Despite the rash of game-related legislation being introduced around the country, it seems not every state has it in for digital entertainment. West Virginia, for example, has entered into a three-year agreement with Konami to bring the publisher's Dance Dance Revolution game out of the arcade and into the classroom.
Starting with the state's 103 middle and junior high schools over the coming months, all 765 of West Virginia's public schools will incorporate DDR into their physical education or health-related curricula within two years. Data collected from the DDR program will be used for a report on the health and scholastic benefits of incorporating the game into school programs.
The partnership came about after a recent "Games for Health" study conducted by the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency and West Virginia University's Motor Development Center found the game effective in raising children's level of physical activity.
West Virginia should be an ideal place for such a program to be used as a proving ground. In making the announcement, Konami referred to the state's childhood obesity problem as reaching "epidemic proportions." According to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control, West Virginia has the third-highest rate of obesity among its population, trailing only Mississippi and Alabama.