Editor’s Note: Alex is no stranger to the fitness genre, having detailed his 30-day challenge with EA Sports Active on Bitmob. Here he uses his expertise to offer some useful tips to fitness game developers and ponders which of this fall’s fitness games to pick up. Which one will you buy? Myself, I’m holding out until the Peekaboo Pole Dancing game hits store shelves. -Brett
With the success of Wii Fit, fitness games seemed poised to become the Next Big Thing. But so far there has been only one major release in the genre besides Wii Fit, EA Sports Active. Every other fitness game released has been shovelware, made to cash in on the fad.
But that’s going to change this fall. Not only are both of the fitness game juggernauts releasing follow-ups, but Ubisoft is jumping into the game with what looks to be a serious attempt at innovation within the genre, Your Shape.
I feel oddly connected to this new genre, having played both of the major releases in it for more than 30 days straight. Some of you may have followed my EA Sports Active 30-day challenge here on Bitmob, but I also played Wii Fit every day for over a month. So I thought I’d use my knowledge of the genre to weigh in (pun intended) on some things I’d like to see in the next batch of fitness games.
Tips for dieting
Active is targeted more to women who want to exercise at home instead of going to an aerobics class than it is to the pudgy video game nerd, so I can understand the lack of dieting tips. But Wii Fit has no excuse, since it’s targeted to the whole family. Having never dieted before playing either of these games, I was overwhelmed. Simple tips on how many calories you should consume each day would have been very helpful to me.
Balance board weigh-ins
The Wii Balance Board is right there in front of my TV. It can measure my weight. So why am I going into the bathroom to use the scale? I want the balance board to automatically weigh me every day I play the game and adjust the workouts accordingly. If I haven’t lost much, ramp up the difficulty a bit. If I’ve lost a lot, slow it down a little and let me rest.
More activities you can do while watching TV
Wii Fit has a walking activity that uses clicking sounds from the Wii Remote speaker to keep me in time and let me work out while watching TV. Active has nothing like this, and I quickly became bored staring at the same digital representation as I exercised every day.
Lots of different schedules
I found Active’s 30-day challenge a great place to start with the game. But the second I finished it, I didn’t feel motivated to go through the challenge again. I want 30-, 60-, 90-, and 120-day challenges — maybe even a year-long one. Meaning that if I start off with the 30-day routine, the game will seamlessly continue into the 60-day one once I finish it. It’d be much easier to motivate myself to keep going this way.
Some of the new games are already implementing changes that I’d like to see. The new version of EA Sports Active is supposed to provide workouts that target specific areas of the body, and Your Shape is attempting to do away with having to hold a controller while you work out — something I wholeheartedly approve of. Still, I’d like to see the rest of my suggestions put into effect.
If companies did add in my suggestions, maybe I would stick with fitness games longer. As it stands, I never reached my goal weight, and I haven’t been exercising for a while — though proudly, I’ve kept off the weight I did lose while using Wii Fit and EA Sports Active by keeping to a diet.
We’ll see if I get back into the fitness genre when the new games come out. I’m still deciding whether Wii Fit Plus, EA Sports Active: More Workouts (terrible name), or Your Shape is the best fit for me. Whichever I choose, I’ll probably do another 30-day challenge with it, so keep an eye out on the “30-day challenge” tag so you can follow along.