“Guitar Hero” taught an important lesson — other than the fact that the average 8-year-old would make a better rocker than you.
“Great games can get people more active,” says Kai Huang, who co-founded the company behind the video game megahit with his brother Charles. Now the two of them are getting the band back together for another venture that’s an attempt at answering this question: “Is there a way to apply that to exercise?”
Goji Play ($100, bluegoji.com), which went live this month, is a gaming platform that uses Bluetooth technology to hook up to cardio gym equipment. The two controllers can be strapped onto the arms of an elliptical, or held on a pair of batons as users run on a treadmill. The user’s movement — tracked by a sensor worn on the body — propels action on screen. There are already 12 games to choose from that can be downloaded free from iTunes.
Whether users are focused on smashing blocks, punching an opponent or solving a puzzle, the idea is that they’re getting so engrossed in their goal that they forget they’re working out, Huang says.
The Goji Play hardware is compact enough that it’s easy to bring to the gym. The only really cumbersome piece of equipment is the iPad you also need. (You can play on an iPhone, but it’s much harder to see the action on screen. Non-iOS options aren’t available.)
Huang expects the system will be popular with people that have neglected gym equipment at home. That elliptical could suddenly get a lot more use, Huang says.
“I’ll say, ‘I’m just going to play one game.’ Then I’m trying to win and I’m there 30 minutes,” he says. And that’s a rock star workout.