November 13th, 2008

Ten ways of keeping fit while you game

You have probably heard all the crazy statistics about how too much television watching and video game playing are making people fat. Well, if you aren’t so keen on giving up the video games – and let’s face it, not many of us girls are anxious to do that – here are some ways you can combine exercise with some gaming – and most of them don’t even require that you put that controller or mouse down!

Pilates ring
Get one of those pilates rings and if you are playing a FPS, make yourself workout your legs by squeezing the ring between your knees or calves while you are waiting to respawn… and it just might make you game extra harder so you don’t have to torture your legs as much!

Have a ball
Get one of those huge exercise balls you can sit on, and then sit on it instead of your chair while you game. Although it might seem like it would be easy enough, you will actually sit up straighter and tone those abs while it keeps your balance.

Squeeze your butt
Butt squeezes are easy to do at any time, whether you are in the middle of a game or waiting in the lobby. The more you do, the better the butt.

Stretch your legs
Sounds simple enough but most of us don’t do it. Simply stretch your legs out and roll your ankles around a bit. And if you are feeling up to the task, do as many leg lifts as you can after you finish stretching.

Take advantage of map changes
Are you waiting for a new map or song to load? Are you already terminated in an elimination match? Use that time to pretend you are jumping rope or just even run in the spot. Even though you might only get 30 seconds in (or up to a few minutes, depending on the game), every second counts and it helps keep you motivated to do it again the next time. But if you think you might do some heavy breathing as you exert yourself, mute your mic so you don’t get any of the inevitable Darth Vader comments… just don’t forget to un-mute yourself!

Avoid gaming at mealtime
How often have you sat down at your console or computer with your dinner to eat? Probably most of us have at least once, if not regularly! Well, you will probably be surprised to know that people who are distracted by computers and televisions tend to eat much more than those who aren’t. So resist the temptation of that extra 5 or 10 minutes of gaming and eat your dinner away from the game.

Avoid the snacks
I know, easier said than done, especially when you end up skipping dinner because you would rather use the time to game. But seriously try to make yourself drink an entire glass of water (no, not one of those little skimpy glasses but a real large glass!) before you can snack. Or make yourself eat a healthier snack over something that is not quite as healthy… or at the very least, eat some healthy stuff before indulging in the junk food so more of you fills up on what is healthy and low calorie before you start eating the pretzels or Doritos.

Be creative.
The guys at Mana Potions figured out how to hook up their treadmills to their computer so they could actually do all the running their characters do in the game as they raced from Shadowglen to Darnassus. And yes, they tell you how they did it incase you want to get your workout by making your own character run. WOW not your thing? I am sure someone creative could figure out something similar for Oblivion or just about any other RPG.

Exercise & gaming combined
You knew this tip was coming… Use a Wii Fit! You have to admit, what is better than combining working out AND gaming and some of the games are pretty fun, even if it sometimes does feel like the game is kicking your butt!

Dance it off
Find using a Wii Fit too boring or you are Xbox or PS loyal? Kick it up with one of the various Dance Dance Revolution games to give your legs a workout… and think of all those Xbox gamer points you could get as you do it on Xbox.

Do you have another tip for keeping fit while you are gaming? Be sure to share it in the comments below!

November 13th, 2008

So do you have something better to do than gaming?

My article published on the website on August 28, 2008

So do you have something better to do than gaming? Sometimes it amazes me the crap that comes out of some gaming company’s mouths when it comes to women and gaming. While some companies are more forward thinking about women and games, such as Ubisoft, others are clearly in the dark ages of gaming, such as THQ Wireless. Yes, I am sure most of us know the industry is still pretty male dominated, but James Scalpello, the wireless director for THQ Wireless, brings the perception of girl gamers to an all new low. When I sit down to game, I make a conscious decision that yes, I am going to sit down and turn on my Xbox and play. And yes, I could be doing plenty of other things with my time such as going out with friends, getting some extra work in, doing laundry, and about a million other things on my internal ‘to do’ list that I just never seem to have time for. But according to Scalpello, it would seem that girls have better things to do than game.

When girls play console games, they have to have gone through a whole other list of things they could have done before sitting down with them. Guys get home, have dinner, and play a computer game. It’s much higher up the list of priorities. To put it bluntly, girls have got better things to do.”

Hmmm…. like make that guy his dinner perhaps, so he can use his time to game? Because apparently women have priorities, and gaming clearly isn’t one of them. Interestingly enough, Scalpello must have gotten some heat for his comments, because not too long after his interview was published online by, the quotes were removed. But a few very stereotypical comments were left, such as ‘I don’t think there’s ever been a successful game really pinpointed just for girls. I guess that Cooking Mama and all those Disney Princess and Barbie games must have just been dismal failures, despite the fact new titles in those series are being released. And the Hannah Montana and High School Musical Wii games must have definitely been made with a college-aged guy gamer in mind!

But it no doubt brings up another fact that Scalpello is also clearly missing the fact that girl gamers don’t really want a game with rainbows and unicorns… well, unless it happens to be Rainbow Vegas, that is. Because despite the lower number of female-centric games on the market, you have to wonder just what percentage of ‘guy games’ are actually being bought and played by girls. Yes, I admit to owning some ‘girl games’ if they could be called that, such as Tetris and Viva Pinata. But the number of guy gamers I know who own and play those games still outnumber the girls.

So how do we go about changing the perception that girls would rather cook and clean than turn on a console? Well, for starters, I won’t be very eager to purchase a game from THQ Wireless. But more importantly is to be vocal about the fact you are a girl gamer and proud to be one. Whether you buy a pink Xbox controller, wear your PMS t-shirt outside of gaming events, or even just proudly tell the game store employee that you are buying the game for yourself when he asks if you are buying that FPS for your boyfriend/husband. While we might not be able to change the dark age perceptions of some people, every little bit you can do helps.