Active Video Games: Potential for Increased Activity, Suggestions for Use, and Guidelines for Implementation

Active Video Games: Potential for Increased Activity, Suggestions for Use, and Guidelines for Implementation

Barbara Chamberlin (New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab, USA), Ann Maloney (University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA), Rachel R. Gallagher (New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab, USA) and Michelle L. Garza (New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1903-6.ch009
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Abstract

Concerns over rising obesity rates and increased sedentary lifestyles are fueling interest in ways to increase physical activity, including video games. Videogames that encourage physical activity, called active video games or exergames, have the potential to increase daily physical activity and provide recommended vigorous activity. As a result, they may play an important role in the home, schools, after-school and community programs for contributing to weight loss, social interaction, family goal setting, and academic achievement. Here, the authors review the current state of research on exergames, make recommendations on best uses for implementing them in a variety of settings, and provide examples of how exergames have been used in a variety of settings.
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Background

History of Exergames

Although many game development companies began creating active games as early as the 1980s, the continued popularity of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), originally an arcade game introduced in 1998, has helped fuel the popularity of other exergames today. The dance game requires players to dance on a large pad, the controller, while following directions on screen to music. Players can increase speed and steps as they improve, and therefore the intensity of their activity, along with their caloric expenditure.

Other game development firms continued to combine the idea of traditional exercise with videogames using non-standard (non-thumb-based) controllers, including those mimicking traditional exercise tools such as a tennis racket or golf club. In 2003, Sony’s EyeToy, a camera used with their PlayStation and using players movement to control gameplay, allowed player’s bodies to become the controller as they waved their arms and moved their heads to control gameplay.

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