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Students ‘Dance Dance’ to fitness

By Carlos Macias

By Carlos Macias

Put away the footballs and basketballs, and bring out the dance pads for fitness.

“Dance Dance Revolution” is the game kids want to play.

With the constant attention obesity claims in our society lately, there’s finally someone taking action against it. Recently states across the country have proposed to bring in video games into physical education. Instructors trying to hook kids into physical activities have found their outlet in video game form.

Many middle schools in West Virginia, and several in the Los Angeles area, have already brought in “Dance Dance Revolution” as part of their fitness program. Instead of forcing kids to play basketball or baseball, students now willingly participate in dancing along.

The game is fairly simple and works much the same as other music rhythm games, such as “Guitar Hero,” where the player interacts with the game based on the notes coming across the screen.

“Dance Dance Revolution” consists of a mat that the player stands and steps on with corresponding directions to each foot (left, right, up, down.)

Having tried the game before, it’s definitely a workout and in higher difficulties you do start sweating profusely.

It makes perfect sense that kids get into it. Kids nowadays grow up with technology and part of it is playing video games. It’s an activity that is usually blamed for America’s obesity epidemic, but people still love it. Every game has that sense of accomplishment after you’ve beaten it or gotten the highest score.

For many kids, sports and running are just something they’re forced to do; they never willingly participate in it. With “Dance Dance Revolution” they get a sense of accomplishment, and it’s all a game.

They jump around on a dance pad for a couple of minutes and then get graded. The grade might encourage them to try harder next time or up the difficulty if it was too easy.

It’s surprising that a game that has been out for almost ten years, and updated regularly, has not taken hold like this before. Developed by Konami of Japan originally for the arcades, the game has had its share of fans and numerous competitions across the globe.

The series has been successful enough that year after year there is a new version of the game for home consoles. Compared to just buying soccer balls and baseballs, integrating “Dance Dance Revolution” into every school can get pricey, but the outcome would probably outweigh the cost.

Students at Riverside City College hoping this new initiative will come to our college campus soon might want reel in those expectations, though.

“It’s a good idea,” said Berry Meier, Athletic Director at RCC, “but not real practical for us.”

Meier also questioned how a video game which was played in a few minute bursts would be beneficial.

“For physical fitness it would have to be an ongoing thing,” Meier said. “Just a two-minute deal wouldn’t do too much.”

The cost for “Dance Dance Revolution” is holding RCC back, but the growing popularity of the program might squeeze itself into the budget later.

More and more schools are planning to implement this into their courses in the near future. If their plan is successful and students take full of advantage of it, the obesity epidemic might just be a thing of the past.

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