Exercise Not a Vital Component of Video Games

Is it just me, or are you sick and tired of all these so-called “active” video games? I mean, is exercise really a vital part of of our virtual libraries? I don’t think it is.

First, it was the Wii itself. Packaged with Wii Sports, it was supposed to get gamers ‘off the couch’ and into their games. To be fair, it succeeded for the first couple of weeks. After that, most of the Wii owners I know went back to playing their other consoles, and allowed the Wii to gather dust. Personally, I’ve found that mine makes a fine doorstop.

wii_fit_box_frontThe next ‘fitness’ release was Wii Fit. Basically a balance board with batteries, Wii Fit allowed players to follow along with an on-screen trainer to get in shape. Unfortunately, it also informed you of exactly how overweight you were when you started, and chided you for not exercising enough. As if I don’t have a wife to do that for me!

Now EA has EA Sports Active coming out May 19. Active was designed with an actual personal trainer to help you lose more weight! Yeah, that’s right. The only reason I haven’t been using my consoles as exercise platforms was the lack of a real personal trainer.

But neither of these are the worst. At least I can avoid these types of games. Today I learned about a much worse offender, one that will likely be purchased by well-meaning spouses and parents everywhere.


Today, I heard about a new product called jOG. Made by a company in the UK, jOG connects to the Wii and replaces the nunchuk controls for movement. Looking similar to a pedometer, jOG turns your steps into character movement on the screen. So, instead of pushing an analog stick to move, you actually have to run in place to move your character.

jogNow, don’t take this the wrong way, but WTF?

Let’s say I love to play Madden (not that I play Madden on the Wii, but work with me here). So, every time I want to move my player, I have to actually run? If I’m going to go to all that trouble, why not just go outside and actually PLAY FOOTBALL? What about a game like Call of Duty? Do we really want to spend our time trying to line up a rifle shot while running in place? Did I just enlist in the Army when I wasn’t looking?

The concept of the jOG is simply counter-intuitive to the video game lifestyle. I realize that this is something people are looking to change, but the jOG isn’t going to do it. Let’s postulate a typical scenario. Mom wants Junior to be more active, so she buys him a jOG. “He loves video games, so this will be perfect,” she thinks.

WRONG. Junior isn’t going to use that silly thing. It’s going to be gathering dust in a bin somewhere after about 10 minutes of try-out time. Mom’s out $40 or $50, and Junior’s still a big fat ass.

So, what’s the moral of this story? It’s simple. Video games are not for exercise. By definition, they are sedentary activities. If you want to lose weight, get your ass off the couch and go exercise. If you want to play games, then play games.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Do you see your consoles as an exercise medium?

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7 Comments on Exercise Not a Vital Component of Video Games

Ldysabella

On May 1, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Amen! Our Wii is the least used console in the house. Even our 5yr old uses the Xbox 360 and PS3 more.

goat

On May 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm

“The concept of the jOG is simply counter-intuitive to the video game lifestyle” What exactly is a video game lifestyle? My wife is a doctor, I’m an EMT; both of us spend copious amounts of time on games like Mario Kart, SF4 and CS:S. My friend is in the oil field and he spends equal amounts of time gaming, another friend is 26 and lives with his mom and well he probably spends more time on than any of the rest of us, but still my point is the “video game lifestyle” of the past has really started to disappear recently due to things like the jOG (well maybe not specifically) but these innovations have allowed for the gaming market to expand and reach people that it would normally not reach. For example my mother bought a Wii Fit, the first “video game” anything she has ever owned and now she’s playing baseball and tennis and even Resident Evil, kinda weird but pretty damn cool. So this thing may seem pointless to you but it might just be another tool that can convert a few more unwitting victims to the dark side ;) So I say keep these crazy things coming and maybe next year Wii Knitting will get my great grandma into gaming.

ManOfTeal

On May 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm

The only reason the Wii is used less in our house then the PS3 is because we watch Blu-Ray movies on the PS3. If it is actual gaming you are talking about…the PS3 is used the least. Go Marlins!!!!

Ron Whitaker

On May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

To be fair, I should have probably expounded on the idea of ‘video game lifestyle.’ I think I meant the prevalent video game culture, or the idea that video games are supposed to be an escape from the real world. They’re supposed to be a place where we can shed our real life restrictions, and fill the shoes of super heroes, soldiers, space pilots, or nefarious villans.

Fitness games go against that grain, and they remind us of our own limitations. That’s what I was getting at.

I do agree that the Wii is growing the gaming base. There’s no question about that.

havoc of smeg

On May 3, 2009 at 5:34 pm

heres an interesting point, an excercise bike, a set of basic dumbbells and a jog round the block actually works out cheaper than a nintendo wii.

you probably get a better work out, too!

Peelster1

On June 12, 2009 at 2:09 am

About that whole jOG and Junior scenario.

Mom thinks Junior is too overweight and lazy. Sure Junior might want to just toss the jOG aside. But if he wants to play his Wii. Which is his only gaming console in the house then he will use it because his mom takes away the numchuck that the jOG replaces.

Peelster1

On June 12, 2009 at 2:10 am

Sure. But how much fun are you having?