This Blog

is an assignment for my Human Computer Interaction (HCI) course at Pepperdine. However, because of my fascination with exergaming and action gaming I hope that it grows well beyond the means of the course.

Over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. At present, approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2004).The rise in childhood obesity is due to complex interactions across a number of relevant social, environmental, and policy contexts that influence eating and physical activity. Over decades, these have collectively created an adverse environment for maintaining a healthy weight (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2004).Full Report – Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures

When the Nintendo Wii came out, I have to admit I became fascinated with game consoles again. In our Game Lab at New Mexico State University, I saw a new generation of kids having fun, but wait they were physically moving while playing video games. They weren’t plopped down on a bean bag using the standard game controller. They were jumping around, getting a physical workout, but laughing their heads off, well almost. They didn’t care about how physically demanding the games were they just wanted to play! It looked like so much fun, that I had to try it. I now own a Wii. Ok, well its my daughter’s Wii, but I get to play!

Action gaming didn’t start with the Wii; it’s been around since the 80’s. I started noticing it again with the DDR systems. I tried the dance platform in the early 90’s in a casino in Las Vegas. I failed miserably at it, but it was fun.

The site is about looking at different aspects of active gaming and more important exergaming. Some of the games we (NMSU Team) have created have been related to health and nutrition. This brings me back to the obesity epidemic the U.S. is currently facing. If we can use this technology to help battle this epidemic and teach proper nutrition, then we as game developers should use our skills to do so.

The reality is kids know when games are educational, but as long as games are engaging they are likely to spend time on them. Add that to a system such as the Wii or peripherals such as the EyeToy and we’ve found a technology that can make a significant difference here. We need to engage our youth with technology they use.

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