Exercise and video games. Exergame believes these two were meant to coexist together and that video games (and especially multiplayer video games) actually enhance your workout. But most people at first glance think these two are polar opposites, like oil and water. When people think of exercise they think of moving around, getting sweaty, and burning calories. And when people think of video games they think of sitting down by your self to play World of Warcraft or Madden Football (at least the guys on screen are running around right?) or possibly the Nintendo Wii or Xbox One (at least the user is doing some movement). Still, not most people’s idea of a fitness concept.
But fitness and video gaming are actually made to go together. Why? Because of gamification. Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to an activity to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.
Let’s break down this statement starting with the idea of people working to achieve their goals, both in an exercise setting and video gaming setting.
The first thing every exercise website, app, or personal trainer will tell a person to do is set short and long term goals of what they would like to accomplish fitness-wise. A short term goal might be to keep one’s heart rate elevated for half an hour and to do this they run on the treadmill. Then they record all the different pieces of information such as: average heart rate, distance, calories burned, average running speed etc. so they can track their progress over the course of weeks and months.
For a video gamer, a short term goal might be simply to beat the current level they are on or to finish the next series of missions. For a multiplayer game, it might be to improve your rank or level within that gaming community.
In both instances the person is looking to better themselves at the task they are doing – running (or biking or strength training to name a few) or the video game at hand – and improve their current situation.
The next part of gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques. What exactly are game mechanics and game design techniques? Game mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay. Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure. The reason why many gamers play for hours on end or play a game from start to finish is that the video game they are playing does an excellent job of implementing various gamification techniques that play off that person’s desire to master the skills needed to complete the game or achieve status among the gaming community. (And let’s be honest, who here hasn’t found themselves or someone they know addicted to something as simple as Candy Crush or Flappy Bird?)
The same results can be seen when gamification is brought into the workout room as is done in the Exercise concept like the Youth X Fitness Room. The Youth X Fitness Room combines the best products Exergame has to offer and allows kids to play at a variety of different workout stations. Under the direction of the fitness instructor, kids set goals within the game setting and then work towards meeting and surpassing that goal. It just so happens that movement and working out is needed in order to meet their goals on Exergame equipment. Because of the gamification aspects that drive the Exergame concept like the Youth X Fitness Room, kids often spend their time trying to master a station and are focused on achievement and mastery; they don’t even realize they are also working out.
To see how Exergame brings gamification to the workout room, check out our Youtube video