10 April 2006
World of Workout
Laura’s always trying to talk me into going to the gym (I know, I know, I used to go and pretend I liked it—those were the good old days). It’s not that I don’t see the benefits of regular exercise. I just don’t need it. I’m young, trim and reasonably healthy. Sure, I’m a 170-pound weakling, but in my line of work, buffness just doesn’t really get you that far. I’m sure I’d feel better if I exercised, but I feel OK already.
What it comes down to is a lack of motivation. When I make excuses, I always say that if I could find some activity I actually enjoyed that happened to be exercise, it would be a lot easier to get motivated to actually do it more than once a year. But I suck at sports and I’m embarrassingly prone to injury (I got injured playing kickball for crying out loud).
Like any good geek though, I play lots of video games. One night while she was tying her running shoes (and I hunched over World of Warcraft), Laura had an idea. If someone could just combine video games with exercise, people like me would be all over it.
As Laura put it, “it would be the babeification of the American nerd population.”
World of Warcraft is the perfect candidate for exercise-ification because it’s already tediously repetitive (just like real exercise). Run here, kill these five monsters, run back, get sweet gear so you can run faster and kill more monsters. If all that required exerting actual energy instead of just mashing keys, it would be some workout.
So here’s the idea. You need some kind of stationary bike or elliptical machine with grip handles, all connected to tension rods with the resistance and speed all wired up to a game console.
The game has to be awesome though, not some janky little exercise game. There’s a reason nobody bought the PowerPad – the only games that you could play were track and field and aerobics. And no dancing either.
An MMORPG would be great for the addictive qualities, but all the quests would be designed to give you a balanced workout. So to complete one quest you’d have to do some running to get around and some upper body work to kill monsters or collect stuff. And at the end, along with getting 35 silver and a shiny new axe with +30 attack power, you’d also get, well, buff.
Geeks all over the world who are addicted to games like Warcrack could be jonesing for exercise without even trying. Obviously, there are potential downsides, like geeks all over the world collapsing from overexertion when they try to play on their normal all-night schedule fueled by mountain dew and cheetos. But you can probably cover that in the EULA.
Now it just needs a catchy name. I’m pretty hot on “World of Workout” for the first title, but Laura is thinking bigger. While I was working last night she asked, “will you google gymcades for me?”