Saturday, November 23, 2019

"'Ring Fit Adventure' Understands the Shame and Fear of Exercise"

Patrick Klepek for Vice:
When people think of Nintendo games, they think of extremely polished experiences. This comes in a variety of forms, whether it’s the feeling of Mario jumping or Link swinging a sword. In Ring Fit Adventure, it’s the superb attention to detail in commenting on the player’s form, and finding ways to gently coax them into doing better.

When you pick an exercise/attack, the game shows a character model in proper form, alongside a checklist of things you should do to achieve something similar, i.e. bend knees. To proceed, you need to hit that checklist, and then hold that checklisted form for three whole seconds. If you budge, the timer starts over. This means, at least to start, the game will not proceed until, to the best of its ability, it’s judged you’re ready for the exercise.


But during reps, there are tiny ways the game tries to keep you on track. If you do the exercise perfectly, your character’s hair lights on fire. Let’s say that while doing a squat, you keep hesitating on dipping your butt all the way down. You’ll still be able to attack an enemy, but because your hair wasn’t on fire, it’s a weaker attack. The game’s message: “You’re cheating yourself and you’ll have to do more exercise to beat this. Now, get your ass down.”
Alternate review:

*Buy Ring Fit Adventure at Amazon.