Harder, Better, Faster, Maybe Stronger? Future of Exercise in Beat Saber

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Kevin Ha, '21

Beat Saber, but the “E” is missing.

EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE. What the heck is exercise nowadays? According to Merriam Webster, exercise is “bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness.” By that definition, it feels like many students are not getting as much exercise as they used to back before the pandemic. So there’s more “E” than there is “P” in P.E. these days.
To provide context for this pandemic school year, most physical education classes incorporate what is called Social-Emotional Lessons (SEL), which are “mindfulness-based stress reduction for teens,” according to the social-emotional learning website Stressed Teens. Along with this, some physical education classes are requiring students to fit a workout into their pandemic schedule and submit a video of that workout. So in a sense, exercise engagement this year has been low. When asked about the engagement of students in physical education, exercise, and generally moving about this year, here is what Zero Hour, Team Sports I, and Dance Arts teacher Debra DeBenedetti has this to say about it: “Activity wise, I know our focus is on social-emotional learning. And I think it’s wonderful that Glenbard has purchased this program and we have this tool for all our students… I just want to remind them to do the lessons.”
So, with students stuck inside, what can they do for exercise? Besides good ol’ calisthenics and using any exercise equipment lying around, not much. But what if there were a way to combine video games and exercise? It seems completely out of this world. If you like “osu!,” “Hatsune Miku: Project Diva,” or “Guitar Hero” but with the same amount of exercise as “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Just Dance,” then “Beat Saber” might be a good fit for you.
What is “Beat Saber?” From my experience, “Beat Saber” sits in your list of games until that period of time in your life where you decide to play. But, according to the Steam product blurb, “‘Beat Saber’ is a virtual reality rhythm game where you slash the beats of adrenaline-pumping music as they fly towards you, surrounded by a futuristic world.”
Could “Beat Saber” be a potential fix to the decrease in exercise this year? It is certainly a way to get some couch-addicted gamer to get up and jam to some songs. When asked about music being a way to engage students with exercise, DeBenedetti said, “Having a dance background, I absolutely 100% agree and believe and think that it is a great way to reach people and to get people interested.”
With “Beat Saber” available on the Oculus, Vive, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets, it’s the best time to pick up “Beat Saber” and play!