Exergaming Journal #4: Pump It Up

The last time I wrote about my exergaming exploits, I noted I was wanting something more than partaking in the same cycle of Ring Fit Adventure and Fitness Boxing. While both are excellent products, I was yearning for something different after a rotation of those two games over a period of two-plus months.

I noted I wanted to get back into playing active rhythm games at the arcade, and I made a little bit of progress with this in ordering Andamiro’s AM Pass for Pump It Up XX. My closest arcade has this machine as its only rhythm game, and that was fine by me as I’d never really had a chance to give the series a proper try.

A couple of years ago, I related on Twitter about the only other time a Pump It Up machine was located in my area. I believe it was a Pump It Up Premiere machine, but it was located in a bowling alley that featured an amusement area that was just off the area’s main highway. It was a decent machine, but the issue was that the bowling location absolutely despised the machine.

I would have no idea what the arrangement was for having the game at the location, but the Pump It Up machine was the only machine that operated on quarters instead of tokens. Also, the machine was placed just outside of the dedicated amusement center area.

The bowling location would unplug the machine at every opportunity, and the location refused to make change to provide the quarters needed to play it. After three or four attempts made to try to play this game, we gave up on it as we were clearly not welcome at this location.

Years later this business doesn’t exist and it was flattened to make way for a medical center. Go figure that when you offer an amusement center as part of the business location and you actively chase those customers away, the business doesn’t last. *shrugs*

Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge as the closest Dave & Busters location offers a really nice Pump It Up XX cabinet, and I have to say I’m very impressed with the machine’s functionality. Players can use a USB drive to maintain their profile and keep their stats, but I had to be difficult and track an AM Pass down in Hong Kong. The card has some very nice artwork on it, and I just simply tap the card against a reader on the machine and my profile is instantly brought up for play.

The “XX” tag for the game recognizes the Pump It Up series’ 20th anniversary, and there is no shortage of songs to enjoy on this machine. The game defaults to a decently-featured song wheel that presents the music new to the series, but pressing one of the “back” buttons takes players to a menu where previous entries can be viewed to access songs and step charts from the series’ past.

Since the profile system requires an online connection, new songs are still being added to the game along with limited time events for seasoned players to tackle for profile rewards. I won’t admit to be an expert at this game, but there are several stepcharts for each song that give a wide range of difficulties for players to find something that fits their ability.

For those unaware, Pump It Up plays very closely to Konami’s DanceDanceRevolution, but the largest change comes in the panel layout players dance on. While DDR has up, down, left and right panels, Pump It Up has a center panel surrounded by four other diagonal panels. I’m still trying to figure out how I can wrap my body around to catch some of the patterns, but there are many songs in the 5-8 difficulty area that are very enjoyable – they keep you moving but they don’t have an intensity that takes you out of the groove of dancing to the music. When I go into more difficulty territories, that’s when I have to leverage the bar and go into gameplay where I am more stepping to the music instead of dancing.

There is an online ranking mode, and toggling that puts players into difficulties of 13 or higher and I was glad to be able to hang in there for songs in the 13-15 area. Going higher and tackling the difficulties toward 20 are going to take some more practice on my part, though.

Still, picking up the intensity is great for the exergaming approach to playing Pump It Up. When playing in the area of 13-15, I was closing in on 100 calories burned per game (each credit offered four songs), and playing 11 games tallied more than 700 calories burned overall.

So, thankfully Pump It Up is proving to be an excellent way to keep up a calorie burn. I ended my first night trying a new orzo pasta recipe for dinner, and the following day I saw results in dropping a couple of pounds.

At the moment, I am one pound away from reaching my first goal, so I am continuing to see progress. With that one pound dropped, I will be 40 pounds lighter than when I started this journey in mid-March.

Moving forward, I may have come across an even closer arcade exergaming experience I will share at some point. Going back to Ring Fit Adventure, though, I was recently tagged in a 14-day challenge to play the game once per day in some capacity. Having not played the game in a short while, this seems like the perfect time to jump back in and see how engaged I can potentially get again.

Thanks again for joining me on this journey! I expect to post a part five in this series in the next few weeks – at which time I hope I’ll be able to tell everyone about that first weight goal!


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Categories: GemuBaka Feature


Arcade enthusiast and game collector. Affiliate Twitch retro streamer and games archive writer at Gemubaka (http://gemubaka.com). For business only: gemubaka at gmail


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