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Online support for EA Sports Active 2 and NFL Training Camp will end next month

EA Sports Active 2 for Wii

EA has announced that they will shut down the online servers for a group of games, including EA Sports Active 2 (on all consoles) and NFL Training Camp (for Wii).  That means your online workout stats and workout groups for those games will go to cyber-heaven on April 15.

While EA should get some props for having the first console fitness games to have crucial online support – something I decried the lack of – it’s still dismaying that they’re pulling the plug after only about a year and a half after those games were released.  It’s also a consumer issue, since EASA2 and NFL are still on many retail store shelves and still selling for as much as $50.  Someone might pick up one of those games on a whim, or as a gift for a football fan who’s wearing a hole in the couch, only to find that the online support promised on the box no longer exists.

On the silver lining side, NFL has been drastically cut to under $15 at Amazon and I expect EASA2 to soon follow suit. I picked up NFL a couple months ago and tried it a couple times, and while it does have some connectivity issues (Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 for Kinect has really spoiled me) it’s still a good workout with plenty of NFL fan flavor.  The heart rate monitor and leg controllers are identical for both games, so if you get one of each, you can enjoy multiplayer on both games.

And since it’s the age of social networks, there will still be forums and groups devoted to EASA and NFL even after the built-in support is gone. The EA Sports Active forum is very active, and by all indications, will keep on movin’ after April.

(Via Ars Technica)

UFC Personal Trainer game is coming on Wii, Kinect, PS3 Move

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Image via Wikipedia

UFC Trainer was first announced last year, and is finally listed on Amazon, who is giving a release date of June 21.  According to the description, the game offers:

  • Authentic UFC Fitness Experience – Certified by UFC and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), UFC Personal Trainer is designed by leading MMA training experts
  • Intense Mixed Martial Arts Exercises – Learn over 70 MMA-inspired exercises, including moves from disciplines such as wrestling, kickboxing and Muay Thai

There’s a blue Wi-Fi logo on the Wii box, so there must be some online content – maybe even online play, I hope!

Party on! Zumba exergame looks like a sleeper hit

From the time a video game based on Zumba was announced more than a year ago, there has been a ton of interest and anticipation by Zumbamaniacs all over the world.  I was cautious, since the game was made by the same company that put out the notoriously bad Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009.  But when it (the Wii version) got a few good reviews and went on sale on Black Friday at Amazon, I took a bite.

And I’m very glad I did.  The infectious music and moves make up for the rather clunky interface and slippery belt.  (I found a much better belt, made for Wii Fit, at Five Below for $5 – and it even came with a Wii Fit hat!  On the other hand, official belts from the Zumba site are $10 plus shipping, when they have them.)  I’ve never even been to a Zumba class, but I’ve used Wii Zumba at least once a week since I’ve gotten it, and lost a couple of pounds in that time.

Now it looks like the red-hot fitness license is paying off for Majesco, the game’s publisher.  They’ve announced that Zumba games on all 3 platforms (Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 Kinect) have shipped 500,000 copies.  That’s not too shabby, considering they were up against Just Dance 2 – inarguably a blockbuster hit, selling 5 million in the same time frame – and Michael Jackson The Experience, which sold nearly 2 million.

Looks like dance/rhythm games, which were being declared all but dead before last year, are “muy caliente” once again! 🙂

DDR will be returning to Xbox 360

Konami has announced that DanceDanceRevolution (one big word now) is coming in the first quarter of 2011 to Xbox 360.  There are already 3 games for that console under the subtitle “Universe”.  This new one will be adding a non-stop endless mode and a challenge mode in which the diagonal arrows are added in – sounds similar to the new PS3 version of the game.  It doesn’t look as if there will be Kinect support, though.

Amazon is already listing the game as $50.  That might just be a placeholder price, but if that’s the final price for the bundle, that’s a pretty good deal.

Scientists have discovered that We Cheer is more fun than Boogie SuperStar

I was pleasantly surprised to see two of my favorite Wii games, Boogie SuperStar and We Cheer, mentioned in this recent article in Wired about how researchers are using motion controlled video games to see how body movements can affect your emotions.  Usually we think it’s the other way around – cringe if you’re scared, pound your fist if you’re angry – but according to the article, research is finding that how you move during a game can change your mood and even make you feel more social, perhaps helping explain how Wii has put the “social” back into gaming.

I especially liked this part:

Preliminary findings reveal that not only is the type of motion important, but the quality of it can be, too. For instance, while both Boogie Superstar and Wii [sic] Cheer involved copying dance moves, participants in tests enjoyed the latter far more than the former, saying they felt constrained and mechanical in Boogie Superstar and flowing and buoyant with Wii Cheer.

I agree that We (not Wii) Cheer has more flowing, dancy moves while with Boogie SuperStar, you stand in one spot making a repeated gesture like crossing and uncrossing your arms or making a “U” figure, sort of like a dumbed-down Just Dance.  But they’re both fun, and I’m happy to see We Cheer get a mass-media shout-out a year after the sequel came out.  Maybe Namco Bandai will consider a We Cheer 3?  That will make me buoyant with joy!

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