Sunday, September 23, 2007

Exergaming from the North

I get to see a bit of Ruska (autumn colors) while wisiting Rovaniemi (near arctic circle). Unfortunately I lost my luggage and did not get it back until in the evening. Due to which my presentation ("Music as play" >> response is the medium -- music, rhytm and/or sound as a way to interact with a game or other kinds of interactive software) was not the best I can offer but people seemed to get something out of it which is of course the most important thing.

I also met some of my fellow students from the dawn of media studies. We had fun when listening artists like Desert Planet, Huoratron and Dj Scotch. Before Tivoli (the bar) we did some exercise. Asko Alanen from Smartus was kind enough to give us a tour at the Smartus Playground. This was the first time I actually got to test the playground and I was pretty excited. There were not that many variations of games but it has a lot of potential. There were still a number of issues to consider starting from usability to interestingness (longevity) of the play. Anyhow we went back to the playground on the next day and talked with the kids playing at the yard. They were really excited even though --evidently-- they had played the games for a number of times already. Motivational factors were similar to other digital games -- to beat one's own record, to top the high score and to have fun. At the moment the most obvious target group is junior level kids but with a bit different approach, design and placement I am sure this could work well with a bit older youth, families or other groups as well.

At the moment SmartUs playgrounds can be only found in distant places in Finland (from the Helsinki viewpoint) and few places in Europe (see Smartus website). If you are into exergaming or novel ways of exercise, "stealth exercise" or related, I recommend to test the playground. It is also effective reminder that one does not necessarily need a mobile phone to do "mobile" or digital exercise. In this case simple plastic card (exercise credit card for kids ;D) is all you need.


{d} said...

I'd love to get a wii, but haven't sprung for it yet. I think a great alternative is a last gen system (XBOX, PS2) and a BodyPad controller.

I've posted a blog with some videos using the the BodyPad fighting system. It's similar to the Wii in that you can throw real punches to throw punches in-game, but different in that it works with PS2 and XBOX. It also allows for kicks so that you can control most fighting games.

These are all games I own and play regularly with the BodyPad system. 19 games so far.
- Capcom Classic Collection
- Dead or Alive 3
- Def Jam: Fight for NY
- Dynasty Warriors 4
- Fight Club
- Fight Night 2004
- Guilty Gear X2
- Knockout Kings 2002
- Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Metal Slug 3
- Midway Arcade Treasures 2
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
- Ninja Gaiden
- Rocky
- Rocky: Legends
- Soul Caliber 2
- Tao Feng
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles
- X-Men Legends

Check out the blog if interested. It really is a great workout and I think anyone using a Wii might enjoy this also...


SonjaK said...

thanks! Exergaming is one of my current interests -- so thanks a lot for the link :) Sounds interesting.

Dr. Ernie "Exertainment Evangelist" Medina, Jr. said...

Hi, this is very interesting...thanks for the post. Glad to see you're into exergaming and research. I'd like to invite you to join our "Exergaming Research Collaborative", made up of over 40 exergaming researchers from around the world.

If you'd like to join use, send me an e-mail at and I'll generate an invite for you.


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