About 15 years ago I remember seeing the first virtual reality suits, where a person would wear a lot of special gear, stand on a circular platform with waist high railings and interact physically with what they were seeing projected inside their goggles/mask. To the observer it looked like wired tai chi. Now the imagined has entered life (as we knew back then it would). Only this time it has a familiar look.
The Game Runner is an exercise treadmill that looks similar to the one you may have gathering dust at home; however, it has been modified to serve as a game controller for first-person shooter games. What a great solution to the lack of exercise and foggy brains many gamers grouse about. In order to succeed in the play world, you have to succeed in the real world! Thereâ€™s a concept! Run fast on the treadmill, go fast in the game. Use the handlebars to steer yourself around and shoot, roll or dodge. The Game Runner plugs into a USB port on your computer and functions as the game controller.
Clearly itâ€™s not for everyone… People with arthritic knees or bad hips or sprained ankles or shin splints might get frustrated because of the limitations their bodies will impose. But for those who are up to the physical challenge, it sounds like it might be a good solution for keeping fit while keeping on the scoreboard. Learn more from AvantGaming’s review from November 28.
Update, June 15, 2007: Today I came across the PC Gamer Bike. Now this is something that I think I may be interested in! Where Dance, Dance! is hard on the knees, the gamer bike is something that can be used while seated with almost any game, including World of Warcraft, first person shooters, and driving and racing games. It basically moves your character forward or backward by moving the bike pedals, and the unit attaches to a PC’s USB port. It comes in a small foot pedal unit for about $160 and will soon be released in a full recumbent bicycle model. Very cool!