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SGS Feature: 'The State Of Exergaming At Games For Health'

SGS Feature: 'The State Of Exergaming At Games For Health'

October 20, 2006 | By Jason Dobson

October 20, 2006 | By Jason Dobson
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The latest main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, military, educational and other uses, continues coverage of the recent Games for Health conference in Baltimore.

Specifically, the feature covers a presentation at the event titled Saving a Generation with Games, which dealt with topic of exergaming, and how this particular brand of serious game can help stem the alarming tide of obesity both in children and adults.

In this excerpt, writer Erin Hoffman covers comments made by Dr. Ernie Medina during the panel regarding exergaming, and how his XRtainment Zone can hopefully help get people more interested in physical activity by making exercise fun:

Medina thinks that the main problem is that exercise is boring. While many people say that they do not exercise because they dont have the time, Medina asserts, really the reason is that they see exercise as work rather than recreation. He set out to work in Exertainment: using the enemy by engaging patients in stealth exercise. He was quick to differentiate this from combining passive entertainment (television or movie viewing) with treadmill exercise, citing studies that said that this only resulted in less time spent in front of the associated screen, rather than an increase in exercise.

He later adds:

In addition to being readily accessible, exergaming is safe, affordable, and social. Particularly in areas where parents do not feel safe allowing their children outside unsupervised, exergaming provides a safe place where kids can get exercise with no supervision needed. And, whereas games are usually assumed to be antisocial activities, Dr. Medina showed photographs of kids interacting in a wide variety of social situations, playing Dance Dance Revolution in pairs, in groups of eight (all competing together), and crossing age barriers that would normally never be seen in physical competition: he showed a slide of one of the medical groups oldest patients, in her high 70s, playing DDR with an eight year old. In addition to direct social interactions through the games, in Medinas new XRtainment Zone a recently opened separate dedicated exergaming facility operators also post high scores on a leaderboard, encouraging kids to top their own best score and the scores of other patients.

You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more from Medina and others concerning the importance and potential benefits of exergaming (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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