Fitness Gaming

Fitness Gaming

Instead of incorporating games into exercise, how about incorporating exercise into games?

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I love being fit and at times can get quite heavy into working out. That said, i completely agree, working out is one of the single most boring things you can put yourself through. Sometimes my workouts will go into the 2+hour mark and i find that not even my ipod can keep me focused. But, i dont really fancy the thought of working out with a machine or even indoors, i dont even like using the weight machines at the gym or the interactive rowing machine that gives you the scenic video of a lake. For me what helps most is having someone to work out with and keep me motivated, that is worth more to me than something clever to look at.

xmetatr0nx:
But, i dont really fancy the though of working out with a machine or even indoors, i dont even like using the weight machines at the gym or the interactive rowing machine that gives you the scenic video of a lake.

I see where you're coming from with that. i couldn't even manage a week at the gym. I felt it was too clinical and didn't like xercising in front of others. None of my friends understand why I didn't like it, I much prefer going for a run in the locla woods and I'd got some bricks and old railway sleepers to sue as weights in my garden.

Cpt_Oblivious:
I see where you're coming from with that. i couldn't even manage a week at the gym. I felt it was too clinical and didn't like xercising in front of others. None of my friends understand why I didn't like it, I much prefer going for a run in the locla woods and I'd got some bricks and old railway sleepers to sue as weights in my garden.

You know a lot of people say the same thing about not liking to work out infront of others, i never quite understand it. I know it can be a bit daunting or feel that others may be judgmental but half the time i dont think anyone notices other people when they are so focused on their workouts. Then again whatever you find fun is good enough, trail running is 10 times better than any treadmil or track, as for using random things as weights just be careful thats an easy way to hurt yourself.

For myself, I've been trying to manage my weight using the Rock Band drums, as those can really help you work up a sweat on the meatier songs, and I really enjoy doing it for hours on end, too.

Though, it hasn't worked as well as I'd hoped; my arms and legs are in good shape, but my midsection has devloved into some kinda shapeless blob that is neither fat nor muscle...

I once played this arcade soccer game that was powered by an excercise bike. The faster you peddled the faster your avatar would run. You would be suprised how fast or how long you would be willing to peddle to get to the ball first. While the expense of such a set up may be more than the average home user would be willing to front. I think a gym/arcade would be awsome.

It sounds like a good idea (and is founded upon good logic) but trying to impliment an exercise mode into most games wouldn't end very well for one simple reason.

Video games are not a healthy activity (we have the stereotype for a reason).

Attempting to impliment ideas like your example of stepping on the Wii-fit board for health would work well in some games where you are already standing up and flailing around like a madman (such as Madworld or Guitar Hero) but in more conventional games (like Call of Duty, Halo, Command and Conquer etc.) it would just get in the way of gameplay (imagine if you had to operate the controller/keyboard and mouse with precision and accuracy, keep track of what's on screen, use a headset in a multiplayer game and watch your balance as you are quickly stepping back and forth onto what is essentially a raised piece of the floor with footprints).

You would either give up and go back to a good old fashioned lazy game or you might end up hurting yourself (which, last time I checked, does not make you any healthier).

Like the idea of attempting to make games more educational, it is a noble idea to try to get games to make people healthier but we will invariably hit the roadblock of the games that form the mainstay of what we call games are not physically engaging (just as most games meant for entertainment don't really enrich your mind in any way) while most 'healthy' games come across as being gimmicks or just become bland exercise machines and defeat the point of being a game (you do get the occasional exception that proves the rule, such as Typing of the Dead or Wii Sports).

In short, physical activity and games just don't mix (or at least they don't mix very well), we usually play games to rest from the tiring activities we've had during the day, be they physical, mental or emotional strains. Some people can relax by doing exercises, and that's all good (they can have their own genre just for them) but by the same token there are also a lot of people who don't unwind this way (it's simmilar to the observation that after Halo came out, almost every shooter that was released was a Military shooter about space marines, which is something that not everyone is happy about).

How can you you bid the one thing you are sure to live with for your whole life, 24/7 nothing but the best?

I'm not saying one should go out and become the fittest guy in the world, but one should definitely be in OK shape. Anything else is not fair for yourself.

Before and after I've exercised (I run for about 20 minutes three times a week and do push-ups and sit-ups for 10 minutes almost every day), I keep telling myself that this is for my best. I guess I am one of those people who learned to like exercising. And you, Shamus, are correct that one has to learn to like exercising. It's certainly not something that happens in a heartbeat.

Many people also tend to start with a high intensity training because they want to spent the least amount of time exercising and burn as many calories as possible. That's generally a very bad way to start. Start slow and gradually build it up is a way to make sure you are not put down after 1 session.

Fitness and exercise aside, the ideas brought in the article are good. A slight problem might be the niche audience. Think about it: How many seek both exercise and gameplay in their Wii-videogames? If such a game ever is made, which I hope it will be, the exercise crowd won't buy it if its gameplay content is targeted gamers. The gamers won't buy it if the exercise content is targeted the exercise-crowd. But both you and I know that things aren't black and white, and there are probably a big bunch of people in the grey zone.

I think that that's a really great idea. I know that one of the "games" in Wii fit involves 10, 20, or 30 minutes of stepping on and off the balance board while allowing you to change the channel and watch tv while you "exercise". If that could be incorporated into actual game play and provide game-play incentive such as health, money, or some other form of compensation, I think that would be a great idea.

Some problems do arrise- you don't want to make the bonuses too powerful and inhibit gameplay- a balance needs to be found. I'm sure that some people will find this gimmicky and complain that it detracts from gameplay, and a whole other problem arrises from struggles with coordination, but it is definitely a good idea.

I like it, but at the same time, have you ever played a game standing? It just isn't as enjoyable as sitting down. To date, I think the only game I've ever played standing up was smash brothers melee/brawl, and that only happened because 5 people were crammed around the tv in a tiny dorm room.

Overall, the idea has definite merit. Very good article!

DDR

/thread

Iron Mal:
In short, physical activity and games just don't mix (or at least they don't mix very well), we usually play games to rest from the tiring activities we've had during the day, be they physical, mental or emotional strains. Some people can relax by doing exercises, and that's all good (they can have their own genre just for them) but by the same token there are also a lot of people who don't unwind this way (it's simmilar to the observation that after Halo came out, almost every shooter that was released was a Military shooter about space marines, which is something that not everyone is happy about).

Physical activity doesn't mis well with a traditional controler, but the Wii remote/nunchuk allows people to move around while still being able to control the game well. Punch Out for the Wii is a good example of this, where you use your arms to throw punches, but use the control stick for more precise movements.

Also, DDR is a really good way to excersise while playing a game.

I understand the article, but disagree with it almost all the way.

- No, you don't have to like exercise for it to produce results. What you do, physically, is what produces results. If you care enough about the results, like the results enough, you will do the work. And if you don't care about the results, you don't have a problem to fix in the first place. This "having to develop motivation" thing is just an excuse, piling artificial obstacles in front of work that would be quite simple if you made an actual effort to do it.

- If there is something you genuinely want to achieve, then of course you start by researching how that thing is effectively done. With fitness, you don't have to do more than a few hours of reading to get the basics. Using those few hours to flail around with Wii Fits and treadmills gets you nowhere.

- The article completely ignores the most important part of the equation in trying to lose weight. At its core, being overweight is an imbalance of energy input and energy output. For various reasons, concentrating on increasing the energy output is almost guaranteed to fail, whereas you will definitely (barring rare medical conditions) lose weight when you drop the input to a suitable level, even if you don't exercise at all.

- The article positions low-intensity exercise as superior to intense exercise. Not true. For a person seeking overall fitness and wellness at minimum effort and time spent, doing either for the reason of burning calories up front is stupid (see last point; moderate calorie intake instead of futilely trying to "burn" them), but intensive exercise should be included in practically any general fitness program for other purposes.

- Granted, the suggested Wii Fit / game integration would effectively produce low-intensity exercise at no time cost. This could be a nice extra to a healthy lifestyle, but how many people would treat it as that? How many would instead consider it a sacrifice at the altar of the fitness gods, as filling some unknown "fitness quota" - just like so many people treat the entirety of a gym - and never take charge and decide how fit they want to be?

Best game to implement using more body activity? World of Warcraft. Just the running between towns and instances would burn tons of calories.

Emperorpeng:
DDR

/thread

...whoa, I was just about to think up about what I would type up for this topic, and then this came up.

Kudos to you man, I love DDR, you deserve a cookie. Sugar or Chocolate Chip?

As for the article, I mostly agree however I think that these health games fill more of a niche in the market and won't ever actually be fully incorporated. As Iron Mal said, for other niche games (MadWorld) it could make the game more viceral (I can only imagine what it would be like to flail your arms around, grab somebody, rip their neck out all while running up and down the WiiFit Board would be like...) but for most conventional games it would detract from the game itself as many people play games to relax a bit or something similar. Playing Bejeweled while running up and down the WiiFit Board to get extra points wouldn't be very fun if you think about it.

There have been games that improve your fitness for thousands of years. They're called sports.

You don't have to go to the gym to get fit, just find something physical you enjoy. I hate the gym but love doing BJJ/kickboxing/MMA. I get fit to improve my martial arts. To improve my performance Ive even started doing a few gym sessions. Thats motivation.

Its like learning to read. Adult learners, who for what ever reason are illiterate, don't take classes and learn to read for the sake of reading. They do it because they want to be able to use news papers/magazines/streetsigns/football manager sims/comics/TV guides/whatever. Thats motivation.

I honestly believe wii fit is a gimmick. I'm sure its better than doing nothing if you have a sedentary life style but including "fit mode" as an option will probably be ignored by this group anyway.

Iron Mal:

In short, physical activity and games just don't mix (or at least they don't mix very well), we usually play games to rest from the tiring activities we've had during the day, be they physical, mental or emotional strains.

I think someone just doesn't want to exercise, but like he said, there would preferably be two modes available for playing the games so if you don't want to exercise you don't have to. Also, no one can argue that game developers would/nt be able to goto such lengths as to make two modes for the game but, like he said - there would be a huge market for those games including the average gamer who wouldn't mind getting exercise to the casual gamers who absolutely love these things.

I like the idea, I would love to exercise more in games but like you say you need motivation which I lacked until very recently.

I game, and i exercise, i enjoy both... There water and oil though.

Mackinator:

Iron Mal:

In short, physical activity and games just don't mix (or at least they don't mix very well), we usually play games to rest from the tiring activities we've had during the day, be they physical, mental or emotional strains.

I think someone just doesn't want to exercise, but like he said, there would preferably be two modes available for playing the games so if you don't want to exercise you don't have to. Also, no one can argue that game developers would/nt be able to goto such lengths as to make two modes for the game but, like he said - there would be a huge market for those games including the average gamer who wouldn't mind getting exercise to the casual gamers who absolutely love these things.

I like the idea, I would love to exercise more in games but like you say you need motivation which I lacked until very recently.

I make a habit of exercising regularly (and, all things considered, am reasonably healthy) but I will admit that when it comes to playing games I am quite lazy and prefer to just lay down and play a shooter rather than be jumping around everywhere playing the Wii (as fun as that is from time to time, it is something that you will tire of eventually).

The reason I gave for exercise and games not mixing was (again, like I said) the same reason why educational games often failed, they try too hard to fufil their purpose and cease to be fun or a game anymore (play a few maths and science games and you will realise what I'm talking about). The same could apply to exercise games, Wii Fit and Wii sports got the mixture about right (and in my opinion we should realistically leave it there) but attempting to work an exercise mode into other kinds of games would just labour the point, it should be an option, if you want to exercise you should be able to go out and buy an exercise game of your own volition, it shouldn't be something that is weedled into other people's territory whether they like it or not, it just isn't appropriate (giving an option for an exercise mode means that it would still largely be ignored by the people you're trying to persuade to get active, you are still just asking someone if they want to exercise whether it be in a game or in another way, if they weren't going to before then they won't now).

One idea I've heard that might be a step in the right direction would be the use of project Natal, I heard someone suggesting that ,for instance, in a shooting game you want to throw a grenade, normally you press a button, right?

Now you have to make a throwing motion with your arm. It doesn't seem like much (and it isn't) but I believe that simply adding physical elements to what is still largely a sedimentry game would be the best approach, it isn't too dramatic and is still fairly stationary and chair based (which will avoid alienating lazier gamers such as myself) but it still has a certain level of motion and activity involved (in my opinion, exercise is something you should want to do, not something you should be coerced into doing).

Iron Mal:
One idea I've heard that might be a step in the right direction would be the use of project Natal, I heard someone suggesting that ,for instance, in a shooting game you want to throw a grenade, normally you press a button, right?

Now you have to make a throwing motion with your arm. It doesn't seem like much (and it isn't) but I believe that simply adding physical elements to what is still largely a sedimentry game would be the best approach, it isn't too dramatic and is still fairly stationary and chair based (which will avoid alienating lazier gamers such as myself) but it still has a certain level of motion and activity involved (in my opinion, exercise is something you should want to do, not something you should be coerced into doing).

If it's more fun or controls better that way, great. But it's counterproductive to pretend it has anything to do with fitness at that point.

This website is called the escapist for a reason.

When you exercise, use and abuse music. This is especially easy on ardio machines, where you can just close your eyes and allow the music to wash over you and take you somewhere else. As long as your body is moving the equipment, there is absoluely no problem.

There are no rules in a gym saying you can't fantasise while you work out.

Tips :

For cardio workout, use high tempo music.

For weightlifting, use medium tempo music. (lyrics about srength and masculinity helps (rammstein)

Think of it as dancing in a machine, just express what you hear same way you do when dancing, but your motions are guided into a weight loss machine.

Use song titles and grooves as inspiration; I have been through a space battle on a giant turtle (you will be reincarnated as an imperial attack spaceurtle), ridden with an attacking horde of Moors and concquored Europe, attacked whales, sailed to Iceland (mastodon) and became an energy being (behold the arctopus)

THIS MAY HELP : http://www.zombieworkout.com/the-end-is-near-1608-3108.html

NB : I am currently in france, and on an AZERTY keyboard. Please excuse any mistakes.

Fitness and gaming, not a good combination.

What the...

Fitness and Gaming, The Original Combination.

All you nay sayers, you are aware there was a time before computer/video games, yes? Fitness being a integral part of gaming is part of the reason that there is a stigma about gaming being for children, just mention the word "tag" and if you don't think of a game that is also full of fitness there is something wrong with you.

All I see Shamus asking for is that pc/video games that have started to come back around again to using more than just our eye-finger coordination for dexterity (does anyone else remember the Nintendo sports pad?) is that the games that involve more fitness be more engaging and rewarding for the use of spare time in a fun hobby.

Could you imagine a virtual game of tag that involves the board and nunchuks of the Wii? That would friggin awesome.

Has no one else noticed how children primarily after playing a FPS will run around the house, diving behind the couch and other sources of cover and concealment, playing "guns"? I may be 29 now, but damn it all, I wouldn't mind doing that again with the help of a Wii to frag the rest of you SoBs.

There are a host of other so called children's recreational games that we could also update to adult versions. Just because we got older doesn't mean that what motivated us then can't still motivate us now, especially with the help of some fun imaginative Augmented Reality.

Emperorpeng:
DDR

/thread

1. I agree
2. I think something similar to this could be done in NATAL for the 360. I mean your using your whole body, so games could come out where you have to actually walk in place to move your character, or something similar to that.

Emperorpeng:
DDR

/thread

Actually, the crucial part of the article was that I think we need exercise added to games that are already fun. (I don't think DDR would be much fun if you replaced the dancepad with a simple controller.) The goal is to take games that are already fun and addictive and ADD exercise to them. Action games, RPG's, adventure games, etc.

You know how you can look at the clock and think, "Wow, have I really been playing for two hours?" A game like that, that keeps you moving, would be great for fun and fitness.

The wife and I got EA Sports Active for the Wii. It's very well done. Some glitches, but it passes three tests that Wii Fit fails:

1. It allows you to do all the activities right out of the box. None of this nonsense where you have to jump through hoops to "unlock" the content that you paid for.

2. It allows you to set up, and will set up for you, repeated sets of exercises, which can vary, and increase in impact over time. That's how actual exercise regimens work.

3. It focuses only on calories burned and time spent. Wii Fit's insistence on BMI, a deeply flawed pseudo-statistic, makes it an almost useless tool. EA Sports Active also allows you to record how much sleep you got, how many small, balanced meals you have eaten, and other things that actual scientists will tell you are important for fitness.

So everything I just said belongs in an Amazon review. What I'm really here to say is that I definitely think that it could have been spiced up with some violence. To wit, when I am running around the track and I pass someone moving slower, I like to reach out like I'm smacking them in the head, Road Rash 3D style. My avatar doesn't comply, of course. Lame.

This led us to the same basic idea in this article, that it is the game games, like Grand Theft Auto, that should be incorporating the motion controls for fitness. Beating a guy with a bat? Running away from the po-po? Wrestling the steering wheel of a stolen tractor-trailer? Sign me up.

Nutcase:

- The article completely ignores the most important part of the equation in trying to lose weight. At its core, being overweight is an imbalance of energy input and energy output. For various reasons, concentrating on increasing the energy output is almost guaranteed to fail, whereas you will definitely (barring rare medical conditions) lose weight when you drop the input to a suitable level, even if you don't exercise at all.

I agree with you, there: if you're going to one thing to lose weight, chances are that changing how you eat is going to be the most effective thing you can do. It'll take a fairly long time to burn 300 calories by exercising, but it takes no time at all to not eat a Snickers bar.

On the other hand, if you're going to do *two* things, there's no harm in adding a little gentle exercise to your day, and I think Shamus is right in suggesting that using time that you were going to spend gaming anyway might be a sneaky way to encourage people to do that. Having the activity be too vigourous would be a turn-off (and interfere with the gameplay, probably), but something low-intensity like stepping onto a Wii balance board might be possible, and why not? If you burn a few extra calories and help your muscles get a bit stronger by using time you'd otherwise earmarked for sitting on the couch, that's got to be a net positive, right?

You could always try to design an FPS for example that bases the charactor's movement on your own...that would require a multidirectional immovable platform though...Probably too expensive to be feasable at the moment.

Shamus Young:
Instead of incorporating games into exercise, how about incorporating exercise into games?

Yes, how about that? Nintendo is producing a "PokeWalker" pedometer accessory that trains your Pokemon as you walk.

Not everyone is so excited about it apparently though.

samsonguy920:
Best game to implement using more body activity? World of Warcraft. Just the running between towns and instances would burn tons of calories.

I watched a video of that nature - some guys hooked up WoW to a treadmill and somehow wired it so that the WoW characters would run as fast as you did (or at least shift from walking to running based on your speed). They calculated that WoW characters all run at 12 mph.

They barely made it out of the starting zone without collapsing from exhaustion.

A [mis]quote from the actual video:
"If we keep this up all throughout the game, we'll either end up super buff, or dead. Probably the latter"

Amarok:

samsonguy920:
Best game to implement using more body activity? World of Warcraft. Just the running between towns and instances would burn tons of calories.

I watched a video of that nature - some guys hooked up WoW to a treadmill and somehow wired it so that the WoW characters would run as fast as you did (or at least shift from walking to running based on your speed). They calculated that WoW characters all run at 12 mph.

They barely made it out of the starting zone without collapsing from exhaustion.

A [mis]quote from the actual video:
"If we keep this up all throughout the game, we'll either end up super buff, or dead. Probably the latter"

I always got tired watching my toon run around from region to region. Thank goodness for flying.

Nutcase: I couldn't disagree with you more.

Decreasing food intake is one of the hardest things I could imagine doing. I've tried, but the pain in my stomach, the light-headedness, and everything else that comes with eating less than your body thinks it needs feels like suicide. Even just cutting out a small portion of a meal leaves me unsatisfied and itching for more.

On the other hand, exercise (though boring) is easy. I can play softball, bike to work, or walk to the corner store without too much trouble. That's not to say I do it often -- after all, I'm lazy -- but it's a lot easier than trying to starve myself.

Also, I don't think you understood what he meant about motivation. No, you don't need motivation to lose wait -- you just need to burn more than you consume -- but without motivation, you'll have an awful time actually doing any exercise. That's why I don't exercise -- I can't be bothered. Yes, I should. Yes, I wish I would. But the motivation to fit into my clothes and not be so tired isn't as strong as the hatred of wasting an hour, exerting myself, and getting sweaty. It may seem trite, but that's how it works. If I was more motivated (say, I thought I was going to die, or somebody was willing to pay me a lot of money to lose some weight), I would sure as hell get off my ass and workout. Motivation doesn't cause you to lose weight; it causes you to work out, which causes you to lose weight.

 

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