When I was a kid, Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 was all the rage for at-home gaming entertainment. The clunky, slow machines that connected to our television sets had games like Pitfall, Ms. Pac-Man, and Defender. Now we carry around Angry Birds in our pockets.
I remember spending a lot of time playing these games, but I don't remember getting fat because of it. Nowadays, I think that video games are designed to keep you sedentary and focused on the game only. In fact, I have found myself sometimes playing a game, looking up at the clock after what seemed only moments, and an inordinate amount of time had passed.
The same thing applies to computers and the internet. We find that we can spend lots of time on these devices and yet accomplish little. So, what happens is that we get less exercise. Remember when we had to actually get up to change the television channel?
The Nintendo Wii tried to change things up by making games that are interactive physically. The neat little remotes and the Wii Board were all novel ways to get people moving. But my daughter figured out that she could just shake the remote and simulate just about anything. I called it cheating.
Then there was DDR. That's short for Dance Dance Revolution, a game where you perform a few dance moves on a mat that was connected to your game system. For a guy with two left feet, that did not go over well. And, it's not really dancing; it's just moving your feet in patterns. Wait - maybe that is dancing.
Microsoft came out recently with a new product for its Xbox line called the Kinect. It seems that Kinect relies on your actual movements to move game characters and interact with the software. I have not tried this yet, but it looks like fun.
All these attempts to make video games more physical still have one disadvantage. You can still plug in Mario Kart and veg on the couch. Which I would most likely do. Now where are those potato chips?
Matthew Hinman is the Southwest Region Online Coordinator with American Consolidated Media. He is involved with the development and implementation of ACM’s websites in Texas and other areas.