Bit of a Ramble on Experiencing Biofeedback Games & A Video on Consumer Devices

Ever since my undergrad supervisor got me interested in designing biofeedback games I’ve been hooked. When you research biofeedback games you see a lot of cool and interesting things from your fellow researchers but getting to experience those systems is very difficult. For example, the adaptive Tetris game we developed at Liverpool John Moores University uses a Biosemi EEG which is prohibitively expensive. If anyone else was going to experience the game they’d either have to already have the setup we used to run the game or need to rebuild the EEG processing pipeline to make it work.

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Dark Escape 4D in Chicago!

I was recently visiting Chicago for the 4th of July fireworks and lo-and-behold I came across another Dark Escape 4D arcade cabinet!

You can find this delightfully hard as balls competitive/cooperative biofeedback gun game at Dave and Busters on N Clark Street. For a biofeedback game this model sure gets about, I’ve played it now in three countries: Blackpool (UK), Juan Les Pins (France) and Chicago (US).

You can view my let’s play of the game on the old research blog here.

"Love is Over" – Gaming a Love Tester

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Following on from my earlier adventure with the stress tester, sat right next door was a love tester, presumably developed by the same company given it was using the same chassis as the stress tester*. The love tester is probably one of the most familiar, and oldest, commercial biofeedback games around. Its function is to assess the sexual magnetism of the player using a comically named rating scale e.g. “Cold and Clammy” for no magnetism, “Out of Control” for lots. A love tester is basically a gag device which uses physiological input to provide some authenticity to the assessment. Their a common prop in media where making fun of the sexual prowess of a character is needed (e.g. The Simpsons); you can often find a love tester in a bar or the funfair if you want to try one out,
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Playing Dark Escape 4D

Dark Escape 4D at Mr T's, Blackpool
Dark Escape 4D at Mr T’s, Blackpool

Originally posted on
Holidays and arcades are one of my traditions. Come every holiday I hole up in the nearest arcade and play games until my fingers go numb, usually from the re-coil of the light-gun games. Sadly, in my experience, arcade culture in the UK has diminished significantly as the novelty and variety of yesteryear is simply not there any more. Most arcades tend to host a mixture of dated racing and light-gun games (I’m looking at you Time Crisis), which, while were fun at the time have lost their charm. During my recent holiday, much to my surprise, I came across a brand new arcade game which really piqued my interest: Dark Escape 4D by Namco.
And why did this game catch my attention so, well because it was a biofeedback game, a biofeedback game at the ARCADE!
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Will the Wii Vitality every reach 99% of all customers?

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At a recent investor conference, Nintendo was rumoured to of stated that the reason the Wii Vitality has not been released was because it only works for 80% of players and before they release it they want it to work for 99%. If this issue concerns the physiological game mechanic (i.e. only 80% of players can control their physiology according to the requirements of the game mechanic), then the product will be on hold for a very long time.
Note: For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume Nintendo are experimenting with a heartbeat (HR) rate based biofeedback relaxation game which they’ve alluded to previously at E3 2009. However what I’m going to say applies equally to all physiological game mechanics I know of and should be borne in mind when developing your own physiological game.
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