Exergaming Journal #5: StepManiaX!

My personal exergaming journey began in mid-March, and this is has taken me to multiple games that include Ring Fit Adventure, Fitness Boxing 2 and Pump It Up XX. This has also led to a growing interest in other games that may help me keep active, including future titles such as XSEED Games’ Knockout Home Fitness.

Perhaps I’m not an “expert” in the exergaming field, but the time I’ve put in over these months (along with dietary changes), are yielding results. Just prior to my birthday, I reached the first milestone I’ve talked about through these journals. I was long overdue to get back into this weight range, and earlier this month I weighed in at an even 190 pounds – 40 pounds down from the 230 I had climbed to over the course of the pandemic.

weightchart

I’m going to keep going to trim down to 180 pounds and then review where I want to go from there. I’ll admit I haven’t recently looked into factors such as BMI or other health data, so it’s possible I may consider cutting a tad more weight from that point. Another option would be in shifting my fitness goals to focus on items such as muscle gain, cardio, core strength or flexibility.

My previous exergaming journal featured Pump It Up XX. I had mentioned the regimen of Ring Fit and Fitness Boxing was becoming repetitive and I was starting to feel the call of arcade dance games once again. I toured some arcades for my birthday, and this led to marathons on games such as DanceDanceRevolution and Dance Rush.

One opportunity that has recently come up, though, is in a friend recently purchasing his own StepManiaX cabinet. This is not the first time StepManiaX has been featured on GemuBaka, as the machine made a showing at the 2020 BashCon event in Toledo courtesy of K-Dog’s Arcade. There was constantly a crowd around the machine, with a group traveling in to the event specifically to play this game produced by Step Revolution.

The product is spearheaded by Kyle Ward, who is no stranger to the industry. In fact, this site archives an interview I did with him 15 years ago based on his work on the rhythm game series In the Groove.

StepManiaX carries the spirit of that series forward, offering a new arcade-style dancing rhythm game that is continually being exposed to more and more players across the world over time. The cabinet features amazing dance pads that can be purchased on their own for USB connectivity, five-button gameplay, multiple modes and difficulties and continued song expansion support. This is all largely detailed in the site’s BashCon 2020 event report, so I’ll focus on what is new with the game and how it has been introduced into my exergaming routine.

The biggest update for me over the period of approximately 18 months is that the companion app is now in full swing. At the time of BashCon, the Android version of the app had just been introduced, but the app has since been made available for iOS devices.

This app is the means by which players track their statistics, scanning a QR code in the game to upload their performance results.

On top of scoring progress, the app tracks total steps and Calorie burn and players can set daily goals for these to help them meet their fitness targets. Submitting scores qualifies players for total and weekly rankings, and these can be separated by world or regional rankings, as well as rankings per difficulty.

stepmaniaapp

There are social elements as well that allow players to follow other players, select a rival to more closely compare scores and make social media-style posts. This app has worked great over the few sessions I’ve been able to get in, and my only issue (through iOS) has oddly been the inability to change my profile picture. If that’s my biggest issue with the app, though, I’ll take it.

Starting in the beginning of September, StepManiaX has seen its 19th content expansion, with each expansion adding roughly five songs each. This means the catalog of songs has greatly expanded over time through free updates downloaded to the machine.

This includes notable songs from former Konami staple Naoki and a lineup of licensed songs that will make DDR fans over the years feel right at home. A few licenses in the game have elapsed, but, to date, these removals have been grossly outweighed by the additions made to the game.

As it goes for fitness, I’ve observed that my friend who owns the cabinet has improved greatly over the past couple of weeks. The machine is pretty good at making players feel accomplished, awarding a series of stars for performances. StepManiaX is very generous on pass/fail mechanics, instead pushing for completion and improvement.

I started off with Pump It Up sessions, and since that time, I have noticed that my stamina is greatly increasing. On Saturday, outside of a credit-feed playthrough of Elevator Action Invasion (more to come on that game soon) I played Pump It Up from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and then played StepManiaX for three hours on top of that. I felt like I could have kept playing until 4 a.m., that’s how much stamina I’ve regained since starting to play arcade dance games once again.
Pump It Up currently has me at about 2,500 Calories burned, and I’m approaching 1,000 on StepManiaX, so it’s all starting to add up and I’m likely getting the added bonus of improved cardio/endurance. I’d say that is satisfactory for a rhythm game!

stepmaniax2

I previously mentioned taking breaks from the Nintendo Switch titles, but, my next journal will likely focus on Ring Fit Adventure. Something that occasionally floats around Twitter is a 14-day challenge of playing the game once each day over a two-week period. I figure this will give me a chance to get back into the game a little bit and work over some muscles.

Who knows – maybe this will be what pushes me to 180!

Stay healthy and keep having fun with those exergames!

Continue to Exergaming Journal #6

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Categories: GemuBaka Feature

Author:indiesnack

Indie Snack is a video gaming Web site focusing on independent developers and game releases. Indie Snack will also soon have services made available to independent developers to include tools aiding them in public relations and game marketing.

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  1. | Exergaming Journal #4: Pump It UpGemuBaka - September 15, 2021

    […] CONTINUE TO EXERGAMING JOURNAL #5 […]

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