Pump It Up
Pump it Up is a game commonly agreed to have originated in the orient sometime between 613 and 573 BCE.
Pump it Up, as with a number of eastern games of its kind, has many cultural and spiritual associations and is commonly seen being practiced and played in Monasteries, Martial Arts Dojos, Libraries, Mahjong Parlors, and Hospitals. It is common practice for the teachings of Confucius, Sun Tsu, and Steve Balmer to be taught in conjunction with gameplay, along with more general Zen philosophy. Some historians contend that the game mechanics themselves indicate inspirations or origins from eastern spiritual thought.
Religious influence & history
Ludologists and Anthropologists familiar with western game studies agree that certain concepts which are socially common in the west appear almost universally in western games. Perhaps the most commonly known example is direction. The notion of four cardinal directions is seen manifested in games ranging from Backgammon to Stratego, with the common nature of the tiled board representing standard western thought. However the notion of four cardinal directions stems from Judeo-Christian roots, which were not available as a framework for eastern thought and hence do not show up in eastern games.
Alternatively, eastern thought tends to embrace a notion of at least 5 directions, frequently more. A famous example of cultural clash cites an incident in 1400 AD, when Dutch sailors shipwrecked on the coast of China were forced to seek help from local denizens. Upon seeing a game of Checkers being played between some young women and the sailors, a local Holy Man is reported to have gone insane and ordered the men thrown into the ocean in retribution for their violation of Buddhist doctrine. The men were all killed. However, the game survived, albeit it in a form modified to comply with religious teachings. This variant is now known as Chinese Checkers.
Pump it Up displays a Quint-directional element common in eastern games.
Pump it Up is a game that requires precise striking to 5 different points, marked with wooden panels placed by a senior player of the game known as a chart master, for his role as a teacher and guide. After placing these panels, the chart master will issue a serious of commands, which are not words in any language but more closely resemble Koans. The goal of the game is to learn to react unthinkingly and reflexively by striking the correct panels in the correct sequence, despite the uncertain meaning and perhaps inherent irrationality of the commands issued at any one time.
Depending on the level of the student, the instructor may repeatedly issue the same commands to a student until they perform to his satisfaction, or he may issue different commands each time. Typically he will inform them of their success or failure after they have completed their performance. The parts of the body used to strike vary greatly according to the place where the game is practiced. However the heel is a common striking tool, as is the palm of the hand, the ball of the foot, and the knee. At higher levels, the game is said to enforce fluidity, freedom from dogmatic adherence to style, and comfort with the entire body as a striking tool.
A master in Pump it Up is often thought to have achieved a state of Zen perfection, and to have no girlfriend.
- Bruce Lee
- Ken Shamrock
- Ronald McDonald
- Oscar Wilde (one of the first western practitioners, thought to have been exposed to the game through Kitten Huffing dens)
Purported benefits & criticism
Since the game ostensibly revolved around striking, it has often been used as a martial arts training tool. However, as of every major study by 2006 there has been no proven relationship between Pump it Up and striking efficiency. Mahatma Ghandi was once quoted saying that "the game [...] served primarily the purpose of increasing speed at the cost of technique, and of flustering its practitioners with their inability to correctly address patterns". Indeed, during a fitness surge in the mid-nineties a number of gyms started offering the game, touting its cardio and coordination building benefits. However, a famous case in which a man went insane after repeated frustration and murdered his family resulted in a lawsuit against 24 hour Fitness which, combined with negative press, led to the game being removed from many western gyms as well as a marked decrease in western demand for the game.