Walk your pokemon


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  • Hi, I am yoonsin and a ph.d. student from UW-Madison. I am also a member of games+learning+society. Today, I want to talk about potential use of pokémon video game to promote walking.


  • Obesity is big problem in U.S.
    graph is from cdc website based on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. It’s a prevalence of adult obesity - which BMI>30
    Let’s look at Indiana.

    BMI>30, or ~30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person
    Underweight = <18.5
    Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
    Overweight = 25–29.9
    Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
    BMI (kg/m2)

  • 34% of adolescents are both at risk of being overweight and also overweight which means their BMI is equal or more than 85th percentile.

    Just recently, (Cornell University John Cawley) found that
    Nearly 17% of U.S. Medical cost - related to obesity. $168 billion Educator, healthy life.
    As an educator, we want people to have a good healthy life.
  • one way to prevent it is increasing physical activity levels in both intensity and durations.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) recommends moderate physical activity like brisk walking to maintain a healthy life style.

  • Playing video games has been blamed for increasing sedentary times
    For example, Robinson, 1999 ‘s intervention children were challenged to watch no television or videotapes and play no video games for 10 days.
    but, they ignore these kinds of video games.
  • But, there was a video game like this.
    Possibly, the first exergame using power pad for
    NES - Nintendo Entertainment System.

  • Those types of video games are called an exergame.
    An exergame is a video game that promotes (either via using or requiring) players’ physical movements (exertion) that is generally more than sedentary but also including some sedentary acitivty such as strength training, balance, and flexibility activities.
    Previously released commercially available games are such as...(next slide)PA: Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure (Caspterson et al. , 1985) including sleeping and sitting....
    Exercise: A subset of physical activity“Intentionally to improve or maintain physical fitness with a planned, repetitive, and structured format” (Casperson, et al., 1985)
    Health-related : Cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, strength, body composition, and flexibilitySkill-related : Agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time
    Stephen and I came up with keeping the most frequently used term and also very catchy word, exergame, but not limiting definition to the traditional definition of exercise by using exertion.
    Exertion is the expenditure of energy by skeletal muscles. (More like Physical Activity)
    We propose the new definitions of exergame and exergaming:
    Exergaming is an experiential activity where playing exergames, videogames, or computer-based is used to promote physical activity that is more than sedentary activities and also includes strength, balance, and flexibility activities. This new definition of exergame will hopefully clear the confusion on the terms we use, how to define exergames and reduce the inconsistency of its use in future studies.
  • Powerpad->DDR , Wii Fit yoga,
    Virtual trainer- Maya from YourSelf!Fitness -> My Fitness Coach
    Eye Toy (Kinetic), Pokémon Heartgold & Soulsilver (Pokéwalker)

    I will focus on Pokémon game in this talk. Let me show you some video on pokémon phenomenon before talking about the game.
  • Pokémon Championship qualifier event in L.A. 2008
    These kids are playing games like this.
  • They are numbers of pokémon video games released since 1998.
    Pokemon phenomenon

    Gamecube & Wii games.

    Heartgold & Soulsilver sold 8.4 million worldwide. March 2010 in US.
    Black and white sold over 2.6 million copies in Japan first two days launch.

  • Pokémon trading card game
  • TV shows, comic books, and such. This I would like to think it as
  • This is very well situated in Lave and Wenger’s communities of Practice
    Wenger mentioned that
    “We all belong to communities of practice. At home, school, work, in our hobbies. changes over time.”

    Let me tie this as Pokémon community of practice
  • Imagine this as Pokémon trainers’ community of practice. There are all sorts of members in the community. Some would participate in trading card game, some would do as playing video games. People will have different participation levels within the community. The edge of community is newcomer. They might have just picked up the video game and started to learn. could drop out if not so much interesting. or get to know more knowledge and skills by learning through interacting with other members.

    Player can interact with many virtual characters and with other players both locally & throughout the world.
    “Learners inevitably participate in communities of practitioners and that the mastery of knowledge and skill requires newcomers to move toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community” (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 29).
  • As I mentioned earlier, I want to talk about pokémon game - Heartgold and Soulsilver. 2010 - newest one in US.
    Before doing that, How many have you played Pokémon game here?

    In addition to all these already existed concept of being a pokémon trainer by collecting, training, battle with one another... This version has a special pedometer that made for this particular game. Added walking concept.

  • As you start the game, Pokémon Professor Elm gives a reasoning of walking with Pokémon is important. You become part of pokemon researcher as trainer.

  • You will walk around in game. You will do the same through pokéwalker.

    The pokéwalker allows players to practice as pokémon trainer in the real world.

    Let’s take a look at pokéwalker.

    The main goal of the games is to become a better pokémon trainer through walking, and this is realized in both real world space as mediated by the pokéwalker and the game space.
  • Pokéwalker is a special pedometer made for this game.
    First, It shapes like a pokéball that used to capture or carry pokémon.
  • In game, you will collect the item randomly by picking up.
    Once you picked up, you won’t be able to pick it up again. I wanted to note that in game item is limited.
  • You do the same thing in pokéwalker using dowsing mini game. You will need 60 steps which is 3 watts to play one game. guessing game with 2 times of opportunities. It’s comparable to in game item collecting because it is not limited source.

    3 w = 60 steps

    20 steps = 1 watt

  • As you walk around and getting to the first village, You will meet this old man who is more experienced character introduce you to general idea of village.

    what they are, what you can do. in a very explicit and direct instruction. This part is only one segment of the gameplay, but The way he was presenting reminded me of apprenticeship in communities of practices.

  • as you progress, you will also meet with pokémon and have to fight them. either just make them faint or catch them with empty pokéball.
  • Just like in-game play, you do very similar practice in pokéwalker. You need 10 watts which is 200 steps to play one time.

    It is simplified version compared to in-game play. While you need to buy pokéball in game, this one provides for free as well.

    In these both feature, pokéwalker offer players cheaper way to capture pokémon and collect item.

    10 w = 200 steps

  • and, you are not only fight with pokémon, but also get challenge by other pokémon trainers in game.
    It’s similar, but you are actually competing against to each other, you can’t really collect the pokémon. If your pokémon is fainted, then you need to pick go cure them at the pokémon center. In this, I wanted to highlight on the last sentence of the other pokémon trainer.
    These types of conversation help enculturate player into pokémon trainer’s world.
  • Instead of Battle, in pokéwalker, players connect with other trainers. They will receive a gift as item. allow once a day with a player.
  • Pokéwalker is doing great job to make walking as part of the pokémon culture.

    Connecting with Other pokémon trainers in real world.
    There is a good reason why people do it.
    If you are going in to Eliptrical at gym, do people talk to each other?
  • When player bring their pokéwalker data back to game, you see this cute little journal. One problem is that isn’t recorded in game. But through reading this journal, players will experience that their activity through pokéwalker feel more real.
  • As we have seen in previous slide, there are pokémon trainers in a form of community of practice.
    There is also walking community as well.

    It is possible, that members who are already in this community might have started to join the walking community through playing this particular game, or the new member who just picked up the game may join and participating in pokémon and walking community at the same time.

    I would like to end this talk by stating that pokémon heartgold and soulsilver with pokéwalker has potential to introduce “walking” to people from a sociocultural learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

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