Videogames get more physical as recession bites

Thu May 28, 2009 2:53am EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - With the recession cutting out some family vacations, gym memberships, and personal trainers, a rash of new videogames designed to let people workout in their living room are hitting the shelves.

Electronic Arts has just released "EA Sports Active" for the Nintendo Wii which comes with a resistance band and a leg strap that lets players perform aerobic activities like virtual roller blading, jogging, or lunging.

"With today's economy, people can't always afford gym memberships and personal trainers," said Alison Sweeney, host of NBC's "Biggest Loser" reality TV series.

"EA calls this game a "trainer in a box" and it really is. The game teaches you the right way to work out."

The game has a built-in journal to track food intake and encourage an active lifestyle, including away from the Wii.

The trend of incorporating exercise into virtual entertainment will be showcased at next week's E3 Expo in Los Angeles, the largest videogame trade show in North America.

Sega has a new Wii game, "Daisy Fuentes Pilates" hosted by the former MTV personality, Namco Bandai has "Active Life: Extreme Challenge" for Wii, and Nintendo has "Wii Sports Resort."

Activision's "Tony Hawk: Ride" for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 adds physical play to the mix with a motion-sensor skateboard controller that translates gamers' physical moves into virtual tricks.   Continued...

<p>A woman demonstrates Nintendo Co Ltd's "Wii Fit" game console during a media event in Chiba, east of Tokyo, October 10, 2007. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>