Tumbleweeds  (Atari puffer and Atari 400/800)  1982


First fitness game, first exergame.



Tumbleweeds  Atari puffer

Magazine review- Electronic Games (1984)

Jungle River Cruise screenshot
Jungle River Cruise (screenshot)

1) The first attempt at what would later be called exergame was the Atari Puffer project (1982). This was an exercise bike that would hook up to an Atari 400/800 or 5200 system. Forward speed was controlled by pedaling while steering and additional gameplay was handled by a handlebar-mounted gamepad. The machine was nearly ready for production with several games ("Tumbleweeds" and unfinished "Jungle River Cruise") when Atari declared bankruptcy and the Puffer project was abandoned. Nintendo also dabbled in this space with the Power Pad in the late 1980s.
2) Normal games couldn't be used with the Puffer (although Atari did try and adapt Ms. Pac-Man and Pole Position to use the Puffer), so a series of new games had to be created specifically for the Puffer.  The first of these new games was Tumbleweeds.
3) The whole goal of Tumbleweeds is to peddle towards a set of mountains on the horizon while avoiding tumbleweeds and cacti that get in your way.  Without the Puffer to get your blood pumping, Tumbleweeds quickly becomes a dull sprite-scaling demo. Tumbleweeds uses an interesting first person perspective to help give the player the impression that they really are cycling through a barren desert.  As the tumbleweeds and cacti come into view the player must quickly move to the left or right (using the handlebar buttons) to avoid hitting them.  While there isn't a true objective in the game, the overall goal is to see how fast you can peddle and still avoid the oncoming objects.  Fun for the whole family! (except Grandpa and Grandma). The only known Tumbleweeds prototype is housed in a regular Star Raiders cartridge and is currently in the possession of John Hardie.  Hopefully the rom will eventually be released to the public so the entire community can enjoy this unique game.

4) Fitness game, Exergaming is a term used for video games that are also a form of exercise. Exergaming relies on technology that tracks body movement or reaction. The genre has been credited with upending the stereotype of gaming as a sedentary activity, and promoting an active lifestyle. Research indicates that exergames can produce real improvements in fitness. Exergames are seen as evolving from technology changes aimed at making video games more fun.

5) Game is not emulated.

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tags: history of videogames, ultimate history of video games, evolution of videogames, история видеоигр, история компьютерных игр,  history of video games,

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