The Slimmer Games

The Slimmer Games

Games can be good for you in many ways– and there has been an explosion of  play systems and gadgets recently to help with obesity and fitness. Some new products have surfaced to popularity over last few months. ZamzeeStriiv, and SlimKicker are just a few of the examples popping up to join older systems such as Bodybugg. Yes, studies have shown that Wii and specifically DDR-style dance games can encourage weight loss, so there is significant promise for personal devices that come along on your day to also help you play.

Because many people already lug mobile phones, apps such as SlimKicker may be the easiest to “level up your body.” Striiv bills itself as a “Smart Pedometer” that creates personal challenges on the fly as you go about your day. The Fitbit, is the least obtrusive and sturdiest made of the standalone movement tracking, calorie-counting devices, but it does not tie into later game systems (one model does, however, track your sleep, so if you play a lot of games, you may be shocked to see FitBit’s real assessment of how long it takes you to fall asleep and how much shut-eye you actually get.

These many  exergame products, if not specifically gaming, use gamification point structures as key motivational factors. Designed to track steps, stairs, and distance and motivate players to become more fit, I think the range and quality of these systems will continue to increase this year until we have some serious wellness device wars on our hands. Tiltfactor folks are interested, not only because we always pay attention to games as catalysts for behavior change, but also because we are embarking on some new games for wellness and health care delivery. Stay tuned!


  • Anna
    Posted at 20:52h, 03 May

    I am a huge “health nut,” and I actually own the Wii specifically for the Wii Fit games. However, these games alone are not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I think that with all of these new up and coming exercise video games, and cell phone apps designed to help lose weight, people are forgetting the basic necessities: diet and exercise. And, when I say exercise, I mean the old-fashioned kind, like going for a jog, bike-ride, or hitting the gym. These games are good additional tools, maybe for the nights that you can’t make it to the gym, or if you want to add another routine into your daily schedule, but they should not completely replace the real cardio workout. You are not burning nearly as many calories playing Wii Zumba as you are jogging on the treadmill. I am not saying that these games cannot help the cause, but they should not be relied on as forms of fitness and exercise.

  • sookiemonster
    Posted at 00:42h, 04 May

    @Anna, you remind me of games that target diet, like the Healthy Eating Games at and Or using gamification point structures for controlling caloric intake, like Taylor LeBaron’s “Ultimate Fitness Game.”

    Related to fitness and gaming, the context of play needs further research: I’m curious to see, for example, whether a student is more likely to stick with a diet playing fitness games at home versus a game-based program done as part of Phys Ed at school versus a multi-player game at a friend’s house.

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    Posted at 19:12h, 05 May

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  • sookiemonster
    Posted at 00:04h, 07 May

    And I just got the pun behind the title. LOL. Nice.