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The Gym Arcade

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the exertainment dept.

Input Devices 143

theodp writes "Cross Halo with an exercise bike, and you get Expresso Fitness' S3, which lets you blow away dragons by squeezing handlebar-mounted triggers as you pedal hard through the Chinese countryside. Portfolio notes that a new generation of Wii-like workouts is hitting gyms and homes, with companies like GameRunner incorporating treadmills into First Person Shooters and Kickstart offering mini steppers and cycles for popular game systems."

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lmao (1, Offtopic)

EncryptedSoldier (1278816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25605913)

hahaha using guns to make guns...

Re:lmao (-1, Troll)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606009)

What's more funny is that most of these are aerobic exercises. Just play soccer or something. I hope these fail, because this only makes the art of "fun exercise" less social.

Re:lmao (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606327)

I hope these fail, because this only makes the art of "fun exercise" less social.

Nonsense. This is a great step forward. There's plenty of people who like to exercise socially, and need that. There probably a much larger number who are overweight and embarrassed to do so. This starts them on the path to fitness, where they then may have the confidence to try social exercise.

Plus, while most games cater for the teenage male market successfully, the Wii started including a much larger audience of new gamers. This is a logical next step. There are many of us out there who would like to be gamers, but really don't want to shoot things, nor play driving games. Historically we have been excluded from most games (or have not been marketed to, if other games exist that we might find interesting). This kind of game is interesting. We need more lateral thought in gaming to include a much larger number of people.

Re:lmao (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607513)

You are completely wrong when you say that games cater to "teenage male market" considering the average gamer is mid-20's... I think they'd cater to the average gamer... that is a common mistake most people make.

Re:lmao (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608101)

I can't see this thing really kicking off. Wii-Fit works because it's totally a fitness product and isn't painting itself into a game. People who want exercise don't mind a bit of entertainment. People who want to play games don't want to be running all the time.

I hope it works, anything to get people moving more, but I think they are trying to market this to the wrong market. I can't see a gamer putting away his high precision gamer mouse, G15 keyboard and guarana energy drinks in favour of a running mat and handlebars.

Re:lmao (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608201)

Because you obviously can't own a computer AND an exercise machine...

Re:lmao (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608753)

I play a lot of games, and I go to the gym. I just cannot imagine trying to combine the two activities into one encompassing session where I get out of breath, sticky with my own sweat and line up a frag count.

Re:lmao (1)

Manuel M (1308979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609605)

You don't seem to be acquainted with the game called Dance Dance Revolution. This breed of gamers (most likely not the FPS-addicted kind of gamer, I'll grant that) seem to enjoy a game that is also an intense anaerobic exercise.

My bet is that there is still room for many more exercise-based games, and we are still seeing only the beginning of this trend.

Also, Paintball comes to my mind. It doesn't qualify for this discussion because it is a "real" game and not a video game, but I see it as only one of the many possible degrees of virtualization between "couch-potato point-and-click FPS" and "actually being on a battlefield about to kill or die". If there is some way to make a game that requires you to point, shoot, jump and run without using too much real-world space, and only if it is fun enough, then there will be a market for it.

Re:lmao (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606413)

how do you get on a soccer team ? you have to know people who want to play and find people who suit you. their schedules have to match huge pain. stationary bikes at a gym are easier to get into. get on, do your thing, hop off.

Re:lmao (4, Interesting)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606535)

I don't agree. The reality is that for a lot of us it is very difficult to find enough people who are available to play, who are at a similar enough skill level. When I was younger it was much easier. Now, people are too busy for a pick up game. Clubs tend to have people who are pretty serious, and I'm not. So, if I want to exercise, I'm left either going to the gym (boring!) or finding an activity that's solo (biking - a little better). Something like this could make getting exercise a little more fun for people like me, and I don't see how that's a bad thing.

Re:lmao (2, Informative)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608915)

Take up rock climbing, it's an individual activity, that usually spawns into a social activity, and ends up being something you couldn't imagine doing alone.

Re:lmao (1)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606651)

1) It's not an art in any acceptable sense of the word. ("An activity I like" is not acceptable.)
2) Adults don't necessarily have time for playing team sports regularly, especially when that requires synchronizing the schedules of at least ten players. Not to mention the possibility and inconvenience of sporting injuries (and when I say possibility, I mean certainty).
3) If you just need to exercise to stay fit, playing a team sport (with all the organizational overhead that goes with it) is an incredibly inefficient way of reaching that goal. That's why gyms are popular in the first place: they offer a direct, no-nonsense approach to getting the exercise you need.

Bottom line, hoping that people will go back to frolicking in the fields is a waste of time.

Re:lmao (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607763)

People who seek a no-nonsense approach to get the exercise they need don't go to a gym, they just go outside and run.

Re:lmao (2, Interesting)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606871)

What's more funny is that most of these are aerobic exercises. Just play soccer or something. I hope these fail, because this only makes the art of "fun exercise" less social.

But what if workout chains started installing networked Wii-like facilities?

I would pay good money to see a roomful of hot chicks storming the beaches of Normany on bicycles.

Re:lmao (0, Troll)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607055)

Well, Hojima, looks like that concept was PWNED! [] Seriously though, any exercise is good exercise. I'm sure many of us here have been in better shape than we are now. I love emerging concepts, they always sprout light bulbs over peoples heads.

Re:lmao (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607289)

I think you just figured out what "3. ???" should be. I would vote for you for president!

Re:lmao (2, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607183)

That's a super idea, Hojima.

I've got a full-time job, a wife, and two kids. I scuba dive, play in a concert band, and play DnD once a week.

When, exactly, would I go out and join a soccer team? During naptime for the toddlers? In the evenings, when it's one of the rare days when neither my wife nor I are going out so we can spend some time together? Sure, I can bike to work, but I'm the one who drops the kids off at daycare. That means either using a trailer (sunny and warm days only) or biking when daycare's not in session.

Bring the Wii Fit into the equation, and I'm down 15 pounds. I can get a good set of cardio and strength work while the kids are napping or asleep.

Seriously, some people simply can't go outside some days.

Re:lmao (4, Informative)

voop (33465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609541)

I've got a full-time job, a wife, and two kids. I scuba dive, play in a concert band, and play DnD once a week.

When, exactly, would I go out and join a soccer team? During naptime for the toddlers? In the evenings, when it's one of the rare days when neither my wife nor I are going out so we can spend some time together? Sure, I can bike to work, but I'm the one who drops the kids off at daycare. That means either using a trailer (sunny and warm days only) or biking when daycare's not in session.

Bring the Wii Fit into the equation, and I'm down 15 pounds. I can get a good set of cardio and strength work while the kids are napping or asleep.

Seriously, some people simply can't go outside some days.

Yeah, what he, I do not have kids, but I have a spouse and a cat -- both of which need attention -- a job that requires me to travel about 60% of the year and I teach scuba diving on the side. In short, I spent plenty of time outside of the house already, and joining a soccer or other team sport team would be just impossible: I'd not be able to be there regularly due to an unpredictable travel-schedule, and so I'd make a horrible team-mate (not to mention, I'm a horrible soccer-player to begin with, making me even more of a boat-anchor for a soccer-team) and, frankly, what evenings/weekends I do have left, I'd rather spend with the spouse and the cat, than with a bunch of sweaty 40-something men chasing a ball.....

The nearest gym is about an hour away from where we live, btw., so one hour of workout would "cost" 3 hours of wall-clock-time. Just not cost-efficient.

Wanting to stay in relatively good health, we set aside a room in our house, and rebuilt into a gym -- principally a treadmill and some other exercise machines, and a wall-mounted TV. It allows - as notes Beardo the Bearded - that whenever either of us have got an hour available, we can get some exercise in without having to commit to trekking to the nearest gym. Often, it's of the form "hey, I was home first tonight, I'll toss the roast in the oven, then do an hour on the 'mill and some back-strengthening workout", and concurrently keeping up with what's wrong with the world on the TV.

We've got a WiiFit as well, and while that's great fun, I do not get the same "sweat" out of it nor do I manage to get my heart-rate high enough and exercise/strengthen my back. It's great for its Yoga-exercises, and a fun thing to do together (although, it'd have been cool had the WiiFit allowed for easier alternations between two players exercising together).

Anyways, when we were acquiring the treadmill, we were looking to see if there were more "fun" options than just "running at various paces and inclinations", but what we found was insufficient: either it was "more game than exercise" or it was "more flimsy" -- or the game just didn't seem like much fun after having tried them out once. TSo for us, and for now, it's the treadmill (with iFit training programs) + TV for the gym, and the WiiFit/WiiSport for having fun in the living room.

Now, just need to find a way of getting the cat to exercise as well....

Btw., "Beardo the Bearded", good job at dropping 15lb with the WiiFit! Keep it up!

Re:lmao (2, Funny)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609015)

But I'm antisocial you insensitive clod!!

  WTF, it's the first chance I get to make this joke and it turns out to be sincere.

Re:lmao (2, Informative)

donweel (304991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607569)

I have been in the Fitness Equipment repair business for 7 years so I have seen this sort of thing b4. I can tell you this it has been tried many times many ways, never popular. Try to sell the stuff used to a home equipment buyer perhaps, nope. People want to get on a treadmill or bike and just zone out for an hour or so. I have seen Life Cycles with nintendos built in with controllers on handlebars, Cybex Virtual Bike with tilt seat that lets you steer through a soccer game ... there were others too can't remember their names but they all ended up scrap metal. It might go in China though, here we are petty jaded about that sort of thing. Gimme the machine, gimme a tv or newspaper / book and i'll wipe the thing down when I'm done. The video game fitness thing has been tried going back 10 years never hit.

Re:lmao (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607975)

Dance Dance Revolution pretty much proves there is a market for that kind of equipment. The only thing is it must be marketed to the right people. Those machines are not for the people who really seek exercises (those just go outside and run, bike, whatever...), nor for the people who like to do some socializing in a gym.

Cue the "where are MY games" whining (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25605993)

The crowd that has labeled themselves the "hardcore" gamers is going to be upset about this. Innovation in games and getting new people interested in gaming drives the improvement of games directly and indirectly, both because as the market gets bigger, people start taking games more seriously and putting more effort into them and directly because more money from wider releases means more development money for future projects. There are people upset gaming moved out of 16 bit, people who still think final fantasy sold out when they made the leap to the 3rd dimension. Not sure why they don't realize there are still games being made for them, there are just additional games now. I guess they'd prefer to have all games released explicitly for them even if it meant they never got any better.

Just a few observations. "Casual" gamer interest is improving games, not degrading them.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606141)

It was all downhill after Zork on the Commodore 64. This GUI stuff that has sound and all is for sissies...

Game: You've been eaten by a grue.
Player: Shit
Game: You can't even do that.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606229)

"The crowd that has labeled themselves the "hardcore" gamers is going to be upset about this."

Cue "hardcore are the sux" troll. No one is going to be upset about this, the hardcore is not "upset" about gaming becoming more mainstream. In fact MANY hardcore gamers are behind the push of "exer-gaming", many hardcore gamers have had the thought about combining gaming with their exercise. I know because I used to do it, it's the whole reason many of us got a DS or gameboy advance - you can sit on a exercise bike and game while keeping your mind from going insane from boredom. I also used to take my gameboy advance and played classics like Final fantasy 2 and FF tactics while I walked. This is NOT new to the hardcore let me assure you, if anything the hardcore are the ones leading the pack. Many of us have had similar thoughts of combining racing/gaming with exercising, other gamers who wanted to develop such things knew the time wasn't ready for it in terms of 1) Cost and 2) Market readyness to be profitable. Now that gaming is much more mainstream, we're really seeing the fulfillment of a lot of ideas the hardcore have had ALL along.

This false idea that the hardcore are all anti-casual gamer is a bunch of bullshit pedalled by internet trolls.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606401)

This false idea that the hardcore are all anti-casual gamer is a bunch of bullshit pedalled by internet trolls.

Go to sometime, the wii boards, if you honestly think it's a hoax. If not, then I have to applaud you on the spinjob there.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

quantax (12175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606641)

Not for nothing but who cares what the brain damage cases at think? That is hardly a sampling of the 'hardcore gamer' demographic, a nebulous and ill-defined thing at best. Hell, other 'hardcore gamers' might argue that console gamers are the very definition of mainstream. Thus their opinions would be worth the same as people who are addicted to The Sims. Hardcore gamers is a bullshit demographic when you get right down to it, why go on giving it any more validity than it deserves?

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606649)

"Go to sometime, the wii boards, if you honestly think it's a hoax"

These sites are not representative of the gaming community at large, they are anecdotal at best. Not only that, but most hardcore gamers are older then the whiny peeps you find at gamefaqs and the wii boards. You have a minority of whiny people who know shit all about gaming, If they have even been with gaming since the 80's or earlier. Remember only people who have something to whine about will post, so you get a disproportinate amount of whining. You rarely get posts to say "hey this is great!" on any kind of forum.

The internet can make what is a tiny radical minority look like a whole group.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606735)

Right, but it's proof that your statement "This false idea that the hardcore are all anti-casual gamer is a bunch of bullshit pedalled by internet trolls," is not correct. There ARE people who call themselves hardcore that are upset at what they call "casual."

Those people are idiots who are not representative of the gaming community, I agree, but you can't tell me they're not out there, because they are.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

Manuel M (1308979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609653)

Right, but it's proof that your statement "This false idea that the hardcore are all anti-casual gamer is a bunch of bullshit pedalled by internet trolls," is not correct. There ARE people who call themselves hardcore that are upset at what they call "casual."

You missed the word 'all' in his statement. Indeed, as you say, there ARE hardcore gamers who think like that; but that does not necessarily mean they are more than a negligible minority. Are they anything more than that? I honestly don't know, but I don't think so.

No kidding (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607389)

I've been a gamer pretty much all my life. My grandpa had an Atari 2600 I used to play, when I was like 7 years old my mom got me an NES and so on. Games are, to this day, my primary form of entertainment. By pretty much any definition I'd be a "hardcore" gamer. Personally, I think it's wonderful to see more and more people get in to gaming. I think it is extremely entertaining and a good amount of entertainment for the dollars. Also, I think it is better mentally for you than just sacking out in from of the TV. Your mind is more engaged since it is interactive (there's starting to be some psychology backing that up too, as games are used to treat Alzheimers). I think everyone should play games, and I'm all about things that make them more accessible to the masses. That's one thing I like about World of Warcraft: It is really the first MMO with the idea that MMOs should be fun, shouldn't punish you for mistakes, and should be playable in small bites. As such it captures much of the market.

Also I've certainly been interested in games that are fully kinesthetic with their interactivity. I looked in to what would be required to get a VR type setup (display helmet with head tracking and motion tracking controller and such) for first person shooters. The answer is too much money at this time, but I keep hoping.

Basically I think anything that lets more people have fun with games is a worthwhile proposition. Also I understand that there's all sorts of different tastes. While I might not be interested in a particular sort of exercise game, that doesn't mean that other people won't be or that they are wrong for liking it. Do what you like, like what you do and all that. A particular game may not sell terribly well to the hardcore market like me but guess what? We aren't the only ones that matter. Way more casual gamers out there.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608151)

Considering one thing you like about WoW is the idea a game shouldn't punish you for mistakes, I'm not so sure you are "hardcore". You may fall into the "obsessive" or "addict" category if you play a lot, but not into the "hardcore" category. Don't get me wrong, I do think games should have a more casual mode for people who just want to have "fun", but I also want games to have a hardcore mode where the player will lose a game (as in restart from the beginning) if he makes mistakes.

As for fitness games, it is interesting, I certainly think Dance Dance Rrvolution is a great game, but I hope it won't be only for the casual audience (DDR at the higher levels is certainly hardcore). I do run regularly and my short run is 11 km. I have nothing for making the game accessible, but you can guess that if there is only the equivalent of a 1 km run, then I don't see the point.

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608093)

The reasons that most hardcore gamers don't like the "new age of games" include a lot of things. Number one, they have more disposable income to spend on games and less free-time and more stress. This isn't back when they were 10 and had to settle for 3 NES games for Christmas, 2 NES games for their birthdays, etc. So they want a lot more games, they also want them to be very intense, to take them off of the stress of the day, they don't want short games like a lot of the Wii games, they want good 50 hour + games. And those are dying with games that are either too simple (like Wii fit, etc), games that take too much time (like MMORPGs) or games that are too tedious (like some tactics games).

Re:Cue the "where are MY games" whining (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609063)

Large migrations to the market change how businesses target gamers. This means games are no longer developed for nerds, they're developed for everyone.

WoW News Flash (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606015)

Blizzard has announced they are working on an upcoming upgrade to their hamster powered servers.

Re:WoW News Flash (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607701)

So they're running their new phased zone technology on Cheetoh Power(TM)?

An idea (5, Interesting)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606019)

I've been playing a little Red Alert (1) since it was released for free this year. At the same time, the weather is turning cold and I've had to set up my bicycle on a stationary trainer. Wouldn't it be cool to have an RTS where at least one of your resources was wattage produced from some exercise?

Pedal faster, build more units/buildings/etc.

cf. Propcycle (4, Interesting)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606065)

First thing that came to my mind when I read the headline was Propcycle [] .

I'd love to rig something similar up, using MS Flight Simulator and an exercise bike.

Re:cf. Propcycle (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606199)

I thought of that too, I tried one at a walmart once, sure wish there was one around here, or I could make a home version of Prop Cycle.

Here is the KLOV link witch some screenshots []

Re:cf. Propcycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606733)

I miss propcycle.

Re:cf. Propcycle (1)

NekoYasha (1040568) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606853)

Whoa, this so brings my memories back. I liked that game very much.

Of course I was never able to clear any level, seeing I was 10 back then, and all I tried is to pedal as hard as possible (not the smartest thing to do)...

I wish they remake that game.

Mod parent up (1)

NekoYasha (1040568) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606905)

As Informative.

Re:cf. Propcycle (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606911)

you want to peddle from Hongkong to England be my guest...

Re:cf. Propcycle (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607609)

I liked PropCycle too. But it wasn't free flight; you were constrained to a track. I'm amazed that someone hasn't done a gym version of something like Crimson Skies, which is available in a motion-platform arcade version.

The gym I use had some stair-climbers with web browsers for a while, but they were from a dot-com. When the dot-com failed, the units continued to work, but without a server to update them, they played the same ads over and over. Eventually the things were removed.

Re:An idea (2, Interesting)

Flying Scotsman (1255778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606103)

Personally, I'd like some sort of racing game that uses your output on the stationary trainer's resistance wheel to propel your character (car, hovercraft, whatever) forwards, and some sort of device that sits under the fork's dropouts to control steering in the game. I once read about a similar system, but it was very, very, expensive, and it wasn't really a game. You just saw pretty pictures roll past on the screen.

Re:An idea (2, Informative)

^DA (82715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606533)

Check this out: []

Makes indoor cycling at home almost bearable. I say almost because I have such a rig but I never use it, I prefer to cycle outdoors or in a spin class.

Lot of people enjoy it though. Here in Norway there is a winter series on these contraptions where people compete in a mix of VR terrains and Real Life Videos.

Re:An idea (1)

Flying Scotsman (1255778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606823)

Wow, thanks! That's pretty much what I was thinking of, minus the hovercrafts.

Re:An idea (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606285)

Personally I like the battle of brains / fun strats / unexpected things and such in RTSes, not doing workouts.

I play WC3 first and go to the gym later, or the other way around, depending on how serious I am :D

Back in the days Quake used to work just fine as cardiovascular training to, all that stress, fear and anger must have lead o something :D
If nothing else slamming the mouse in the table each time you die sure as hell has to work your lats, or something :D

Re:An idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606455)

or an MMORPG. imagine the warehouses full of chinese children on exercise bikes.

Re:An idea (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606655)

The only thing is that you definitely *don't* want to be going all out during cario exercise. You want to be keeping at the right heart rate. Better would be a game that went fastest when you are closest to the target heart rate for your age.

Re:An idea (1)

rlk (1089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606767)

There's nothing wrong with going at a steady pace, but at least what I've been led to believe is that if you want to improve your fitness you need to vary your workouts, do intervals (30-60 seconds all out, similar amount of time at a resting pace, or variations). The terrain variation lets you decide whether to gear down to spin at a steady pace or power over the top with a quick burst.

Re:An idea (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606925)

Nonsense. The only thing is that you definitely *don't* want to be doing when training is maintaining constant heart rate. This will make you fitter, but it's certainly not the most efficient way to go about achieving it.

Long duration 'target heart rate' workouts are good for building a base cardio level to work with. Think of this as increasing the size of your car engine

Interval training, however, is excellent for peaking your base fitness. Think of this as tuning your car engine so it works better.

Re:An idea (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607489)

Going all out is not "interval training", but this is exactly what making the game speed match the wattage will encourage. Instead, the player will likely ramp up until near collapse, and then stop entirely.

Interval training requires you ramp bake the effort periodically. If the game encourages that sort of thing, then by all means, that's great.

Re:An idea (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607583)

My definition of interval training certainly includes periods of going all out, moderated with less intense periods. Maybe we're talking past each other.

You're right in that a game that encourages go-as-hard-as-you-can-for-as-long-as-you-can is not a particularly good training model, but that wasn't what I was suggesting.

Re:An idea (1)

ramul (1103299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606681)

That is a really really good idea.

more resources, or stat/xp points in an rp. I'd buy it. You could do a weights equivalent too.

I'll wait for the...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606157)

GTA version. I used to live in LA and it always makes me homesick and reminds me of driving to work in the morning.

Treadmills into FPSes? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606261)

Why not just play laser game? Seems like much more fun and "creative."

I'm all for working out but cardio exercise in general is fucking boring. Coupled with an FPS it probably get more fun if it works decent but I doubt it can beat reality.

Something like laser game but out in the wild (as in urban setting / forest / ..) must be awesome. More wargames for everyone! :D

Riding a stationary bike in a gym even if you got a virtual rider riding on a screen as well will still just be a stationary bike in the same fucking environment without the natural noise, smell, fresh air and the rest of the experience. (Sure, no rain or stains either but ..)

Just make a laser game (paintball?) gym with year membership cards and get a mountainbike or something and ride tracks in the forest instead.

Treadmills into totalitarianism (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606385)

"Why not just play laser game? Seems like much more fun and "creative.""

Can I have that in a home version?

"I'm all for working out but cardio exercise in general is fucking boring. Coupled with an FPS it probably get more fun if it works decent but I doubt it can beat reality."

The Chinese version however has you shooting peasants as you pedal along.

Re:Treadmills into totalitarianism (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606551)

Oh, didn't got that it was for home usage, I saw it more like gym equipment.

There is some laser game things for home usage to but I guess they suck.

Where is the outdoor version!?! With slow showing laser beams :D

The Chinese version however has you shooting peasants as you pedal along.

Carmageddon pedal car edition? :D

Ok, if the car could react a la electronic bump cars and you could hit each other someway then maybe :D

Re:Treadmills into FPSes? (1)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606839)

Realistically, laser game gives you about 5% the exercise you get from a treadmill or a stationary bike.

I'm afraid many people don't understand the point of a gym. You go to the gym to exercise efficiently, not to have fun. That's why people go to the gym even though it's mind-numbingly boring. Of course, if you can make it fun as well, it's even better, but it won't change people's priorities. "A lot of exercise with a bit of fun" is still going to beat "a lot of fun with a bit of exercise" if your goal is exercising. You can get your fun elsewhere after the gym, anyway.

Re:Treadmills into FPSes? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607001)

That depends on how you play laser game, and how serious you are on a treadmill or on a bike.

YOU may go to a gym because it gives the maximum result for the least effort, but you shouldn't expect that to be the case for everyone else.

And there are more fun things to do in a gym than running on a treadmill, practising olympic lifts for example or vertical jumps or whatever.

And more don't have to be better since recovery and food consumption effects the results as well.

Anyway, fact is that you are much more likely to go on if you have fun, that's why doing boring cardio work just because you think you should do cardio suck, find an activity you LIKE such as badminton or whatever, even if it's less effective you are much more likely to keep doing it if you like it.

But weight lifting and proper diet works pretty good alone, and if recovery is good more will probably BE better.

Anyway, playing laser game with your friends for 2*45 minutes 4 times / week would be way more effective than pulling your ass to the gym once a week for 15 minutes of treadmill .. And it may even improve your life quality.

Playing say capture the flag in a forest with laser guns if there was any which would work in that scenario would probably be very efficient to, it all depends on what amount of effort you put into it.

For most people doing less exercise in the gym / session is more likely to have them longing for getting back and try to improve on the last session even more the next time than long sessions where you get to tired in the end. And I doubt the 25:th set of chest exercises will do much to help you either, nothing says that's better than only 5 sets of better quality.

Re:Treadmills into FPSes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608295)

Actually, if you want real exercise you should go outside, not in a gym. Gyms are great for socializing, not so great for exercising.

Re:Treadmills into FPSes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606883)

Paintball, quasar (laser arena combat), and high-melee-combat LARP. Sates the gamer and sates the need for exercise.

Re:Treadmills into FPSes? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607221)

Not everyone lives in a forest or near a forest.
Having a choice between getting smoked on the street and using the stationary bike at the gym I'll choose the stationary bike.

cool... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606289)

TRON comes one step closer to reality...

Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (2, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606341)

I lift for about an hour 5 days/week and run about 30-40mpw. When I work out, I want to be unpluged. I don't want to see a screen, don't want to interact.

It's my mind, my body and me. Nothing else. Everyone needs it.

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (3, Informative)

brian.stinar (1104135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606523)


I ride my road bike around a lot. Due to that fact that I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the weather almost always allows bicycling as a means of transportation, I have been able to keep my goal of going through one tank of gas per month on my SUV. I'm also fairly into mountain biking, with the beautiful foot hills available for single track and Sandia mountain available for downhill riding.

So, I'm pretty into biking. The goal of the above was to add SOME level of credibility to the below...

I tried Expresso at the University of New Mexico gym and it was not that cool. I'm not certain what model I was on, or what levels were loaded but it definitely did not have triggers on the handlebars for shooting anything. It has about 15 boring levels involving riding around a race track. I thought the most interesting was "campus loop." At first, I was excited under the hope that collisions would recoil and there would be rumble strips build into various locations around the bike. Unfortunately, whenever I ran into something I just ghosted through it.

The gearing mechanism was pretty cool. Most of the time exercise bikes don't respond realistically at all to gearing, but the Expresso model I was on did more so than anything else I've been on. The lact of collisions, off-roading, and angry taunts from the nonexistent collisions were probably my three main criticisms.

Basically, I think I was disappointed by how cool the Expresso I was on COULD have been, but wasn't. Then again, the University did not provide ANY internet connectivity for the Expresso and probably didn't have the latest and greatest model. If I could race against people from around the U.S, interacting in a fun way, I think Expresso would have been cool as I tried it. Stand-alone, it was pretty boring.

      -Brian J. Stinar-

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607573)

Back in the early-mid 90's, when I was in high school, I belonged to the local golds gym. They had a "virtual reality" exercise bike that was a recumbent bike, with a monitor on top. You could pedal whereever you wanted, up hills, down trails, on roads. resistance on the pedaling would change to match the terain. (you could even go really fast and do virtual jumps!). Probably the coolest thing was that there was a second bike right next to it, and the two were linked. you could follow each other, race, etc. (looked like an old appletalk RJ11 type cord). I was used to cycling, and in shape, but everytime my buddy and I would sit down on that that, we would be lost for an hour, huge smiles on our faces, and more sweaty and out of breath than I can ever remember. They were pretty expensive back then (I think about 10k) and the company went out of business. Too bad, it was a great idea.

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (2, Interesting)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607767)

Then this definitely isn't something for you; you've got a good workout system that you enjoy. A lot of people find working out to be pretty boring and uncomfortable, though, which leaves them trying to force themselves to do something they don't enjoy.

Adding a gaming aspect to the workout removes the boredom and distracts from the discomfort, allowing these people to get the exercise they know they need--and enjoy it rather than enduring it (or maybe just giving up something they hate doing).

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608139)

It's my mind, my body and me. Nothing else. Everyone needs it.

Why do you get to decide how everyone else works out? I personally would enjoy working out indoors, especially if it's rainy and not suitable for a bike ride. If you want to work out unplugged, have fun, but a lot of people enjoy having an IPod to distract them from the pain of running laps around a track.

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (1)

William Baric (256345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608401)

To each his own. I run from 3 to 6 hours a week (plus a few hours of biking, mainly to go to work) and I have nothing against a game which would allow me to do some fun activities.

Re:Do people really use these, on a regular basis? (1)

teazen (876487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608803)

I'd say playing games while exercising isn't really all that revolutionary or out of order. I myself mostly play the non-electronic ones though. One involving a piece of carbon and a concrete cube with lines on it. Another involving a ball and a lot of leg-injuries. I don't see how the digital components are a radical departure from all these off-line exercises.

Expresso S3 review (I've used one) (4, Informative)

rlk (1089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606481)

We have one of these at work, and we're expecting another. It's a blast. And I'm not a gamer.

First, the downsides:

1) The shifter is not very well designed. It's a single lever mounted on the stem, which is an inconvenient spot. With 30 "gears" and very sharp changes of gradient, it's not uncommon to have to shift by 10 gears or more in a matter of seconds to avoid stalling out. The shifting doesn't seem all that responsive either, so there's a tendency to overshift, which usually leaves you moving too slowly. I'd rather have two shifters mounted on the bars, with the left shifter giving you 3-5 gears in one shot (i. e. something like front and rear derailleurs on a "real" bike). This is by far the weakest part of the setup. If they would fix that, it would be a much stronger product.

2) Every course I've tried has at least one very sharp downhill curve, which I find disorienting (maybe because I'm not a gamer). Shutting my eyes helps, but then I don't know what terrain is coming up, so I'm likely to be in the wrong gear in a hurry. One person at the gym tried it once and found that he just couldn't use it because of that.

3) The saddle simply isn't very good. It's adjustable in maybe 1/2" increments both vertically and front to back (which is OK for this purpose, but finer increments would be better). However, it's a wide, heavily cushioned saddle, which really isn't very comfortable for long rides. It would be nice if there were a couple of different saddles to pick from, and you could just plunk down the one you like at any given time. It's a much better saddle than the usual exercise bike saddle, but that's not saying much.

Good points:

1) There's just a lot more variety than any other exercise bike I've seen (not that I'm an expert). The changing terrain makes things interesting, much more so than any standard programs. That's a huge plus.

2) The pedals are "real", with toe clips on one side (yes, the old fashioned kind, but they work) and clip-in pedals on the other. I'm not sure which clip-in system; it's obviously one of the SPD variants, but I don't know which one. If your bike shoes have a different system, it's not likely to work. The system looks like it doesn't have any side to side or rotational play, which makes it hard for some folks (when I was riding, I absolutely needed that because of my overpronation and toe-out).

3) There's a good range of courses, everything from a 1 mile flat track course to a 20 miler that looks like a major mountain pass. They're divided into four groups (plus one more "ride over the monsters" type thing), for easy, moderate, hard, and extreme, and ranked from easy to harder within the groups. The pace rider rides slower on the easy ones and harder on the hard ones, and you can adjust the continuous output of the pace rider. There are a few courses that aren't available without a paid membership, but it's not worth $10 a month just to get those few courses.

4) The bike can be connected to the internet, with some additional features (I don't know what they all are; ours isn't connected yet).

Neutral points:

1) While your avatar responds to the steering, it doesn't really affect the riding in any way, except on the game course. It won't let you go off the course (if you try to steer off, or don't try to steer on, it just keeps you at the side of the course). You can also ride right through other riders, and they can ride through you if you're slower. It doesn't really feel natural, but without actual movement, it would be very hard to make the steering feel natural. I don't care all that much.

2) I don't know how it computes the relationship between wattage (power output) and calorie consumption. It gives me somewhat lower calorie numbers compared to the other exercise bikes we have, which may or may not be due to shifting response (it's easy to not shift high enough on downhills). For a 30~40 minute ride, I've averaged 227~240 watts vs. 235~260 that I typically average on the Concept II ergometer [] (rowing machine) -- that's overall my favorite cardio machine, by the way. According to that, though, a typical row of about 8050 meters in 30 minutes works out to 250 watts and 580 calories consumed. On a 40 minute ride on the bike at 230-235 watts average, it stated something like 650 calories, which is a bit less than 490 in 30 minutes (on the erg, 490 calories in 30 minutes would correspond to maybe 7450 meters and 200 average watts, which for me is a dead easy pace -- even extended to 40 or even 60 minutes, it's been a while since I rowed anything near that slow). I don't expect to average quite as high power output on the bike as on the rower, where I use upper body as well, but the difference in calorie computation seems odd.

Last Thursday, I did a ride on one of the hard courses that looked like it was in space (you have to see it to believe it). One day when I have time, I'm going to do the 20 miler. While I haven't biked in years (courtesy of an accident and an even scarier near miss on my last ride of the season that left me spooked), I don't expect any real difficulty in going hard for 70 minutes or so. That is, if I can survive the saddle.

Anyway, despite what sounds like a lot of negatives, overall I really like it.

Re:Expresso S3 review (I've used one) (1)

jasenj1 (575309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607645)

There are a bunch of these at the Y I belong to. They are all networked together and if you ride the same course as someone else, you can see each other on the track. I think they are hooked up to a national network, too, and you can go online to check your records.

Ours have a few different seats/saddles available so you can use a more racing oriented saddle or the big cushy ones.

I totally agree with the above review about the shifting. It is inconvenient and could/should be done much better. From a workout perspective I don't see the point. Some of the courses have WIDE resistance swings and running up and down the shifter to maintain cadence & resistance is not like real riding at all. Also, the bikes do not coast realistically, i.e. you have very little inertia/momentum.

The dragon game is mildly fun. You ride around running into coins which tell you what color of dragon to hit for points. Different colored dragons have different point values. There are also multipliers and other bonus goodies to pick up.

They are definitely a step in the right direction, but they could use some refinement.

- Jasen.

Re:Expresso S3 review (I've used one) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609239)

Ive also used one. I did not like it at all. The shifter was the main problem. Seemed like I was always pedaling hard and going no where or unable to pedal at all. To make matters worse I was unable to tell by what I was looking at on the screen what kind of gradient I was going up. I think there was an actual % shown somewhere on the screen. But it was still hard to find the right gear. If there was an automatic mode that chose the optimal gear for you that would be very helpful. Apparently other people seem to like them. The gym has gone from just 2 to 6 of them now. Personally I prefer the cardio equipment with the TVs built in.

star trek (1)

jeppen (1377103) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606487)

I've been waiting for this for some time - the first real step of many which will end in something like the Star Trek holodeck. And when the illusion is complete, we will all die - b/c who would want to leave a world that can fulfill all of our desires? :-)

selfish much? (2, Insightful)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606633)

some of us have a desire to leave the world in better condition than we found it.

This involves life outside of simulation, even if games are a great escape in moderation.

Re:selfish much? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607797)

Given how us humans generally treat our immediate environment, I'd think that it would be a good thing for the condition of the world in general if that environment was simulated and had a reset button.

Game Idea for treadmill: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606499)

I saw the video and I must admit that it's pretty snazzy. Here are some game ideas:

- Being a Nigger running away from an all-white lynch mob. The game camera could intermittently pan around 180 degrees to see how close those whippin' whites are.

- Being a Mexican running from La Migra through downtown Los Angeles. It would need a pressure sensor so that the player could jump over virtual fences.

- Being a meth addict running from the cops. In this game the speed of the camera movement would scale exponentially with the rate of change in the gamer's running speed to provide an authentic simulation of of the meth high.

Re:Game Idea for treadmill: (0, Flamebait)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606977)

Its interesting that you chose a word considered probably the most vulgar in the english language to describe one group, yet chose a nice neutral nationality to describe another group instead of a slang term. Can't figure out just how racist you want to be today?

Re:Game Idea for treadmill: (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607919)

Ob. xkcd link: []

Re:Game Idea for treadmill: (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608859)

and here I thought I was being insightful ;)

ESPN Street Racing (2, Interesting)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606593)

The key is to really work fun game play into the system, and I think this has a much greater chance of success than the children's "educational game software" attempts to make learning fun.

I remember an old playstation ESPN racing game where your character would ride around on a bike, but you could kick the other players on either side and knock them to the ground.

Add some blood, maybe a few screams as they hit the pavement and I think we would have a winner!

If you want to get really sophisticated that would be really badass if you could work something like this into google-streetview and ride around in actual city scape.

Accurate as usual (3, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606629)

I see Slashdot is showing its attention to journalistic accuracy. I've actually *played* Expresso bike thing and you don't "gun down" dragons with "handle-bar mounted triggers".

The buttons are the handle-bars are for shifting gears. The basic gameplay is that you run over coins of various colors and then have to go run into dragons of the matching color. (With various point values.) It's a pretty lame game, but it is mildly distracting.

I suspect that most people will stick to the basic "ride around a track with a pace rider" bit, which is decent enough.

The biggest problem is that even if you play at a machine in the gym, you still have to shell out $9.95/month to unlock a lot of the tracks. That's a pretty hefty price for a bike-racing game.

Re:Accurate as usual (1)

rlk (1089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606743)

It was something like 1-2 tracks per level that are locked, out of a total of maybe 8 per level. That's no big deal.

Re:Accurate as usual (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607475)

The bigger annoyance is not saving the ghost data for every track.

GameBike (2, Interesting)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606637)

This isn't exactly a new idea. I bought a gamebike ( [] ) a year ago for this sort of thing. It's an exercise bike which plugs into a PS2. Unfortunately, I don't have a TV for it, yet. So, at the moment it's just serving as an ordinary exercise bike. My impression from the brief time I tried it, is that'll it'll be more fun that just riding an exercise bike, but it isn't a great controller. Part of the problem is that PS2 games aren't made with this bike in mind. Custom games written for it could make it much more fun.

Re:GameBike (4, Funny)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606845)

Custom games written for it could make it much more fun.

Paperboy 2009 !!!

Re:GameBike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608789)

I would like to see a bike trainer than can plug into a console (a Wii would be a good choice), then run simulated tracks on the Wii.

Problem? Such things are hyper expensive.

And actually now that I think about it, making one for the Wii wouldn't make the product any cheaper than the PC version.

Fifteen Years Old (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606659)

There was something like this in the mid 90's in the local college's gym when I was growing up.

Incredibly creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606663)

Why not just get a real fucking bike?

What does the future hold? (1)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607169)

Wow, technology's finally invented a way you can exercise and compete at the same time, and how hard you exercise affects how well you do in the game. That's pretty cool. it sounds totally revolutionary. Maybe the next step will be networked FPS, where, for instance, you ride your exercise bike against someone else, each with gun-buttons in the handle bars. Or in Tron, where how fast you pedal determines the speed of your bike.

And then after they've got games where you exercise while competing head-to-head against another person, they'll set it up so that you can find people locally to compete against, so you can know the person and both work on your game and maybe develop a friendship and combine social interaction with your workout and competition.

And maybe, some day in the future, if technology allows it, they can skip the screen and invent some sort of game where you exercise while actually competing against another person physically, interactively, in real-time. Maybe they could even find a way to combine multiple players in multiple positions working together on teams, sort of like Counter Strike or Quake Team Fortress, but with people exercising while competing against each other in real time in the same physical space. I can't even imagine what that would look like, but it would be awesome.

Old News (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607565)

This was done in the mid 90s. It was the Tectrix Virtual Reality bike. They ran on a Pentium 75. If They were a big hit but too expensive for the type of people that both working out and gaming. []

Dance Dance Revolution (1)

thomasinx (643997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608465)

While some people seem to claim that these is a new idea, something similar to this has already been implemented: namely Dance Dance Revolution. Whether the games can be implemented well is key for whether or not it will have similar popularity. However, I doubt that these games will have the same impact as DDR, as the game was designed and marketed in a very specific way. I've met some people who use it to lose weight, but most people who need to lose weight won't play the game long enough to get addicted.

I say this, because there is generally a period of time after someone starts playing a game before they start to get hooked. For some games it might be 10 minutes, others it could be a few hours. If the player/exerciser doesn't get hooked before they get tired, they probably won't come back.

Now, some people might say "well, if they're trying to exercise, they'll force themselves to play". And that's technically true. However, if the person isn't enjoying it, they might as well just be exercising the normal way.

Re:Dance Dance Revolution (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609447)

Don't forget all the other hardware games that are around. There's the skateboard, surf, ski games, boxing, sword fighting, etc. The best physical games I've seen would be the the motion capture ones better. The shooters that makes you crouch to reload, lean to avoid shots or look around corners are really fun. It's also a level of realism with the moving to change the view. I can say that after a few bucks I've had a good crunching routine from having to reload a lot.

Healthy Gaming (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608507)

More news and info about health related video games here: []

it's more complicated than you think (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608581)

There's already been a boom and bust with the exercise computer game market, way predating the Wii.

For serious training types, used in the comfort of your own home, they've had road simulators for years. You hook your regular bike up to it and the computer projects the road course onto a big projection screen in front of you. You use this when it's the winter months and you can't ride out in the real world. There's no game element to it, it's pure sim. Not very common, very expensive, only for bike addicts.

Now there have been networked racing games in the past for the exercise bikes. Primitive polygon graphics, limited number of games, the companies just couldn't make enough money at it to stay in business.

What they're talking about in the links has promise. The question remains as to whether the gyms can make back their investment in gamer hardware. I do think it would be cool to have eight units at your home gym and can either race against them or against other gyms over the net. And the number of game concepts, you could have it pure racing, something more like twisted metal, and the treadmill add-ons for FPS intrigue me.

Old news! (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608823)

My buddy JCM did this with an Atari and an exercise bike in the 80s.. It still is fun though!

Practicing both "plugged in" and "unplugged" (1)

ferryca (1384179) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609589)

Wii games and social games "in real life" have their cons and pros. But considering the pros and being as fit as a fiddle, I think it's better playing both ways, as our brains and bodies need to be challenged physically and mentally. If you practise any "unplugged" sport it's fine, but if you play only wii or computer games at home, I think it would be better to combine it with some physical outdoor activities at least to daily serve your brain a cup of oxygen :)

We have these (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609599)

We have the Expresso bikes at my college. I don't really like the "Dragon" game, but racing friends on some of the crazy courses (ie. Ascension) is a lot of fun.

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