Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Live-Action BomberMan!

This is seriously cool:

In a large empty room, an overhead fisheye lens identifies players by the color of their caps and roughly maps human movement to game character movement. What other games would this interface work well for? Frogger? Donkey Kong? Pac Man?

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

ArsTechnica on Videogame Fitness

Arstechnica has a good feature article called Gaming your way into better shape. The writer tried DDR, Yourself!Fitness, EyeToy!Kinetic, and Wii.
I knew I wanted to try Dance Dance Revolution; it's the game that gave me this unholy idea in the first place. I've played the game before and knew that I wanted the newest version with an official Konami pad. One copy of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 with a pad, $60—check. I'll treat myself to a nice aftermarket pad if I stick with it.

For the second game I decided on Yourself!Fitness, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't take into account the fact that the girl on the cover was pretty hot. Our own Dr. Gitlin recommends it highly. It was hard to find: it seems to be out of print and none of my local stores had it used. I found it at for $40.

I wanted to stay away from anything too expensive and needing a lot of hardware, so specialized fitness equipment for consoles is out. At that point you might as well join a gym for the cost. But this does need to be fun, so for my third game I decided on EyeToy Kinetic, a Nike-endorsed fitness game that uses the EyeToy to put your image into the game and uses your own movements to interact with the images on the screen.
Total price: $150 for three games and two pieces of hardware.
By the end, the Fearless Writer lost about 20 pounds from DDR and Yourself!Fitness. He had trouble getting Kinetic to work reliably and didn't find Wii sufficiently intense to be interesting. Read the whole thing.

In the comments, I found, a daily log of yet another blogger's attempt to lose weight with DDR.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Wii Workout

The protocol is: play Wii 30 minutes a day for 30 days. this guy seems to have been first to complete. Here's a nice time-lapse sampling the movement that produced quite a nice end result:

Tom Coffee is also doing the Wii Workout with amusing commentary at his site Spilling Coffee. He's lost 10 pounds in the first two weeks. Tom's doing an interesting variation: he plays Wii using wrist weights to increase the workout. That seems like a high injury risk but it would depend on the game and how hard you're playing it.

As for me: I'm no longer wearing a sling and my shoulder is "stable", but I don't yet have full range of motion so I can't get in on the action. Also, I still have no Wii. But give me a few more weeks of healing and then I'll see about doing some Wiihabilitation...

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Scale Walls Like a Videogame Character

If the Prince of Persia competed on Japanese game shows, this is what it would look like...

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shangri-la Diet on CBC

This news video does a nice job summarizing Seth Robert's Shangri-La Diet:

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Call me "Lefty!"

So: why no recent posts?

One month ago today, on my way to a firespinning rehearsal at the Palace of Fine Arts, I tripped and fell. I had been running and a little overloaded - carrying a big can of fuel in my right hand and a bucket of poi materials in my left, which somehow caused me to land without much ability to successfully block or deflect the impact. Landing badly, I bumped my head and broke my collarbone. Officially, I have a "closed, displaced, mid-clavicular fracture".

Another firespinner took me to the nearest emergency room he could find, the Kaiser on Geary, a land where everyone is competent and friendly and even the ER doctors are adorable. (I should break bones more often!)

I am currently wearing an immobilization splint that keeps my right arm pinned to my side. I'm supposed to move that arm as little as possible for about 6 weeks to let it heal. Took the first couple weeks off work, mostly staying at home watching DVDs, napping, taking pills for pain and inflammation.

Surprisingly difficult tasks with minimal use of the dominant arm:
  • Tying shoes. (trick: give up and buy shoes that don't lace.)
  • Putting on a belt. (trick: put the belt on the pants first, then put on the pants.
  • Putting on pants. (wear something loose and avoid button-fly)
  • Changing a shirt and reassembling the sling with no shoulder movement.
  • Eating! (I can now use chopsticks with my left hand! Almost!)
  • Blogging!
  • Sleeping!
Since I cannot tie my shoes while wearing them, I bought some fine italian loafers. To avoid overloading the other shoulder on small errands, I bought a folding shopping cart from The Container Store. In some ways it's actually been fun - figuring out from first principles how to accomplish basic tasks in unfamiliar ways. Like a baby learning to walk, I can take pride in accomplishments that in any other context would seem trivial.

The firespinning show went on without me - I watched from the sidelines. (there'll be another in the spring.) This will have been 6 weeks (minimum!) in which I don't spin and don't play guitar and do very little exercise. Even reading isn't very comfortable. Watching Netflix disks from the couch is about my speed - get comfy and sit perfectly still for hours, patiently letting the bones heal. (The first season of "24" is excellent.) Napping is good, too.

I miss playing guitar. I miss social interaction. I miss spinning. I'll have a lot of catching up to do once I heal. But all things considered, I'm not doing too badly.

Blogging will likely remain infrequent. For a while.

(cross-posted to

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