Off the Couch
A gym-ready joystick turns slacking into serious sport
SINCE THE BYGONE DAYS of Pong, video games have offered users zero physiological benefits besides superhuman thumbs. But plug Powergrid’s new kiloWatt game controller/exercise machine ($1,199; 800-266-6775, ) into a PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, or Mac and you’ll have to use your entire body to nail those rail grinds in Tony Hawk Underground. The kiloWatt control pad, which looks like a normal PS2 controller, is mounted on a rigid, shoulder-high aluminum “resistance rod” that rises from a platform. The stick converts pushes and pulls into onscreen action—meaning moves you could once pull off with a flick of the wrist now require entire sets of upper-body muscles. Increase the workout level (from easy to “Ouch, make it stop!”) and the resulting isometric challenge will leave you panting.
powergrid kilowatt game controllerPhotograph by Gregg Segal
KELLY SLATER’S PRO SURFER, by Activision (for PS2, Xbox, GameCube): Paddle out as your favorite pro on a Pipeline tube or Maverick’s monster. » DOWNHILL DOMINATION, by SCEA (for PS2): Punch and kick your way to victory in head-to-head mountain-bike mayhem. » Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, by Activision (for PS2, Xbox, GameCube): Wreak urban skate havoc on Barcelona, Berlin, and four other cities. » SSX 3, by EA Big (for PS2, Xbox, GameCube): Snowboard endless backcountry bowls, then compete in the terrain park and downhill races.