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Konami brings DanceDanceRevolution to the classroom

Konami has unveiled its latest creation: a version of its popular DanceDanceRevolution game designed for use in schools, dubbed the Classroom Edition.

As the name suggests, the DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition is Konami's attempt to get the rhythm-based game off living room consoles - where it has enjoyed considerable success on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii - and into schools in an attempt to combat what the company claims is a growing tide of childhood obesity.

"DanceDanceRevolution introduced a generation of young people to an innovative and fun approach to physical activity," claimed Clara Baum, senior director of strategic marketing and partnerships at Konami. "With the launch of our Classroom Edition and Konami's collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, we see the healthy lifestyle benefits of expanding the active video games or 'exergaming' platform and making this fun, physical activity system available to as many people as possible."

Based on a custom PC platform, the system connects to up to 48 dance mats - ruggedised versions of the mats provided for use with games consoles, having more in common with the robust metal versions found on DanceDanceRevolution arcade cabinets - which are equipped with smart-card readers that can track individual students' progress. As the students play, teachers can track health information including steps taken, estimated body mass index and caloric burn rate.

Konami points to studies suggesting that 'exergaming' - the combination of exercise and gaming for which DanceDanceRevolution is known - has the potential to combat the perceived obesity problem in children, and the company has plenty of experts on-side to back up its claims including the American Diabetes Association.

The DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition systems don't come cheap, however: although Konami has subsidised the installation of units at three schools in the US, those not chosen to take part in the company's trials will find themselves paying up to $20,000 for the 48-mat full-sized package, or $10,000 for a 12-mat version.

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