Ring Fit Adventure was a 2019 release for the Nintendo Switch in the vein of Wii Fit, a workout disguised as a video game that was more about sweating on moulded plastic than actually beating a game. But that apparently hasn’t stopped some hardcore gamers from trying the inevitable: speed-running the workout game despite the physical exhaustion from marathon workout sessions.
On Monday, Vice published a look at gamers who are attempting to cruise through the game’s story mode despite warnings from Nintendo to put down the JoyCons and take a break after what can be a thoroughly intense workout. If you’re still not sure what we’re talking about, this video breaks it down: Ring Fit Adventure straps a JoyCon to your thigh and puts another in your hand and can sense when you’re doing physical activity needed to run courses in your story.
There’s some yoga, a lot of ring squeezing and a ton of running. And apparently gamers are trying to get through it as fast as possible, to the point of exhaustion. Vice’s story includes the journey of a Japanese player called Sakinyan, who played more than 18 hours straight to beat the game’s story mode.
Though Sakinyan was playing Ring Fit Adventure on its easiest difficulty, in which the exercise intensity is set at one, it’s nonetheless a staggering feat of endurance. You might not be required to put in as many reps, and the game might not ask you to hold a position for nearly as long, but you still need to do the work. Standing in one spot for 18 hours would be a pain in the ass, let alone having to squeeze in squats, leg lifts, and everything in-between.
As Patrick Klepek’s story points out, the wildest part of this speed run isn’t just that it’s about performing physical activity, but that the classic shortcuts and glitches that speed-runners exploit don’t seem to exist in this game. The best runners can do is scroll quickly through menus and play the game on its easiest setting, as well as manage stamina as best they can. It’s a fascinating story that dives into what the limits of speed-running a game like this may be, which seems to be less about effort and more about the very limits of the human body.
“Based on doing some back of the envelope math, the barrier for doing [that run] at maximum difficulty isn’t going to be player strength, but player metabolism,” said Gallagher. “If the game is to be trusted, Sakinyan burnt about 4,000 calories during their run, which even at a conservative estimate puts the maximum difficulty run at at least 40,000 calories.”
It’s probably not what Nintendo had in mind when they released the game, but it’s an extremely interesting direction for gamers to explore.