Video games can be active games too, according to exercise experts. Researchers at the University of Chester in England reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that active video games can even help people lose weight. So-called exergames might not replace traditional fitness workouts, but they have greater health benefits than conventional video games. With the exergame market constantly expanding, you may be wondering which games offer the most benefits. If you're looking to get off the couch but still want to stare at a screen, here are some active video games to check out.
Dance Dance Revolution -- XBOX, Playstation, Wii, Arcade
One of the first at-home active video games, Dance Dance Revolution has had incredible commercial and critical success since it was released 15 years ago, originally as an arcade game. PlayStation created the first edition that allowed users to bring home its fast pace and intense music experience; for the first time ever, gamers could exercise while playing a video game.
Wii Fit -- Wii
In 2008, Nintendo Wii set the standard for exergames with the Wii Fit, the first motion-based game system that offered users a combination of controller and balance board exercises. Researchers have found that kids can benefit from using Wii Fit, which enables players to exercise without feeling like they're working too hard. Wii Fit offers a variety of mini-games to ward off boredom, and the balance board also serves as a scale that tracks your progress. It provides everything a good exergame should: fun games, weight-loss information and motivation and replay value.
Sports Champions -- Playstation 3
The success of the Nintendo Wii caused the competition -- Microsoft's Xbox 360 and SONY's PlayStation 3 -- to enter the exergame market. Sports Champions was the first game released for the PlayStation Move. The game is similar to the Wii Sports games that came before it. Sports Champions offers exercisers several games to choose from, such as volleyball, table tennis and archery. Sports Champions' game play is directed at casual as well as serious gamers, which makes it a little more complex than other exergames. The effort and movement required for Sports Champions is roughly the same as for other games. For PlayStation owners, Sports Champions is a good way to simultaneously play the system while exercising.
Kinect Adventures -- Xbox 360
In 2012, shortly after the release of the PlayStation Move and Sports Champions, Xbox 360 debuted the Xbox Kinect and the game Kinect Adventures! Unlike the Wii and PlayStation Move, the Kinect is a camera that tracks player movements. No controller is required, and the camera can be used to take pictures as well. Kinect Adventures! uses these features to allow exergamers to get an even more active experience. Kinect Adventures! forces players to push the couch aside and literally jump, duck, and dodge around their living rooms. The absence of controllers creates a more natural workout experience that's better suited to people who aren't just looking to play a video game.
WarioWare Smooth Moves -- Wii
The Wii's capabilities allow any game to become an exergame. WarioWare Smooth Moves takes a simple party game and turns it into an active, fun calorie-burning experience. WarioWare is made up of more than 200 mini-games that are each only a few seconds long. The pace increases along with the difficulty, which creates a rapid and exhausting gaming experience. Mundane tasks, like stacking papers or cleaning a car, become lightning fast games that get your arms moving and your heart pumping. For people who feel Wii Fit is too much a chore and less a game, WarioWare will feel like the opposite. The game might not seem like exercise, but the intense visuals and sounds get you moving as quickly as you would playing Dance Dance Revolution.
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