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5 fun family exergames that won’t break the bank

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!  While you’re digesting turkey and pumpkin pie, you don’t want to get heartburn thinking about either all the money you’ll be spending on kids’ gifts, or all the tedious exercise it’ll take to burn off the holiday feasts.  Why not kill two birds with one stone:  pick up a bargain-priced exergame that will have the whole family both sweating and smiling.  Here are some of my favorites:

Hyper Dash

Wild Planet Hyper Dash. This exergame doesn’t even require a TV screen, and you can play it indoors or outdoors.  See my review here.  There is a newer version out, Hyper Dash Extreme, which picks up targets with each “hit”.

Track & Field Challenge

Track & Field Challenge. I found this mat game at Five Below for only $5.  Based on the classic arcade game Track & Field, T&FC is plug-and-play, no console needed – just add batteries and plug it into your TV.  It contains 10 different minigames that involve running and jumping on the mat, can be played by 2 players simultaneously (some games allow 4 players taking turns) and even counts calories based on your weight.

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Zumba, DDR, Just Dance Kids, EAS Active 2 and Jillian get game this week

This week may be your best chance to actually run into other exergamers and dancers among the Call of Duty fans in the video game section, as no fewer than five fitness/dancing franchises have new games competing for your console budget.

First, of course, DDR!  The latest Wii DDR game, DanceDanceRevolution (one word), is out, along with the first-ever DDR game for the PS3.  The PS3 game has a cool-looking mat and a new 8-button mode that uses the corners.  It also makes use of the new Wii-like Move controllers and the Eye camera.  No word on any new DDR for Xbox360 or (sniff) PS2.

Also heating up the dance floor are the new Zumba game for Wii, and Just Dance Kids.  Zumba Wii, which comes out a couple weeks ahead of the Zumba games for PS3 Move and Xbox360 Kinect, includes a waist or hip belt in which you store your Wiimote so it can properly gauge your booty-shaking.  Just Dance Kids is another entry in the sleeper-hit Wii series, for parents who’d rather have their six-year-olds dance to Wheels On The Bus than Rump Shaker or Baby Got Back.

Meanwhile in the virtual gym, EA Sports Active 2, EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp and Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2011 are elbowing for room.  EASA2 is available on Wii, PS3 and Xbox360 Kinect and looks a lot like its predecessor, with the addition of a forearm heart rate monitor and online support.  On Wii only, there’s also a more testosterone version of the game, NFL Training Camp, which features the same HRM and training drills like the pros.  (No indication of whether the Wii football can be incorporated.)  Finally, Jillian Michaels is back with her third Wii game, Fitness Ultimatum 2011, which includes a new “mission mode” in which you save the world from high fructose corn syrup.  Okay, let’s put some sweat on those controllers!

Dance Masters trailer: gotta get up to get down

There is now a trailer for the upcoming Dance Masters game for Xbox 360 Kinect:

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