I’ve always been something of a fitness fanatic or ‘health freak’ as my friends tend to put it. When I come home from a hard-day’s work when other people might be tempted to just crash in front of the couch, I am instead motivated to get up and head to the gym where I’ll expend huge amounts of energy heaving weights up and down or running on the spot for hours.
So what is it that drives me to go to the gym? Is it looking good for women? Is it improving my health? Is it some mad masochism?
No – it’s a sense of adventure and a love of action. You see most of my day-to-day life is spent working at a computer, tidying the house or attending family gatherings. Throughout all these things I sit quietly and use my brain but not my body so much. This is a far cry from the lives I love watching on the big screen – from action heroes and superheroes. What does someone who works in an office have in common with Batman or John McClane? Not a lot sadly…
But when I’m in the gym I suddenly do have more in common with those characters than with my pencil-pushing colleagues. I’m building a body that is a little closer to Superman, but I’m also facing physical challenges, honing my body and exerting myself. I’m tasting action the only way that’s left to me.
And incidentally this is also why I like computer games so much – because I can step out of myself for a moment and become a great warrior.
The Future of Gaming and Exercise
But now imagine if you could combine both these things in such a way that working out became a real adventure – and that gaming became something that required real physical effort…
Already this is happening to an extent thanks to certain motion control games. The Xbox Kinect and Wii challenge you to play games of tennis by swinging your arms, and to fight bad guys by punching on the spot. Suddenly working out is no longer dull even for its most reluctant critics – instead it is something engaging and fun.
But what if you could take that even further – add on a virtual reality headset such as the forthcoming Oculus Rift and some online gameplay and a workout could be a laser-disk battle between you and an opponent on the other side of the globe. Or it could be an adventure through uncharted lands, where you explore the world by jogging across landscapes and battling ogres with your fists.
In short, computer games are reaching the point where they can convincingly immerse ourselves in alien worlds. Combined with motion controls and smart gameplay this might one day provide the perfect cure for that itch that demands adventure – and it might help us all to enjoy staying fit too.
This article is authored by Daniel Blank, an employee at Walk ‘N Comfort, leading providers of custom orthotic sandals in Toronto. He is passionate about hockey and regularly attends as many NHL games he can.
- License: Royalty Free/Creative Commons, Image 1