Top Interactive Video Games

Video games sometimes get a bad rap, despite being one of the most popular forms of entertainment on the planet. Seen by some as fodder for a lazy lifestyle, it can be tempting to imagine a couch potato sunken into the sofa with a glazed look over his eyes as he plays the dozenth hour of a war game, moving only his thumbs.

But video games aren’t only meant for the sedentary. Indeed, there are many titles specifically designed to get people out of their seats, to move their bodies and even build up a healthy sweat. Here are 10 games sure to get your blood flowing. Play them and it will be as if you’re in your own personal fitness class!

1. World Class Track Meet (1987)

In the late 1980s, almost everyone had a friend who owned the Nintendo® Power Pad — that mat-like device from Bandai, which laid on the floor and allowed people to play games with their feet instead of their fingertips. Doing so got players out of their chairs and effectively exercising with one title in particular. Released in North America in 1987 (though initially called Stadium Events), World Class Track Meet allowed gamers to compete in four Olympic-like competitions, from sprinting to hurdles to long jump to triple jump, all while enjoying a deep leg workout. Preview it here.

2. Dance Dance Revolution (1999)

This game from Konami was released in North America in 1999 and ever since, it’s gotten players drenched in sweat and their thighs tired as they pump their legs and feet to keep up with a given song’s beat and melody. In much the same way that Guitar Hero set out to instill musicianship in non-musicians, “DDR,” as the title has come to be known, proved to many that they could dance to a rhythm like a pro. Preview it here.

3. Wii Sports (2006)

Released by Nintendo in 2006 along with the then-new Wii video game system, this five-sport collection was a huge success, becoming one of the best-selling games of all time. Though it provided options to play tennis, baseball, bowling, golf or boxing — all of which required gamers to stand and move their limbs — it was the tennis game that proved to be an especially big hit. Not only did the vigorous offering get people active, but many used it for social events like parties or holiday gatherings too. Preview it here.

4. Wii Fit (2007)

Like Wii Sports, this title, which came out a year later, offered players several exercise-oriented games, including options for yoga (with an onscreen personal trainer), aerobics (like hula-hooping), balance (with the Wii Balance Board) and strength training. It became so popular that gyms and health clubs have since incorporated it into their offerings — it’s even been used to provide physical therapy workouts for children and the elderly. Preview it here.

5. Punch-Out!! (2009)

Video game players of a certain age are familiar with the 1987 title Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, but a dozen years later, Nintendo released a new version that used the Wii Fit Balance Board to avoid opponents and the Wii controller to throw punches. This one can get so rigorous that you might forget you’re not actually in a physical boxing ring! With each successful round, the challenge against the skilled digital opposition gets harder and more enjoyable. Preview it here.

6. Zombies, Run! (2012)

This mobile game from the British company Six to Start has players running through a fictional town trying to survive an apocalypse and avoid zombies. The immersive title is also bolstered by guest narrative offerings from the likes of acclaimed Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. Playing as the character “Runner 5,” gamers take on various missions (there are up to 40 of them), dodging the undead and searching for various items in order to figure out how to stay alive. The result? Sweat, discovery and excitement. Preview it here.

7. Pokémon Go (2016)

Not only does this game get players out of their seats, it gets them out of their homes too. A mobile game from Pokémon and Nintendo, downloaded by some 500 million people, this title uses GPS technology and allows players to “capture” digital Pokémon characters out in the world. When the game was first released back in 2016, there were some 150 game characters to find. As a result, there were lots of people walking around holding their phones, looking for the otherwise invisible digital creatures … all while getting in their daily steps. Preview it here.

8. Ring Fit Adventure (2019)

There are some games that try to nudge you into fitness and then there are those that are very clear about their ambitions. Ring Fit Adventure is most assuredly in the latter category. This game for the Nintendo Switch handheld device comes with two adapters: a Pilates-like ring, and a leg strap. With each, gamers are meant to complete fun, goal-oriented physical activities that include running and jumping through courses while accruing points. Preview it here.

9. Beat Saber (2019)

This title from Czech designer Beat Games uses virtual reality to put you in a world where blocks are flying at you as pop music plays. The objective? Use your “sabers” (digital swords created by two VR controllers) to slice the objects, which are synced to the songs. Part-sword fighting game, part-Guitar Hero-like musical offering, Beat Saber will leave your arms feeling as if you’ve just taken part in an action movie, with many fallen enemies at your sides. Preview it here.

10. Just Dance 2020 (2019)

DDR isn’t the only dancing game that gets hearts racing and smiles appearing. This Ubisoft title, which includes songs from big name pop stars, has players mimicking the onscreen choreography, with their movements tracked via motion sensors or smartphone apps. Players accrue points based on the accuracy of their moves. As a bonus, you can enjoy this one on your own or compete with others in multiplayer mode. Just don’t forget to bring a towel! Preview it here.

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