The original version of Street Fighter actually had a version that used pressure-sensitive pads to measure the strength of an attack. Given the violent controls mashing and breakage that presumably came instantly thereafter, Capcom decided to drop this method for a more traditional button setup. Still, there’s something appealing about having a game that responds to the strength of your input, and Richard Kirby has come up with a new game called Pi Fighter that does just that, measuring strikes to a punching bag.
Gameplay mechanics here are certainly simpler than Street Fighter — though one might argue more realistic. The player simply hits a bag, and the impact is measured by an accelerometer. A Raspberry Pi translates the strength of this attack into the number of health points that you knock off of your virtual opponent. Your opponent in turn “attacks” you virtually, taking off a certain number of hit points after it strikes.
The game interface is a simple LED matrix, affixed along with the Pi to the upper part of the bag, letting it feel the blows without getting directly pummeled itself! The game would add a sense of urgency to workouts, encouraging you to strike hard and fast — certainly a great way to get just a little more out of your workout!
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Author: Jeremy S. Cook