Since the North American rise of popularity of DDR many have been touting its “exergaming” use. Exergaming, is now used to describe a game that makes you get some sort of exercise while you play your video games. Many schools have incorporated DDR into their physical education in some form or another, but never has an actual health insurance company actually invested in such a program.
Having a “Classroom Edition” of the game may sound silly, as it did to me as well, since the game works great in a classroom setting already (or any setting really). But what sets apart this version of the game is that it can support up to forty-eight mats and you can actively switch between easier and more difficult steps on the fly. This is done by having three pre-selected difficulties on the screen at all times and the game will actively recognize which difficulty you are trying to match your steps to and score you appropriately. having played it myself I find it worked quite well, though you never really know how well you are stepping unless you take your eyes off the arrows. The step indication displays perfect stepping, so kids don’t feel like failures, while there is a small bar on the side representing your mat and how well you are doing, which is very hard to concentrate on if you are playing harder difficulties.
The main purpose for this game is to help reduce the obesity problem in America and what better way to incentivise kids to exercise than to make a fun break from actual learning to play a highly addictive dancing game. The real draw with this version is that the kids don’t need to feel embarrassed while playing as their 47 other classmates are dancing along as well, and with no one really feeling like a failure you can keep playing for longer. Having been a fan of the game series since Max I must say this is a great idea and certainly a. . . step. . . in the right direction.
Konami and United healthcare have already launched at three schools located in Longwoods, Fla; Gainsville, G; and Fresno, Texas. They hope to expand much further in the coming year.