Tag Archives: wii

Exergaming & The River Gym

When exercise, gaming and clean energy generation come together

GAMERS are subjected to a cruel stereo­type that we all live in our parents’ basement and are rendered lifeless if exposed to direct sunlight. While most games are not physically demanding, there is a growing market for exercise gaming — known more commonly as “exergaming”.

Just DanceThe Playstation and Wii are at the forefront of exercise gaming — having released several titles and peripherals that encourage gamers to get a good cardiovascular workout. Many also offer calorie counters, which let you know exactly what you’re burning while you play.

Exergaming relies on technology that tracks body movement or reaction. Exergames are seen as evolving from technology changes aimed at making video games more fun and healthy at the same time.

After the huge success of titles such as Just Dance and Wii Sports Resort, the growing market and appeal of exercise gaming has spawned a whole army of peripherals and new game genres – enough to start your own interactive gym.

Many Wii games feature some sort of motion sensor controls, which read and track your movements as you play. There are now even horror-action titles, such as Silent Hill Shattered Memories that require players to swim, fend off attackers and move objects with wild flailing movements.

Motion sensor technology combined with gaming has become a hot topic over the last few years and got hotter with the announcement that both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 would be joining the Nintendo Wii in offering “motion” gaming. The implementation of these features will enable both these popular platforms to offer titles in the new “gaming as exercise” trend.

The Wii Fit is certainly a winner which helped to pioneer the gaming as exercise trend. It has not only sold over 20 million copies to date, but has taken things further by offering extra exercise gaming peripherals.

In 2009 the Wii CyberBike was released — the first video game to be bundled with a full-sized exercise bike. The visual stimulation coupled with the Cyberbike may see you clearing roads of pollution and traversing by land, sea and air over 18 different circuits.

This may not be for everyone, but then again neither is the gym. If you plan on buying an exercise bike anyway and like the sound of the additional gaming incentive, then the Cyberbike may be a good, modern choice.

If simple exercise isn’t enough to get your heart pounding, there are emerging possibilities of having the energy you expend by exergaming captured and put to good use. It is already possible to power a Playstation and small home appliances with exercise, but this tends to be an archetypal “hamster in a wheel” approach.

The River Gym

The River Gym

"The River Gym is one of the more innovative concepts to break water in recent times and looks to cash in on our desire to exercise to stay fit and healthy by capturing the energy we expend when burning calories" (image: http://www.gizmag.com)

The River Gym, off the Hudson and East Rivers in New York, is a floating vessel of fitness that harnesses renewable energy from burnt-off calories. The plan is to have River Gym “pods” that would offer a range of exercise equipment capable of converting energy derived from human motion into usable electric energy stored in on-board batteries.

“The vessels would be fitted with water purification devices to combat pollution and would also be capable of carrying additional passengers and commuters, thereby easing the burden of ferry lines as well as varying the intensity of the exercise” — www.gizmag.com

The River Gym also promises “the obvious benefits of exercise and eco-credentials” along with spectacular panoramic views of New York – an experience that “far surpasses the bland tedium of a conventional gymnasium”.

Of course, it would only be fair that membership for a River Gym would be free considering that users would be creating vast amounts of usable energy by breaking a sweat. Perhaps some free, on-board entertainment sponsored by Nintendo is in order?

Player Versus Player Digital Arena

NEW Gaming experience opens at Liberty Midlands Mall

AN exciting new entertainment venue opens in Pietermaritzburg’s Liberty Midlands Mall this weekend. PVP Digital Arena (short for Player Versus Player) will allow gamers to at last take advantage of some built-in features of the Xbox 360 that they have been denied up until now.

Previously Xbox owners have only been able to take advantage of around 30% of the capabilities of the Xbox, says Brendon Holder, who together with Paul Gilliver is responsible for dreaming up the idea for this ground-breaking store.

PvP Digital ArenaPVP is, apparently, the first of its kind in the country and the only electronic game specialist store in Pietermaritzburg. The store also retails a range of the best and latest games for Xbox, Playstation, PC and Nintendo consoles and Holder and Gilliver are available to give expert advice.

PVP will give gamers access to 20 networked  Xbox 360s connected to high definition LCD monitors, to play the latest games that include first person shooters such as Halo: Orbital Drop Shock Troopers and Call of Duty; third person shooters like Gears of War 2; real time strategy games such as Halo Wars; car racing and rally games that include Dirt 2, and car simulators like Forza 3; as well as a variety of “beat-em-up” games, and sports games like Fifa 10, rugby and golf.  

The real X-factor with PVP, however, is the fact that players can play against other players in the same room, giving the already convincingly rendered games, enhanced reality. Slow internet speeds in South Africa have meant that unlike other places in the world, live multiplayer gaming has not been a real option for gamers in SA. This has meant that possibly the most exciting aspect of electronic multiplayer games has yet to be experienced by locals.

“Playing Call of Duty is so much more real when you and your squad are in the same room, discussing strategy, while your opponents are on the other side of the room planning how to ambush you. The line between real and virtual is blurred.” – Holder

To further enhance the experience, PVP will hold competitions, elite tournaments for pro gamers, and in-store events, including the possibility of “moments of madness” where they will randomly give away PVP-branded gear and other prizes to players.

The eagerly anticipated store has already created a stir on PVP’s facebook page (PVP Digital Arena) and Liberty Midlands Mall centre manager Cassie Fourie says that there has been a lot of interest shown.

“Customers have been asking when PVP is opening and are extremely excited”, she said, “We welcome this new addition to the mall, which caters to the entertainment element.”

The best news though is that to get in on the action, it will cost players less than a ride in one of those peddle boats at the seaside, with prices starting at a mere R20 per 30 minutes.

Costs to play at PVP Digital Arena
      – R20 per 30 minutes
      – R35 per one hour
      – R60 per two hours

Events planned
After-hour “lock ins” will be organised for groups of 16 or more on request.
 Competitions for rankings, with prizes, to be held every month.
Elite tournaments for pro gamers to be held at PVP.
Various events to be held weekly, including “moments of madness”

Other goods on offer
PVP is also a retailer of the best electronic console games for Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii and PC. Buyers can try games before they buy and get expert advice on game choices. There will be a game swopping facility available too.

Membership options are planned for the future, with loyalty cards that earn members points that can be redeemed for playing time, games or PVP merchandise.

 Twenty networked Xbox 360s linked to HDMI.
23” LCD monitors, with headphones and comfortable tub chairs.
PVP will keep their equipment current and in future will even change to another console platform if a better one is released.

PVP Digital Arena is at Shop 93A at Pietermaritzburg’s Liberty Midlands Mall. Don’t miss their grand opening at 9am this Saturday, October 24. Get there early to claim your place. For inquiries call PVP at 033 342 6420 or email Brendon Holder: brendon@pvp-arena.co.za

Gateway to Nintendo Week

If you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do this weekend then make your way down to the Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga where Nintendo Week (Wiik :P) is currently underway.

A section of the mall has been turned into a free-for-all Wii and DS arena, showcasing some of the latest and most popular Wii titles. Visitors are encouraged to try out as many of the games as possible, including 42 all-time Wii classics that will be on offer.

Kerry Taoushiani, Marketing Manager for Core Gaming says,

“While we have been running similar exhibits in malls countrywide all year, what makes Nintendo Week different from standard promotions is that the event is highly interactive with a big sound stage and room to kick up a fuss, perform and compete with others. We are not merely showcasing the games, but encouraging everyone to get involved, test their skills and stand in line to win exciting prizes”

A variety of tournaments will be run daily, and Mario and Luigi will be making daily appearances to keep the kids well entertained.

Wii want to play
With a colourful variety of Wii titles on offer, Nintendo Week aims to demonstrate that there is a game for everyone – from family fun with Big Brain Academy to kicking it up a gear with Mario Kart Wii and even building up a sweat with Wii Fit.

Visitors can also test their “brain ages” on the DS Lite with the latest self-improvement craze, Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training.

The crowds at Gateway will also be the first to experience Wii Music – the latest innovation from Nintendo, and will be able to join a virtual band.

Times of daily events:

  • 11:00: Show folks who is the master of the Wii wheel in the daily Mario Kart Wii tournaments
  • 15:00: Remember to bring your takkies for the Wii Sports tournaments and get some good exercise
  • 16:00: Enter Gateway’s Brainiest Family, a competition for the whole family to enter as a team, and test their skills on Big Brain Academy
  • Nintendogs fans will be able to meet each other’s puppies in daily “Bark Mode” sessions.

So if the weather is kak and the beach is out this weekend go check out Nintendo Week. The Nintendo team is on stand 09:00 – 22:00 until Monday 15 December. Go to Gateway’s Promo court to catch some Nintendo action and find out what you really want for Christmas. And let me know what it’s like!

Related posts:
Fitness that’s fun – Wii!
Wii Music launched in SA

Wii Music launched in SA

Wii Music — the latest add-on for the Wii console, was launched on the South Africa market today offering Wii fans the chance to broaden their musical horizons and discover their inner beat.

Wii Music contains the sounds of over 60 instruments and comes with 50 included tracks. It features music of all styles, from the best of the classics to cult pop and even some popular gaming tunes like Super Mario Bros.

Instruments include steel drums, bass guitar, the saxophone and more; and, in keeping in a truly Japanese spirit, even offers the ‘instrumental’ sounds of a barking dog.

Game modes
Jam’ is the main game mode in Wii Music for creating your musical masterpieces. This is split into ‘Improvise’, ‘Quick Play’ and ‘Custom Jam.’ Muso wannabes can play as part of a six-member band, with the remaining instruments being controlled by the Wii as ‘Tute’ characters.

Improvise’ allows one to rehearse and master playing styles, while ‘Quick Play’ creates a totally randomised performance where all aspects of the set are chosen by the Wii.

Custom Play’ gives you full control, from choosing a musical style for the Tute accompaniment, to setting the speed, to choosing the instruments, to deciding where to perform.

Discover your inner beat

Virtual Drum Kit
The ‘Virtual Drum Kit’ is a popular feature which mimics a real set of drums. Using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck as drumsticks and the Wii Balance Board as foot pedals, almost every aspect of a standardised drum kit can be simulated including bass drum, cymbals, snare and hi-hats.

Wii Music offers 15 interactive drumming lessons, free play, and a one-player jam session with any of the 50 featured tracks.

Pitch Perfect
If you know bugger all about the fundamentals of music and sound, are tone deaf when it comes to comparing pitches, constructing basic harmonics or telling the difference between consonance and dissonance, Wii Music offers a Pitch Perfect music quiz.

It has eight difficulty levels which test the contestants on a range of tasks such as choosing or sorting notes by their pitch, identifying matching sounds, and spotting the wrong note in a piece of music.

Starting your own record label
Once a song is mastered into what you see as fit, it can be saved as a video clip, personalised with its own record sleeve, and uploaded and shared with friends and family over WiiConnect24.

In order to help players become more accustomed to certain styles of music, Wii Music offers numerous tutorials for tightening playing techniques, arranging tracks, playing drums and aural training.

The Wii Remote and Nunchuk can also be used to produce remixes.

Conduct an orchestra
Using the Wii Remote like a baton, up to four players are able to conduct a digital orchestra. Players are able to control the speed and volume of the rendition, and conductors need to remain synchronized to ensure a high score is awarded for the performance.

It doesn’t seem to matter what your musical or gaming experience is, Wii Music offers complete musical freedom and is an engaging and fun way for all the family to learn more about musical instruments and styles.

  • Recommended retail price: R549

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Gateway to Nintendo Week
Nintendo Wii – Enter the Electronic Fist

Nintendo Wii – Enter the Electronic Fist

I reckon I’ll still be playing computer games when I’m old – until my fingertips begin to crank up from arthritis. There’s nothing childish about that – I mean besides war, gaming technology brings about the latest and most innovative developments in electronics and digital technologies.

However, I always thought my latest gaming investment would be in a PSP3. Then I learnt more about the Nintendo Wii. Now I want one; especially after seeing the latest sales figures from Japan which reveal that Wii outsold PS3 by three units to one through August last year.

The Wii’s increasingly popularity seems to have no end. An interview with the senior vice president of marketing and communications for Nintendo, revealed that the company feels no threat from the Microsoft Xbox 360 or the Sony PS3.

“Two companies are going in one direction, and we’re headed in another” – George Harrison.

The Wii is revolutionizing gaming in the home with its close affinity to virtual reality. New motion-sensitive appendages are being developed at a rapid rate – letting gamers young and old experience the digital world in whole new ways.

The kung-fu wii power glove
I’ve also always wanted to be a kung-fu fighter when I grew up. Yet after taking a few classes last year I failed dismally as I found it way too physically intense. My dreams were shattered until I heard about the new wii kung-fu power glove.


Also referred to as the Wii Nunchuk, this device contains motion-sensing technology as well as an analogue stick which assists in character movement. The glove is contoured to perfectly fit the player’s hand. And, once armed, the glove-bearer can throw real punches and kicks that can be interpreted in a bad-assed kung-fu game (see video – link below).

Nintendo has come a long way. From manufacturing playing cards when it was founded in 1889, future Wii products include the Wii Body Controller, Mii Contest Channel, Nintendo Magic, Wii Handle, and something called Soma Bringer. (You can see a full list of the latest Wii products at www.crn.com. Who knows what these might cost but the standard and very current Nintendo Wii Console will cost you $180 (roughly R1260).

Breaking down the family
I do have one ethical problem with gadgets such as these however. An article I came across mentions that the Nintendo Wii games system has been implemented in several retirement homes in the US after a certain grandchild brought his/her Wii over to show granny! I might just as well be one of the pensioners striking for such a system in my future retirement home, but what of family ties?

When I was growing up a ‘games night’ involved playing scrabble or rummikub with the family. The television was switched off and we were forced to actually speak to one another. I just feel that bringing a screen into the picture turns everyone’s attention to what’s behind it, rather than focusing attention on one another. So my only concern is: what about the children?

Related post:
Fitness that’s fun – Wii!
Wii Music launched in South Africa

Wii Kung-fu video
Full interview with Nintendo