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US Navy Considering Wii Fit and DDR For Boot Camp 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the path-to-international-respect dept.
almehdaaol writes "New military recruits are coming in physically heavier and out of shape, so the US Navy has decided to take an interesting course of action by creating a new training regimen inspired by the fitness-centric Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution." This comes alongside a report confirming some of the BS we told our parents when we were growing up: "Bavelier said playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve peripheral vision and the ability to see objects at dusk, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, a disorder characterized by indistinct vision in one eye. She said she believes the games can improve math performance and other brain tasks."
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US Navy Considering Wii Fit and DDR For Boot Camp

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  • Might work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:25PM (#32383168) Homepage Journal

    Considering that so many young Americans are obese that it's affected our military's ability to recruit, I'd say just about anything may be worth a try.

    Fatness in the US has become a threat to national security.

    At least with the end of Don't Ask/Don't Tell we might have a better chance of having physically fit people enlist.

    • Dietary issues are also the biggest killer in the States right now. More than smoking or driving. Definately more than homicide.

      • The military using Wii fit and DDR in order to help shape up their incoming overweight recruits is cute, but it's really not the best way of going about it. The obvious answer an obesity epidemic in America can easily be found in our answers to other things that threaten us.

        Criminalization.

        We'll make driving while obese illegal, put in mandatory weigh-ins to prove you aren't too fat to buy high calorie foods, ban cheeseburgers, put in fat scanners in airports, put and start putting them in prison. Then we

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr. Freeman (933986)
      "Considering that so many young Americans are obese that it's affected our military's ability to recruit"

      [Citation needed]

      Seriously, where are you hearing this? Furthermore, the ability to recruit might have a lot to do with being sent to Iraq the second you're out of basic.
      • Or Afghanistan, where my brother was set to deploy immediately after AIT.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by The Snowman (116231)

        Considering that so many young Americans are obese that it's affected our military's ability to recruit

        [Citation needed]

        Seriously, where are you hearing this? Furthermore, the ability to recruit might have a lot to do with being sent to Iraq the second you're out of basic.

        Citation here, at cnn.com [cnn.com].

        Also, it is highly unlikely that a recruit from any branch will see combat directly out of basic training. New members need technical or advanced training. This is the link for Air Force [airforce.com] training, since that is t

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Thank you, Snowman.

          It takes a real mensch to step up and provide a citation to back up somebody else's assertion.

          I wasn't trying to troll or flame when I made the original comment about the military being concerned about the fitness level of recruits and potential recruits. I've got the absolute highest regard for anyone who has served, or who chooses to serve today.

          My dad was in the Army in WWII and fought in the China-Burma Theater. When I hit 18 during the waning years of the Viet Nam conflict, he actu

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Honor the people, not the fact that they have served. It was another world, another time when you father fought. How many people go into service today because it is their only chance to get a decent education, to get out of the social environment they grew up in? This doesn't diminish their choice, but it has to be kept in mind. Honor them for the price they are willing to pay for that.
            • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

              How many people go into service today because it is their only chance to get a decent education, to get out of the social environment they grew up in?

              You ask the question as if you know the answer.

              Tell us, "how many"?

              I can help you a bit. The answer is "Not as many as you think". Yours is a very common misconception about people who enlist in today's military. A surprisingly large majority of them are enlisting for the same reason people did so in 1941. And by the way, most of the "greatest generation"

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            hen I think about the education I got and the advanced degrees, it's hard for me to forget that there's a good chance somebody went to 'Nam in my place. It's a sobering reminder, and it's why with all the smack-talking and snark I lay out, I never, ever disparage anybody for serving.

            I'm not here to attack anyone for their lifestyle choice right now, but I want to provide you some food for thought: all those kids who joined up to get their G.I. Bill contributed to the size of our standing military and made it possible for us to illegally project power all over the globe. When the bulk of your country's military actions since its conception have been for purely economic reasons, and you join that country's military, you're signing up to be a corporate soldier, a tool of capitalism. And f

            • When the bulk of your country's military actions since its conception have been for purely economic reasons, and you join that country's military, you're signing up to be a corporate soldier, a tool of capitalism. And frankly, you are as much to blame for signing up to follow illegal orders (any order in support of an illegal action is itself illegal) and then following them as those who give them.

              I disagree that the bulk of the military's actions are economically motivated, but certainly the bulk of the ac

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                One thing I don't like is blind nationalism, especially in our military. Look around at all the "support our troops" stickers on cars. What does anyone do to support them? Do people stop and think what they are doing and why? Do people realize that Congress voted to allow the President to send real, living people to the other side of the planet to kill people? Do people understand those are real bullets, people are dying every day, and that every known reason for doing this has been proven to be a lie?

                Rage Against the Machine has a great song about this [metrolyrics.com]. If you don't like the style you can still read the lyrics :) I've been imagining tee shirt designs involving the phrase "A Yellow Ribbon Instead Of A Swastika" ... maybe written in yellow ribbon? Anyway.

            • by Jedi Alec (258881)

              When the bulk of your country's military actions since its conception have been for purely economic reasons, and you join that country's military, you're signing up to be a corporate soldier, a tool of capitalism. And frankly, you are as much to blame for signing up to follow illegal orders (any order in support of an illegal action is itself illegal) and then following them as those who give them.

              Bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. I'm a leftist hippie european and there are a lot of things I dislike a

    • They've used it to help rehabilitate patients, and noticed that patients who have a Wii and use it are healthier.

      Bottom line - the military is finding out that the Wii kicks ass!

      No more couch potatoes.

      Of course the next problem will be that possession of a bunnch of Wiis could mark you as a terrorist training camp.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Let's just hope that Nintendo doesn't pull the same crap that got the USAF nailed by Sony when they removed OtherOS.

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          Let's just hope that Nintendo doesn't pull the same crap that got the USAF nailed by Sony when they removed OtherOS.

          Hospitals aren't installing any special software - they're just getting patients in physical rehab to play Wii Sports and Wii Fit.

          It also works well in old-age homes - keeps people moving AND gives them social interaction.

          This is something that the whole FPS-sitting-on-the-couch-killing-people crowd doesn't get.

      • by T-ice (1069420)
        WRONG! The navy is filled with some of the laziest people you'll ever meet. Everyone in the navy I've known who had a wii just flipped the controller and never actually did any of the swinging that makes it "active". I'm fairly certain they don't even get off their asses to put in a different game. On that note you can't really blame all of them, depending on where they work they may not have the space to move around enough. So unless terrorism involves flicking grenades with a Popsicle stick, there wi
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          I guess it boils down to the game in question. Some games, unless you're actually standing and moving the controller a LOT, you'll get your ass kicked. And then there are games that just beg you to get off the couch - like the sword-fighting game in Wii Sports Resort. I thought that would be the dumbest/lamest game in the bundle, but was I wrong!

          It's so much fun that you don't even mind losing that much ...

    • Obesity is not just an American problem, and if it really is a threat can be debated. It's also a British issue, a Canadian issue, etc. We might be the highest right now, but that could change - (we're just a little ahead of you guys :p).

      Self-righteousness and health related attempts to control other peoples lives, that's a world wide epidemic with far scarier consequences than obesity.
  • That BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:25PM (#32383174) Homepage Journal

    This comes alongside a report confirming some of the BS we told our parents when we were growing up

    Be that as it may, your parents were still right about exercise, fresh air, and socialization.

    • No they weren't *shot from inhaler* shut up
      nomm nomm nomm... good cheetos!

      Ack... my left arm hurts! I'd get help if I had friends.

      • The US could do the 'citizen' thing, where if you do a 4 year [or whatever] stint in the military, you get to be immigrate... I'm sure lots of Mexican's would take them up on it, and as a bonus, they already have experience with weapons!

        • by sysrammer (446839)

          Actually, they may be able to. Way back in the Air Force, our basic training squadron had 3 "foreign nationals"...one Filipino, one from South America, and one from Norway or somewhere like that. I was quite surprised, I had no idea at the time.

          I think the rule was more or less, as long as we had good relations w/ a country, and the person had no criminal record, we'd let them join our military.

          After their stint, I think their citizenship could be fast-tracked. I read somewhere that lots of Filipino's did e

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kumanopuusan (698669)

            That's not quite the case.
            Legal U.S. residents (including citizens and foreign nationals with resident status) can enlist.
            Only citizens can be commissioned as officers.

  • There goes our military.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You kidding? Those guys will be able to make every step in the right direction.

      • by SEWilco (27983)

        You kidding? Those guys will be able to make every step in the right direction.

        Left, right, left, right, up, down, left, up, up, down, left, right, left, right.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Voyager529 (1363959)

          *sigh* up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.

          DDR *is* made by Konami, after all.

          • by SEWilco (27983)
            Surely soldiers should start with left, right. I didn't try to figure out what that would look like on the parade ground.
      • by Spatial (1235392)
        Wheezing in the right direction, at least.
  • Your tax dollars at work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by skine (1524819)

      Apparently the state of gaming on Macs is so bad that the government has to step in.

  • Between my high scores on Paranoia: Survivor and Territories on Zanzibar, I will be the greatest soldier America has ever seen!
  • Vision (Score:1, Offtopic)

    This came up about a week ago. My girlfriend does play Wii Fit and Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES from time to time, but she's never been what most would consider a hardcore gamer. I wouldn't consider myself hardcore anymore, but I definately was no more than a year ago. I've always been very heavy on first person shooters. Counter-Strike and Halo and the likes.

    Anyways, so we were walking home from a party, outside campfire type thing. We walked past a church, and I noticed the sign said something a little f

  • by ShadowWraith (1322747) <scribbler95&gmail,com> on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:37PM (#32383352)
    From the article: "...newcomers to the military service build up the endurance they need to get in shape safely." Allowing trainees to play games to get in shape goes against almost everything the military is supposed to teach soldiers. Soldiers are expected to spends weeks or months in the field where there might not be electricity and clean water, forget entertainment electronic. Soldiers should learn to rough it and exercise even when it's difficult or boring. If the new recruits cannot take the standard training, perhaps there should be a "pre-boot camp", but to allow them to play games? Insane.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      The military is not exactly in a position were it can pick and choose who it lets in, they have to pretty much take all comers at this point. They could raise pay, offer better hours, or anything else but this is probably the cheapest option

      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        I'd have thought the cheapest option would be to make gym teachers do their job better, and not cut recess from elementary schools. Frankly, kids probably need recess time straight through high school -- 45 minutes of being out doors and actually doing something other than sitting in a chair. Using video games to trick kids who got fat from playing video games and eating tubes of cookie dough until they started to resemble it is just sort of ridiculous. Increase physical activity and I guarantee you we'd

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I fail to see why the needs of the military would have anything to do with gym in school, seems like externalizing costs. Recess in highschool would only lead to more problems and fighting.

          I also think most ADD is just kids being kids. Unless you take them for a 10 mile hike a 10 year old is a hyper little idiot, that is just his natural state.

          • Or more relaxed students and getting along, but hey, feel free to assume all youth is violence oriented.

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            Because it's not about the military's needs, its about public health, health care costs, quality of life, etc. Being fit for duty is only one side effect.

            If we still had mandatory conscription in this country, like pretty much everywhere else in the civilized world, we probably wouldn't have as many of the health problems that we have.

            Increasing physical activity for kids really just makes sense on so many levels.

        • Get the Beavis and Butthead P.E. coach to run it

        • Do you really think those on the left would allow the Department of Education to be re-chartered under the premise of national defense?

          Likewise, do you really think those on the right, who want to kill the Department of Education, would want it to receive new justification under the premise of national defense?

          While I think that's the most-likely constitutional justification for having Federal oversight into local schools, this isn't the time that anything with that motivation will occur.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        The military is not exactly in a position were it can pick and choose who it lets in, they have to pretty much take all comers at this point.

        That's a pretty sad commentary on the state of the average American citizen.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Soldiers are expected to spends weeks or months in the field where there might not be electricity and clean water, forget entertainment electronic. Soldiers should learn to rough it and exercise even when it's difficult or boring.

      Games will be fun until you're forced to play DDR for 2 hours a day constantly.

      At that point it turns into "FUCK! I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE DDR. GIVE ME MY 50 POUND PACK. I'M GOING TO CLIMB THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN. SIR!."

    • If the new recruits cannot take the standard training, perhaps there should be a "pre-boot camp", but to allow them to play games? Insane.

      There is a such thing....if you can't pass a preliminary Physical Fitness Test done during the induction phase (paperwork, uni's, haircut) you are sent to the Physical Fitness Improvement Company for 2-3 weeks. The test itself is much less stringent than the official test by a good margin. If the "Fat Ass Company" as it was called didn't have you passing the shortened test at the conclusion, you repeated it. Again and again until you passed. And then you started the real basic training. The really cruel b

      • by TOGSolid (1412915)
        Yeah, I remember when I was dropped into medical hold (yay for burst appendixes) during Air Force basic training. There were a couple of heavy guys there that were basically told "get in shape, or we'll keep recycling your ass." This was back around 2002, so they're still big on recycling the overweight people through basic as much as possible until they drop the weight. So on that note, I'm confused. Is there something wrong with this system? IMO that's pretty damned good motivation to get in shape an
    • by sjames (1099)

      The NAVY doesn't spend much time out in fields!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:39PM (#32383388)

    Wow, now that is a reversal of policy. Going from "Don't ask don't tell" to "now, with extra-gay training regimen!"

  • Now the Navy is doing Dance Dance Revolution for Boot Camp? Have they not been hearing the jokes about themselves?
    • A custom version of DDR... loaded with the Village People /juvenile

    • by Dewin (989206)

      Yes, and this [youtube.com] is the song they want you to be good at.

      Your C.O. will be Captain Jack.

      • Your C.O. will be Captain Jack.

        If they wanted the C.O. to be Captain Jack, I think that this is the song [youtube.com] that they'd be more concerned with.

        Then again, that just might represent a conflict of interest.

        • Sad state of affairs if this [youtube.com] is not remembered as prime reference for Captain Jack. Billy Joel is more on topic than the above links anyway.
  • specially accidents like this one: http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/videogames/2010/04/14/13582661.html

    • In GOD we trust, all others we monitor.

      Jake 2.0 reference? I def miss that show...

      • by sysrammer (446839)

        >>In GOD we trust, all others we monitor.

        >Jake 2.0 reference? I def miss that show...

        NSA. Really.

        At least since the 70's, probably earlier.

        sr

  • Clearly the use of the Wii is meant to strengthen the arm muscles and thus reduce the amount of limp wrists in the Navy.

    • Re:IN THE NAVY (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RicktheBrick (588466) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:33PM (#32384780)
      I was in the navy for 20 years. I retired in 1997. I know how much training the Navy gave during boot camp. There were some that went to the fleet straight after boot camp but the majority went on to another school before going to the fleet. I myself spent almost 2 years in schools before going to the fleet. I soon found out that what the schools taught you were relevant in only about 20% of what was expected of you. The most important job was to keep the ship clean and well painted. The second most important job was to keep the top officers happy. This included when to salute and when to give honors to those officers. Several times I went to firing ranges to shoot the 45 pistol. Even after getting 10 practice shots and than not changing the target I failed to hit the target enough times to pass. I was never given very much training on how to shoot the pistol but I was always given the responsibility of carrying the weapon. It was just assumed that I would never have to use them(I do not know when the last time one had to use one). I was given the responsibility of firing both missiles and guns but was never given much training on when to use them(it was likewise assumed that I would never need to use them). I can hardly believe that someone hasn't forcefully taken over a naval vessels since at night at sea there is a fantail watch but he is unarmed and most of the hand held weapons are in the armory. There was absolutely no training about what to do if we did have an intruder board the ship while it was at sea. Even small tactics like keeping all the entrances to the ship one way locked at night so it would at least slow them down were not even contemplated. I was given a shot gun and told to patrol a deck when in port but I was never given any training on when I could use it. When the ship was in port one night while I was on watch I noticed a native Indian approaching the ship in a canoe but lucky for me there was a Spanish speaking guard on the pier who shouted at the intruder to go away and he did(he was probably just curious about all the lights). That was the closest I got to see any action in the whole 20 years.
      • by eqisow (877574)
        Interesting, but you'll be happy to know that all of that (using the weapon, when deadly force is authorized, etc) is all covered in Boot Camp now. I know because I just graduated ~2 months ago. I can also tell you that from what I saw of the culture there... this will not go over well, from the CO of RTC down to the RDC's, they all think it's more ridiculous than you to, to put it lightly. The real problem is with the PFA standards. Not only are they ridiculously easy, but of the three (push-ups, sit-ups
      • I had a similar experience from 1999-2008. I was NEVER properly trained for anything that I encountered. They just wanted warm bodies to fill all the watch duties. It didn't matter if all the equipment was broken as long as it was clean. WRT the physical stuff; I used to do 100 situps, 80 pushups and fail the run consistently. I would still get a physical readiness award due to the grading criteria. Hilarious!
  • by BoberFett (127537) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:41PM (#32384164)

    When I was in the army in the early 90s we just did good old fashioned exercise. What the fuck is wrong with making them run until they're no longer lardasses?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jjbenz (581536)
      agreed, I was in the Army in the late 80's and we did plenty of physical training. The guys that didn't pass the physical requirements were held back until they met them.
  • DDR maybe.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crossmr (957846) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:29PM (#32384724) Journal

    but Wii Fit? I guess you can get some aerobic exercise with it as well, but if you're going to use a game, DDR has far more feedback for the aerobic exercise with the mat. Long sessions of DDR could replace some aerobic fat burning classes for new recruits.

  • by WWWWolf (2428)

    Here in Finland, an outside support organisation bought a bunch of Wii consoles and Wii Fit games for various army garrisons. This was met with some initial scepticism, of course, but apparently the thing has turned out to be a success.

    In recent years, the army has been forced to figure out how to give the new conscripts who are in really bad shape (blah blah blah, moral and physical decay in youth today, yadda yadda yadda) a bit softer landing so they don't completely break themselves apart during the basi

  • Damn whippersnappers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Having one to boot camp in 2003 I was in one of the last old barracks they had where you had to march everywhere it doesn't surprise me that they are having issues getting the new recruits in shape. The new barracks have the mess hall, class rooms and barrack all in the same place so there is almost no marching or traveling on any given day in boot camp and just one PT session a day. So obviously the solution is to play videogames in the barracks and not you know march around during boot camp. Even the end

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Lowered? When I took them in '02, it was 50 minimum for a grunt, 31 if you had a high school diploma. That's slightly better than a warm wet blanket. What are they now?!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does it fall under "Don't Ask, Don,t Tell"
  • by Vegeta99 (219501)

    I've had strabismic amblyopia (lazy eye due to misalignment of the eyes at birth, not refractive issues - although I have those, too) since birth, cosmetically corrected, but playing video games hasn't done a damn thing to correct it. I've had surgery to cosmetically correct it, but too late for my brain to be OK with that.

    It's the weirdest thing to try and describe, since its effects are much permanent without drastic measures. Even with contacts that correct my vision to 20/20, my right eye just doesn't s

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So how is a game presented on a 2D monitor supposed to improve that? My brain can continue to rely on it's one "fellow eye" system just fine staring at a monitor.

      probably it does it by training your failing eye to behave like your winning eye, which is easier when both eyes are expected to do the same for long periods. and you're seeing stuff move while your eyes are doing the same thing for long periods so your brain has something to work with. the real world is just too complicated. but I made all this up

  • The military shows some intelligence. Instead of doing jumping jacks and other inane calisthenics for 30 minutes (or however long) every morning, why not make exercise fun. Get people to want to do it! I didn't lift weights like the football team in high school, but I did go to the arcade almost everyday and played nothing but DDR 3rd and 4th mix. I never thought of it as exercise, it was always fun... even when my legs were on fire. Tell you what, I could do as many squats at whatever weight with the best
  • My first thought on hearing this was how different the training scene would be in full metal jacket now....

    Would they attack Pile with wii controllers instead of soap in socks ?

    Would Sergeant Hartman be replaced with a character in a Mario Bros game?

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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