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Pedal Your Way Through Quake 138

Posted by timothy
from the huff-and-puff-and-annihilate dept.
loteck writes: "Tom's previewed this latest toy that allows health savy gamers to peddle their way through flight simulators, racers and even first person shooters. Someone is providing a plethora of compatible games by which to Quake or Carmageddon yourself to that six-pack that you've always wanted." I wonder if this would burn more calories than the floor-pad from the old Nintendo system.
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Pedal Your Way Through Quake

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  • The company link (Score:4, Informative)

    by mmaddox (155681) <.oopfoo. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday November 09, 2001 @08:56AM (#2542731)
    ...for this "simcycle" is here [eloton.com] [elonton.com].
    • I wonder, how good of a machine is this? As an competitive cyclist (roadie), I spent years trying to figure out the best pedaling position for myself on the bike. And before you say the traditional road bike is not necessarily the most efficient setup for energy transfer through pedals - I'm aware of it. Even though this machine could, hypothetically, be setup in such a way (with the right, stationary seating) to resemble a hyper-efficient recumbent, how many people will actually DO this? Won't most people be using (as the website shows) their couch, or god-forbid, their swiveling office chairs? Can you imagine the bouncing that will occur? And working up a good sweat in your office seating...that's NOT gonna wash out.
      • Well, those of us who work for companies who love to blow money on stuff have those neato Areon[sp] chairs. No fabric! :)

        Those of us who work for new-age dot-coms may find our chairs are made from cold, painted aluminium, like the $20 chairs from Walmart. Nuff said. :)
  • by sheetsda (230887) <doug.sheetsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 09, 2001 @08:56AM (#2542732)
    I'd see the day where I'd need to be in shape to sit on my ass and play a computer game. Or the day where I could get in shape doing the same.
  • How do you expect me to rail with pinpoint accuracy when i'm out of breath? Seriously I have a feeling this won't take off. Could be cool for bicycle simulators...I guess.
  • Incorrect link (Score:4, Informative)

    by mosch (204) on Friday November 09, 2001 @08:57AM (#2542734) Homepage
    The first link in the story is incorrect, Tom's little preview is actually located at http://www4.tomshardware.com/technews/technews-200 11108.html#0053 [tomshardware.com]
  • ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mike Connell (81274)
    I am (almost) speechless. Where do people get the ideas (and funding) for these things? What's next, a barcode scanner so that you can sit in front of your computer and look up stuff from adverts?

    If I wanted to spend $200 so that I could get hot and sweaty in front of my computer I'm sure I could find more enjoyable methods...
    • Re:... (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by HiQ (159108)
      If I wanted to spend $200 so that I could get hot and sweaty in front of my computer I'm sure I could find more enjoyable methods...

      What, like actually paying for pr0n????
    • ... (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Mike Connell (81274)
      I am (almost) speechless. Where do people get the ideas (and funding) for these things? What's next, a barcode scanner so that you can sit in front of your computer and look up stuff from adverts?

      If I wanted to spend $200 so that I could get hot and sweaty in front of my computer I'm sure I could find more enjoyable methods...
    • by elmegil (12001)
      You gotta admit this could be good for those of us addicted to Half Life whose wives keep nagging us to get more exercise :-).
  • Maybe these guys should have looked at the history of these "exercise" controllers and noticed that they're not exactly a huge market.

    After all, from my standpoint as a stereotypical overweight Gamer-American, the last thing I want to do is peddle on a bike while I'm playing Dark Age of Camelot. If I want to get exercise, which though rare I do from time to time, I get out in the Fresh Air.

    'Course, it could make my spawn-camping so much more productive...

    • Real Fresh Air Generator optional addon component. It's designed to _simulate_ being outside. Real Full Spectrum Sun Generator also available for those pale pudgy gamers that want to induce a tan. You can then play games like "Nature Walk" in which you are a character walking through nature. Nature being anything from a city like New York or a forest in Canada. Forget interacting with other people for now, though, the online version is still in development. DigiScents already has scents put together for many popular nature walks.
  • sounds like an updated version of the excellent powerpong that was at HAL2001.
  • This would actually be pretty cool for Spinning [spinning.com]. For those of you who aren't familiar, you basically sit in a class of networked excer-cycles and a psychotic instructor that keeps breaking promises.

    Two more minutes...Three, two, one... OK... Now just one more...[sound of several BFGs]

    Class over!
  • by Splinton (528692) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:02AM (#2542749) Homepage
    I seem to remember having something similar to this when I was young. It was called, let me see now... yes... REAL LIFE EXERCISE!
  • But... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Pyrosz (469177) <amurray@@@stage11...ca> on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:03AM (#2542751) Homepage
    I already have a 6 pack, its just hidden by my case of 24.
  • I remember that old nintendo running pad. We actually had one, along with the olympic games cartridge. The problem is that when you're playing someone else they would always figure out a way to just stomp their heels really fast or actually use their hands, and it defeated the whole purpose. Hopefully that won't be the case with this device.
    • That game pad was so much fun though. I actually broke a sweat several times.

      In terms of "cheating", you are still doing a lot more physical activity than you would be sitting motionless.
      • by jandrese (485)
        Several times? I seem to remember breaking a sweat pretty much every time I used that thing. Granted I wasn't the most athletic kid, but given that the shortest course in that track and field cartridge was apparently 10 miles long, I don't see how you could avoid breaking a sweat.

        Of course we didn't cheat...much. Everytime it had you jumping some hurdle we'd quickly jump off the pad and back on. It made the game thing that you'd just jumped 20 feet in the air. :)

        Still, remembering that pad made me wish DDR was invented sooner instead of the just plain awful Dance Aerobics cart.
    • you're only cheating yourself ;-)
  • LOL, you and I both know that noone ever used that thing like they were supposed to. They always got on their knees and slapped the hell out of it instead of running! lol
    • That's not true. I never slapped the pad with my hands. The best approach to cheating in games with the gamepad was to play the olypics game and then choose "long jump." I'm not entirely clear what was so fun about running really hard to get your guy fast enough so he was able to launch a tremendous jump, and then simply stepping off the pad and watching him fly through the air as if you yourself were simply the most talented leap frogger around.

      I spent hours standing next to my gamepad long jumping. Hours. Unfortunately the game would catch on if your jumps were too heroic and you'd need to step back onto the pad at some point the make your guy land.

      What a game.
  • great concept (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rnd() (118781) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:11AM (#2542768) Homepage
    I visited a health club that had a couple of old stationary bikes that were fitted with some kind of old tank combat game. Pedaling would determine how fast the tank moved, and buttons on the handle bars allowed for steering, firing, etc.

    Usually my patience (and energy) runs out after about 30 minutes on a bike, but that day I 'played' for 2 hours.
  • by mESSDan (302670)
    Real Work (tm) takes all the fun out of Quake. Shit, if I'm going to do that, I might as well go outside ;)
    • Go outside? What kind of geek are you?

      Besides.. In the real world I've heard they don't appreciate the whole rocket launcher/nailgun/shotgun's going off left right and center thing...
  • by intuition (74209) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:12AM (#2542771) Homepage
    From the pictures from the companies web site, it seems that the cycle is a unit separate from the chair you are sitting on that sits on the the floor with pedals sticking out. How you can apply force to the pedals without the unit sliding around, or from the angle you are sitting at - really be able to "workout" with the unit is hard for me to imagine.

    To really be able to get a mediocre workout from an exercise cycle it must be solidly constructed and the "chair" and pedals must be one integrated unit. Think about how much abuse a controller takes just from your own fingers, this "cycle" just doesn't look like it could handle the kind of abuse a fragfest can generate.
    • The system most of my cycling buddies with good jobs use is Computrainer [computrainer.com]. I've tried it and it is excellent. The cool thing about the system is that it very accurately adjusts the watts required. When the screen is showing hill, it hurts. Draft behind someone and it gets easier and so on. Also you put your standard bike in the stand as opposed to sitting on the couch. The real advantage here, I think is for doing interval training. Normally you warm up for 30 minutes or so and then go all out for 1 or 2 minutes then rest for 1 or 2 minutes and repeat over and over again. I'd rather not be on the road with cars towards the end of an interval and you can set it up to be very motivational.

      On the downside it is very expensive, which makes it hard to justify. You don't steer, which I found strange. Seems like it would be easy to put you front wheel on a turntable like "mouse" and let you go where you want.

      Ultimately it would be sweet to digitize a real bike race, so that the positions of all the riders are accurately known over the whole course. Then you could get on your Computrainer and try and keep up.

      - ordinarius
    • "pedal the SimCycle to guide your first person shooter, racecar or fighter thereby upping the stakes for skill and coordination"

    Uh, so, this is good because it makes it harder to play games? What's the connection between pedalling and rocket jumping? I don't suppose it makes much difference how fast you're pedalling, and I'd be highly dubious about how fast this thing will respond compared to pressing a key, so it makes about as much sense as moving forwards by slapping your head, or yodelling.

    I'm actually rather taken by this, but it's a wierd way of advertising it. Instead of bundling a gamepad with it, why not bundle some software, basically a cheap landscape engine, so you can go for a cycle in the park, or the mountains, or in some wierd post-apocalyptic nightmare world populated by the undead and... oh, wait... OK, maybe they have got it right. ;-)

  • Health clubs, maybe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bloodmusic (223292)
    I think the market may not be the two or three people who would want to put an exercise bike in front of their computer, but maybe health clubs that would put a nice flat screen running a flight sim or Quake in front of one of those boring-ass exercise bikes.
  • I remember seeing an ad in my old Genesis gaming rags about an exercise bike that would allow you to control games. A Google search turned up the ExerGame [hypermax.com], a bike with such an interface. The web page hasn't been updated in years, and doesn't offer too much info, though.
  • Damn, this costs $80.00! See for yourself [eloton.com]
    This doesn't seem like a product that 'real' gamers are going to be into. Imagine 20 guys with these stupid things playing Quake at a LAN party?!
    • Actually it's $200 for the bike, and another $80 for the box. For $300 bucks I could completely upgrade my system. (Though I wouldn't get any thinner.)
  • Next up... (Score:5, Funny)

    by GISboy (533907) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:21AM (#2542796) Homepage
    They'll re-invent the "power glove" for Leisure Suit Larry.

    Heck, if they really want to make it more enjoyable a force...ahem...feedback and vacuum-cleaner attach...oh, never mind.

    Work + Games....yeah, that sounds like a wiener.
  • Here in Brazil we are also like California: Eletricity Racionalization (is that the correct spelling?). It would be nice if besides of playing games we could also generate eletricity.

    It would be amazing, and the government could also lower importing taxes for this device :o)

    • I often look at all the energy being wasted at health clubs and wonder if any of that electricity could be captured and used by the club - perhaps to lower the price of membership? maybe 8 cycles connected to one big generator belt. ? :)
    • "rationalization" = uma desculpa mà pra uma limitação pessoal = bad excuse for a personal limitation;
      "rationing" = soferimento causado por administradores estupidos = suffering due to imbeciles making decisions
  • OK, we all know of the existence of "aimbots" for various FPSes. I guess that how quickly you pedal this thing will affect your aim, so will pub servers now be infested with people using "pedalbots" to help them cheat at pedaling?
  • If the cycle was some sort of excercise bike, it could be a good thing, because I don't get enough exercise as it is. On the other hand if it is just a cheap toy, it will probably get used once for the novelty value and then packed away in the garage never to be used again.

    I don't see why you would play quake with it. Are there any cycling simulations out there ?

  • for games like Half-Life or Carmageddon. Im a fat bastard so in Half-Life i would be dead(In the game and in real life) in about 4 minutes(max). As for Carmageddon, I personally switch between forward and backwards alot and that could do damage to the bike assuming that pedaling forwards makes you go forwards and pedaling backwards makes you go backwards.
  • I'm not sure if I like their approach with you using you own chair. It seems to me that using this thing over a longer period of time can cause back pain due to improper posture, so I wouldn't run out and buy these just yet.

    I do like the idea however, it would be nice if you could just interface any fitness equipment and link them with games. AFAIK there are already some products like this out there, especially for cycling and running.

    Alright, I'll take a shower now, just come from the gym

    hiro
  • Play Dance Dance Revolution [ddrfreak.com]! With a nice floor mat and a Playstation, or even a PC, you can burn those calories in no time.
  • sounds similar to a situation I found.
    I always had a difficult time doing my 1/2 hour of Nordic Track for my physical Therapy after some knee surgery.. I tried putting in front of the TV for news/music videos/cartoons anything to take away the boredom and drudgery I felt with churning away in my own personal gerbil wheel.
    Finally I picked up the controller of the Super Nintendo and put in Spiderman vs. Venom... voila... I found myself not even noticing the workout. After a while I found myself "skiing" faster during the battles and slower during the other parts of the game which was a better way for the heartrate.. I was attempting to wire the controls down to the "handles" of the NordicTrack when a bottle of water spilled over the SN system shorting it out for good. oh well
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:48AM (#2542852) Homepage
    then I can bind the <right pedal> to <super> and <left pedal> to <hyper> and be even more productive than today!
    • You can buy a footswitch from Kinesis [kinesis-ergo.com]. Their programmable 3-pedal switch works with any PS/2-style keyboard (or AT-style with an appropriate adaptor). You can program each of the switches to almost any macro (within some memory limit). The default is Shift (center), Control (left), and Alt (right).
  • Pick up the home version of Dance Dance Revolution (for PS1 or Dreamcast). Very fun, excellant excersize. Many a geek have lost LOTS of weight after playing that for a while. Someone is bringing it to the next LAN party I'm attending so I might be able to burn off all the extra Mt. Dew calories I consume ;-)
  • Sure, you have some levels where you need to just bash everything in sight. But there are other levels where you need to collect pieces and you're working against a clock. It is tough to do with a normal control. I'm wondering that, if I'm not going flat-out all the time, would it still be possible to complete those levels?

    Sounds like it could take out some of the enjoyability if it makes games too tough to play.
  • I peddeled (sorry) an idea to a vr company many moons ago about attaching some vr glasses to an excercise bike and having a type of "Man-copter" flight simulator where you could fly around in your man powered plane or helicopter. I know I would be incredibly fit if they ever actually made a product like that. I must have been talking to the wrong guy though, because shorty after I never heard from him again. Would anybody else use something like that?
  • by dpilot (134227) on Friday November 09, 2001 @09:53AM (#2542864) Homepage Journal
    Arthur C Clarke once wrote a story about a race in Earth-Moon space on space bicycles. (IIRC, it was Clarke) The bicycles were really Wimshurst (sp?) generators powering ion engines to provide thrust, and the course was somewhere in the range of 24 to 48 hours long. Minimal shell to hold in air and heat, minimal supplies, Kremer-caliber athletes, etc.

    It was a fun idea, though somehow I can't quite believe it would all hold together. I didn't think ion engines would generate sufficient thrust to make it to cislunar space. Nor would I expect that even a 48-hour spacecraft could be made light enough. I'd expect temperature control to be the biggest problem, between sunlight and shadow, maximum exertion and resting/sleeping.

    But with this idea, we could have it in sim form, and it wouldn't take 24-48 hours to get to cislunar space, either.

    • Not to mention Newtonian issues, i.e. when you pushed down on the pedal there would be nothing below you to counteract the force, so what would really happen is you would start spinning backwards about your horizontal axis (the X if looking from front or rear) I could be wrong, though.

      I'm just nit-picking for karma, that's all :)
  • Flying (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ratface (21117)
    There's an arcade game I've played before which features something like this (though more robust). In the game one flew a pedal-powered aircraft over a fantasy landscape and had to fly through dertain power-ups within a certain time limit to gain more flying time. I have NO idea what the game was called, but it was fantastic. Rather like I imagein Pilot Wings to be (though I admit to not hvaing played that!).

    Pedalling harder meant one could ascend, pedalling slower meant one began to descend. The dynamics of the game were excellent.

    Damn - I'm rambling now! Basically, I would want *that* game to go with this device.
    • The game is called Prop Cycle... Very fun, and a decent workout too.
    • PropCycle (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That would be PropCycle [partyoutfitters.com] by Namco, ca. 1988(?)

      A truly great game, requiring both skill and endurance. Very imersive, very pretty levels, shock full of hidden bonii that will keep you replaying it over and over...

      They still have it at the local amusement park, so I get to play it every summer, lucky me!

  • This may give you rambo legs, but it sure as hell ain't gonna give you a sixpack unless it's just hiding under a few inches of flab. What we need here is that device which shocks your abs into contracting -- sure it'll cripple you by the time you're ready to show off those abs, but just think -- A SIXPACK!
  • This could be just the thing I need to convinve my wife that we should get a ps2, xbox, and gamecube.
  • Wouldn't a regular cycle or a modified exercise machine do the same thing? Why does it have to be connected to the computer? What purpose does that serve?
  • by Scoria (264473) <slashmail@initia[ ]ed.org ['liz' in gap]> on Friday November 09, 2001 @10:10AM (#2542906) Homepage
    They could make a variant that generates power. Ever wanted to be your own power backup? "Don't stop peddling now! I want to finish this map!" :)
    • I don't know about you, but I get tired quite quickly at 100 watts (I've got a meter on a LifeCycle, and I break that regularly, but not by much, and not for more than several minutes at a time).

      So this would be fine for a "portable comuter" design, but not good for a tower model with a CRT.
      And you'd better handle lighting separately.
  • And let us geeks have at it? Virtual landscapes, virtual races, hey-even a pedal powered flight sim. Almost all their games are car racing, which seems a little incongruent. It's the visual stimulation that makes a grueling workout fun--pedaling harder because you think you're going up a hill, not because the LED went from 4 to 5.

    It would need to be a decent recumbant or upright. This product doesn't look very ergonomic.

    I'm looking for such a bike now, but I just started looking. Maybe there are some good choices out there already.
  • The idea of using video games to lose weight is not new. Step into your local video arcade and you'll see quite a few games for the carpal-tunnel imparied. The most popular (spawning four versions and imitators) is "Dance Dance Revolution," and there's website testimonials of pudgy nerds getting into shape by trying for the high score. Even the Hawaiian Press picked up the story: http://www.msoe.edu/ingenium/?2084&71&2 .
  • "If they made one of these things that would increase my bandwidth by pedaling faster, I'd be a world-class athlete."

    If someone somehow created this machine, I don't think there would be another problem with geeks being overweight. We would have tons of super-buff comp people, heh. You could sure bet yourself I would be on that thing 24/7 pumping like crazy :) .
  • this latest toy that allows health savy gamers to peddle their way through flight simulators, racers and even first person shooters.

    Would somebody come out with a hack for this?? I don't ever want to be thin or in shape! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, FIND A HACK!!

    • What's wrong with being in shape or thin?

      I agree, this isn't the best implementation of the device, but if they had a recombant bike connected to an interesting sim, I would definitely spend lots of time on it.

      There was a time when I had no regard for whatever shape I was in. That was until I looked at a picture of myself and realised what a pig I was. Now I do the standard 3 days a week exercise thing, but man... to make pedaling an indoor bike more fun? That would be great.

      Of course the alternative would be to get a real bike and actually ride it around, but I live in an apartment and the city sucks.
  • If you need exercise that badly, check out Dance Dance Revolution. Not only does it feature lots of aerobic goodness, with the two-player mode you can work on your social skills too!
    (IIRC, 3rd Mix actually has a "Diet Mode" -- you can see how many calories you've burned.)

    Ahh, import PS goodness.
  • Ten years ago, I disassembled a $10 mouse and hooked the Y wheel up to a $10 exercise bike I picked up at the Starvation Army. Advantage: the machine thought it was a plain old mouse, so you could use it for any application. I never worked out what to do with the X axis, though, before I lost interest.

    If I didn't have the attention span of a fruit fly, I might be rich.
  • In other news, people are now selling "exercise bikes" that can be used while watching TV. Despite this ability to burn calories while watching TV, Americans still seem to be overweight. Researchers admit to being puzzled, but maintain that cycling while playing a video game is totally different in a way they can't yet explain.
  • .. as this might drive the couch potato to extinction?
  • As if avid gamers weren't already stinky enough.
  • As a avid Mountain Biker, I find it's important to keep my knees safe. Because you can do quite a lot of damage to your knees when you put excessive strain on them. By not fully extending your knees (usually from a bent position to 179 degrees [almost straight]) during each revolution while peddling is important.

    However, this product does not do anything, other then make your knees practice short repetive strokes.

    You might get a slight cardio workout, but it'd be easier, and more pleasant experience to goto the local gym. Don't try to cheat yourself, into thinking you're going to actually get into shape with a gimicy product such as this.

    You'll by the product, start using it... till you start losing [because you can't peddle enough], and you'll switch back to the good old KB/Mouse combo, and frag someone. Then it'll be another toy that's stuck in the closet.

    Or you can buy a gym membership at a gym where good looking women [or men] are at, and then be in bliss. I'm not sure for you people, but usually looking good increases sexually fertility, then playing a kick arse game of quake.

    Don't think you'll do both... when was the last time you liked losing?
    • I think the point here is to play with other people using the same device.

      Have you seen the cycling game in the arcade? I forget the name of it, its basically a stationary bike with a flightstick attached to it. The point of the game is to fly a "course" popping baloons along the way. Its a simple pretty non-competitive game designed especially for the pedal and stick setup. I enjoyed it at least.

      And as for being in bliss because you're surrounded with attractive members of the sex you're interested in, I don't buy it. Just because they're good looking doesn't make me less self concious about being overweight and out of shape. The gym isn't always the best solution.

      You do have a good point about the knee strain, however. I'd much rather see a system described by another poster where you use your own bike.

      Zipwow
  • Get dance dance revolution [konami.com] for the playstation.

    For those unfamiliar with the game, basically you have a pad with 4 arrows, up down left right. On screen you see 4 static arrows at the top of the screen and then some colored arrows floating upwards toward them. You press the arrow on the pad when the colored and static arrows overlap.

    It's a great form of exercise, it even includes a diet mode where you set the amount of calories you want to burn and itll make you play until you reach your desired goal.

    heres a site with some more information: www.ddrfreak.com [ddrfreak.com]
  • I wonder if this would burn more calories than the floor-pad from the old Nintendo system.

    what about dance dance revolution?!

  • by DavidBrown (177261) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:20AM (#2543222) Journal
    Instead of bicycling, how about someone hack one of those "Dance Dance Revolution" game pads for Quake. A player could put in on the floor in front of his chair and use his feet to control his movements, freeing up his left hand to type in comments about his l33t 5ki1z.
  • You know how those dance dance revolution games are really popular? I saw a *DOG WALKING* arcade game in Japan. It's like a treadmill, pretty much, with a cute dog on the screen and you hold this leash thing and you take this dog on a walk. Sometimes you have to run and chase cats and stuff. What's up with that?!
  • what you need now is when you frag someone's as they get forced off their bike seat and squish their nuts on the crossbar underneath :)

    one of my most painful childhood memories!!!
  • The "floor pad" is really the Nintendo Power Pad. I had it as a kid, I guess my parents got in on one of the few lots that them. Our Mario Brothers 1 disk had that, Duck Hunt, and World Track Meet on it. It was interesting for awhile, but more fun to get your friends together to try to cheat your way to the top.

    We also had some other track-like game, but it was really annoying... it was more like a party game; one cool thing was that there was a skateboard sim where you had to sidestep bottles, etc.

    They probably made a karate game for it, but I bet most of them were track and field games.
    • Cheat for power pad:
      put socks on your hands, and make circular motions on the pads with your fists. When done right, your player will zoom to the finish line.
  • Play Dance Dance Revolution! [konami.co.jp]

    The Nintendo Power Pad was a great idea in concept, but the system wasn't powerful enough to provide a decent entertainment experience with it. DDR is addictive and fun. If you don't want to play in the arcades where people can see you and make fun of you, then get a home set - It's domestically available for PSX, though Konami has only domestically published two titles, and has a third in the works. If you import, Japan has over ten Dance Dance Revolution titles, and they're almost totally in English anyway, so you'll only need to get a modchip or a GameShark.

    Konami also released two DDR games for the Dreamcast in Japan, and a Disney-themed DDR for the N64 (Which is also now available for the PSX) but I don't think they made any first-party dance mats, so you'll have to stick with third-party crap mats if you want to play DDR on your Dreamcast. To my knowledge, nobody makes 3rd-party mats for the N64.

    Don't knock it [washington.edu] until you've tried it [ddrfreak.com]. It's loads of fun, and while you might not be very good at it right away, it doesn't take that much practice to get good. It's especially fun to show off in front of a crowd at your local arcade.
  • As an avid biker (I spent more on my last bike than my computer... so there!), I can tell you, riding a bike, not even mountain biking, will give you a six pack. Sit-ups, crunches, yes; biking no. But biking will give you bigger legs and a tighter butt (and if it's mountain biking, several scars, no doubt). The bigger legs make pants buying a pain, but at least my girlfriend likes the butt benefit.
  • maybe this will be just what i need to keep all the coke and cheese outta my keyboard.
  • Just play Dance Dance Revolution [ddrfreak.com]. After a few hours in non-stop mode, I'm sure you'll have had enough of a workout.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday November 09, 2001 @12:54PM (#2543947) Homepage Journal
    Is to actually exercise. "Tricking" your body and brain into thinking that you're moving your muscles around isn't an effective way to exercise. That's why every time a product like this comes out (remember how big the "ride your stationary bike with the fake moving digital scenery in front of you" products tanked a couple years ago), they all bomb.

    The bottom line is that in order to improve your cardio or muscle performance, you have to actually EXERCISE. That means you're not playing a video game, whether standing, sitting, bouncing, or sliding from side to side.

    You're running, cycling, rowing, climbing, lifting, or doing some other form of focused physical exercise. Study after study has shown that people get more out of exercise when they're paying attention to what their bodies are doing. In other words, when they're focused on exercising.

    Sometimes there are no technology solutions to issues that are mental. It's difficult to stay motivated to exercise, but it's also a self-reinforcing thing. The more of it you force yourself to do, the more of it you'll want to do, and the easier it is to motivate yourself.

    Plus, the real, physical experience of blasting down a single-track on a mountain bike beats any video game ever created.
    • I'm going to agree with you on your point about "The only good workout is the one you pay attention to." But devices that allow gamers to play games while getting in exercise MAY have a future. THIS device is probably not a great example of how such a thing would work. The DDR pad mentioned in several other posts is a better approach by far. However, I'm going to go so far as to say that this isn't enough for a physical fitness gaming machine on its own, at least not for a total-body workout guaranteed. I remember that there was an accessory for the old NES that acted as a game-pad, but used some sort of primitive motion-sensory hardware to allow a player to use various hand movements in place of pushing buttons. Keeping in mind this was over 15 years ago that these things started appearing, I have to believe that the technology involved has advanced quite a bit since then. So, imagine the following if you will, people. The accessory is made in three parts. The first is a small screen or camera that is placed on top of the TV. The second partis some kind of pin, pendant, or if you're looking for force-feedback a vest that contains a small radio transmitter. This works with the scanner to identify the player so that something like the dog walking between the player and the screen doesn't disrupt the game. The third part (which could work in place of the identifier part) is a "cheater" with some extra buttons to control additional functions. When all this is properly hooked up, then the player can simply move himself to manipulate the game word. Playing a driving game? You sit down and drive. FPS? Some shortcuts are needed (perhaps an exercise bike or a treadmill needed, but it's not connected to the game) but with the "cheater" control you can start doing things like dodging around gunfire yourself. A fighting game? Simplest of all! Hope you're a reasonably decent fighter IRL! Granted, the processing power to take full advantage of such a setup probably isn't available outside of a lab today, but in five years? Who knows? Any takers?
  • But I figured the idea would never take off...

    now a good input device would be optical with 5 cameras and your whole body... great for martial arts games.
  • would be a power generator connected to a pedaling unit, this way if you want to continue playing your favorite game you would have to pedal, or else - game over.
    Not only will you get in shape but the power lines will have some relief from all you, playing videogames.
  • If only it came with a port of Prop Cycle [klov.com]...

  • There is such a sport, at least in meatspace. I was watching a match once & thought it would be neat to fave a FPS (first person cyclist) version. Now someone else has developed the perfect input device. How's that for serendipity?

    On a side note, Quake can be pretty addictive. I had to stop playing after I realized how many all-nighters I was pulling. The combination of the addictiveness (word?) and this device may send plenty of gamers to the emergency room, leading zealous Congresscritters & the D.E.A. to "do something" about "this dangerous Quake drug". Sigh...

  • Just had to brag I still have a working power pad and games. Anyone ever played the 2 in 1 game called short order. It's got a stupid memory game but also has an awesome game where foxes run by and put bombs under hens in a hen house, and you save the hens by popping the bomb by hitting the corresponding power pad button. One of the funnest games ever (IMHO) and you really get a work out on the higher levels.
  • My wife and I visited a health club in Austin, TX while on vacation there a few years ago (one of the best "pure" vacations we've ever taken, by the way; Austin's beautiful, we stayed on the northwest side of town in the beautiful hills, visited Ladybird Johnson's wildflower reserve in the southwest, etc.).

    They had a two-person videogame setup that you played by riding exercise cycles. The cycles were, IIRC, recumbant-style, with integrated "consoles" for the hands, the ability to tilt left and right to control steering, and feedback so the system knew how hard you were pedaling. (I don't recall it being able to dynamically adjust the resistance, though maybe it did.)

    Of the four games offered, three were basically scenic two-person "outings" -- you could pedal around a mountain (ski simulation maybe?), around an island (including going underwater), and the third might have been a road-race kind of thing. In all three, you saw your partner/opponent as they pedaled around in your monitor, they saw you in theirs, in animated fashion of course.

    But my favorite was the fourth game, where you actually competed with each other in some sort of Aztec or Mayan-inspired game where you were driving little carts that could push and shoot a ball through a stone hole up in two of the four slanted rock walls.

    With this game, you really did get a lot of exercise, because the faster you pedaled, the quicker you got to the ball. Beating your opponent to the ball meant you could usually "grab" it (by running into it, basically) and run with it until you lined up a good shot and fired using the console. But your opponent could knock you about and, I think, knock the ball off and retrieve it for herself.

    Watching the 3D rendering of the arena, the ball bounce around, learning how the cycle-powered simulated cart responded, all that meant both of us, who had already done a pretty good workout, pedaled ourselves silly for about half an hour. (Oh, the system allows for an RPM or resistance handicap -- at the time, that helped my wife compete, since she couldn't pedal as fast as I.)

    Then we both got too dog-tired to go on, and basically crashed the rest of the day.

    Ever since, we've occasionally talked about how wonderful it would be to have a system like that in our house somewhere, though ideally with more choices of games.

    Personally, I am more likely to exercise harder in competive situations than just to burn calories, and I think that's true of my wife as well. So a game like that is great.

    Whether the pedaling system described here is good enough, I don't know, but the game we played was, at least for that one time!

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