No matter how you cut it, I am a professional sitter. Both of my jobs require an ass planted in front of a screen for a length of time that hurts to admit. I try to periodically walk around and stretch, per the desperate pleas of medical professionals, but the truth is that I live my life chair to chair.
As for exercise, my commitments never seem to survive more than a week. Don’t extend too much sympathy: I’m an able-bodied person with a nearby park and the means to travel. It’s instead the very human tendency to amass excuses that tanks my efforts to maintain an exercise routine. I live in Texas, so depending on the season it’s either too hot for any living creature, or there’s a tornado/hailstorm/ice nightmare in the forecast. Perhaps traffic was terrible, or I hadn’t finished laundry, or the thought of entering a gym crushed my ego so effectively that I called my therapist instead. From a chair, of course.
But as the dregs of my twenties rapidly swirled the drain, I lost the ability to ignore the constant pain in one knee or how ten odd joints would crack like tinder every time I stood up. So, I purchased Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo’s latest foray into exercise as entertainment. At its core, the game contextualizes pilates within an RPG framework, tracking your movement via Joy-Cons inserted both in a thigh strap and the included ring accessory. You guide an avatar down a fixed path either by jogging or lightly squatting, overcoming baddies and obstacles with a suite of movements. It’s simple, light on story, and obviously designed to distract players as much as possible from their own sweating meatsacks.
I was hooked after the very first session.
- Death Stranding Pee-S-A: Make Sure to Put Your Dick Away
- Mass Effect Should Finish Andromeda’s Story or Go Down in the Scourge
- I Tried Sleeping to the 90 Minute Zachtronics Drug Game Song
Ring Fit Adventure seems specifically designed to kick down any excuse I could muster against doing my body a solid. It doesn’t care what the weather is like or how late it might be. Trying to be conscientious towards my downstairs neighbors? Quiet Mode busted my glutes without any stomping required. Stage lengths between 5-10 minutes allowed me to adjust my workout around other priorities and my own stamina. Best of all, nobody but my partner and my cats witnessed the sloppy mess left after each session.
Going into this experiment, I worried most about bouncing off the the game bits of Ring Fit Adventure. This isn’t a collection of minigames or activities like Wii Fit was. You gain experience and level up, increasing your stats. You can then buy clothing that augments those stats. The narrative sprawls across worlds which you must free from the grasp of a gym rat Dragon in a tight leotard (who sweats and poses in a very suggestive manner. Seriously, they made the dragon hot.) It’s an honest-to-god RPG. And my janked-up gamer brain immediately responded to that structure. I wake up every morning excited to progress further.
I don’t harbor any illusions that Ring Fit Adventure will leave me shredded or marathon ready. But my knee hurts less frequently, and I sleep a little better at night. For now, that’s good enough. We’ll leave the fact that it took a gamified progression system to clobber me into healthy habits for another day.