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  Wii Workout  
Posted 2007-07-12 by Tony Walsh
Even a little wiggling around is better than no wiggling at all, which explains how the Wii Weight Loss guy and Wii Sports Experiment guy have melted some fat, or why the game Dance Dance Revolution was added to the State of West Virginia's school curriculum.

Adding fuel to the fat-burning fire, Nintendo has reportedly revealed new Wii hardware and software intended to increase gamer health. According to TG Daily, players stand atop the Wii Balance Board, which measures body weight and balance. The Wii Fit software will use the Balance Board to chart the results of a fitness regime over time. Nintendo will apparently be adding Wii Balance Board support to future games. I can see surfing games working really well with this, or relaxation games which require stillness, or (obviously) dancing games.

I'm keen to try out the Wii Fit system: It seems like a great example of the productive play I wish more game companies would get involved in.
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Comment posted by Chandra Sutra
July 12, 2007 @ 9:40 pm
This really is great. As I return from my run I am going to play Tomb Raider. My idea of perfect cross training would be to go to a virtual gym space and get to do some of the game but have those elements provide me with real strength! For example, Lara is often moving blocks and lifting things. Hanging, jumping, all of it. But you'd be in the game world.

I also hope this idea of "productive" play will extend to games that engage more interesting critical thinking and narratives. I realize there are all kinds of important cognitive skills that we're developing through traditional games right now but the conscious level narratives, themes and tasks are fairly limited. I have this fantasy that somebody will create a game out of Joyce's Ulysses, for example, in which you get to be Bloom or Stephen and the game is your journey. That's all that novel is - it takes place over the course of one day but each character engages a multitude of experiences, thoughts and observations. In fact, a physicist wrote a book comparing the novel's structure to chaos theory. This may sound pretentious to some but to me, it would be wonderful.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
July 13, 2007 @ 10:02 am
Chandra Sutra wrote: "I also hope this idea of 'productive' play will extend to games that engage more interesting critical thinking and narratives."

So do I, but asking for this from game creators is a bit too much right now, I think. Few people are doing good productive games and games which exercise critical thinking skills, combining the two is going to take some time. These types of games, in the short term, are only likely to be produced by independents--the commercial market for mature or intellectual games is pretty small, sadly.
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