Combating Child Obesity: Helping Kids Feel Better by Doing What They Love
June 10, 2008 Page 3 of 5
It Can Be Done
In a meeting with medical experts at University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center, they recommended designing a way to increase a child's heart rate when playing, as this would exponentially increase the possibility of a meaningful workout.
We immediately thought of the success of the DDR dance pad. After extensive research, we couldn't find any other game that re-designed the dance pad to be used for a non-dancing/simulation game.
On the one hand, we were excited to try something entirely fresh: combining the Wii remote and floor pad to work as one user interface for an action-adventure. On the other hand, we were a bit concerned that this combination had not already been accomplished by a professional developer.
Was there something we were missing? Would it feel completely unintuitive to combine the two peripherals? We didn't know until we finished our initial prototype, but we were excited by the possibilities in front of us. We had two astronomically successful devices that were proven successes in millions of homes; why couldn't we make them work as one?
With the foot input established and re-purposed, the floodgates opened with ideas as we were able to literally place the child in a video game hero's shoes.
To make our hero jump over a chasm while being chased by a menacing enemy, the player will jump in their living room; when our hero unleashes a three-step melee combo on an antagonist, the player will not only swing their arms with the Wii remote, but move their feet in conjunction to mimic the attack of their avatar.
The child will be actively engaged in a traditional action-adventure experience, but their mind will be focused in the flow of the gameplay and aesthetic beauty of the world, not on burning calories.
After finishing our first complete tutorial and world, we believe this can be done, and we're working to prove it with our currently PC-based project (pictured above), The Winds of Orbis: An Active-Adventure.
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