DDR Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Wii

     There was an article in the NY Times this morning about P.E. classes integrating Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) into their curriculum. There are also a number of libraries holding gaming events, especially DDR, Guitar Hero & the Nintendo Wii, to attract patrons, namely teens. Even little ‘ol Norman Public Library hosts gaming events. Some libraries are using gaming in creative ways not only primarily to conduct business, but also implicitly to attract patrons.

     These uses of video games got me to thinking about the changing nature of gaming. Traditionally, most gaming experiences entailed someone sitting in a stationary position, whether in a chair or on a couch, with most of the physical exertion (excluding the brain, the eyes & a mouth constantly uttering swears) occurring from the elbows to the fingertips. With DDR & the Wii (and to a lesser extent, Guitar Hero), users are forced to “get off the couch” to play the game(s). This full-bodied exertion flies in the face of gaming’s traditionally sedentary posture.

     As the owner of a Wii, I can attest to the fun factor of having to get off your ass to play a game, as can these people: here, here, and here. The Wii’s graphics aren’t nearly as good as those found on other consoles, but gameplay is significantly less complex (e.g. less buttons on the controller). I believe this latter feature, coupled with the physical interaction demanded by its games, is exposing the Wii to previously unreachable demographics. Their sales figures seem to back this belief.

     As gaming technology continues to advance, presumably incorporating more physical interaction, I wonder if gaming will lose its stigma as a waste of time? I can’t wait for the day when kids will slobber over a new lawn mowing game & practice by mowing the hell out of their lawn.

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Explore posts in the same categories: General, library, library 2.0, Tech

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