Supporting an Interval Training Program with the Astrojumper Video Game

Andrea Nickel, Hugh Kinsey, Tiffany Barnes and Zachary Wartell
November 29, 2012 - 12:30 PM
Woodward 130
Refreshments will be served. Abstract: We have previously developed Astrojumper, an exercise video game with a space theme that uses the Microsoft Kinect to support full-body exertion play. In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of Astrojumper-Intervals, a new version of our Astrojumper exergame, that explores methods of improving upon the previous game in both aspects of enjoyment and exercise effectiveness. We also investigate how interval training, an established exercise technique used to increase the efficiency of time spent exercising, may be incorporated within a video game. A user study of 34 adult participants compared Astrojumper-Intervals with the original Astrojumper game in terms of exercise effectiveness (measured using heart rate, energy expenditure, and ratings of perceived exertion); and game enjoyment (measured with Likert scale ratings and qualitative feedback). We found that Astrojumper-Intervals elicited statistically significantly greater energy expenditure and heart rate increases than the original game. Also, despite participants’ wide variety of exercise motivations and opinions of games as exercise tools, the overall response to our game was very positive, with 27 of 34 participants preferring the new Astrojumper-Intervals game.