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The concept of combining visual imagery with physical workouts isn’t altogether new. For years we’ve had large video screens in front of treadmills so that people can imagine that their jogging down a country lane rather than in a gym. Similarly, we’ve had physical combat games that involve throwing punches. The Nintendo Wii had a very popular boxing game. But now gyms are installing virtual reality systems that can be used in conjunction with their exercise equipment. And at the other end of the scale, home exercise systems including VR are also being developed. So VR exercise games are here.
Some of these are downright risible, like Drunkn Bar Fight (soon to be available for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) in which is invited to smash up a pub in the name of exercise (shades of Carrie Nation). Already available for the Vive, Rift and PlayStation VR is Fruit Ninja, in which the user is expected to chop flying fruit with a Samurai sword. It is, by consensus, one of the most energy-demanding games out there.
There is also a game called Sound Boxing (available for the Vive and Rift) that combines features of both of these. Like Fruit Ninja, the targets are flying objects. But like Drunkn Bar Fight, one uses one’s fists rather than a Samurai sword. The “sound” in Sound Boxing comes from the fact that there is background music to accompany the action.
Then there is Holodia, a Swiss venture that makes VR imagery to accompany cycling and rowing. While the Icaros is a gyroscopic machine that facilitates full-body workouts, in the context of a muscle-taxing VR game. These unit have been installed in some 200 gyms already.