Concept: There is a whole generation of kids (and adults) out there who aren't into sports and/or don't get enough exercise. At the same time there is a huge fitness market. We have seen how kids can become addicted to our video games. We are going to hook up an exercise bike to a video game, where the bike is the controller. Hook up a bike to "Pole Position" and you have to pedal to make your car "go". Hook it up to "Dig-Dug" and shovel faster - or else! We can make fitness freaks out of the kids and game players out of the keep-fitters. We capitalize on the combination of the two powerful markets -- video games and aerobic fitness.The Puffer project was all but ready to go when Atari declared bankruptcy. By pedaling an exercise bike that was hooked up to an Atari 400/800 or 5200 console, players could control the speed of their characters in custom-designed games like Tumbleweeds and Jungle River Cruise, a sort of Pitfall clone. A gamepad mounted on the bike's handlebars provided additional inputs. A listing from the Jungle River Cruise "Projects Report" by J. Leiterman, dated October 6th, 1982, gives some detail of the hardware prototype development: "After second week into the project, pick out switches and have model shop hook up to spring loaded hand brake type controllers. When finished there, have Lab solder everything together to connector and mount to exercycle." Three models of the Puffer system were planned:
• Pro Model — This was the top-of-the-line unit for use in gyms, and health clubs. It included a heart rate monitor. • Arcade Model — This would have been used in video arcades. It was planned to be a one-piece device, with a coin slot. Supposedly, a game similar to Atari's arcade game "Paperboy" was under consideration for this unit. • Home Model – This would hook up to an Atari home computer or Atari 5200. It also come with the necessary hardware to hook your existing exercise bike up to the Atari computer/game console. The price was estimated between $140-$170.BackNTime.net goes on to claim that Atari, an official sponsor of the 1984 Olympics, was going to attempt a proper launch of the Puffer to coincide with the games, but something — probably lack of capital in an over-saturated market — preempted the release yet again.
Power Pad television commercialMore: Power Pad games; Bandai's Family Fun Fitness magazine advertisement; concept mockup for a Wii Power Pad; cute Japanese Family Trainer box art;
Prop Cycle (1996) Namco's 1996 arcade title Prop Cycle was little more than an exercise bike glued to a simplistic Steampunk-themed game. In its cute, brightly-lit world, the protagonist huffs and puffs as he whirls around in a pedal-powered ornithopter, popping magic balloons. In the real world, you probably broke the machine by accident, quietly looked around to see if anyone had noticed, then fled.