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Video Games in Gym Class - DDR 101? 376

Saige writes: "When I was in school, gym class was basketball, running laps, and icky locker rooms. Today, kids get to play video games - and get credit for them! No, it is not as bad as it seems. Apparently, someone has become clued in that Dance Dance Revolution promotes physical activity, and a school in California is making use of that. Can I go back and retake gym?"
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Video Games in Gym Class - DDR 101?

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  • ddrfreak (Score:5, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:25AM (#3714506) Homepage Journal
    Just to be informative ;-) If you don't know what DDR is, it's a Japanese Game in Konami's Bemani Series. Bemani games are games that usually involve music and some sort of strange peripheral. Others include Beatmania (turntable) and paraparaparadise (hand sensors). DDR is probably the most popular one and is now on it's 7th mix. I'm really surprised this made Slashdot today. I just read it on www.ddrfreak.com 10 minutes ago.

    When I first saw ddr I said "That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen". Then I danced. Don't be afraid to play this game. Just go to the arcade and do it.
    • It's probably replied to many times below, but it's most appropriate in this thread.

      Find out almost anything about DDR, including where to find the machines at DDR Freak [ddrfeak.com]
    • ...I said "That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen." Then I played. Guess what: it's still right up as one of the top ten dumbest games of all time.

      Look, the idea is sound, the implementation is shit. If you have any "gaming skillz" at all, you worked out how to beat the thing in five minutes.

      Diagonal placement of the feet on the four buttons, then rocking each foot as needed. Big feet are not required, because even a slight touch to the button is enough to trigger it. The rim around the buttons gives plenty of space to balance on. No exertion, no effort, no workout... just a little foot-eye coordination. I played for about 30 minutes on 4 quarters (50 cents to play) before I got bored and wandered away. Haven't bothered since.

      I mean, really. I see these people jumping around like morons, and while it's entertaining to watch, it's also a sad commentary at how few people realize how trivially easy it is to beat the game by simply changing the play methodology away from the expected.

      Yeah, okay, you have to have rhythm, a sense of timing, and lightning fast reactions (on the higher levels), but these are needed for most games anyway. :-P


      • I mean, really. I see these people jumping around like morons, and while it's entertaining to watch, it's also a sad commentary at how few people realize how trivially easy it is to beat the game by simply changing the play methodology away from the expected.


        OK. So you figured out how to "beat" the game by not really playing it, got bored, and wandered away. Yet there's all these other people just not as smart as you are... having hours of fun PLAYING the game. Hmmm.


        I can appreciate the interest in figuring out how to circumvent a system. It is a part of designing better systems. Games included. But when it comes to games... if you don't play by the rules, you're no longer playing the game. And the enjoyment of a game is in its playing.


        It reminds me of people who run auto-aim proxies, bots, and other cheats in various FPS games. And then they claim that they're only cheating because they got bored with the game. Once again, by circumventing the rules of the game (cheating), they stop actually playing the game. And once you do that - why bother?

  • by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:26AM (#3714512) Journal
    In gym class in elementary school, we learned how to square dance. Every year. We also learned some other dances.

    Playing Dance Dance Revolution for a significant length time seriously kicked my butt before I got used to it. Good for your lungs!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:29AM (#3714527)
      If not for square dancing, I would've had to wait until college to hold a girl's hand.
    • It seems my wife (a product of the midwest) had an interesting physical education experience.

      They too would dance, but they would dance to the seminol electronic music song, Popcorn! [amazon.com] (sorry for the amazon link, but they have a sound sample for those interested...)

      Oh wow, this is a great idea for a fitness tape: Moog'ing to the oldies! (someone tell Richard Simmons!)

      However this sounds like a MUCH better switch (popcorn gets damn annoying after a little while)-
      as long as they can maintain the machine, kudos to them!

      But what happens when the songs get old?
  • In my opinion at least. Would the average school gym budget stretch as far as the exhorbitant prices a set or two of maracas go for on ebay however?

    More seriously, having read the article I see that they are using the actual $8000 a pop arcade machines, rather than the much cheaper mats for the console versions. Presumably the arcade mats are a lot more study, but is the difference in cost really worth it to them, do you think?
    • The arcade version has a solid metal "dancefloor", while the mats would probably break once every week or so under this heavy usage.
    • Presumably the arcade mats are a lot more study, but is the difference in cost really worth it to them, do you think?

      I would assume, as someone pointed out in another comment, that the machines are donated, or rented out - after all, it sounded like they are making them available for kids to pay for and play when they're not being used in gym class.

      If they JUST wanted them for gym, they could even get arcade quality hard metal platforms at about $120 a pop - they could have a ton of them running for the same cost as one arcade machine - probably enough for the entire class.
    • The arcade machine has many advantages over the home console. For one, the pads need to be durable, strong, and solid. Home pads really, really don't have the same strength or feel. The arcade machine is also a solid one-piece whereas the console has all sorts of cords and things to be tripped over and broken, a television to smash, and a PS2 to steal. Not to mention those crafty students that would slip in a copy of GTA3 when the advisor wasn't looking.

      The arcade machines are vastly superior to the home consoles, in basically all ways. PS2's skip, the pads slide, you can't feel your feet, there is no bar in back to hold yourself up, there isn't a coinbox... Really, for serious usage the arcade machine is the only way to go. Most serious dancers I know have a full machine.
  • Quake (Score:5, Funny)

    by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:30AM (#3714532) Journal
    Since Q3, my backflip hasn't been equaled in ANY gym class.

    Have you ever seen someone jump around like a rabbit for 45 minutes and ending with a tripple backflip into a canyon, while shooting a 3pointer upwards, carrying 150pounds of armour ?
    Ha, I can't wait till this shit gets approved for the olympics !
  • a littleSamba de Amigo [ign.com] for a full workout.
    • Okay, usually it's a game best played after half a bottle of Jack Daniels:-) but on the harder levels you are left sweating and panting by the end.

      Of course, it is more an upper body workout - although your glutes get hit a bit when lunging for the low ones.
  • When we could all be playing the augmented reality Quake metioned last month [slashdot.org] much more fun, would probably burn alot more calories and you get to run about campus like a loon with a gun!

    Personally I find competitive sports much more enjoyable than mindless exercise on a treadmill or danceing jukebox machine!

  • Fast DDR background (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wingchild ( 212447 ) <brian.kern@gmail.com> on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:34AM (#3714562)
    DDR is an excellent dancing game produced by Konami [konami.com], longtime makers of Contra and Castlevania. It's a craze that started out in Japan and has since migrated stateside.

    The principles are easy; you pick a dance track to listen to, and as the song plays, steps scroll up from the bottom of the screen. Your controller is actually a gigantic platform with four directional arrows on it, which you step on in time to the music. All you have to do is match the right arrow to the one scrolling by on screen. Easy, right? I mean, come on, we've all got incredible hand/eye coordination due to all our years of video gaming! No problem.

    ..heh. The game's physically intense and a great workout, in addition to being far more fun than it has any right to be.

    Here's the mandatory link to DDR Freak [ddrfreak.com], which has some basic information on the game. And for the Python friendly out there, check out pyDDR [clickass.org], a DDR clone for Python.

  • I hear that in many US high schools they have vending machines that dispense flavoured sugar water. This is to raise money for the school (and large companies). Surely getting rid of some of those would do as much good to improve health as a modest increase of exercise.
    • by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:01AM (#3714642)
      I'm sorry, but high school sucks enough without arrogant liberals like yourself trying to suck every last pleasure out of life. Come on, being able to get a freakin SODA POP at school shouldn't be a controversy.

      "raise money for the school (and large companies)."

      Or maybe they are there because people enjoy drinking soda. Please stop seeing life through a narrow Marxist lense. Gosh, Heaven forbid people buying things and enjoying them. Must be a conspiracy...

      Brian Ellenberger
    • Depends on the county. Where I went to HS it was against county rules to have a publicly accessible cola machine (ok, it's Atlanta - Coke machine. Anything else would've been heresy). There was one in the teacher's lounge, but that's it. Rules may've changed in the past decade or so, but that's how it was at my school. Several neighboring counties didn't have the prohibitions though - I recall going to some school competition at another school and envying their availability of Cokes.

      Frankly, however, "flavoured sugar water" or no there's a serious issue with phys ed in schools today. I'll admit I never really enjoyed it in grade school or high school, but I still understood the need for it then, and I see it even more so now. Many schools have dropped the daily physical education class for a regular classroom course, some have eliminated PE entirely. This is not only sending the wrong message to kids (ok, I question how many "messages" we should expect schools to send as opposed to parents, but still), but it also eliminates one of the few outlets for kids to cut out stress from the school day.

      I've never seen, much less played, DDR, but if it gets kids to want to excercise and is effective, more power to the teachers innovative enough to make use of it.
    • vending machines that dispense flavoured sugar water

      It's called "Kool-Aid".
      • It's also called "Coca-Cola", "Pepsi", "Mountain Dew", "Mello Yellow", etc. All of these variations on flavored sugar water are equally bad for your health causing unnecessary stress on your pancreas among other things. The developed world is seriously addicted to high-sugar foods, such as soft drinks, white bread, and candy, and it's taking a toll on public health. For proof, just go to your local shopping mall or other public gathering place and take a look!
        • The developed world is seriously addicted to high-sugar foods, such as soft drinks, white bread, and candy, and it's taking a toll on public health.

          Not just the developed world... "Mexico's [216.239.37.100] Coca-Cola consumption per person now stands at 462 bottles a year" This is the highest per capita anywhere in the world.

          I wonder how many of their schools have coke machines?
    • by Peyna ( 14792 )
      Exercise and diet both play important roles in overall health. School can limit a child's options as to what they can eat at school in way of school lunches or vending machines, but that's about it. For the most part, good eating habits, and learning to eat healthy foods is learnt at home.

      As for exercise, that can be taught at school, by quality Physical Education instructors. (Which are in short supply I think). It's sad that too many PE teachers treat PE as not much different than slightly organized recess. PE should be used to teach kids to pursue active lifestyles and to enjoy recreation. Even those that aren't in the best current phsyical shape can learn this.

      Anyway, diet is something that is mostly learnt at home, and probably at a very early age. Physical activity can be taught in many places.
    • Back in my HS days, what sucked about the food & beverage options was that they weren't even remotely on a fair footing.

      For drinks, I could either choose from ice-cold soda or a lukewarm milk/juice from the lunch counter. For food, it was either the pizza hut pizzas they had brought in each day, or whatever semi-edible nastiness was being pushed out of the cafeteria. The choice between eating barely edible crap vs. good-tasting food that's bad for you isn't any choice at all.

      The problem is two-fold. First, that school budgets are so fucked that administrators feel the need to profit off of kids' expanding waistlines, and second that the budget's so fucked that the school cafeteria system makes absolute crap & calls it food. Also, forced to buy through gov't food surplus programs, local vendors, etc, they're basically dictated what they can & can't make and what they can make it with. Force cooks to use only certain ingredients and there isn't much they can do. Either way, the schools have to be giving kids healthy food -- it;s as important as anything else in school. I don't see any place for soda in schools without soda company profits playing a role.

      I heard a story on NPR about a guy who has a milk vending machine -- he goes begging for space at schools, putting his machines in at a loss trying to generate business. Why? Because Coke & Pepsi get exclusive contracts for a school, throwing in fat "sponsorship" checks to boot & shutting other, possibly healthier options out. On top of this, principals are rated higher based on their ability to generate such funding in-house without having to go through the district.

      It's called graft, and it's as bad as if a school took the republican or democratic party's money to teach kids from their free history book. It should stop. Kids can have all the soda they want in their lives, but schools should set the example.

  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly@ix.net3.14159com.com minus pi> on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:38AM (#3714576)
    This is not that much different than the "mat" for the track and field game that used to be available for the origional NES (Nintendo).

    Used to be pretty good excersize. I remember working up quite a sweat as a kid on one of those, I can see why it may be used gym. After two days of using it, my parents made me take in down the basement to play it. :-)

    Ahh, the memories...

    -Pete
    • Remember the big downside of those mats though? They had some of the lousiest games ever made for them. First off, almost all of them were "track and field" type things (except for the extra-boring dance aerobics). The track and field events were always the same, run in place (generally it took like 15 minutes to run a single course), and jump off the pad occasionally to make your character hurdle some sort of obsicle. If they had something like DDR on those NES pads, I'd probably sill be playing with it today.
    • Ah yes, playing the track game, stepping off for 10 seconds, and being given a jump distabce of 100 feet.

      Those were the days ... :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm assuming they'll be using the "American" versions of DDR? I believe most of the good mixes are Japanese (or Korean) and specifically not for export (music licensing issues).

    Also, nobody's going to complain that some of the lyrics are possibly objectionable? Oh well, it's California...

    "Come on baby do it to me right now, do it to me slowly" is not something my school principal would have accepted in school, i think.
  • When I was a kid I'd come up with wonderful excuses to mss gym, then I went home and played doom. Whats the difference?
  • by nologin ( 256407 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:45AM (#3714599) Homepage

    Personally, I like this idea [megatokyo.com] a lot better. Not that I like or dislike punk music, but it just seems so right.

  • Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acb ( 2797 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:46AM (#3714603) Homepage
    Back when I went to school (Melbourne High, FWIW), we had to take a sport activity. One activity briefly offered was Phasor Strike, i.e., laser-tag. Students would run around in a darkened room with backpacks shooting infrared beams at each other.

    This was canned after a year or so after protests from parents. (The fact that a former student of the school made news by going postal and massacring some 7 people may have had something to do with it; OTOH, the mass murderer attended the school before Phasor Strike, and was a product of the culture of militarism in its cadet corps, which nothing was done about. *shrug*)

    As for me? I took golf as a school sport. It was a decent excuse to have a leisurely stroll, rather than wrestling in mud with 10 other blokes or something equally unpleasant. Even at the cost of lugging a set of cheap, decrepit-looking golf clubs back and forth on the peak-hour train.
    • As for me? I took golf as a school sport.

      LOL! Sorry dude, but golf is not a sport. It's a game. It takes talent, ability, and a lot of practice, but so does playing the clarinet. That doesn't make it a sport.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying golf isn't hard. It's very difficult to do well. But it's difficult in the same way that chess is difficult.

      Playing golf will not get you fit.

      From the article, one kid claims to have lost 15 pounds in two weeks. I'd just like to point out that that is impossible to do healthily. The human body is only capable of dropping 1.5 to 2 pounds of fat per week. If a person is losing more than that, then they're losing muscle mass, bone density, and plain old water - none of which are healthy things to purge that rapidly.

      • It's quite possible to lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks. I wrestled in high school (Now THERE is a get-you-fit sport) and all your lightweights would be frantically trying to make weight come the day of a meet. We had one guy who managed to lose 9 pounds in 2 hours. Granted, it was probably all food weight and water, but he still did it. Every girl I've told about that wants to talk to him.

        Sadly, people equate weight with fitness. It's fat percentage, people, not weight. I'm about 230 pounds, but I'm also about 8% body fat. I'm heavier than most people like. I guess I need to go lose weight...
      • You have very obviously never played 18 holes of golf. Go borrow some clubs, go to your local course, play 18 holes, then come back and tell me it's the same as playing the clarinet or chess.
      • The only thing I purge very rapidly are fluids... but that usually only after too many JD-n-coke's at the bar.
    • Back when I went to school (Melbourne High, FWIW), we had to take a sport activity. One activity briefly offered was Phasor Strike, i.e., laser-tag. Students would run around in a darkened room with backpacks shooting infrared beams at each other.

      This was canned after a year or so after protests from parents. (The fact that a former student of the school made news by going postal and massacring some 7 people may have had something to do with it; OTOH, the mass murderer attended the school before Phasor Strike, and was a product of the culture of militarism in its cadet corps, which nothing was done about. *shrug*)


      And yet, wouldn't the military love this; as well as the kids themselves? Most kids and teenagers who matured while living a sedentary lifestyle (myself included, sadly) didn't do so just out of spite for anything physical -- they did so because the 'traditional' sports offered (basketball, baseball, football, soccer, etc.) were boring.

      I grew up playing Baseball, Basketball, and Football -- yet quit each by the time I reached high school. My friends still would, and it wasn't that I was bad at those sports (because I was, and I'll be the first to admit that); it's because they weren't fun to me. In fact, they were downright boring. The only so-called 'real' sport I find myself engrossed in is football; and this is half for the "oomph"-factor and half for the strategy required by the coaching team. All other sports are like watching grass grow: man gets ball. Man moves ball to someone else. Someone else moves ball to someone else. Uh oh, man loses control of ball. Other team repeats this process.

      It really is no wonder why so much alcohol is consumed at sporting events -- would a good majority of them be tolerable to watch, game after game, in person, while completely sober?

      But I digress. As for so-called 'alternative' sports -- when I was younger, if you were to hand me a laser tag rifle, or a paintball gun, and you would have had me out participating in such events for hours on end. Unfortunately, when I was growing up, paintball was just getting started, and nobody ever took laser tag seriously (and likely never will).

      Of course, America is deeply routed in traditions; so it's no surprise that a radical departure from traditional gym activities, like Laser Tag, would meet quick protest from parents. And yet if we stressed these activities as wide, we'd make great strides in wiping out the obesity epidemic that we seem to concern ourselves with so greatly.
  • Uber (Score:4, Funny)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:48AM (#3714610) Journal
    DDR type games are one of those inventions that seem lame, but when you think about, are actually killer apps. For example. I hate dancing, it makes you look like a right prat. I don't see where the enjoyment comes from. But DDR is fun. I know this could be taken even further, with rows and rows of machines in clubs/discos etc. and with different variations on the theme. For example, virtual-DDR, where you use a vr-helmet to shut you out from the fact that people are staring at your bad dancing. The helmet shows you a crowed of people cheering you and if one of them boos or laughs at you, the game will allow you to either draw a virtual pistol out and shoot them in the head, or simply kick them across the room matrix style :) The _real_ crowd watching your virtual view on a monitor, will be to scared to mock you on PH34R of death.
  • A better way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:51AM (#3714622) Homepage
    Would be if h.s. was like college, where you could choose a focus class in things like scuba, karate, swimming, running, sailing, canoeing, diving, judo, etc.

    This video game thing is pathetic. This country goes more downhill every year.

    I hated gym class too. Golf, softball, dodgeball and all the other crap they had you do was a joke. I was the captain of my XC team, and gym class destroyed my season junior year b/c of an @$$hole in gym class blindsiding me playing basketball and fracturing my foot.

    Sports are great. H.S. gym has always been lame. Video games just add to the lameness. My opinion is if you participate in a sport, you should't be required to take gym class at all. Oh well.

    • Re:A better way (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Saige ( 53303 )
      This video game thing is pathetic. This country goes more downhill every year.

      Obviously you haven't ever played Dance Dance Revolution.

      I have a treadmill, one that I use 3-5 times a week for a workout. You know what? I'm planning on getting DDR for my Playstation - why just run on a treadmill, when I can get as good a workout with DDR, and have a lot more fun in the process?

      Next thing you know, you'll be complaining about those rowing machines that make it into a game by having you race a computer opponent.

      It is not like they're sitting there on their behind playing Quake for hours on end - they're up and moving around, getting exercise. Quality exercise. Does it matter there's a screen around making it into a game? I think not.
    • Re:A better way (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:15AM (#3714713) Homepage Journal
      > This video game thing is pathetic. This country goes more downhill every year.

      (I've quoted you because I'm sure you'll get modded into oblivion in a second.)

      Anyway, your comments are short-sighted. I don't see this video game being any more idiotic than chasing some ball around a court, or hitting a ball with a stick and running around a diamond. The only difference is that it's easier for "non-jocks" to get into, more immediately gratifying, and teaches you rhythm.

      It's amazing how many people aren't willing to try a new thing. I mean, isn't innovation what made [insert your country of origin] great?
      • I don't know, to me doing DDR in gym class seems every bit as lame as everything else we had to do in gym class, none of which I was ever interested in in the first place. (Note: I've seen DDR and I also have no interest in playing it.)

        I would have been much happier if I could have gotten school credit for all the sports I did do, outside of school -- every winter I skied, every summer, I swam, and all year round I rode horseback. (One summer I was even on the local/provincial/national circuit.) Those were the sports in which I was actually interested, not gymnastics and basketball, field hockey and square dancing... Now I just go to the gym as often as possible, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with my experiences in phys ed in school.

        It all comes down to this: Unless you're really, really into something before you do it in school, chances are, anything you do in school (and this applies not just to PE activities but to other things like, say, reading [remember "duty reading"?]) because you have to, you're going to if not outright hate it, then like it a lot less than you would have if you were just doing it on your own.

        Duty DDR? --shudder-- Makes me think of all those awful books I hated to read in English class, and I love reading.
    • Seems to me you're just being as dogmatic about PE as the establishment. I figure if the kids have a good time and get some quality aerobic training out of it who cares? But, I agree with the rest of the comment. Used to piss me off that I couldn't get out of phys ed by taking martial arts classes after school. I mean, my kung-fu instructors ran a workout that made ex-marines give up. If I wasn't in shape from that I dunno what would do it. However, my school did let you out if you were in a sport or marching band. Silly me, I thought band was an easy way out :/
    • This video game thing is pathetic. This country goes more downhill every year.

      Yes, because getting kids to have fun while they do their workout is so moronic! Have you EVER even played DDR?

      In about 45 minutes, I can burn around 400 calories playing it (you can choose to have a little counter onscreen).

      The article says that these kids are addicted to the game, often spending time after school playing as well. It's one HELL of a workout for people who normally wouldn't be getting any.

      So tell me again why this is such a bad idea?

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
    • I agree that PE in highschool would be more enjoyable if you could focus on something without having to make it competetive. In my high school, unless you wanted to be in a competetive sport team, dance team, or wanted to be in the marching band, you got general crappy PE. (For those of you who laugh at marching band as PE, let me tell you that it is actually great excersize. In a competition, you march quite a long distance wearing a heavy uniform while carrying and playing an instrument.)

      Though, my guess is that you've never actually played Dance Dance Revolution. It may look stupid or easy at first, but it is actually a very good game, and can produce an intense workout on the harder difficulty levels. The domestic Playstation releases of DDR have calorie counting modes (I'm not sure how accurate they are, but they seem pretty good). Many variations of the game have nonstop modes. DDR is nice in that it involves a workout and music all in one. The only problem with DDR is that it is hard to do if you don't have rythm. ^_^;;

      I gained a bit of weight in college, as many people do. I've been playing DDR for several months,
      and people are telling me that I've lost weight.
      So it definately provides some type of excersize. It probably isn't really a substitute for other types of excersize (such as running two miles), but it is probably more suitable for PE than some of the sports they make you do (where people just sit around and half-pretend to play for an hour).

      It is also my understanding that Billy Blanks' Tae-Bo is a very fun way to excersize. I'm very interested in knowing if any high schools have used that in PE class.
  • One more comment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OpIv37 ( 585971 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:55AM (#3714636)
    I forgot to mention this in my previous post-

    I attended public high school (back in the last century). Our gym equipment was pathetic, particularly the weightlifting equipment and the sports balls. They even had lacrosse sticks that appeared to be made out of bamboo. Public high schools should buy basketballs that still bounce and soccer nets without holes in them before they spend $8000 on a video game.
    • Why? Maybe they should scrap all the weightlifting and sports equipment and just get DDR machines. I don't see how one is intrinsically better than another. All these "exercises" that people do are pointless, you know. They're just excuses to get you to move your body around.

      Sheesh, people act like they've accomplished something worthwhile when they put a ball in a goal or through a hoop. Unless you're a paid professional, the only thing you're getting out of it is a workout. And if DDR gets more kids exercising, then more power to it.
  • by Soulslayer ( 21435 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:02AM (#3714644) Homepage
    Konami (the same people behind Dance Dance Revolution [konami.com])has been putting out quite a few games that can burn some calories.

    Police 911 [konami.com] uses an image tracking system to move your on screen character based on your actual body position. In order to reload during the otherwise typical gun game you need to duck behind something. In order to duck, you have to squat/duck in the real world.

    MoCap Boxing [konami.com] has you put on a pair of weighted gloves and actually punch and block in a first person boxing match. This will tire out more than just geeks. I've watched as macho buffed guys with their girlfriends walk up to the machine and brag about how easy it will be. Within minutes they are barely able to keep their arms up.

    If game designers can keep coming up with creative and well done games like these maybe the arcade is not as endangered as it has appeared.
    • but how well will theMoCap Boxing sim stand up to the activator and a good fighting game? [ebay.com]
    • >MoCap Boxing [konami.com] has you put on a pair
      >of weighted gloves and actually punch and block
      >in a first person boxing match. This will tire
      >out more than just geeks. I've watched as macho
      >buffed guys with their girlfriends walk up to
      >the machine and brag about how easy it will be.
      >Within minutes they are barely able to keep
      >their arms up.

      ... I've also seen people get carried away and physically slam the screen hard enough to damage it. ;)

    • I love this game. I just today played 911-2, the sequel. It r0x0rs! Used to be, it was the only real exercise I got. Now that I have a girlfriend, it's a distant second.
  • Why not play twister?

    It's equally exhausting and keeps you lean too. Also a coed games of twister is much more interesting.

    And there's no need for these silly computer thingies in the gym.
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:12AM (#3714694) Journal
    I will be impressed when someone develops a "Running Laps" game that kids are fighting to play.
  • Gym was Hell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 )
    (Apologize to Matt Groening) - every generation or so parents and other authorities get their collective panties in a wad about "Kids aren't getting enough exercise!" and demand that legislators "do something about it" - such was the case in the late 60's when teachers got the orders to corral all us 5th graders into the gym and start doing exercises. Our gym was a very noisy place, bad acoustics, several classes at a time full of kids shouting, screaming, etc. I'm struggling with this routine called 'rocking chair' (12-2-3-4, 13-2-3-4, 14-2-3-4, ...) but the instructor (A Christian fundamentalist type math teacher) sees me lagging behing and shouts something at me. I said "What?" and he shouts again, still couldn't make it out. Finally someone in front of me turns around and says, "He said 'do you think you can do these exercises?'" so I shout back at him, "Yes!". At that he marches around to me and starts with the Sgt. Carter drill routine, like "Drop down and give me 20!!", singled out, public humiliation, the whole sad scene. Once that ordeal was over, after class talking with some other kids I found out what he really yelled was, "Do you think you're too good to do these exercises?"

    I've abhored physical exercise ever since.

  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <`moc.uolgi' `ta' `ratskrad'> on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:43AM (#3714844)
    DDR is definitely a workout -- at least when you're doing the 3 or higher level songs. It's also the only excercise in which I ever bother to engage. When I was working part-time and taking late afternoon classes I would play DDR for one hour a day three days a week. I lost weight (I'm not overweight, but I'm approaching an undesirable heaviness) and I noticed that I was getting significantly less winded when running from the parking lot to class.

    Unfortunately I'm working full time now and my DDR playtime has dropped to zero. Recently some friends were over and the mat got pulled out and I found myself winded after just three songs.
    • Heh. Don't play DDR, though... play Frickin' EZ2Dancer (Korean clone of DDR that drops one of the foot arrows but adds two handwave sensors).

      I play that like mad now. I used to get the mick taken out of me because I was the only person who played that machine and regularly tried Ztar WarZ (the hardest song available) and died horribly. Now I can clear 60% of it and they can't even start. And best of all, when I started I'd be red and puffing wind afterwands; now I can go through it twice and only be breathing slightly hard (and I land more lightly on my feet than I did!).

      Yes, these machines are workouts.

      (Not as much as square dancing done well, though. I once went through four consecutive square dances and then collapsed in a heap. I'd been enjoying myself so much I just hadn't clocked the pain and exercise level. Which should really be a goal for all exercise IMHO.)
    • DDR is definitely a workout -- at least when you're doing the 3 or higher level songs.

      The degree of the workout per song depends on your skill. I play Trick 6/7, and a Basic 3 or 4 doesn't work me up at all.

      People who are just starting will work up a sweat on a Basic 2 song like Abyss or age 17.

      I've seen Maniac players that Doxy hardly affects, so... Your milage varies with your skill.

      That said, we tend to play songs that challenge us. Good players bring water with them, pace themselves, and can easily be at the arcade for an hour or two rotating with others. It's CERTAINLY a workout for all.

  • "Apparently, someone has become clued in that Dance Dance Revolution promotes physical activity, and a school in California is making use of that. Can I go back and retake gym?"

    Timothy, were you to see kids playing "Dance Dance Revolution" you would know it normally involves the player stringing together 70 or more flawless dance steps in an increasingly complex routine. As I suspect you are;

    a) A Nerd
    b) English (and therefore devoid of any sense of natural rhythm (speaking as an English person))

    I personally would give you credit to go back into a secondary school and dance for the class...
  • Other games... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:49AM (#3714881) Homepage
    It's probably more expensive, but has anyone seen that pedal-plane game? (You fly a plane around a course - The twist is that you have to pedal it to keep flying!)
  • Remember way back when the Onion ran a story about how it was now officially ok to not like Tenacious D? Yeah, I think this story clinches it. For everyone too scared to say it because they're afraid of negative peer pressure:

    It's not officially ok to not like DDR.
  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <.slashdot. .at. .stango.org.> on Monday June 17, 2002 @09:30AM (#3715088) Homepage Journal
    ...further efforts by the same school to trick children into getting their education include a recent announcement that the films they show in their Sex Education classes will be produced exclusively by Vivid Video [vivid.com]. Additionally, Asia Carrera [asiacarrera.com] has been hired by the school to teach a few computer classes.

    ~Philly
  • Bah. Come on people, go out and buy a soccer ball! Or a tennis racket. Or something.

    This is just wonderful. As a society, we're getting fatter and lazier, and more addicted to computers. The solution? Encourage our addiction! Forget about balance, richness, or anything else--just try to use the addiction to mask the symptoms (fat, lazy, unhealthy).

    Teaching kids nice and early that computers can solve everything, and that we can't live without them is guaranteed to create a generation that _can't_ live without them, and will painfully discover that they can't solve much of anything.
  • I've seen lots of posts that say this is a good thing, because anything that gets fat lazy kids off their collective asses is good. This may be true, but why try to bribe the kids?

    Here's a novel thought: The kids are REQUIRED to take Phys Ed in most places. If they don't participate, they fail the class! If they fail the class, they don't go on to the next grade! I think that's as much of a motivator as giving them computer games to play, so they never have to be disconnected.
  • Do you really *need* a machine to be able to get somebody energized and motivated?

    Instead of spending 8000$ a machine they should spend 1000-2000$ for good motivational skills classes for teachers.

    I don't see how a game like this can have more advantage then a perfectly energized soccer game.
    • Because a lot of kids suck at soccer and end up just walking up and down the field slowly while the 4-5 soccer maniacs on the field do their best Pele impersonations.

      D

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

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