Exergaming Journal #1: Starting the Journey

I generally spend most of my time these days playing games from previous systems – on top of copious amounts of arcade gaming – but the pandemic has seen me shift a little more toward current games. I’m sitting on a backlog of games I’ve purchased for the Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4 over the past two or three years, and I’ve finally finished Yakuza 0, which is so far my favorite game of the eighth console generation. (Now I have to figure out how to play seven more Yakuza games …)

However, another reason has spurred my additional time on the Nintendo Switch: getting back into exergaming (exercise gaming). I fell into the trap of gaining that “Quarantine 15,” and, in my case, it was more of a Quarantine 20, which doesn’t have the same cute rhyming to it. And, to be honest, I’d lost a bit of my focus on self care leading up to that point, so I admittedly had a couple of pounds to spare going into the pandemic.

I was spurred to try to turn these fortunes around in mid-March after my son asked me to dust off our Ring Fit Adventure equipment, getting some repetitions in for the game’s quest mode and mini games. From that point, I decided to get back on the proverbial horse and use the game more frequently and go back to using a calorie-tracking app on my phone.

I actually enjoy a variety of healthy foods, including a lot of the vegetables that seem to get some hate, but, the fact was I was eating too much when it came to frequency and portions. I won’t go into the ins and outs of my diet on a site about video gaming, but, I do feel it’s worth pointing out my progress doesn’t hinge entirely on playing a couple of exercise games. When the weather cooperates, I’ve also taken to going back out to the trails for some extended walking sessions.

Examples of my walks – I just wanted to show people my trail photography …

The Nintendo Switch regimen helps because I can easily do these exercises at night following my weird work sessions. At the request of my wife, I also picked up Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise by Jupiter Corp./Imagineer Co. So, this journal will provide an overview on both games. Since fitness is a marathon and not a sprint, I don’t feel it’s fair to “review” the software at this point, but I will provide thoughts on how both work as “games.”

Ring Fit Adventure

I honestly blew off the early previews of Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure as I didn’t think Nintendo’s previous offerings like Wii Fit were something I could stick with in the long-term. Wii Fit was fun and interesting for the first few weeks I used it, but it really lost its shine after that and I found myself doing more activities such as walking outside.

When the game released, though, I was able to see the Hightension Gaijin use the ring accessory, and it drew my interest. This was just before the pandemic and when the supply of the game started becoming very thin. I lucked out and found a copy on one of my shopping trips out of town just before my state started issuing orders to stay at home.
I got a handful of sessions in around this time, but fell out of it when my workplace started picking up again.

The ring accessory is surprisingly flexible, literally and figuratively. I’ve been a fan of using resistance bands as a simple workout in the household, and the Ring Fit Adventure ring gives me a similar feel in workouts that have the player pressing inward and pulling outward. Coupled with a legband that houses another JoyCon, it’s also flexible in offering a wide range of exercise routines with such a simple setup.

IMG_2374

Ring Fit Adventure’s main appeal is in its robust quest mode that keeps changing things up for the player and gradually offering more routines. Leveling up offers different exercises the player can choose from, and progression and difficulty settings ease players into more repetitions.

What makes Ring Fit Adventure so successful is it feels like way more of a video game than a lot of other exercise games. The quest mode essentially puts the player into a genuine RPG where the player has attack and defense ratings that can be increased through leveling up and purchasing equipment, enemies have strengths and weaknesses based on what type of exercise you use (upper body, lower body, core and yoga/posing) and players can do side quests for more rewards.

IMG_2379

Because of this, it’s really easy to get caught up in the gameplay and the minutes of exercise fly by for the player. Outside of the quest mode, there are mini-games that are a favorite for my sons, you get options for specific workouts and an update has added a rhythm game to the mix.

Ring Fit Adventure is great to add in to my routine because it does fixate on multiple areas of the body. I can do planking and knee lifts for my core if I want to focus on that, and the upper body exercises are very inclusive, working muscles I haven’t ever pushed before in a workout. Going for higher scoring has also pushed me to exercises such as squats with better form that actually works out my muscles.

This is the clear advantage this particular game has in providing my workouts, but Fitness Boxing 2 does have a different type of advantage …

Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise

I have to admit rhythm games such as DanceDanceRevolution through the 2000s are probably the only reason it took so long for me to become overweight, so I always take interest in new music-based titles. The last event post I was able to do before the pandemic canceled events detailed the one and only time I was able to play on the amazing StepManiaX cabinet, so my “arcade workouts” have been nonexistent since that point. The original Fitness Boxing game seemed to be well received, so I took notice of the sequel as it became more available in stores in my area.

There is an appeal to having a series of licensed music to work along to in a video game, but I will note much of the advertised music in this game needs to be unlocked through dedication to the workouts. I also need to dig more into the game, as I’m sure people expecting the songs will be as they are heard from the album, but, in order to work with being included in workouts that range from 2 minutes to 10-plus minutes, they are recognizable instrumentations of the noted songs … which, I guess works just fine for something like Darude’s “Sandstorm.” The game also includes some original music to fill in the gaps, and, honestly, they’re pretty good.

IMG_2372

The player takes a JoyCon in each hand and, what follows, are exercises that have you bobbing, punching and weaving along to the music. Much like Ring Fit Adventure, there is progression involved in the workout. You begin by setting workout goals and personal information, and the game creates a daily workout routine based on this information. The first few workouts involve simple jab routines, but, as you stick with the game and unlock more workouts, players will find added hooks, uppercuts, ducking and new combinations.

On my first workout, the game kept things simple through a 30-minute routine, and I sort of wondered if it actually gave me a workout. However, on my second workout, the moment I threw my first punch, I could feel it in all of the muscles involved in my arms. Moving on to further workouts that are more involved, the sweat is starting to build more and being more comfortable with the game has allowed me to get into the motions a little more.

IMG_2373

The game looks and plays nicely, and I think I’ve adjusted on how to hold the JoyCons to reduce the in-game errors I get based on the motion controls. There are still occasional motion errors I get while playing the game, but my results show I am getting 98-99% accuracy overall. When you consider a standard workout has you throwing 1,000-plus punches, I’ll take this accuracy for a motion-based game.

I realize the exercise and motion should be the real focus for the purpose of the workout, but the rhythm game player inside of me does get slightly irked by the few misses!

The only performance gripe I have with the game is, upon building a meter with your punches, the final few combos have the player enter “the zone,” which builds even more bonus points. When this triggers, it seems to sometimes affect the frame rate of the game, which can throw off your timing.

IMG_2378

The edge Fitness Boxing has over Ring Fit Adventure is its continuous motion – the quest mode and menuing involved in Ring Fit puts a lot of breaks in between the motions. Once you enter the daily workout routine, Fitness Boxing keeps things going, providing more of a pure calorie burn. I’d also say Fitness Boxing does a little bit more to provide you workout statistics, and achievement sets and lifetime records give a little bit of a better idea of what you have accomplished compared to Ring Fit.

The results

So, the short answer between the two games is Ring Fit Adventure focuses more on developing specific areas of the body, while Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise is a little more fluid and does more to burn overall calories.
Keeping data in my nutrition app, over a period of two and a half weeks, I’ve already lost 15 pounds, putting me roughly 20 more pounds away from my first goal. Once I reach that weight, I’ll review my situation further and see about losing at least 10 more pounds.

The nutrition is definitely helping out, but I do see my interest in Ring Fit and Fitness Boxing holding longer than it has for other exercise-based video games. I highly recommend Ring Fit Adventure to anyone interested in it, as it offers one of the best “video game experiences” I’ve seen in an exergame. Even my kids take interest in the game, as the presentation and mini-games are very appealing.

I’m also enjoying my time with Fitness Boxing, but this title is all about the pure exercise. There are unlockables that allow you to customize your trainer, but Ring Fit definitely has that presentation that edges it toward more of a recommendation for casual users. I recall using the Gold’s Gym Boxing game for the Nintendo Wii, and Fitness Boxing gives me that game’s vibe. If you’re looking for a game to keep you active, definitely look into Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: GemuBaka Feature, GemuBaka Random

Author:indiesnack

Indie Snack is a video gaming Web site focusing on independent developers and game releases. Indie Snack will also soon have services made available to independent developers to include tools aiding them in public relations and game marketing.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. | Exergaming Journal #2: First milestone in sightGemuBaka - April 26, 2021

    […] recap from the first entry of the Exergaming journal, I finally decided to take action against the weight I have gained over the course of the pandemic. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: