video games and lose weight? It sounds unlikely, but it's
The New York Times
Magazine calls two video game imports, Konami's Dance
Dance Revolution (DDR) from Japan and Andamiro's Pump It Up
from Korea, "video game workouts."
Nadina Pryor, 12,
watches a screen for cues as she moves on the Pump It
Up! Don't Stop Dancing! machine at Gameworks at Newport
on the Levee.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
These games, popular on both coasts for several years, now
are taking the Midwest by storm.
Chris Rettig, 33, of Colerain Township, first tried the
video game workout 11/2 years ago.
"I decided to try it once, and I've been doing it ever
since," he says. He has lost nearly 90 pounds.
The games are simple. Select a song from a collection or
"mix," and choose a level of difficulty or "number of steps."
Mount the game's platform - made up of four or five 6-inch
squares - and face the video screen.
As the music plays, arrows appear and scroll up the screen,
indicating which squares to tap with your feet. The greater
the difficulty, the quicker the arrows scroll and the more
confounding the sequences become.
Mr. Rettig concedes you can play just for enjoyment or to
work on a dance routine, but he does it for the fitness
"I definitely get a workout," he says. "To me, it's very
much like step aerobics."
He plays at Greater Cincinnati
video and game arcades one or two days a week, for one to
two hours at a time.
If you play, right away you'll notice that the games
challenge your eye-foot coordination. You may feel silly at
first, but it's fairly easy to pick up the game.
The game will keep score. You also will know how you are
doing (as will the crowd that has gathered around you) via the
"perfects," "greats," "goods," "misses" and "boos" that appear
on the screen after each tap.
You also can play the games at home. DDR works with
PlayStation and Pump It Up has a PC version.
Christine Julian-DeBaltzo, 35, of Columbia Tusculum,
purchased DDR so she and her 10-year-old stepdaughter could
When she saw DDR, she says, "a light bulb went off and I
thought, `This is perfect because it's something any kid would
She bought two platforms or "hard pads" (under $250) so she
and her stepdaughter can play at the same time but at
different "steps" and with individual scoring.
"I can do this with her and not feel like I'm sacrificing
my own workout," she says.
Places to play
Dave & Buster's, Springdale - Pump It Up.
Fun and Games Galore, Eastgate Mall - Dance Dance
Gameworks, Newport on the Levee - DDR and Pump It Up.
Jillian's, Covington - Pump It Up.
Paramount's King's Island Amusement Park - DDR.
Tilt Arcade, Florence Mall - Pump It Up.
Tilt Arcade, Northgate Mall - Pump It Up. Wonderpark,
Forest Fair Mall - DDR.
Eastgate 4.5 Tournament, Fun and Games Galore, Eastgate
Mall. Noon-6 p.m. Saturday. 575-0018.
On the Net
National DDR site. Game locations, song lists, step charts,
FAQ, tournament schedules, photos, purchasing info.
DDR in Ohio. Chats, events, locations.
- National Pump It Up site. Game locations, step charts,
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