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Can Gaming Help You Lose Weight?

We all know the stereotype: Gamers live unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles. But gaming itself can be a real workout at times. Don’t believe it? Here are 5 games that can help you lose weight. 

1. Light Gun Games

Anyone who’s familiar with shooting games at the arcade can tell you that “light gun” is an incredibly misleading name. These gun–shaped controllers can be pretty heavy; having to hold them up while playing and move them around to aim and fire will probably make your arms ache the next day. In addition, some games have added gimmicks to them which complicate things further.

For example, House of the Dead 4 requires you to shake the gun vigorously to reload, as well as to push zombies off you at some points when you’re ambushed. Add in the fact that this game’s gun is large and unwieldy, and it becomes an exercise in arm strength as you desperately attempt to get the game to register your shaking before you lose a life.

The Time Crisis series is another good example: Unlike most games of this genre, Time Crisis allows you to duck behind cover and dodge enemies’ shots via a pedal mechanic, where you step onto the pedal to pop out and shoot or release the pedal to hide. Continuously stepping on and off the pedal while playing is sure to train both your reflexes and your leg strength.

2. Button Mashers

This is perhaps not the most elegant way of playing games, but we’ve all done this at some point or another. Button mashing is more exhausting than it appears: You’re moving your hands and arms rapidly as you wail on the buttons, which can get quite tiring. Fighting games are a classic example of this, with noobs frantically pressing every button at random in an attempt to avoid dying, while seasoned fighters execute flawless, rapid–fire button combos and coast through the stage.

Then there’s Bishi Bashi, whose gameplay actually revolves around button mashing: This party game is made up of a series of minigames, all of which require players to hammer away at the (incredibly large) buttons repeatedly, as quickly as possible, to complete each stage.

3. Carnival–Style Arcade Games

These games may be less hardcore than “proper” arcade games, but don’t underestimate them! Sports–based games of this sort such as arcade basketball and mini–bowling are obvious examples, being lighter versions of the sports which they’re based on. But even “casual” games like skeeball or “Down the Clown” (a popular carnival game where you have a limited time to toss balls at lit–up clown heads to score points) can give you a workout. After all, there’s nothing quite like greed for more tickets to motivate you to move faster and throw harder, right?

4. Dancing Games

From Dance Dance Revolution to its countless successors, dancing games are probably one of the most active video game genres. After all, you’re moving your whole body to match the rhythm of the music and the dance moves required. You can work up quite a sweat with each session you spend at the arcade grooving to the beat; do it regularly, and you might even hone your muscles along with your high score. Shy about dancing in front of a crowd? Console dancing games such as Just Dance let you pump it up in the privacy of your home, thanks to the magic of motion controllers.

If dancing isn’t your cup of tea, any other games which use motion controls can still be beneficial to your health; repeatedly swinging a controller around to jump and attack can be rather taxing after a while.

5. Pokemon Go

Given its gameplay mechanics, Pokemon Go’s release was accompanied by a hurricane of jokes about how it would singlehandedly put an end to obesity. Jokes aside, this game is a perfect excuse to get some exercise without it feeling like a chore. Taking a walk just for the sake of burning calories may be a drag, but that’s not the case here: You’re hatching an egg, or catching a rare shiny Pokemon. Giving your legs a workout at the same time is just a bonus.

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