E3 2010 is almost over, and it's been a fun ride, especially the Nintendo-related news (see our excitement about Goldeneye and more here). New Zelda, new co-op Kirby, new Kid Icarus -- yes, Nintendo appears to have "won" this year's round of corporate posturing. In spite of Miyamoto making an awkward comment about how women are like cats.But there's one kind of game that just ... well ... doesn't excite us. Not even during the emotional high that is E3.I refer, of course, to exercise games. It doesn't seem to matter how game-like the exercise is. Actual gamers (read: not soccer moms) just won't buy it.Plus, if a game doesn't bill itself as an exercise game, we're immediately suspicious if we're suddenly expected to do even minimal movement. Take, for example, Kotaku's tongue-in-cheek coverage of Microsoft's Kinect (previously known as Project Natal) -- "Xbox Kinect Does Not Play Well With Couch Potatoes." Games using the Kinect technology won't necessarily require you to stand up -- but they are expecting you to be capable of doing so (disabled gamers, this one isn't for you).Also, the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will include some pretty aerobic motion controls. You can probably do them sitting down, but even so, if you're not used to waving your arms around a lot, you may suffer the unfortunate side effect of burning calories.
Why are gamers still so reluctant and/or pissed off about the prospect of standing up to play a game? Is it because movement is something that jocks do, and we're still bitter about enjoying D&D more than dodgeball? Or is it that we still see video-games as being completely sedentary, like watching TV or a movie?Personally, what I love about games is that they are not like watching TV. They are not passive; they go out of their way to include you. You change the environment. You start out knowing nothing about how to play and what you're capable of, and as the game progresses, you learn the skills you need.
As games become more complex, so too do the skills that we learn while playing them. For example, we've all recently learned that in Rock Band 3, we'll be able to learn how to play real instruments.So, what about learning some complex swordplay via video-game? What about learning various other methods of self-defense? Or learning how to drive a car, fly a plane, or ride a mythical beast of some sort? Well, gosh, if it requires me to stand up, fuck that, amirite?
Motion control technology could become problematic; what if video-games start teaching us how to clean, aim, and fire a virtual gun, or emulate sex acts in virtual reality? However, morally complex problems aren't even on the table at this point. Right now, video-games are offering us new, awesome ways to play, and we're reluctant because it might require us to move around. I don't think I need to explain why that makes us pathetic.
American society has this ... problem with exercise; it's seen as a chore. It's definitely not supposed to be fun. But there are games that have proven that it can be. Long-time Phoenix readers may recall that I wasn't too excited about Wii Fit, but that's because it didn't even measure up to previous "exercise" games. For example: Dance Dance Revolution (and its spin-offs). It's possible to do the thing right.
Health concerns aside, games could be even more fun if they were so realistic as to let you actually do some of the crazy shit the game's protagonist gets to do (within reason). As your character learns awesome physical feats, so too could you! So, what are we afraid of? Just wear the wrist strap and don't stand too close to anything breakable. Like ... your TV.Lastly, here's something that raises my heart rate in a good way (and raises others' heart rates in a bad way): Gears of War 3 now officially intends to pass the Bechdel Test with its inclusion of not one but two female soldiers, who will doubtless have some lines of dialogue. Check out the pictures here. Is this all part of the elaborate hoax to distract us from the evolving love story between Marcus and Dom? Yes. Yes, it is.Also: we'll be able to play as the Locust in Gears 3's new "Beast Mode". Just plain cool. Doesn't appear that the gender fairness will apply here, though, and with good reason; including those sexayyy lady Berserkers would be so unfair.
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