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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pounds for Pixels: Weight Loss with Video Games

Challenge Updated: Please click here for details.

If there's one thing that everyone worries about at one time or another, it's weight loss. My current lifestyle of computer programmer by day, video gamer by night does little for my figure and overall health. Since I'm not about to give up my day job or video games anytime soon, I think it's about time to put the wheels in motion for a new challenge.

Over the coming months (and possibly years), I plan on taking on a Pixels for Pounds challenge. Rather than blame video games as a catalyst for obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, I'll show that video games can help turn your everyday slob into the epitome of good health.

The set-up for this little challenge is very simple. Last night, I moved my Xbox 360 to my exercise "nook" in the basement. My exercise now comprises a recumbent stationary cycle, a 19" LCD screen, and my wonderful Xbox 360 gaming system. I plan on playing games while I cycle away the pounds on my exercise bike. Although some gamers might try their own Pixel for Pounds challenge using the Wii Fit or some other gimick, I feel that an exercise bike coupled with a quality gaming system and a variety of games is my best bet for dropping some extra weight. Could you actually see yourself getting excited about heading off for a little Wii Fit action 3-5 times per week...each and every week over the next year or two? Didn't think so...

Since this is a gaming blog and not a diet blog, let's turn the focus to the games that I plan on playing on my journey from fat to fit. Here's a list of the Xbox 360 games I have, the order that I plan on playing them, and the number of pounds that I plan on losing per game (based on roughly 400 calories burned per hour of cycling).

Stranglehold (0.5 lbs.)
I've had Stranglehold kicking around for a while. I thought about trading the game in when I sold off most of my games a couple of weeks ago but decided to hold off. I guess I'm a sucker for guns and doves. Since my main focus will be on cycling and not on achievements, I should be able to finish Stranglehold fairly quickly.

Lost Odyssey (4 lbs.)
I'm roughly one-quarter of the way through this game. It's been a while since I played Lost Odyssey. I'll need to read up on the characters and story before firing up this game again. I'm really looking forward to playing this game again. I recall really enjoying the story and characters...not sure why I stopped playing it...?

Infinite Undiscovery (4 lbs.)
This is a game that I just ordered today. I've been wanting to play Infinite Undiscovery every since hearing about the game a couple years ago. I really like Square Enix games and can't wait to give this a try.

The Last Remnant (6 lbs.)
I also ordered myself a copy of The Last Remnant earlier today. Another Square Enix game that I've been dying to try. I've been wanting to see just how well Square Enix made use of the Unreal 3 engine. I'm told that this game is a little longer than both Lost Odyssey and Infinite Undiscovery - a difference I should notice on the scales, I hope.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot (1 lbs.)
I've put off Condemned 2 for a long time. And since I've been unwilling to sell this game, I might as well finish it. I figure I've got about 9 hours left with this game. I'll need to read a recap of events before I start up again. It's been quite a while since I last beat a crazed hobo to death with my bare hands.

Blue Dragon (3 lbs.)
I love the look of this game. There is something that is just so damned charming about it! I figure another 30 hours or so and I'll have this game beat. I've got quite a few games to work before Blue Dragon gets its time in the spotlight again but I'm looking forward to it!

Overlord (1 lbs.)
I plan on restarting Overlord from the very beginning. I think I only played through the first mission before putting this game aside. Overlord is another of those games that I've wanted to play for so very long and just never got around to it.

Two Worlds (0 - 4 lbs.)
At first glance, Two Worlds looks like one of the crappiest games available on the Xbox 360. But I'm still willing to give it a shot because I've read reviews claiming that Two Worlds is actually pretty good...if you can look past the unpolished or broken parts of the game. I'm not sure how much weight I'll lose playing this game. It really depends on how long I can stomach the game before finally selling it.

Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (3 lbs.)
I'm not sure how long KUF: CoD will take me to finish. I'm assuming 10-15 hours per playthrough and I'll likely play through the game twice as two different characters. I bought this game to serve as a Diablo-clone but I wasn't too impressed with my initial hands-on with the game. Of course, I'm missing the game manual which is a major source of concern. I recall that the inventory screen is really complicated. I wasn't too sure what I was doing. Oh well, we'll see how things go.

The Club (1.5 lbs.)
I like the idea behind The Club. But I'm not that big on games that rely on users iterating over a small subset of maps or levels. The Club is basically a driving game with guns replacing steering wheels. It'll be interestign to see just how long I play this game. I figure 15 hours is just about right for me.

The Secret of Monkey Island (0.5 lbs.)
There's always room for a little more Monkey Island. I've got few more achievements to earn and I'd like to get them. I love the Monkey Island franchise and can't wait to play this little gem again.

It looks like I stand to lose about 27 lbs. if I can manage to finish off all of these games while furiously peddling on my stationary bike. Mind you, I'm probably looking at about 12 months time just to get through all of these games if I can manage a mere 5 hours of exercise every week. I'm going to start keeping track of my weight loss in the "Now Playing" section (top-right corner of The Greedy Gamer). We'll see just how close my estimates above match reality over the coming months. I'm hoping to lose a little more than 27 lbs. assuming that I'm able to stuff less food down my throat while also introducing more exercise into my daily routine.

My Pixels for Pounds challenge starts tonight with Stranglehold. Wish me luck...