CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Officials of the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Games for Health Project through West Virginia University (WVU) announced today their continued partnership with Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. by launching a 2010 DanceDanceRevolution West Virginia State Championship Tournament, targeted at high schools, middle and elementary schools in the state of West Virginia.
The first of its kind, this statewide competition expands on Konami’s existing relationship with the state of West Virginia, which began in 2004 when West Virginia commenced its nationally acclaimed Games for Health Project. Initially involved in clinically supervised home use, the DanceDanceRevolution video game series later evolved into a statewide school based project and is now used by thousands of
West Virginia children as a part of physical education and before- and after-school activities.
Building on previous successes, West Virginia and Konami will be hosting a school-based tournament with three divisions: elementary (grades 3-5); middle school (grades 6-8); and high school (grades 9-12). Winners will move on to compete in regional championships with top scorers proceeding to the state finals.
Beginning this month, all enrolled students (grades 3-12) from the hundreds of West Virginia public schools will be invited by Konami to participate in this championship tournament that will reward winning players with games and scholarships. All West Virginia public schools currently participating in the West Virginia Games for Health Project are eligible to participate.
“I’m pleased to announce a new collaboration involving the state of West Virginia and Konami Digital Entertainment, the makers of the physical activity video game, DanceDanceRevolution. The state will be hosting the 2010 DanceDanceRevolution West Virginia State Championship Tournament with the winners receiving $1,000 in higher education scholarships funds donated by Konami,” said First Lady Gayle Manchin. “This interactive game, which has proven to be beneficial to our state’s children, promotes a healthy life balance of exercise and fun.”
The tournament begins this month and ends with the state championship, which is tentatively scheduled for May 22 in Charleston. The contest is as much about fitness as it is about fun as students from all over the state will take to the mat to hone their skills in DanceDanceRevolution in hopes of making it to the state championship.
Since first introduced to North American video game consoles in 2001, DanceDanceRevolution has received a tremendous amount of exposure for its health benefits. Each version of the game has a unique workout mode that allows users to track calories burned and conduct their own fitness regiment. A major part of the new trend in gaming that focuses on exercise, DanceDanceRevolution has recently been introduced as part of the physical fitness curriculum in multiple school districts in the United States. Additionally, it has been a part of numerous research studies on childhood obesity.
In 2004, as childhood obesity rose to epidemic proportions in the state, PEIA and WVU’s Motor Development Center were inspired to enter into a partnership with Konami after experiencing positive results in increasing children's levels of physical activity with its clinically-based Games for Health research project. As part of the initiative, the state developed a school-based DanceDanceRevolution curriculum and collected data in order to analyze and report on the health and academic benefits of using DanceDanceRevolution in schools. Representatives of PEIA, WVU's Motor Development Center, the Department of Education, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and Konami oversaw the project. Today, the program has been integrated successfully into physical education programs throughout West Virginia and is supported by Gov. Joe Manchin III.
For more information, please contact Dr. Emily Murphy, Director of the WV Games for Health Project, at (304) 293-0767.