Exertainment products
November 29, 2005 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Exertainment filter - What sort of products are available that combine exercise with video games, preferably not costing a stinking fortune?

I know there's Dance Dance Revolution for PC and PS2 (I think), and I have seen demos of motion/proximity sensing devices that you can shadow box with (though I haven't seen them commercially).

I live in Yellowknife, in northern Canada, where we have 8 months of winter and 4 months of poor sledding, and unless you're winter-outdoor active (I'm not, nor are most YK'ers), it's hard to keep fit outside of the gym, and I have young kids.

Exertainment is touted as an "up and coming" thing, but I need it sooner than that. Any help?
posted by ykjay to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
There's the Eyetoy accessory for the PS2 which is basically a webcam which detects position/motion as a method for controlling games. There are specific games made for it like "Kinetic" (review) designed as an entertaining workout.
posted by pooya at 8:11 AM on November 29, 2005

You can get DDR pads on ebay for about $30, and they work with xbox, ps2, and PCs. Then just buy a $30 DDR game to go with it.
posted by mathowie at 8:21 AM on November 29, 2005

Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you have an Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, or any of the above?

DDR is an excellent way to get exercise. It's not wildly expensive, but it's not exactly cheap either. If you were going to go that route, I would suggest spending a little bit more money and buying a Red Octane mat like this one. It's a little hard to learn at first, you can feel free to email me for pointers, or check out DDR Freak.

If you have a PS2, you can get an EyeToy extremely cheaply. The company that I work for has made an EyeToy game: AntiGrav (in the interest of full disclosure I figured I should tell you that!) which is definitely a fun workout. There are other EyeToy games out there, like EyeToy: Kinetic, this article from the AP covers a few more "get off of the couch games, including Guitar Hero, which the company I work for also made. Guitar Hero is insanely fun, but I wouldn't really recommend it as an exercise game, even though you do use your body more than in most games.

I'm worried that it might be too self-referential, since I worked on this game, but I really think I should mention to you Karaoke Revolution Party since it combines Singing and Dancing, kids really do seem to love it and it is a lot of fun.

There's also Yourself!Fitness which I've never tried, from what I understand it's not really a game at all but an exercise program.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:26 AM on November 29, 2005

Back when I worked for a Dot Com company that was mixing fitness and the internet, there was a competitor that was putting web-kiosks on stationary bikes and treadmills. I think they eventually went out of business.

However, you'll find that mixing games and exercise these days isn't all that difficult when you combine a fitness club membership in the mix. The reasoning here is that with cardio training, most of your body is stationary except for that part of the body you're working out. So, a PSP or a Game Boy can do wonders for a walking treadmill, a stair climber, or a stationary bike.

Additionally, most of the newer facilities have multimedia rooms that include their strength and cardio training equipment. TVs and Radios with hookups to their equipment are pretty standard. I've seen the web creeping in again in these facilities, but it's a hard sell.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:44 AM on November 29, 2005

posted by fixedgear at 9:10 AM on November 29, 2005

There's also Stepmania, a free open-source DDR clone.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:11 AM on November 29, 2005

People have mentioned DDR before but I'll add in that I bought a copy of the PSOne version + mats from eBay quite cheap.

Also it seems like the old-fashioned route of exercise videos might not be as fun but would be something you could definitely do at home. Same with simple exercise machines. Most people I know who work out with those watch TV at the same time. Maybe games would work too.
posted by dagnyscott at 9:31 AM on November 29, 2005

I love the Eyetoy, especially AntiGrav, though I didn't play it as much as I would have liked. You might also consider Donkey Konga for the Gamecube, Taiko Drum Master for the PS2 or even Samba de Amigo for the Dreamcast, though those are upper body work.

I always thought it would be cool if someone make a bike that would plug into the PS2 somehow.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:49 AM on November 29, 2005

If the company gets funded, you ought to be able to buy Cyclescore within a year. It would require you to own a compatible piece of exercise equipment already.

Already-selling products that just plug into your games machine include the Kilowatt, and some other company whose name will come to me shortly. Neither is especially cheap, though.
posted by breath at 12:50 PM on November 29, 2005

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