I’m a conventional gamer, but I’m eclectic. I like many genres, some of my favorites being shmups and fighting games. I just finished Red Dead, I went most of the way through most Bethesda games, and when I first heard of VR I thought it was pretty gimmicky. Standing in place and shooting stuff wasn’t my idea of fun.

Today, I’m a VR Fitness believer. I evangelize the platform to friends and family, I want more from my device. I read about how to improve my space and get the best performance. I’ve broken controllers and dealt with support. I’ve had all these early adopter growing pains because I believe in VR Fitness.

How I got here is a story you might relate to.

Finding VR Fitness Insider

When I first came to VRFI, I knew essentially nothing about VR. I wanted a new challenge, and after sampling The Lab at a local game center I bought a headset and dove in.

My first games were Wizards, Sairento and Tilt Brush. I wanted to love Tilt Brush more than I did. Great game if you’re creative enough to engage with it. I am a creative person, but the blank space never really drew me in. It was more fun exploring other creations.

Wizards felt great, like a realized world and very immersive. I didn’t like free locomotion much, but the game world and light exercise kept me engaged. Sairento grabbed me from day one with Sairento Light, a quick-bite version of the full game. Loot hunting, wall running, sword swinging and shooting felt spot on and I lost hours that first month playing it.

Sairento and Wizards sold me on VR. Fully fledged, action-packed games that involved mobility.

My First Fitness Experiences

I moved up to Knockout League, but I didn’t like the forced interactions. The game requires players to dodge or strike a certain way to win, which works great for Nintendo’s Punch Out. Instead, I wanted a true-to-life boxing experience and I knew that I’d need to test myself physically to get it.

Credit: Thrill of the Fight

Enter Thrill of the Fight. I bought it and it beat me in 15 minutes. I couldn’t finish a match against Ugly Joe. That motivation of loss, that need to beat this game, was my first taste of VR Fitness. I wasn’t going to let Thrill beat me, so I played it every day until I became great at it.

Getting Fitter

I began noticing gains in my arms. My shoulders and biceps had more definition, and I was always fatigued at the end of the session (a sign of a good workout). My endurance was also improving, but this wasn’t as noticeable to me outside the game at the time. I wasn’t reaching levels of improved energy throughout my day at that point.

Slowly, I gained the ability to fight more than one opponent. Eventually, I finished off the final opponent. That was it. I’d done it. But how many could I do in one session? How hard could I hit? How fast could I knock someone out?

I had learned the basics: where to strike, how to conserve my power and how to breathe. It was time to take my game to the next level.

Exploring New Games

I first realized there’s a fitness hack for every game when I saw this video. Holopoint is a pretty physical game overall, so seeing someone really push their limits made me consider how I might approach other games. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OiasdbIlCw]

Over the course of my first year, my VR library grew and I sunk about $100 total into games. I looked for a good on-rails shooter, a fun rhythm game and a good fitness tool above all else. Naturally, I found BoxVR to be a great gateway into VR Fitness.

As I spoke with developers about VR Fitness, I realized that some of them do understand it and are working harder on making their games more physical.

Why I Believe

Once I realized you can fitness hack almost any VR experience, I became a true believer. I already play games in my free time, so VR Fitness isn’t a chore for me. Although I recognize VR as a platform is in its early stages, there are some amazing experiences out there. It’s also getting better every day, especially as Triple-A developers see opportunities to port and create new experiences for the platform. I don’t suppose any of you noticed a little game called Half-Life Alyx is on its way? Definitely a title to put VR on the map. 

Following blogs like VRFI, or whatever suits your gaming style, is a good gauge for games you might like. Hopefully, we’ve helped you find some good titles this year.

Upgrade your PC! Once I put in a new GPU, my experience was so much smoother. I believe the stronger GPU eliminated motion sickness for me, and I encourage others to upgrade as soon as they are able.

You do need to invest in VR, no matter your route. PSVR bundles are on the more affordable side, but even they require some investment and setup work.

That said, the Oculus Quest is one of the best bargains for your money. If was entering the market today, I’d throw my money at Oculus and enjoy my experiences tether free.

I’d like to point out that we also invest in exercise equipment, gym memberships and trainer fees. With VR, a weight set, and a better eating regiment, I’ve lost weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle for a far better value. I think so long as you get to your end goal, how you choose to invest is up to you.

VR inspires me. Exploring new worlds with this level of immersion makes me want to get out and see the real world. As we look toward a new year, I hope you will come with us on this journey toward realizing your personal best.