Saturday, September 30, 2006

Videogame-Related Injury

Have you ever hurt yourself playing an exercise game? When I play Dance Dance Revolution too much, I tend to hurt my feet. "DDR heel" is my latest complaint - that's the pain you get when walking after having stomped your heel too hard on a game controller.

DDR Freak often has injury discussions related to Dance Dance Revolution and Pump It Up, and has even done polls. Here's a sample of complaints:
stepped off the pad and twisted my ankle.

Slipped playing doubles (someone drank water while playing before me) and hit my head on the bar

cutting my toe open on the first time i beat paranoia survivor

I had an asthma attack

My friend has a heart disease and only discovered it after playing a few games of DDR - Her heart was racing and she had to be rushed to the hospital.

Dislocated my sholder while playing MaxX Unlimited. In the arcade I had one arm on the bar I had to do a few steps very fast. The arm that was not on the bar got jurked by moving so fast. I walked off the stage and pain.

blisters, sprained ankle, almost fainted (literally) broke off my left big toe-nail.

[regarding the toenail quote:]
Wow, that happend to me, too! And i'll never DDR in 2-inch platforms again...

My left big toenail fell off after playing ~6 hours a day on a cruise ship last summer.

my friend went for a double knee drop and smacked his shins on the sides of the pad.

My knees really hurt from playing DDR.

I have a 3/4 inch scar accross my right knee from sliding into the metal at the back of one center down arrows at the end of Foxy Lady... The metal doesn't round down around the outer edge.

Probably a compound injury is mine. Under my knee caps on both legs I have calcified spots which have happened from knee dropping during freestyles. Yeah...I don't feel anything in those spots anymore. Other than that anything else have been screw corner-piece bruises/cuts in my knees and palms from misplaced hands and other stupidity (like the end of LIADZ Remix Nightmare).

I have suffered with many bruised knees to where I also don't feel them anymore and also, I have bent my fingers wrong coming down to hit the pad with my hands a few times. Recently I had a full combo on Soca Make Yu Ram Ram on nightmare and during the spin I slipped and busted my knee.... ouch...

Most of the injuries I usually get while playing are hurt fingers or busted knees... I get over it...

I nearly broke my own kneecaps once coming to an unexpected stop during R3 Heavy Doubles - I'm not quite sure what exactly I did to them, but they made this unpleasant cracking noise and were essentially immobile for several days.

I usually go with a few toe touch stetches before play, lol, that doesn't usually work for most of the songs I play....well, i have bruised my leg and now it is hard for me to even walk right now, I still play PIU though!
Like any other sport, videogame exercise can hurt. Know your limitations. Wear sensible gear, warm up a little, do an easy song or two to warm up. Oh, and if you don't already do knee drops, don't start now.

(Sources: mostly DDR Freak and Indy DDR.)

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Overtime Fitness offers teens a videogame workout

A new fitness center that uses videogames to get teens excited about exercise opens this Saturday in Mountain View, CA.

Overtime Fitness restricts its membership to teens aged 13 through 18. "It's a first-of-its-kind fitness center because it's focused solely on teens," founder and president Patrick Ferrell told Ars Technica. "Getting kids interested in fitness has some interesting challenges which we've managed to overcome by having the right combination of electronics, fitness equipment, and a place to socialize."
In addition to DDR, PowerGrid and the other usual suspects, their offerings include a machine I hadn't previously heard of, the Cybex Trazer:
The Trazer is a "virtual reality" fitness machine that "puts you in the game," as Neale-May describes it. The kids put on an infrared belt which then maps their movements to the action onscreen. They play games that involve lunging, jumping, and other vigorous movements, which show up on the monitor as the user reacts to virtual dodgeballs and other stimuli. "We had kids try out the Trazer. They'd have a blast and come out completely drenched in sweat after ten minutes," said Ferrell.
More in the ArsTechnica article.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Big Brain Academy - exercise your brain!

Big Brain Academy was announced as one of the initial shipping games for the Nintendo Wii. It'll work a lot like the DS version. Here's a video preview.

UPDATE: There's also a good article on brain training software in the latest BusinessWeek. The evidence that puzzle-solving games really help improve brain function is still pretty slim. Many studies show no effect. But on the plus side of the ledger:
This summer Posit released two studies [of their $395 Brain Fitness program] that Merzenich says prove its worth. One, involving 182 healthy people 60 and over, assigned half the group to Posit's brain exercises for eight weeks. The rest were asked only to watch educational DVDs. The researchers found that 93% of the Brain Fitness group significantly improved their memory function, while the control group did not.

In a second study released this summer, Posit's program was tried on 45 people diagnosed with MCI. PET scans of the brains of 15 participants were taken before and after the study. There was some evidence of memory gains in the Brain Fitness group, and the PET scans revealed a decline in brain activity in those who did not use the brain exercises. Brain activity held steady for the rest. "We've seen 80-year-old people improve from being sluggish and slow to having the mental performance level of a 35-year-old," says Merzenich.

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DDR: Never too young to start!

This japanese 5-year-old is pretty good - that's a 5-foot song:

In a few years, the kid will play like these guys:

Or these.

Or this guy.

Nothing can stop a determined DDRer:

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Wii is on the way

The Wii - Nintendo's next big console - has a new style of wireless position-sensing controller that enables all the same sorts of games we've previously seen on the XaviXPort - but done on a bigger budget with better hardware and marketing. The Wii should be a good platform for fitness games. A Bloomberg report says Nintendo is working on diet-related software but details are scarce. In the meantime there will be Tennis and Wario...

The controller allows peripherals to be plugged into it. I'm thinking we need a "free weight" accessory - something you plug in whose only purpose is to make the controller weigh more.

Wii is expected to launch "in the 4th quarter of 2006". Possibly November 6th.

Are we waiting for Wii?

An early Wii commercial:

Live Wii Tennis demo:

UPDATE: Wii is now expected to ship November 19th in the US for the price of $250.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

And the award goes to...

Brainwash Cafe's "editor's choice awards" include what they call the 10 Best Blogs for a Stronger You.

The list is heavily oriented to the fighting arts - karate, thai boxing and such - but they managed to squeeze us in at #10. Yay, us! Though I did notice they gave as our one-line description:
Videogame Workout: okay, the title can be a little bit misleading but the site is definitely a must visit.
So my question is: is the title misleading? And if you think it is, what would make it better or clearer or less misleading?

(oh, and FWIW: No, I didn't die in my second shot at skydiving)

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who punched Maya in the face?

A few days ago I booted up Yourself!Fitness on my PS2 and selected a workout: 30 minutes, main focus weight loss, secondary focus upper body. Maya asked her traditional first question: "How are you feeling today?" but I didn't select an answer - something else came up - and since I still meant to do that exact workout sometime in the near future I just turned off the TV and left the program running with that question on the screen. Three days later I turned the TV on, answered the question, and did my workout.

There was something dreadfully wrong with Maya's face.

After running for so long continuously, the code controlling her mouth movements seems to have hit a bug. But it didn't only look wrong while talking, it looked wrong all the time. It rather looked like Maya had been punched in the mouth, possibly hit with a right hook. With lots of swelling. Still, she came to work and gave a hundred percent to the job. Nary a complaint. What a trooper!

Okay, so she did seem a little more sarcastic than normal...

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

PumpOne for iPod

PumpOne has designed a variety of workouts tailored for display on an iPod or a Palm device. It's a simple idea, well executed: a couple screens of text and pictures for each exercise to remind you what to do next and help you keep the right form. There are several exercise levels for each focus area, so you can order a collection and rotate through them for variety.

If you have an iPod that does photos - even a nano - you should give this a try. Though the regular workouts are $19 each, there is a free sample lesson for download.

(ht: Alex)

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