Healthy Alternatives: Gaming


Another indulgent holiday season is upon us. With Halloween candy supplies quickly diminishing and those second helpings of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and gravy not doing anyone’s waistline a favor, most people will inevitably gain a few pounds. Although you may practice a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and a consistent exercise plan, these good habits are usually thrown out the window once the holiday season is in full swing. Never fear, while a structured workout may not be the most exciting way to spend your winter break, here are some healthier gaming alternatives:

Pokémon GO

This location-based, augmented reality mobile app developed by Niantic, Inc. requires players to explore the outdoors in order to catch Pokémon, hatch eggs, obtain items at Pokéstops, and battle at gyms. As players move around the real world, GPS location services allow the in-game avatar to travel around the Pokémon universe. The Pokéstops and various gyms also correspond to physical places in real life.

The main function of this mobile app involves users actively walking or biking to play the game, although many try to cheat from the comforts of their cars. Nevertheless, when played as intended, Pokemon GO provides an innovative new gaming experience that also incentivizes exercise. A dedicated fan of Pokemon GO, Physics Teacher Charles Schletzbaum attributes much of his recent weight loss to playing this game, even walking the 2.5 miles every Wednesday morning from his house to MHS in order to play.

Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR

The Oculus Rift and the PlayStation VR are both virtual reality headsets owned by Oculus VR, which was acquired by Facebook, and PlayStation, respectively. With the virtual reality gaming industry gaining rapid popularity, both options are viable alternatives for healthier gaming. Using handheld controllers to fight virtual reality zombies in games such as Resident Evil 7 can prove to be quite a workout. Without going into too much detail over every function of each model, both the Oculus Rift and the Playstation VR are compatible with different accessories beyond their handheld controllers. This includes the VirZoom, which resembles a stationary bike with the addition of triggers and buttons on its handlebars. With the VR headsets’ ability to track upper body movements as well, such games, which are included with the VirZoom, allow users to be absorbed into the virtual realities of car racing, horse racing, or even pegasus flying.

MHS Union

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