Oct 262010

EASPORTS really has cranked up the PR machine in anticipation of the November 16th release of EASPORTS Active 2. In the last few months they have announced that David Beckham and Venus Williams will be celebrity spokespeople for the product, and they have also been releasing a steady stream of promotional videos to drive player interest. The latest video, released last night on Facebook, reveals an impressive array of interesting and, perhaps more importantly, challenging looking exercises.

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Aug 182010

While dance simulators are nothing new in the realm of console gaming, the upcoming release of the Kinect for Microsoft’s XBox 360 opens up the field to a whole new world of possibilities in the realm of getting your digital groove on. One of the first games that we’re going to see tackle this new level of booty shaking is Dance Central from MTV/Harmonix (the folks behind the phenomenal Rock Band series). Featuring tracks from the likes of Lady Gaga, No Doubt, and Bell Biv Devoe, Dance Central will follow in the footsteps of the Dance Dance Revolution series that came before it by including a feature that will allow you to track the calories you burn while playing the game. While there hasn’t been any word on whether or not new tracks will be available for digital purchase to add on to the initial game, it seems fairly obvious that the with the success that MTV/Harmonix has had selling content for Rock Band they will follow suit with this new franchise. This would help to remove the one obstacle that always seemed to get in the way of regularly using Dance Dance Revolution as a means of getting your exercise in – The songs get old after a while!

On Tuesday, August 17th, at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, MTV/Harmonix announced several new songs that will be available with the initial release of Dance Central. Look behind the cut to see what new grooves are going to be available, along with a list of tracks that had previously been released.
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Jul 232010

Image courtesy of Scott Smith via Flickr

Fitness gaming has come a long way in a very short time. We’ve advanced from games that were, for all intents and purposes, glorified exercise videos to fully interactive workouts with virtual personal trainers. With the upcoming release of the Kinect for the XBox 360 the bar is being raised even higher, and companies like EA SPORTS are fully poised to rise up to the challenge with the addition of gadgets that will actually monitor your heart rate while you’re working out and evaluate your form at the same time. Despite these advances, though, there still seems to be a somewhat unspoken belief out there that these games, while keen, are…well…

For girls.

Many guys just don’t feel that fitness games are “intense” enough for them. Mind you, if they actually tried the games in question they would probably be surprised to find out just how intense they can be, but the incentive just doesn’t seem to be there for them.

That may very well be changing soon.

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Jul 152010

Buried deep within the comments on one of my recent articles over at WoW.com was an interesting little bit of information from a poster named Saitenyo. She talked about how she set up a platform near a recumbent bike in her home so that she could use her laptop to play World of Warcraft while exercising. I was curious to learn more about this, because while we’ve talked about getting in exercise while playing an MMORPG like WoW, in all my years of gaming I’ve never really known anyone that has put a serious effort into doing so.

A brief exchange of emails later, and I had the full story from the player behind the avatar, one Chelsea Brown. Ms. Brown is a recent BFA graduate from the Laguna College of Art and Design and a self-proclaimed fan of a long list of things that would make her a perfect candidate for attendance at Dragon*Con. She did such a great job of explaining her set up and the benefits that she got from it that I figured I’d go ahead and let her do so in her own words.

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May 032010

Brain Training on the DS by wetwebwork

So, it looks like those brain-stimulating games may have had #include <hot.air> as part of their marketing source code. I know, it’s shocking – advertizing claims might be divorced from reality! But, unfortunately for the creative minds behind the brain-training game industry, a recent study of the field suggests that they’re not actually making folks smarter.

Modest effects have been reported in some studies of older individuals and preschool children, and video-game players outperform non-players on some tests of visual attention. However, the widely held belief that commercially available computerized brain-training programs improve general cognitive function in the wider population in our opinion lacks empirical support. The central question is not whether performance on cognitive tests can be improved by training, but rather, whether those benefits transfer to other untrained tasks or lead to any general improvement in the level of cognitive functioning. Here we report the results of a six-week online study in which 11,430 participants trained several times each week on cognitive tasks…. Although improvements were observed in every one of the cognitive tasks that were trained, no evidence was found for transfer effects to untrained tasks, even when those tasks were cognitively closely related.

– Adrian M. Owen, et al

However, all is not gloom, doom, and more money to spend on power-leveling services new sneakers.

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