Gaming and virtual reality is letting its arms stretch out wide and being highly received by both developers and players in equal strides. Facebook only just purchased Ocular VR, pay $400 million in cash, $1.6 billion in stock, along with an additional $300 million earn-out based on the achievement of the Oculus VR meeting certain financial milestones. When Facebook is willing to spend $2 billion dollars on bringing such interactivity into the everyday world, it must be more than just a passing trend.

At their very first proper event, Chicago based SymGym came forward to show off their nearly completed exercise device that utilizes video games within its design. The exercise machine itself serves the purpose of a controller, with a resistance and elliptical design that will give its plays a full body work out while playing video games. The movable arm bars and pedals will change resistance based on the particular game being played, with a variety of gameplay that will require players to push, pull, and jump to move forward. There may be obstacles to jump over, or monsters to race away from. Over time, and the game will steadily increase the resistance for increasing challenge.

But event though this is their first big show, it wasn’t for trial and error. In 2013 SymGym brought forth their first prototype, which consisted of planks of 2x4s and bungee cords. Below is the very first prototype of the SymGym.


Resistance was still key in that early start, and from here they could stand and start to make improvements. They listened to those who tested the device, constantly trying to find ways to improve. Two years and seven prototypes later they have a product that they are proud to show to the masses, and so they came to SXSW 2015 Gaming Expo to give everyone a taste. The current games that were made usable with the machine consisted of Pac-Man, Galaga, and a simply platformer akin to the first stages of Super Mario Bros.

“Everyone is looking for new ways to make exercise less monotonous.” said Glen Suzz, SymGym VP of Business Development.“When you’re playing the Wii, you could really be sitting in an arm chair and just flicking your wrist with one hand and have a drink in the other. But it doesn’t offer anything back. Ours works with various types of resistance.” SymGym can go from zero to one hundred pounds of resistance in no time flat, which Susz believes will be the decided factor that will separate SymGym from others of its kind. “And now we’re confident in our final product and we want to get it in front of people.”  And ready they should be. Below is their current and hopefully near to complete product!


All the while the device uses its own technology to connect to the Cloud where all your data can be stored. Heart rate, calories, time, its all there before the player in easy to see and read charts. With the click of button you can compare previous sessions and see your progress at your own discretion, and not on the big screen for unwanted eyes.

As for the games, currently things that are free to the public are being used. The plan however is to eventually get indie developers to create products just for the SymGym, where they will receive a percentage not only for the rights of the game, but also percentages for each SymGym sold. These incentives are excellent, not only to getting indie developers to make excellent revenue, but also have their products in front of a much broader audience.

All in all, the product worked exceedingly well. What we had presented before us was tight, concise, and the most importantly, fun to use. The SymGym hopes to be in production sometime in 2015 to 2016, and I can say it will be on my radar.

About The Author

Caitlin F
Staff Writer

Caitlin has two passions in life, writing and video games. Only seemed wise to combine the two. When she isn’t playing the latest title, she is partaking in other nerd endeavors online or at local comic shops.