. This leads to a great deal of confusion in the media and public view as to what exergaming can and can not achieve with respect to health. Exergaming is a serious game floundering in the playground of research politics. No more obvious is this than the biggest research projects, that while guaranteeing the principle researchers tier one journal publications, leaving the exergaming genre abused in it's wake. Read more about that sorry state of affairs here.

The Exergame Network (TEN) has been long aware that the limitations of exergaming are public knowledge, dissemination, application and study design rather than failings in the equipment and the excellent individuals who deliver the experience to the users. To that end TEN has collaborated to give the top questions, and therefore evidence, required to understand exergaming. From it's wiki site here they are:

We need studies to show positive results in the following studies; 
1. Energy Expenditure (absolute or comparative) - DONE
2. Adherence of Exergaming - DONE
3. Positive Behaviour Effects
4. Gateway Effect
5. Comparative Enjoyment of PA
6. Health Benefits of Exergaming
7. Family health benefits of Exergaming
8. Cognitive benefits of exergaming
9. Improved social confidence from Exergaming

The first two of these questions have been answered sucessfuly by Konami's DDR and Gamercize's GZ Pro-Sport respectively. In answering these questions the original study design also becomes valuable - as a blueprint for others to follow in the implementation of exergaming. The irony is that exergamers in the field already know what works and what doesn't, so why don't researchers answer their research questions using study designs informed by the experts?

TEN thinks this is a poor state of affairs, so is launching an initiative to get the right designs into the journals. The reason I am facing the challenge of falling out of a plane on my own (note that I'm not jumping tandem but solo) is to give TEN a chance to gain some sponsorship to fund students into exergame research.

TEN will ask for study designs to be submitted for consideration and the best of these will be decided by a panel of experts for funding and support. As indicated above TEN thinks there is more to funding a study than most other foundations - TEN wants the right questions, right design and right approach, so the award to successful candidates will not only be money. TEN is providing the following;

1. Cash for research assistants / buy out from class
2. Exergaming equipment donation
3. Dissemination opportunities
4. Publication opportunities
5. Academic Support and Exergaming Expertise

The way to support this cause is to donate via at - You can also support the initiative by sharing this post, the fund raising page and joining TEN on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and attending Skype calls. Do it now.

Monday, June 11

Is Enhanced Physical Activity Possible Using Active Videogames? - Open Response by Gamercize CEO

Making Exergaming A Success?

Gamercize has always performed impeccably in well designed research studies, delivering the validation of sensible, and considered, research questions. (see for study designs and results)

Applications of Gamercize in these studies have varied from desk exercise to school activities and at all times provided the correct level of engagement for the user to achieve beneficial physiological responses.

Gamercize does not fail because of the core principles of making exercise a secondary activity (automatic response) to the on-screen enjoyment, and allowing the user to engage in the electronic content that they prefer.

Best games and realistic exercise; is there any better formula for an exergame design? According to a recent Clinical Brief in the excellent Games for Health Journal, some researchers are well behind in the learning curve towards this understanding.

The brief is referencing a study reported on earlier this year in the journal Pediatrics, with the lead researcher, Tom Baranowski, defending the original study for it's poor reception by the media. Originally, according the NHS in the UK, the summary of the study by Dr Baranowski was “there is no reason to believe that simply acquiring an active video game under naturalistic circumstances provides a public health benefit to children”. This was a pretty bold statement to be based on just one study - even despite it's size and cost. It is also a statement that is incorrect with respect to Gamercize active video games.

In defense of the controversy stirred up by the study and it's subsequent media reporting the recent Brief diverges from rational perspective and common sense further, claiming "Children early in the diffusion curve might have used the games more actively"which translated basically means, had the study been conducted when Wii first came out it would have favorably changed the outcome. The suggestion for rectifying this (of many) faults of the study claims that Kinect for Xbox 360 would have been a resolution.

The most basic and fundamental failure of this research, the attempt to recover via the Brief and of the researcher is that; A CONSOLE IS NOT A GAME! A new game is all that is required to sustain interest. Clearly the more engaging and appropriate for the user the game is in the first place, the longer the period of time before interest wanes. 

The game titles used had not been chosen by the participants in the original study and were weak gameplay fitness games (excusing DDR of course!). There is not one person familiar with video games that would have expected the outcome to be anything but a failure as a result.

Gamercize, of course, does not suffer from the weak fitness title sustainability problem (see the list of exergaming studies earlier in this post that references this) as Gamercize uses the game the user wants to play! Would this have been a more considered exergame to put under test? I think so. It is a pity the genre of exergaming took such a high level kick in the teeth by the media reports, slowing our progress towards the very health benefits this study sought to prove.

To summarize, the basic lack of understanding into the interaction between video games and the target population is outstanding. There is no systematic or methodological failure in the study outside of this. The foundation of sheer ignorance of video gaming was not understood by media and hence why the media reporting was so outspoken and prolific. 

My conclusion for any researcher looking to expand their portfolio with exergaming studies is (and I would welcome Tom's open reply in comment);

"If you don't understand video games you will never be able to design a successful study using exergaming. Certainly don't undertake any exergaming study until you have taken advice from an expert - any twelve year old will do."

Wednesday, June 6

158 New Exergames Announced at E3 for 2012

E3 Has long been the focus of the gaming and tech worlds, but  exergaming is stealing the stage in 2012. No fewer than 158 new exergame titles have been announced. There is something for every person, age and preference this year with titles from Epic Mickey : The Power of Two through Lego Lord of the Rings to Gears of War Judgement and Forza Horizon.

Here's the top ten exergame picks from E3 so far according to GameSpot:

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
The Secret World (PC)
Hitman: Absolution (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Assassin's Creed III (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Far Cry 3 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Tomb Raider (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
The Last Guardian (PlayStation 3)
Resident Evil 6 (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)

The platforms of Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC are all supported by Gamercize, the gamers choice of exergame with genuine fitness machines enabling gameplay of the best the video game industry has to offer.

The full list of games is below, there is something for everyone representing an estimated 21 million sales and hundreds of hours healthy game play for every gamer via Gamercize!

007 Legends (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Agni's Philosophy (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
American Mensa Academy (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Arctic Combat (PC)
Arma II (Xbox 360)
Arma III (PC)
Ascend: New Gods (Xbox 360)
Assassin's Creed III (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Avatar Motocross Madness (Xbox 360)
Battlefield 3: Armored Kill (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Battlefield 3: End Game (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Bellator: MMA Onslaught (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Ben 10: Omniverse (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3)
Borderlands 2 (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Brick-Force (PC)
Bullet Run (PC)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360,PC)
CastleStorm (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Continent of the Ninth Seal (PC)
Core Blaze (PC)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Crysis 3 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (PC)
Darksiders II (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
DC Universe Online: The Last Laugh (PlayStation 3,PC)
Dead or Alive 5 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Dead Space 3 (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Deadlight (Xbox 360)
Defiance (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Demonicon (PC)
Deponia (PC)
DiRT Showdown (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Dishonored (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Divinity: Original Sin (PC)
DMC (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Dogfight 1942 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Doom 3 BFG Edition (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Dungeonland (PC)
Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter (PC)
DUST 514 (PlayStation 3)
Dust: An Elysian Tail (Xbox 360)
Dyad (PlayStation 3)
Dynasty Warriors 7 - Empires (PlayStation 3)
End of Nations (PC)
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Ether Vapor Remaster (PC)
F1 2012 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Fable: The Journey (Xbox 360)
Far Cry 3 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
FIFA Soccer 13 (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XIV Online (PlayStation 3)
Firefall (PC)
Fist of the North Star 2 (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Foosball 2012 (PlayStation 3)
Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)
Fray (PC)
Gears of War Judgment (Xbox 360)
God of War: Ascension (PlayStation 3)
Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Grimlands (PC)
Guardians of Middle-Earth (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Happy Wars (Xbox 360)
Hitman: Absolution (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Hybrid (Xbox 360)
Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Jet Set Radio (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Joe Danger: The Movie (Xbox 360)
Kartuga (PC)
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
LEGO The Lord of the Rings (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
LittleBigPlanet Karting (PlayStation 3)
LocoCycle (Xbox 360)
Lollipop Chainsaw (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Lost Planet 3 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Madden NFL 13 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Mark of the Ninja (Xbox 360)
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (Xbox 360)
Matter (Xbox 360)
Medal of Honor: Warfighter (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Metro: Last Light (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Miner Wars 2081 (Xbox 360,PC)
Mistborn: Birthright (Xbox 360,PC,PlayStation 3)
Mugen Souls (PlayStation 3)
Narco Terror (Xbox 360,PC,PlayStation 3)
NBA 2K13 (Xbox 360)
NBA Baller Beats (Xbox 360)
NBA Live 13 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
NCAA Football 13 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Criterion) (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
NHL 13 (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PlayStation 3)
Of Orcs and Men (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
One Piece: Pirate Warriors (PlayStation 3)
Otherland (PC)
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PC)
Papo & Yo (PlayStation 3)
Persona 4 Arena (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Pid (PC)
PlanetSide 2 (PC)
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PlayStation 3)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
Quantum Conundrum (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
RaiderZ (PC)
Ratchet & Clank: QForce (PlayStation 3)
Resident Evil 6 (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Retro City Rampage (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Rift: Storm Legion (PC)
Rise of the Guardians (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Risen 2: Dark Waters (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Runes of Magic Chapter V: Fires of Shadowforge (PC)
Sacrilegium (PC)
ShootMania Storm (PC)
SimCity (2013) (PC)
Skulls of the Shogun (Xbox 360)
Skylanders Giants (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Sleeping Dogs (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PlayStation 3)
Sound Shapes (PlayStation 3)
South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Spec Ops: The Line (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Sports Champions 2 (PlayStation 3)
Star Trek (2013) (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Star Wars: 1313 (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
The Amazing Spider-Man (PC,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
The Elder Scrolls Online (PC)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard (Xbox 360)
The Last Guardian (PlayStation 3)
The Last of Us (PlayStation 3)
The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan (PC)
The Secret World (PC)
The Showdown Effect (PC)
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Xbox 360,PC,PlayStation 3)
The Unfinished Swan (PlayStation 3)
Tokyo Jungle (PlayStation 3)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PlayStation 3,PC,Xbox 360)
Tomb Raider (2013) (PC)
Tomb Raider (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (Xbox 360)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
War of the Roses (PC)
Warface (PC)
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes (PC)
Watch Dogs (PC,PlayStation 3,Xbox 360)
Wizardry Online (PC)
Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PlayStation 3)
World of Battleships (PC)
World of Warplanes (PC)
Wreckateer (Xbox 360)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PlayStation 3,Xbox 360,PC)
Young Justice: Legacy (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)
Zeno Clash II (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,PC)
Zone of the Enders HD Collection (Xbox 360,PlayStation 3)