Out-gaming the fitness trackers: How I hit 10K steps a day while constantly playing on a handheld PC

I recently justified buying the lovely handheld gaming PC that is the Rog Ally by lying to myself that it was essential exercise equipment. Healthier types than me have been claiming that we need to get at least 10,000 steps a day if we don’t want to drop dead any minute now. As someone not confident that they get 10,000 steps a year, something drastic needed to be done, and I was hardly going to join a gym. No need, not now that I could simply walk around my room playing Forza Horizon 5!

Actually, playing Forza while walking around my front room turned out to be about as smart as playing it while actually driving a car. Likewise, my attempts to play Elden Ring while walking didn’t make a dent in Margit’s health bar, but made plenty in my shins courtesy of my stupid coffee table.

(Image credit: Asus)

Once I’d found more walk-friendly games, I did find this an effective way of gamifying getting my 10,000 daily steps. So I’ve compiled a list of the games I’ve enjoyed walking with the most. You need something engaging enough to take your mind off horrible, horrible exercise. But not so distracting that you end up face planting your windows and never being able to make eye contact with your giggling neighbours ever again. The following games hit that tricky sweet spot beautifully. Make sure you’re walking around in a wide enough space and have removed any stray obstacles/pets/children that could potentially be stamped on. All set? Walk with me! 

The Case of the Golden Idol

(Image credit: Color Gray Games)

 A set of murder mysteries with a cast so grotesque the murderer was honestly doing them a favour. This detective game uses the immensely satisfying Return of the Obra Dinn info-gathering formula to tell a delightfully macabre tale about an explorer who gets a fun new toy. Idol refuses to hold your hand and forces you to actually think, which pairs well with stomping around your front room, begging your brain to start working. God telling you you’re their personal favourite human being probably doesn’t feel anywhere near as good as finally cracking this game’s cases. Those hideous faces also helpfully reminded me what’ll happen to my lovely face if I don’t get those 10,000 steps in.

Gears Tactics

(Image credit: Gears Tactics)

An even bigger surprise than a chainsaw to the chest cavity was how absurdly great this game turned out to be. Adding a welcome shot of dumb brawn to XCOM’s brains, Gears Tactics rewards grisly executions by giving your units extra turns. This encourages chaining incredibly satisfying gore-soaked murder sprees that often earn me some worried stares on the bus, so I prefer to enjoy it on a lonesome walk instead.

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