Saturday, 10 December 2011

Can a video game make you fit?

by Johnny Minkley, Nov 24, 2011

You could point to Wii Sports as the active gaming's 'Big Bang' moment, or, going even further back, Konami's Dance Dance Revolution series in arcades and on PlayStations – the first game series, to my knowledge, to feature a calorie counter.

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But it wasn't until Wii Fit in 2007 that video game fitness became Big Business. Here's some hardcore stat-porn for you: Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus have sold over 40 million copies, making them among the biggest selling home console titles in history; the Balance Board, that plastic tray Nintendo made for Wii Fit, had shifted over 34 million units by the end of last year; and Zumba Fitness, the awful cash-in based on that terrifying dance craze enjoyed by wild-eyed women, spent ten weeks at number one in the UK all-formats games chart this year.

The classic hardcore gamer response is either to sneer at fat idiots frittering away more money chasing an impossible dream, or to despair at the credibility collapse of their special hobby.

 Me? I think the craze is brilliant. Yes, most fitness gamers are (ironically) lazy, rubbish bandwagon jumpers. But I happen to believe it is a wonderful thing that the entertainment medium I have been obsessed with for most of my life is evolving to become something more than just entertainment, something that actually contributes to the social good (which I wrote about in more detail in a previous column).


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