From magic bike to fitness ring, what has “fitness game” experienced?

You may not believe it, but the fitness industry is more concerned about this area than the game industry. Recently, many switch players have added a peripheral device to their homes. Judging from the social media reaction, Nintendo ring con and its supporting new work “fitness ring adventure” are very popular. Of course, it is not just the national wife shingaki’s clothing endorsement. As a “fitness game”, can let the modern city people exercise happily, is its strength.

many young players began to understand “fitness game” from Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo Wii, but in fact, the origin of “fitness game” can be traced back to the era when the game console still used 8-bit CPU. How do you like to play with the drum? In the early 1980s, it was the time when the concept of “virtual reality” began to become widely known. On the other side of the ocean, a software company named Autodesk has been established in the United States. AutoCAD, which is popular among students majoring in engineering and mechanical design, is their product. After the first version of AutoCAD came out, Autodesk began to play with a virtual reality system called “highcycle.”. They plan to use virtual reality technology, combined with the U.S. mobile bike boom at that time, to create a “happy exercise” product that can watch the scenery while riding a bicycle.

coincidentally, Atari, which was already a home game giant at that time, was also making a similar attempt, and probably thought of this idea earlier than Autodesk. Inside Atari, the project code of the system is “puffer”. Puffer combines Atari’s home game console with a spinning bike, and hopes to design a product that will make exercise fun.

but it is a pity that Autodesk’s highcycle project was finally cancelled, and the yadali puffer project died in 1984 with the company’s bankruptcy, and several matching games prepared in advance were no longer available. There’s no way. Shopping malls are so successful. There are many attempts like Autodesk and Atari, but few have succeeded. The first company to gain successful experience in this field is racermate, a Seattle based company. The software and hardware supporting system computrainer, which was launched by racermate in 1986, can connect the m-bike to the PC. It can not only reduce the boring feeling of riding through the screen image, but also can increase the wheel resistance to simulate riding under different conditions through PC control, and then transmit the motion data back to the PC. At that time, Nintendo’s red and white machines were just like Japan’s Zhongtian, and racermate also specially launched a version of NES.

although computrainer can connect red and white machines, its expensive price is not affordable for ordinary family users. Computrainer is more like a set of professional training auxiliary equipment, which is indeed favored by professional athletes. Since its inception, computrainer has been the flagship product of racermate until 2017, when it was shut down.

while racermate developed computrainer, Japanese Company Wanda also got the concept of “fitness game”. Wanda has designed a carpet like game controller for Nintendo red and white machines. This product, called “power pad” in Europe and America and “Family Trainer” in Japan, was sold in Japan, North America and Europe in 1986, 1987 and 1988 respectively. There are 8 buttons on both sides of the controller, 8 on a side and 12 on B side. But mysteriously, in the supporting 11 games, the vast majority do not use a side.

when players saw it, they would call it “dancing carpet”. However, players at that time did not see such strange peripherals. In 1987, 11 years before the launch of the dance revolution, which is recognized as the ancestor of dancing machines, the power pad has launched the music rhythm game aerobics. In fact, the power pad is not designed for dance games at all. Its games are mostly sports themes. But it can be imagined that the later dance carpet peripherals should refer to the power pad more or less. Just before the power pad landed in the European and American markets, a company named “exus” also launched a carpet like peripheral called “foot craz” in 1987 to be used with the Atari 2600 game console. There are only two games for foot craz, one is a jogging simulator, the other needs to test the player’s reaction and press the specified button according to the screen prompts.

but just as the power pad was not very successful in business, foot craz did not perform well. Throughout the 1980s, although the concept of fitness Games has sprouted, but there is no pop. Computrainer, the only successful product derived from this, is not an entertainment product in essence. At this time, “fitness game” is still groping in the dark. The successful attempt time of “playing games with feet” has come to the 1990s. People are increasingly interested in applying VR technology to high-end fitness equipment. Many fitness equipment companies have tried to introduce equipment that combines exercise with entertainment. Lijian, an American fitness equipment company, has teamed up with Nintendo to launch the Lijian exercise entertainment system. The design of the system can be described as simple and crude, just pre installed TV and Super Nintendo mainframe on a customized fitness bike.

the host is the real host, and the TV is also the Real TV. Users can not only play games while stepping on the car, but also watch TV programs while stepping on the car. Nintendo has also released some exclusive versions of super games for this system, only to change the operation mode of existing games.

the cooperation between Nintendo and Lijian was just one of many attempts in the fitness industry at that time. For example, the Finnish sporting goods company Amer sports and the American fitness technology brand netpulse have tried. But these attempts have basically failed for similar reasons. First of all, these products are actually magic modified models with electronic equipment added to the original fitness bike model, and the price is much more expensive than the prototype without electronic equipment; secondly, due to the addition of electronic equipment, the maintenance of these equipment becomes more troublesome; in addition, the additional knowledge required to operate the equipment carrying software is really too much, which scares off many customers It is: tossing. Sega, which was at its peak in the 1990s, tried something different from the company mentioned above: Sega wanted to make players feel like playing fighting games. In 1993, Sega launched the auxiliary peripheral “Sega activator” of Genesis. The octagonal peripheral will shoot eight infrared beams to the player standing in the middle, which can convert the player’s actions into game input signals.

at that time, Sega added support to Sega activator for such blockbuster works as “street overlord 2” and “real life express” to enhance the attraction of this peripheral. However, the operating experience of this peripheral is too bad, it can not handle multiple operations of the player at the same time, and the accuracy is very low. In addition to the high price and no game specially designed for it, activator also failed to win the favor of the market in the end. In the 1990s, most of the hardware was too expensive for ordinary families. The fitness center was very cautious about the use of these “new technologies”. Products with the concept of “fitness game” never succeeded. It was not until 1998, when the arcade game “Dance Revolution” was born, that “fitness game” had its first real success.

the basic playing method of “pressing the corresponding button according to the music rhythm” in the dance revolution is not original, but moving the key to the player’s feet creates a completely different experience and is widely welcomed by players. When it was transplanted to the PS platform in 1999, the host version of the “Dance Revolution” was sold three million copies in an instant. At that time, there was no sense of playing this type of game with a plastic handle. But plastic dance mats are not durable and wear out quickly when used more, so there are some third-party peripheral manufacturers offering hard metal dance mats. Of course, hard prices are much more expensive, but there is still a market, because “Dance Revolution” is so popular.

so far, the industry has finally gained some confidence in the concept of “fitness game”. The success of the hard to shake “king of fitness Games” the “Dance Revolution” has spawned many imitators. However, smart businessmen all know that it is not easy for later comers to demand new changes in this form of dance games. Therefore, more companies choose to explore the right way to open “fitness game”. For example, at the beginning of the millennium, the British start-up company exertris continued to study fitness bicycles and was supported by Bill Gates’ platform. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 2004. Gamercize, a British peripheral company, once launched a series of peripherals that allow players to play games while exercising, but it is obvious that they have little effect.

among many attempts, the somatosensory peripheral device EYETOY, which was jointly launched by Sony and Nike in 2003, is a relatively successful one. By 2008, it has achieved sales of more than 10 million units.

However, what really makes the concept of “fitness game” widely known is the Wii console launched by Nintendo in 2006. When waving a large and a small remote control in front of everyone, Wii’s bold design shocked many game practitioners. At that time, will Wright, the creator of the Sims series, said frankly: the only real next generation host I’ve ever seen is the Wii. The PS3 and Xbox 360 feel more like an improved version of the previous generation, while the Wii is like a big leap forward. Through accelerometers and optical sensors, Wii Remote control can be changed into baseball bat, fishing rod, baton, bow and arrow, gun and sword according to different games.

in addition, users can also use Wii steering wheel, gun shaped Wii zapper and other external devices to enhance the sense of game substitution, or use the Wii Fit balance board to obtain new playing methods. As a result, even people who have never had any game experience can learn how to operate the game intuitively, which has made Wii an amazing seller. Until now, the Wii still sells more than 100 million units, leaving Nintendo’s other game consoles far behind.

with the popularity of Wii, many fitness games begin to enter the daily life of the public. More than 80 million sets of Wii sports were sold in 2006, more than 33 million sets were sold in 2009, and more than 22 million sets were sold by wii fit, which combines yoga, aerobic exercise and strength training. Thanks to the success of Wii, the word “fitness game” was included in Collins English dictionary in 2007, and as of June 2009, “fitness game” has generated $2 billion in revenue. Even Queen Elizabeth II is playing Wii, according to the Sunday people. Just as Wii gradually set off a fitness game boom, Microsoft realized that if it didn’t get into the game, it would be left behind. Unlike Wii, which relies on remote control to play, Microsoft launched the Xbox Kinect, a somatosensory device that can recognize players’ body movements in 2010.

Kinect has been supported by a number of fitness games at the beginning of its release, such as dance center, zunba fitness, and the derivative games of American variety show super slimming king. In the future, more works such as dance power are added. In Kinect, it’s a pity

Author: zmhuaxia