Until recently, video games and exercise seemed mutually exclusive, though Pokemon GO has shown the two can be — unintentionally — combined. The “SymGym”, on the other hand, from the Illinois-based company of the same name, proffers an intentional melding. I’m not sure if it works.
The SymGym’s progenitors described it as a “resistance-based game controller and gaming platform” and I suppose that’s an apt account of it. As you can see in the lead image, it’s an ungainly thing and unsurprisingly, using it doesn’t look particularly elegant either.
Essentially, the levers and pedals act as joysticks and buttons so technically, any game with basic inputs could be controlled by the SymGym. Case in point, the example title used is Pac-Man.
While the video above shows a group of four enjoying the SymGym in the comfort of their home, the website emphasises so-called “SymGym Studios”. Even the pricing question in the FAQ makes no mention of a per-device cost, instead stating that it’s “aiming for $15 per SymGym Studio session”.
The SymGym’s point of difference compared to say, Kinect or motion controllers, is that it provides resistance to the user’s movements and as a result, a better workout. The site also mentions that the device “monitors players’ exercise to track calories burned, level of difficulty, power output, duration, resistance and more”, so you can quantify your 8-bit flailing against that of your friends.
I’m not really sure what to make of it. Considering the target market, I think it’s a misstep to not even mention pricing or availability for individual units, but we’ll see.