Video games as exercise is gradually becoming a more accepted phenomenon. Video games have had to fight against a stereotype, largely built by itself, of being a mainly sedentary activity. The image of a someone becoming overweight or out of shape due to sitting on a couch staring at a screen hardly needs mentioning.
Take for example, the episode of South Park where the main characters take on the task of fighting some evil-doer in the World of Warcraft. In order to do so, they lose their social lives, hole up in a basement and grow out of shape in the process.
But, the image distorts the central aspects of gaming. Gaming is learning at its heart. Raph Koster describes in his book, A Theory of Fun, and James Paul Gee in his book, What Video Games Have to Teach About Learning and Literacy, how fun is central to learning process.
It has taken some time for the active physical aspects of learning to be introduced into video gaming. I am hoping and believe that Dance Dance Revolution and the Nintendo Wii are only the beginning of getting people to utilize more of the body while playing.
We do not necessarily need to have our lives be portrayed so eloquently by this comic.
Redefining games in terms of its activity while retaining the focus on fun allows for a shift in mentality to allow the better aspects of ourselves and technology to intersect.
As technology has progressed, the nation as a whole has had an increasing problem with obesity. Sometimes I wonder if it is because the places we live accommodate the technology itself over people. For example, cars seem treated as more important than pedestrians as noted in observing the general configuration of most streets.
The irony is that technology has created the conditions, in the case of physically interactive video games, to reintroduce exercise to fight the obesity to which it may have inadvertently contributed in the first place.