My fitness journey has largely been attached to my mental health (as I think it is for most people) over the years. When I was my happiest, I was in incredible shape. Whenever I was depressed my fitness would slowly taper off. For a long time I managed a healthy maintenance even when not feeling great, however the last three years I had a hard drop off - I probably only exercised regularly about 2 months each year, if that. Recently, after many life changes and a desire to improve myself built itself up again, I’ve finally been back at the gym for nearly 3 months and it feels incredible. My mood is up, my sleeping patterns are improving, and my general health is better every day.
Dance Dance Revolution was my first actual experience in fitness and damn did I get some cardio from that game. In college I’d be up at midnight, drenched in sweat, playing DDR and I loved every single second of it. The key reason being that it was a game. That element of interaction has always been something that really drew me in. After college I started going to an actual gym with friends, we often compared working out to leveling up, something that mentally helped me get into weight lifting where seeing the numbers go up created a similar feeling of increasing stats in an RPG.
My only gaming-related fitness interactions after that were live action role playing (LARPing) which is great but not easy to maintain on a regular schedule without a LOT of time and effort, and Habitica a task tracking app with a JRPG filter laid over it. I never got into Wii Fit because it wasn’t game-y enough for me.
Throughout the past thirteen years of exercising on and off I’ve had one thought in my head: when will someone make a deep and involved video game that is focused on exercise? I waited for years, knowing that this idea was such an obviously brilliant concept that it would eventually come. It HAD to come, right?
I don’t know how good Ring Fit Adventure will be. Hands-on previews are just starting to trickle in and people are definitely sweating and having fun. Even if the game is ultimately just okay, it’s opened the door for an entirely new genre. There is a very real potential here for video games to have a serious widespread effect on people’s health. Will we see a slew of action/adventure/RPG games coming out focused around exercise? Will we see brand crossovers? Who knows! But the door has been opened and I’m more excited than I’ve been in a VERY long time, maybe ever, about an upcoming video game.