The character sprints, jumps and dives through the game worlds – but not a single drop of sweat forms on the player’s forehead. As well as? Traditionally, the player does not have to move. Sometimes gently tilt the analog stick forward, sometimes pressing a button on the controller. Physical exertion is different. The alternative: fitness games. Nothing works here without movement.
Fitness video games can actually act as a workout or even help you lose weight. The control is done with input devices that either come with the console – such as the Nintendo Wii and Switch – or are purchased separately: PlayStation Move, Microsoft Kinect, etc.
This is how fitness games work
Professional players need to keep a cool head in e-sports games like Counter-Strike or League of Legends and rely on their hand-eye coordination. If you follow the result of e-sports betting in the livestream, a high level of physical fitness is not necessarily a prerequisite for success (though not a disadvantage).
Fitness games often work as a classic workout. With Wii Fit or Ring Fit Adventure, exercises are displayed on the screen that the athlete must emulate. Gyro sensors built into the controller detect whether a workout has been performed correctly.
As with classic video games, there is usually a progression system. This means that the player either earns medals, unlocks new levels or sets a high score for a top performance.
Are fitness games fun?
Although fitness is an important factor in exercise games, these games are often designed with entertainment in mind. Above all, Just Dance wants to emphasize the fun of dancing. That dance burns calories is of secondary importance. Some fitness games can almost be called party games. Wii Bowling or a game of badminton on the Nintendo Switch is insanely co-op fun with other players.
Wii Fit and Wii Sports
Wii Sports is the most successful video game shown on a single console. This can certainly also be explained by the fact that Wii Sports was often included in the scope of delivery of the console. When it was released in 2006, the sports game showed how motion control works with the Wii remote in five disciplines – tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing. Bowling in particular was extremely popular with players.
Wii Fit followed after about two years later with 48 exercises in the areas of aerobics, yoga, balance and muscle building. A balance board was also included in the game for control purposes, which each player could have their “Wii Fit age” calculated. If you wanted to, you could set goals that you pursued with Wii Fit training. Convenient: You can hide your profile from the prying eyes of other residents with a password.
Nintendo Switch Sports
16 years after Wii Sports followed in 2022 with the tongue twister Switch Sports. The new part includes six sports: tennis, bowling, chambara, football, volleyball and badminton (golf will follow in a later DLC). Chambara is a kind of sword fight; Football is played with an oversized ball that is very reminiscent of the Rocket League.
Ring Fit Adventure
With Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo tried a fitness RPG. In the story, the player goes through different levels, where obstacles such as monsters keep lurking on the heroes. Monsters can be defeated by performing exercises. The stronger the opponents, the more repetitions are required of the player. There are 30 difficulty levels in total to make the adventure challenging for everyone.
The music game Just Dance was developed by Ubisoft and was first released for the Nintendo Wii in 2009. Later, releases followed on other game consoles such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. While Just Dance could be played instantly on the Wii, the player required a Move controller on PS3 and Kinect on Xbox. The purpose of Just Dance is to copy dance steps and stay in rhythm. The closer the player sticks to the specifications, the higher the score.
Fitness games in Virtual Reality
VR glasses create opportunities for fitness games to make the experience more immersive. The technology is still in its infancy, but some games already show where the journey can lead.
In this musical game, the player holds two lightsabers – one red and the other blue. The task is to use the right lightsaber to hit the red and blue glowing dice that fly towards the player in time with the music. At the higher difficulty levels, the number of dice increases. You also need to avoid obstacles. To date, Beat Saber has been released for Steam, Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR and Windows systems.
Eleven table tennis
Eleven Table Tennis is a competent table tennis simulation in VR. Players and the specialist press praise the low latency and control of the game, which comes close to real table tennis. Some players claim to have learned new techniques in the VR environment that they can use in real life.
With video games for more physical fitness
Video games certainly do not replace going to the gym. However, fitness games can help overcome the weaker self. After all, not everyone is born a fitness guru. Because of this, movement games can be a viable alternative, especially for players who are fleeing at the thought of playing sports.
Even non-fitness games may require more exercise in the future. With VR games, players need to stand more often, or at least they do not let the player remain stationary with the controller.