I struggle with exercising for the sake of exercising. As ridiculous as this may sound, the idea of running or lifting weights for the sake of improving my health isn’t enough of a motivator for me to move. Give me a basketball and a hoop though, and I will play till my body gives out. Or give me a smartphone with Pokemon Go, and I will walk more than I normally would. To-date, my in-game tracker says that I’ve walked 4,600+km since the game launched in 2016.
Wii Fit sort of tried to gamify the act of exercise through mini games. However, I bounced off of it quickly because it felt more like an exercise tool than a game or activity. Ring Fit Adventure – Nintendo’s latest entry into exercise games – looks to take the gamification of fitness to the next level.
This time, the experience is built around an RPG framework. As a hero on a quest to save the world from a bodybuilding dragon, you’ll run, twist, stretch, and squeeze your way to victory. You’ll actually run in place through linear environments and use exercises as attacks against enemies attempting to stop you. Along the way, your character will level up and even unlock new exercises. It’s basically Final Fantasy with exercise.
Applying physical activity in a more traditional game design is brilliant. As a gamer, the concepts of roaming through levels, defeating enemies, and working towards a goal appeal to me way more than doing 10 squats for the sake of doing 10 squats and getting a compliment from the Wii Fit Trainer. It remains to be seen how compelling of an RPG this game will be. That said, if Nintendo does it right, this is something that could keep players invested for a long time. I hope that there’s some sort of mechanism in place to encourage regular play, such as randomly-generated levels.
Another aspect that can’t be overlooked are the peripherals for this experience. The combination of the Ring-Con and Leg Strap opens the door for a whole host of new exercises that weren’t really possible with the Balance Board. Giving players more activities to perform throughout their adventure should help to keep players engaged for longer.
When we first saw the teaser trailer that just showed people doing exercises, I was ready to dismiss this outright as simply more exercise equipment. Now that Nintendo has revealed more information on Ring Fit Adventure, I’m intrigued. Besides being a gamer who really could use the exercise, presenting these activities within the construct of a regular video game adds a more appealing purpose for doing crunches, squats, and yoga poses in my basement. Ring Fit Adventure will launch on October 18th at a price of $79.99 USD.
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