getting college credit by playing video games

In college there were a few classes that I enjoyed taking, like various music performance classes, and athletic classes like tennis and bowling.   But there was never anything related to playing video games.  (Well, I did get to take one about programming for games.)

The University of Houston is now offering a class on Wii Performance.   The games used in the course will be Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Dance Dance Revolution.   Their program coordinator said:

Our department conducts a host of research into the epidemic of obesity, not only its root causes, but ways to combat it and the diseases related to it. Using the Wii games can be both fun and an effective tool. We anticipate that many students will want to take this class.

I think their anticipation is right-on.   Of course many students will want to take that class!  If I could get college credit for playing video games, I know I would’ve!

dancing to Mii music on Wii

The music on the Mii channel on the Nintendo Wii has an unusual groove to it, and apparently it prompts some people to dance.  In the following video, the instructor of a recent Boogiezone University workshop danced to it for his students.

It’s too bad the Miis (characters / avatars) on the Wii don’t dance to it.  However, in Wii Fit you can see your Miis dancing (and you get to dance along, too), albeit it’s more of a step up / step down routine, but you can creatively add to it.

BTW, who knew there was a Boogiezone University?  Can you get a degree in getting your groove on?  I’m glad I didn’t have to take a dance class in college, or I might’ve lost my scholarships…

old-school motion capture controller

I’ve heard some people talking about the latest technology in control schemes for video games.  Obviously the Wii’s controllers were a huge success, and I think Wii MotionPlus will make it even better.  But lately there’s been a lot of hype for Microsoft’s new full-body control called Natal and Sony’s new Motion Controller.  There’s a lot of potential for these new systems, and right now the hype is abounding.

But before everyone gets too excited about full-body motion controls, I want to remind you this has been tried before.  There was a product called Sega Activator for the Sega Genesis game console.  With it, your body was the controller.  Here’s the instructional video for it:

It’s fairly obvious why that didn’t catch on.  Now it looks generic.  But consider that this was revolutionary and cutting-edge at the time.  Obviously the company thought it was a great idea and worth the money required to release it.

But all that aside, that doesn’t mean Natal will or won’t work well — it just means we’ll have to wait and see.  I’m hoping they can pull this off, and that the next generation of gaming will be even more immersive and more awesome.

Is Wii Fit for fat people?

The other day I was reading about Wii Fit by Nintendo, one of this year’s hot selling items during the holiday shopping season.  The article I saw on it mentioned the weight limit, and it was quite humorous how they worded it in an effort to be very politically correct:

Its sensitivity only goes so far, however, with the board able to take only 330lbs (150kg) maximum weight, locking out the particularly robust from joining in on the Wii Fit fad.

So if you’re over 330 pounds, you’re “particularly robust”?!?  That’s amusing!  Robust means “full of health and strength; vigorous; powerfully built; sturdy; requiring or suited to physical strength or endurance; full-bodied”.   Some of those just don’t seem to fit this usage, particularly “endurance”.   The “sturdy” part might work, in that it’s difficult to push over someone that heavy.  There is another definition, which says, “marked by richness and fullness”.  I don’t know about the richness part, but people over 330 pounds probably experience fullness on a regular basis.  🙂

Anyway, it’s ironic that the balance board included with a game that’s all about making you fit has a limit for the people who need it the most.   So we (the Buffet o’ Blog staff) were discussing this and came up with a few possible solutions for those who would like to participate but are over the limit:

1) Get two Wii Fit boards, one for each foot.
2) Lose a hundred pounds, and try to enjoy life again.
3) Make an aftermarket balance board that can handle more weight, and call it Wii Fat.  You could even have a larger version called Wiily Fat.


FYI, for any “Captain Literal” type folks who find this post, this is humor.   If you’re offended right now, you should get a life.

Thank you, drive thru…