I've never been one for stereotypes. It's unfortunate then, that I happen to be both of the following things:
- 1. A gamer
2. A bit overweight.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that my most developed muscles are found either in the thumb I use for the "jump" button or the finger I use for the "fire" button. It certainly isn't located anywhere near the rounded lump of a belly which my girlfriend politely assures me is "cute."
The most worrying thing about this particular stereotype, however, is that it has research backing it up. A recent study concluded that, as well as being more prone to depression than non-gamers, we're also more likely to be unhealthy and overweight. (It's not all bad news, though - we can take some solace in the knowledge that we're an older and less predominantly male bunch of fatsos than we previously thought.)
So, with these facts in mind, I issued myself the following challenge: to live for two weeks according to the rules and stipulations of a selection of "lifestyle" videogames which, with their eternally smiling, lycra-bound cover stars, have recently followed in Wii Fit's wake to power-walk their way up the charts.
On my mark. Get set. Go.
Day One: Weight - 199.5 lbs
Where else to start but where it all started? I put on my neglected gym shorts, fire up my Wii and place Wii Fit in the disc tray. I'm soon told that I have a "Wii Fit Age" of 23 and a BMI of 26.8. This is just a couple of points north of the "ideal" zone, but that doesn't stop them from fattening up my onscreen Mii like a baby seal.
At this moment, I can't help but feel a bit betrayed. If any one company had a hand in my fall from svelte, toned grace, it was Nintendo. You didn't have to put 96 levels in Super Mario World, did you, Miyamoto? And what was I doing when the other boys were playing football? I was catching 'em all, that's what. It felt as though the nymphomaniac mistress I kept a secret from my wife for 20 years has suddenly become a born-again Christian and started administering daily fidelity exams.
Forty minutes later, with some jogging, stretching and, well, posturing under my belt, I feel a touch out of breath, but the experience doesn't exactly compare to breaking one's back at the gym after a long hiatus. Clearly, one game isn't enough ...