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First Gaming Fitness Arcade Opens in CA 60

Turismo writes "In an effort to convince teenagers to exercise, one entrepreneur has started a 'fitness arcade' in California that lures teens with movement-based videogames, WiFi, and study lounges. Should kids be getting even more exposure to media when they workout?" From the Ars Technica article: "When asked whether incorporating gaming into a workout routine was sending mixed messages to adolescents whose free time is often consumed by video games, instant messaging, and TV watching, Ferrell said that the approach Overtime Fitness is taking was necessary. 'In some ways, we're waving the white flag,' he admitted. 'But if we went the opposite way, they would be far less likely to jump in.'"
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First Gaming Fitness Arcade Opens in CA

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  • by andykuan ( 522434 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:03PM (#16162144) Homepage
    Why restrict access to this club to kids? I'll bet there are plenty of adults who'd pay to use a gym like this. In fact, if my gym plopped me in front of a treadmill and a DDR machine, I know I'd go for the DDR machine.
    • I think an adult version would be a good idea, BUT in general kids and adults don't mix well at Gyms.
      You really have to keep them seperate.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by andykuan ( 522434 )
        Ah, you're right. I'm sure I'd be thoroughly aggravated if a bunch of 12 year-olds started maniacally running around my gym.

        Well if I were a fitness entrepreneur, I'd start introducing gaming machines into my adult-only gyms slowly. But I'm not, which means I'll have to keep my mad-DDR-skillz at home.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MindStalker ( 22827 )
          Not that any adults would WANT to come to this "kids" gym anyways. If they did you might want to wonder about them being pediphiles and whatnot. And just think about the locker room problems..

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by kalirion ( 728907 )
            Don't worry, the new FBI surveilance cameras installed into kids' locker rooms and monitored 24/7 will ensure that our children are safe from these sickos.
    • by GWBasic ( 900357 )

      When I read the article I saw that it's one town over for me, so I started trying to figure out when I could go... ...Until I saw that I'm too old.

      WTF? When I was a teenage I was pissed off that there were things that I couldn't get into because I wasn't old enough. Now, there are things that I can't do because I'm too old!

    • I truly don't understand why this isn't popular now. I'd pay for a fitness club subscription if they had DDR machines and other active games... and the equipment would cost less too. How much do weight machines cost? Treadmills? Yikes. But a cool DDR setup can be had for under 1600 per pair of pads, and that's counting the TV, game system and good metal pads.

      The DDR is the most popular one I know of, but there have to be other fun active games out there. These games are more fun when you do them with others
  • Great Idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kyokugenryu ( 817869 )
    This is a great idea, I have no idea why no one has done this before. Konami's Mocap Boxing even counts the calories you work off (although I have no idea how accurate the tally is) and gives one hell of a workout. Now if they figured out a way for me to play World of Warcraft while working out, I'd be the most fit guy in the world.
    • World of Warcraft Excercise Station... Work on your cardio as your run from X-Roads to Thunder Bluff for the first time. Feel the burn from large dragons... Onyxia takes a deep breath... Crap, I cant get away, Im out of breath myself.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EnderGT ( 916132 )
      Just find a way to mount the keyboard and a trackball to the exercise machine (stationary bike, treadmill, etc) and set it up in front of a large screen, and you're good to go.

      Alternatively, they should find a way to link the game to the equipment. Imagine - the rate at which you can move around is dictated by how fast you pedal or run. Or maybe your health/mana/rage/etc regen rate is affected by how long your heart rate has been elevated above resting. Or, even more motivating: your need vs greed roll is

      • by Doytch ( 950946 )
        Imagine - the rate at which you can move around is dictated by how fast you pedal or run.

        That's actually already been done here in Canada. A new kid's gym opened a few months ago which I would assume is similar to this one. They apparently have stuff like bikes that power your car in racing games and such.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by andykuan ( 522434 )
      For starters, you could buy a DDR pad [] and hook it up to the computer then map the front/back/left/right arrows appropriately and perhaps use the corner arrows for particular talents associated with foot movement (like Charge for Warriors). Maybe use a second DDR pad mounted in front of you that you can hit with your hands to trigger other talents associated with hand movements. The only really tricky thing is figuring out how to implement mouse-look -- a handheld mouse might work or perhaps some gigantic ad []
    • That's a project I have since some time. I think a stationary recumbent bike is the best for that because it's much more comfortable. I don't play video games lately (since I quitted cold turkey WOW) but with that setting I'll have a good excuse to play each day. Did someone saw a plan or some ideas for that somewhere?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:16PM (#16162246) Homepage

    I've been after my gym to get something like this. For a while, they had some of the cardio machines equipped with Internet access, but the gear was from a dot-com that went bust. They have TV, but that's boring, and working out usually doesn't align with the TV schedule.

    There was an arcade game called "Sky Cycle" about ten years ago, with a stationary bicycle. If you pedaled harder, you gained altitude. But all you could do was pedal along a canned route and pop balloons. Something like that, but more aggressive, would be fun as a piece of gym equipment. Tie it into a game like "Crimson Skies". Offer multiplayer mode, so you can have dogfights at the gym. Even in single player, though, Crimson Skies is fun. Now that would liven up cardio machines, which are, let's face it, boring.

    Who goes to gyms? Middle-aged people, now. Thirty years ago, the average age at gyms was 18-23. Now it's 46. It's the same people working out. That's part of why we're seeing teenage "wide loads". We need more fusions of gaming and gym equipment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GlenRaphael ( 8539 )
      There was an arcade game called "Sky Cycle" about ten years ago,
      The game was actually called PropCycle []. You drove a pedal-powered hanglider. You could coast in stretches, but stop pedalling for too long and it stalls.
    • I remember seeing this game at the skating rink I frequented about 10-12 years ago. It didn't get a lot of play time because, well, skates suck to put on and no one wants to take them off. But, from what I remember, it pretty much sucked anyway because, yes, it was on rails.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by brkello ( 642429 )
      Uhh, no. If middle-aged people just went to the gym I would have nothing to look at but the TVs. There are plenty of people in their 20s that go...and thank god that they do.
      • by Animats ( 122034 )

        There are plenty of people in their 20s that go...and thank god that they do.

        Not like it used to be, though. About half as many people go to exercise classes in the US as did in the 1980s.

        You see, back in the 1980s, not only could fat chicks not get laid, they couldn't even get in the door at better nightclubs. And guys had to keep up with the aerobics girls when they went out dancing. Rent "Perfect" [].

    • Another data point - marathoners tend to be a lot older than you would expect. As in an average age in late 30s or even 40s. The racers are younger, but the people out for fun are not.

      There are some reasonable explanations. People in their 30s want to do it before they turn 40, people in their 40s and 50s start to see heart disease in their peers and see it as an investment in their own health.

      But I have to wonder how much of it is because of relatively few 20-somethings being interested in distance runn
  • pinball can give a workout as well even more so if the tilt is set real low.
    • My hubby used to love this one particular Twilight Zone machine because the tilt was very low. He had to quit playing though, because after late night and weekend sessions lasting several hours, he developed a nasty case of tendonitis from shoving the machine back and forth.

      Just too bad that the 7-11 stores here replaced all the pinball machines with those crappy claw grabbers.
  • Wait, huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bahwi ( 43111 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:22PM (#16162296)
    "Should kids be getting even more exposure to media when they workout?"

    Umm, the problem isn't too much media exposure, the problem is kids aren't working out. This is using a potential problem(media exposure) to solve an existing problem(not enough to nil exercise).
  • by le0p ( 932717 ) * on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:26PM (#16162333)
    Should kids be getting even more exposure to media when they workout?

    That's not even relevant now, they aren't working out! I say anything that gets the kids in the gym is a good thing.
  • More support. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If the government had ANY, I repeat ANY sense at all, they'd look into this, and support or fund, to stem the apparent obesity epidemic the media is reporting on among America's youth. Is there? Really?

    As a multi-relapse former gym member, this interests me a whole lot more than my local Gold's Gym. I don't know if its the entertainment or gaming aspect of it, but this seems like it would be more enjoyable, from a physical exercise aspect, than hitting weight rack, machines, or mass cardio class. I prefer a
    • If the government had ANY, I repeat ANY sense at all, they'd look into this, and support or fund, to stem the apparent obesity epidemic the media is reporting on among America's youth. Is there? Really?

      The government is already on this bandwagon. Local grade schools are using Dance Dance Revolution as part of a physical exercise program. West Virginia has it in all 765 public schools [] in the state.

      If you're interested in following this issue, let me humbly recommend my blog [].

      Disclaimer: yeah, that was

    • by Kouroth ( 911586 )
      Animals don't excursive, they don't need to. That is because the act of feeding and living IS the exercise. This is only natural as I see it. I've always wondered why nobody did something like this before. Creatures are active when they have something to do. Biology makes us lazy because that conserves resources. In the modern human environment we hardly need to do much more than think. Thinking is good for you but there is more to life than just thinking. Interaction in the workout makes it entertaining, t
  • They should makes MMOGs, Battlefield 2, etc. physical too. ;)
  • and a practice dummy to use it on!

    But it would be nice if you had to charge up the game console by running a bit, or have some interactive Tae Kwon Do (blue belt) before you could play Tetris.
  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:06PM (#16162628)
    Walk through the malls and high school halls in America, and you'll quickly notice that kids in the US could use a few good workouts.

    Um, maybe thats because PE (Physical education)/Gym has been in decline for years? I don't know how it is in other high schools but when I was in high school 4 years ago, we only had to take 1 year of PE/Gym. Oh and that 1 mile timed run we were 'required' to be 'tested' on? Most of us failed or didn't even finish.

  • I would totally dump Bally's and join an adult version of this if there was one nearby! DDR takes some time to get into, but now that I play mostly heavy (most difficult) mode it is better exercise and way way more fun than an elliptical machine. I do have pads at home but I hit an arcade about once every week or two to get out and enjoy the real thing. I only hit Bally's once a week but I would go at least twice as often if they had DDR!
  • by smilinggoat ( 443212 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:37PM (#16162881) Homepage Journal
    When asked whether incorporating gaming into a workout routine was sending mixed messages to adolescents whose free time is often consumed by video games, instant messaging, and TV watching, Ferrell said that the approach Overtime Fitness is taking was necessary."In some ways, we're waving the white flag,"

    How is that sending mixed messages? People multi-task today. This is the same as how Lance Armstrong or Mr. Nine-To-Fiver will go running with his iPod while listening to an NPR podcast. The only difference is the demographic and the focus of the media. I go running (almost) daily while listening to music, it gives me a chance to listen to my friends' and I's music [] and concentrate on it with little else distracting, a far cry from attempting to listen while driving or at home with roommates, spouses, and IMs. Same could go for gaming. Just keep on moving and keep on gaming.
  • being thin and disassociated is better than being fat and disassociated.
    Also, since staying thin is healthier than being fat/out-of-shape, the next generation can stay disassociated even longer!
    Darwin's theory should kick in a few generations later adding helpful mutations like a couple of extra legs that can run a treadmill right next to you while you sit on the couch playing GTA 3000.
  • Having played hockey for 12 years and boxed, I can say that the arcade boxing game that requires the player to hold two boxing gloves that weigh a pound or two each and duck/dodge and throw actual punches. I was sweating and out of breath $2 into it. That workout is well worth $2. I wish I could remember the name of it. I think this would easily work, and if I had any mad skillz I'd bust some moves on DDR.
  • A real (or potentially real) problem I see with this idea is that a large number of DDR players are *ahem* stompers that stomp down on the arrow (as oppose to harder stepping, or the always favorable light stepping on the new and sensative arrow sensors), eventually(over time, or if absaolutely hard enough immediately) damaging or jamming the sensor, and damaging the arrow itself. The places that implement this with DDR need to keep a lot of pad parts and some people that know good pad maintainence around t
    • Good point. Also, if it brings in all types of people, you're going to get into the issue of sweat and dirt messing up the controls of most of the games. I think the DDR Arcade mats will be about the last thing to go after the boxing gloves get ruined from sweaty, grimy gloves that some little puke didnt clean up, or the bicycles get broke by a large individual, etc. This could spawn a whole new market, if arcade game companies started making entire lines of Exercise Gaming Equipment? Now all the drones I
  • It sounds like some of the ideas that I had while working on my Master's degree. Ultimately I wound up making Tetris Weightlifting: [] -- similar to this center, pretty much everyone who tried it enjoyed mixing games w/ exercise.
  • I used to go to a Gym called Q years ago and they had bikes with cable TV/CD players on them, bikes with networked racing and a trail riding games where you could ride through a town and up a hill and the bike would increase resistance to similate the hill (the bikes leaned to turn and you had a small dpad and buttons for other functions), etc, step climbers with games on them (one of them you piloted a plane putting out fires, one searched for treasure in the ocean, etc.) It really was more motivating to
  • the one where kids play virtual-reality games like "rake the leaves" and "mow the lawn" instead of actaully going out in the backyard and doing chores?
  • There's a shooting arcade game called Rescue 911 that forces to player to duck, dodge, and basically not get killed by physically moving about. I know that some boxing games that make you move back and forth and 'throw' punches to KO the opponent are sometimes pretty physical too.

    The Rescue 911 was definitely worth the 75 cents to play.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.