I love video games; it has always been my hobby since I was a young boy. As a father, it is amazing to see how my children and I bond over video games. While we like to game as a family, we also are a very physically active family, sports and exercises are very important, and we strive for a healthier lifestyle everyday. So while thinking about the two, (Video Games and exercise), it came to me how unsuccessful the combination of video games and exercise has been thus far.
It seems that everyone in the game industry has or is trying to get into that market with the most successful being the Just Dance series. We still have yet to seen a game that reaches the hard-core market and the casual audience at the same time, so I began to think about it and I approached it with the old school Who, What, When, Where, Why, formula. Who could have the talent to do this? What are the most anticipated games coming out this holiday? When could this be implemented? Where could gamers implement this, in the home, outside the home, with Kinect or Move? Why would gamers want to even bother? And then I looked at my own exercise habits and it came to me like a ton of bricks. Here is my idea.
I call it Halo 4-Runner, and it would be a walking & running app for your phones or media players. I know that games like COD, and Halo have huge multiplayer components that keep gamers playing so they can level up their characters. Halo Reach had weekly and daily challenges that awarded players with credits to spend. What if there was a simple app that was tied into Halo Waypoint that allowed gamers to run or walk so many steps (ALA Pokémon) daily to gain EXP for their character profiles? What if there were huge milestones that would allow for players to receive skins for their profile?
I think it could be very doable, have access to your music so you can listen to what you wanted as you exercised with simple Master Chief, or Cortana voice snippets congratulating you or informing you of your progress. Most mobile devices have GPS of accelerometers in them so it would be a simple matter of creating the software for it. Halo is a big enough franchise that it could tie in the app with National Institute of Health whom are constantly looking for ways to keep children active.
It may sound like a crazy idea, but I think the reason exercise components to video games have not been as successful, as an actually being a solid exercise tool, is because of its implementation. If a child or adolescent or adult is going to exercise the want the freedom that comes with exercising outside of their living room. It is easier to give up when you’re sitting in your living room with your TV on in front of you and your couch behind you, but it is uplifting and inspiring when your outside jogging, feeling like you can’t go on, and Master Chief tells you he believes in you and you can do it.
Childhood obesity is a problem in our country and it has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period. In 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Facts taken from CDC Website)
Gamers, we need to be proactive for our friends, families, and children, and if 343 or any other developer of a AAA franchise is reading, please consider actually creating something that will allow children everywhere to kick butt in the virtual and physical world we need to be “Halo-4-Runners!”