Eat & Move-O-Matic

Use Eat & Move-O-Matic

The Eat & Move-O-Matic App is a great way to explore energy balance.

Quick Tips

Use a mobile cart for exergaming equipment

If you do not have a designated room to keep exergaming equipment “set up” at all times, use a mobile cart that can be moved in and out of a storage room quickly and easily.

Let students help

Don’t worry about being an expert when it comes to setting up games and troubleshooting technical difficulties when using exergames in the classroom. Let students help you. They often know the best way to “fix” problems and get the whole class moving, and you’ll give them a confidence boost in the process.

Dance Games for Larger Audience

If you want to use dance games, like DDR, for larger audiences (more than 2 people), try using two dance pads hooked up to your game system, and practice pads set up behind them for the rest of your group to practice while they wait their turn on the main pads. To give them more incentive to use the pads, let them know that only those practicing will get to use the big pads.

Play Along with the Kids

Kids love when adults play with them. Don’t be afraid to jump in with them and show them that you’re having fun too. This will help kids feel more comfortable and you can talk to them as you play. They will definitely loosen up and have more fun.

When Using a Variety of Games

If you have a variety of games for kids to play, try setting up stations and rotating groups after 15-20 minutes of play at each station. This will help get kids playing different games (even those they think they don’t want to play) and minimize game monopolizing.

Start Slow

DDR is one of the most popular and effective exergames for many audiences. When introducing it to folks for the first time, start them out on beginner mode, to familiarize them with the movements and steps, without overwhelming them. Also, try to choose songs with slower beats.

Keeping Wii Fit Clean

When using the Wii Fit, make sure participants take off their shoes before using the Fit Board. Keep sanitizing wipes handy in between use.

Keeping Equipment Together

If you have more than one system, use colored tape to mark and label the controllers and console to keep your equipment together.

Wii-mote Charging Stations

Purchase charging stations to keep your Wii-motes charged and always check to make sure that they are placed on the charging station when you are through with game play so that they are ready for the next day’s play.

Play with Participates

When introducing exergames to unfamiliar audiences, make sure to play along with them to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. Be patient as they are learning and show them that you are learning with them.

Use the Training Modules

Be sure to utilize the training modules included with the Wii system as they are effective in familiarizing an audience with the Wii-mote controls.

Start off Easy

When incorporating exergames for new exergame users, start off with more simple games and controls. Wii Sports is a great one to get the ball rolling, particularly the Tennis and Boxing games. They both encourage more movement and their controls are more intuitive and simple, without being overwhelming.

Using the Wii Fit With Large Audience

When using the Nintendo Wii Fit with a large group or audience, choose 1 participant to be the actual “exergamer,” up front using the actual controls and have other participants mimic the same dance or exercise movements while “cheering on” the front, demonstrating exergamer, so that everyone is involved in the exergaming process.

When Purchasing DDR Equipment

If you are going to be using Dance Dance Revolution with multiple audiences it may be wise to invest in equipment that is made for heavy use to save yourself replacement costs in the future. Also, choose equipment that is versatile and allows for multiple games.

Negative Feedback

Remember the Nintendo Wii was not originally designed to be used for persons with physical or mental disabilities, so therapy practitioners or facilitators need to be aware of negative feedback, such as the large “you lose” that comes on the screen or the Mii character hanging it’s head and the effect it may have on their clients. For some players, this could lead to a decrease in motivation and abilities, and an increase in depression.

Wii Nunchuck

The Wii Nunchuck draws power from the Wii Remote so, to extend your battery life, keep the Nunchuck unplugged when it isn’t being used.

When there are More Than 10 Participants

When using exergames in an after-school program setting or any time you have more than 10 participants, maximize your game play and systems by choosing games and controllers that allow at least four people at a time to play.

Use Projectors with Large Audiences

If available, try using a projector with large audiences rather than just a television screen. They are great way to showcase your exergames to the entire group rather than just a select few.

Don’t Forget the Batteries

Remember to budget both for extra batteries and battery chargers for your controllers.

When Traveling

If you will travel with your gaming unit, look for a comfy bag that has enough room to carry the console, cables, batteries, chargers and the games, while protecting them.

Provide Parents with Information

When using exergames in a youth-based program, always provide parents with a written video games rating guide. Explain to them what games you use in your program and encourage them to voice any concerns they may have and allow them to look freely though your game library.

Check Out Available Equipment at Conferences

When presenting exergames at conferences, remember that projectors are often available; however, you may have to reserve in advance, so be sure to check with conference sponsors.

Sync the Wii Fit Board

When using games with the Wii Fit Board, occasionally the board can become disconnected from the system. If this happens, first try to sync the board (press the red button near the batteries on the board) to the Wii console (press the small square red button on the front of the console). If this doesn’t work, you may need to change your batteries and try syncing again.

Think Ahead About What Cables to Buy

Before purchasing your video game console be sure to look at your TV and be able to tell a salesperson if you have a flat-screen or older boxy-television to help you find the correct hook-up cables if they are not included.

Encourage Staff to Take Equipment Home

If you have staff members, teachers or community volunteers who are unfamiliar with exergames, and maybe intimidated when first using them, encourage them to take equipment home and play with their families. This will help them become familiar in their own environment and have fun in the process before using the equipment in their program environment.

Check that Rating!

Always check the video game age rating for the suitability of the game before using with an audience of children. The rating, which is determined by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), is typically visible on the outside video game packaging.

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Funding Information

© 2013. NMSU Board of Regents. All rights reserved. This project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative (Grant #2008-55215-18837).

About Us

The Exergames Unlocked project includes a multi-state team of accomplished media education researchers, exercise physiologists, medical professionals and doctoral students. Contributing members are researchers in their fields and have helped launch the use of exergames as tools to combat obesity in their communities and beyond. New Mexico State University researchers and their partners have been funded to research the impact of exergames, develop specific recommendations for exergame use, and implement exergaming programs. As part of that project, this website provides access to resources based on research, sample projects, and input from the exergaming community. For more information, contact the project director: Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
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Why Exergames Unlocked?

Why Exergames Unlocked? Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activity. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.