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What is Active Gaming

Active gaming combines the use of technology in the form of a game with physical activity. Children are able to engage in the technology games they enjoy, such as video games, while being physically active. There are three generic categories of active games: 1) exergames, 2) interactive fitness activities, and 3) active learning games. Generally defined, exergames are technology driven activities that require a screen in order for the student to physically participate in the activity. Conversely, interactive fitness activities are non-screen based technology driven games requiring the student to use their body to play. Active learning games are technology driven activities that provide students with an academic game focus while being physically active and are more commonly associate with the academic classroom.

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Categories and Types of Active Games

(This list is not comprehensive and is intended to provide a general, brief description of the categories of active games as well as provide examples of each category)

Categories and Examples of Exergames

Description

Rhythmic Dance Games:

Dance Dance Revolution
iDance
BluFit

Dance Games are the pioneering series of the active gaming genre in video games. Players stand on a platform or stage and try to hit colored arrows or characters with their feet to musical rhythm and visual cues. Players are judged by how well they time their dance to the patterns presented to them and are allowed to choose the music to play during each game.

Virtual Bicycles:

Cateye GameBike
GameCycle
Expresso
Trixter
DogFight Flight Simulators
Hogan Bike
XRacer

These games resemble traditional bikes using game controllers to control on-screen actions, including steering, speed, turns, firing mechanisms and other game components. 

Balance Board Simulators:

XrBoards
Tony Hawk
Wii Fit

These games use the concept of a balance board or platform as a controller in which the user stands as they play the game.  Most games simulate various outdoor recreational activities such as snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, or various games requiring static or dynamic balance.

Virtual Sport Simulators:

Wii Sports
Xavix Sports
Cybex Trazer
Gamercize

These games simulate individual and team sports with common games consisting of striking sports, bowling, boxing, running and others. For these games the controllers serve as implements that simulate a bat, racquet, or paddle, etc during game play.

Gamercize

Gamercize is an activity where exercise motion on dedicated step or cycle machines activates the game controller for a games console such as Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii. The game controller operates normally while the user is exercising, enabling the use of any video game without the need for special consideration or modification. Without exercise, the game being played will be suspended and the user has to restart exercise to continue to play the game.

Gesture Gaming:

Sony Eye Toy
Microsoft Kinect
Respondesign Training System

Gesture gaming or gesture recognition is the mathematical interpretation of a human gesture by a computing device. Gesture recognition makes interacting more natural in a 3D virtual world environment. Using the concept of gesture recognition, it is possible to move your body in front of a computer screen so the figure in the screen will move accordingly.

Categories of Interactive Fitness Activities

Description

HopSports

HopSports is a system that is used in a class or group environment that allows participants to follow an on screen instructor leading an activity.  The on-screen instructor is often a known professional athlete or celebrity. All activities are designed as part of a standard based lesson plan in order to develop a particular skill of fitness component.

Sportwall

Sport walls contain embedded lights that illuminate randomly. When a light comes on, the player contacts the light with a bare hand, glove, striking implement, or thrown ball in order to score points.

Martial Arts Simulators:

3 Kick
Makoto

These games are designed with multiple towers that can be punched, kicked, or tapped with hands and/or feet.  A light and audible tone indicates which portion of the tower is to be contacted which goes off when the player correctly strikes the target. The game assigns a score based upon on speed of contact and more points are allocated the faster the reaction time.

LightSpace Play

Lightspace Play is made up of individual interactive tiles that can detect the location and force of participants, making each game unique to the player’s skill level. A variety of games can be played that not only encourage but require physical activity in order to play.

Categories of Active Learning Games

Description

FootGaming

FootGaming(TM) is an activity in which participants move their feet while on a FootPOWR (R) controller in order to control onscreen mouse or keyboard actions. FootGaming uses a custom mat similar in look to an arrow/dance game mat. The addition of the FootPOWR microcontroller enables play of most any "mouse" game delivered by a computer.

BrainBike

The brainbike resembles a traditional bicycle but the user controls on-screen academic game play.

Gamercize

Gamercize is an activity where exercise motion on dedicated step or cycle machines activates the input for a PC or Macintosh computer. The computer operates normally while the user is exercising, enabling the use of any educational or gaming software without the need for special consideration or modification. Without exercise the input, the game being played will be suspended and the user has to restart exercise to continue to play the game.

7/14/2010: Written by Lisa Hansen, Managing Editor of Active Gaming Section

 

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