This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) was all about motion control. Each of the major consoles during the annual event proudly featured new technology that involved players getting onto their feet to move, jump, wave their arms, and point in order to control their games. Because motion control is now able to provide players methods of control that were never possible until now, games are beginning to become closer to the activities that they simulate.
You may not be aware of it, but video games aren't the time wasters that people once thought they were–players are now able to learn real, practical skills from video gaming that can be applied to their everyday lives. Skills such as dancing, playing music, and beating people up can all be developed by playing various games from this year's E3. Here are a few examples of these games that teach skills that can be applied to real life.
1. Learn to Dance with Dance Central (Kinect on XBOX 360)
Dancing can be intimidating, and it's often difficult to learn how to properly “get down” without looking like an idiot in public. Thankfully, Harmonix (developer of the Rock Band series) is working on a title that will solve this very problem. Using the newly announced Kinect for the Microsoft XBOX 360 system, players will have their bodies scanned, and they will have to follow the on-screen dance instructions to progress. If the player isn't moving properly, the game will know. Over time, players will finally be able to acquire the necessary dancing skills to jump onto the dance floor without resorting to doing “the sprinkler”, “raising the roof” or “the dice shaker”.
2. Learn Fitness Techniques with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Kinect on XBOX 360)
All those years of sedentary gaming may have resulted in a bit of weight gain. That's ok, that's what fitness games are for! Much like Nintendo's ridiculously successful Wii Fit, Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is designed in order to integrate gaming and fitness into one fun and educational package. Throughout the game, players are able to see a virtual representation of themselves working out right next to a on-screen personal trainer. The shape of your body is represented by a shadow, and is detailed enough that an article of your clothing will appear on-screen when you decide to take off your clothes. People often strip out of their clothes when working out, I suppose.
In this game, players will be able to learn the fundamentals of aerobic exercises, yoga and various other workout programs through the Kinect camera. In time, players will hopefully stay on track with their exercise and integrate physical activity into their lives.
3. Master Carnival Games with New Carnival Games (Wii MotionPlus on Wii)
Many may not realize it, but becoming good at those possibly-rigged carnival games takes quite a bit of talent. Attempting to try these games without the proper training and practice can often become a costly mistake. Luckily, Take-Two Interactive Software has taken this into consideration when they developed New Carnival Games for the Wii, the sequel to 2007's hit Carnival Games. Although the entire list of games has not been announced as of yet, it is confirmed that there will be 30 new games included in the package. Games of cunning and skill such as fish bowl bounce, bottle stand up, and pitch-a-plate are all available to players of this game to try as many times as they'd like. Over time, these skill sets can be used to play carnival games in real life, to win real prizes.
4. Learn to Kick Someone's Ass with The Fight: Lights Out (Playstation Move on PS3)
The Fight: Lights Out is a game that takes place in the gritty world of underground fighting. As a bare-knuckled boxer, players must fight their way through the world's most fearsome fighters if they intend to survive. Unfortunately, fighting is dangerous and scary in real life!
By using the Playstation Move controllers, the Playstation Eye camera has the ability to track precise movements of the player's hands in order to simulate fighting with one-to-one accuracy. Just about every action that you make, whether it's a punch or headlock, is recreated by the game seamlessly to simulate what real fighting is like, all without the severe hemorrhaging. Try to ignore the fact that you're holding two colorful balls on top of a controller though, it takes so much away from the underground fighting atmosphere.
However, don't move your legs or don't kick: the Playstation Eye camera doesn't have the ability to record track movement of your legs. Real fighters don't need to move or kick anyway, right?
5. Learn Guitar Basics with Rock Band 3 (Pro Guitar on XBOX 360, Wii, PS3)
Remember those old Rock Band/Guitar Hero guitar controllers with the five face buttons? Playing guitar rhythm games with those archaic things won't provide you with any skills that can be used outside of gaming. However, developer Harmonix and Mad Catz have created the newly designed Wireless Mustang Pro Guitar Controller for use with the upcoming Rock Band 3 game. This $150 replica guitar has six buttons on each of 17 frets, with a total of 102 face buttons. The controller works as an analog to a real guitar. Instead of holding down different strings in different frets to form a chord, players now hold down the corresponding buttons to form a chord to strum. The guitar is also MIDI compatible, so skills learned from playing Rock Band 3 can finally be used to play real music.