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New game lets you swim like Phelps - standing up

If you've so far avoided exercise video games because the idea of going through the motions of various sports – kicking field goals, taking slapshots, hitting cross-court winners – while standing in your living room makes you feel stupid, you'll likely pass on a new one that promises to teach you how to swim like Michael Phelps.

At least one critic is already wondering whether Michael Phelps – Push the Limit, due out this summer, is the "most awkward Kinect game yet," a reference to the controller-free Xbox 360 system.

The publisher, 505 Games, announced the game on Tuesday, and said in a release that it will be "one of the most realistic and intense sports simulation video games ever."

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So … how do you make a swimming video game realistic? How do you even play a swimming game? According to USA Today: "Players stand upright and work their arms – no kicking required – in a variety of swimming stroke motions as they advance from introductory swim meets to championships."

That does sound awkward.

Mr. Phelps himself isn't bothered by the "no kicking required" part or the standing up part, both of which seem to detract strongly from the game's potential realism.

"This definitely isn't your typical video game; much like my training in the pool, Push the Limit is about improving and mastering every race element – from controlling your adrenaline on the block to perfectly timing your finish," Mr. Phelps said in the 505 Games release.

In the game, Mr. Phelps begins by teaching players proper technique, including reaching for the wall and diving. The game also promises to help players learn the finer parts of the breast stroke and Mr. Phelps's other pool moves, which were captured by high-tech cameras.

"It's all based on moves and actual strokes," he told USA Today. "They're trying to pretty much make my stroke look as close as possible in the game as it is in person."

It's just that, you know, you're standing up. Other than that, you're practically in the pool.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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