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Video games are often assumed to be sedentary pursuits. While it is true that their screen-bound nature means that many do not encourage exercise, there are some specific and popular examples that require players to engage in their physical environment.
Release Date: 08/02/2006, updated in 2014
Out Now: Wii and Wii U
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports Club offer motion-controlled sports. Although these games are well known, the depth each of them offers is a best-kept secret. Games like bowling, tennis and boxing are easy to pick up but require...
Release Date: 21/05/2014
Out Now: Android and iOS
Bounden is a smartphone dance game that gets players to use their bodies. Two people hold opposite ends of one smartphone and then move together to keep a cursor over the ball.
Release Date: 02/03/2017
Out Now: Switch
Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
1-2-Switch is a series of party games that use the Switch Joy-Con controllers in imaginative and unusual ways. Although it looks like a novelty, the focus on physical motion and activity rather than just what's on the screen makes this surprisingly...
Release Date: 04/05/2020
Out Now: iOS
Here Kitty! is a real-world hide and seek game you play by hiding your phone. It's from the same team behind Heads Up. When the child calls out or gets near the phone makes cat noises to give them clues to find it. When it's...
Release Date: 11/06/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and PS4
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Joust Mania is a movement-sensitive game of tag that is played in the real world, holding PlayStation Move motion controllers. First appearing as one of the games in the Sportsfriends pack, and then evolving as Joust Mania with more modes and up to 16...
Release Date: 16/10/2020
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a kart racing game with a difference - You play on the Switch but use it to control a real-life Mario Kart that races around the floor of your living room. You see the race from the view of the car beamed back to the...
Release Date: 17/11/2009, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Web, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
Just Dance 2022 is part of a physically active rhythm game series. Dancing in front of each other isn’t something we often do in families. Just Dance is released with new songs and features each year. It gets parents, carers, children and even...
Release Date: 14/10/2020
Pac-Man Geo combines the classic pill-collecting arcade game with the real world. Unlike Pokemon Go, you don't run around outside, but use real world locations to make the mazes around which you are chased by ghosts.
Release Date: 29/04/2022
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Switch Sports is the latest version of Wii Sports. It brings the classic motion sports game up to date with new sports and ways to play. You can compete in six sports, including Tennis, Volleyball, Golf, Football and Bowling. The novelty, as ever, is...
Release Date: 01/08/2020
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Blocks
Lego Super Mario is a running and jumping game you play in the real world with an electronic Mario toy. A series of Lego sets provide special bricks that the Mario toy can detect. The timer starts as you move the toy through the level and trigger...
Release Date: 27/04/2018
Components: 3D First-Person
Nintendo Labo is a game themed around physical folding, colouring and cutting. You get a cardboard pack with the game that folds up to make objects into which you slot the screen and controllers. Whether it’s cardboard steering wheels, fishing rods,...
Release Date: 04/11/2010
Out Now: Oculus, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Dance Central is a dancing rhythm game you play by moving your body in front of the Xbox Kinect camera. The focus on full body movement celebrates accurate, well-timed and energetic moves. As opposed to Just Dance's rough choreography, Dance Central...
Release Date: 31/10/2021
Active Arcade is a motion controlled set of puzzle and action games. You control the action in the game by standing in front of your smartphone camera and moving your body, arms and hands.
Release Date: 18/10/2019
Components: 2D Overhead
Ring Fit Adventure is a running and jumping adventure game with a difference. You control your character with the circular plastic Ring-Con in your hands and Leg-Strap on your leg. The game can then tell how much you are moving and relate that to...
Release Date: 16/06/2017
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Arms is a fighting game where you brawl other players with your abnormally long arms. The play is simple with motion and button controls to move around and attack the enemy player in a boxing-style arena. It's like Wii-Sports Boxing but with many more...
Release Date: 18/08/2019
Components: 2D Side-On and Blocks
Lego Hidden Side is a (discontinued) adventure game you play by building physical Lego kits and then interacting with them via an augmented reality app on your Smartphone. The app was discontinued in early 2023 reducing existing Lego Hidden Side sets to...
Release Date: 27/01/2018
Components: 2D Side-On and Open World
Runbit (and its sister app Map Hunt) is a treasure hunt game you play by running or walking in the real world. As you run a map is displayed of your area with stars to collect on pavements, moving monsters to outwit and avoid and moving animals to track...
Release Date: 18/05/2023
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Run Legends is a battle game that gets you fit. You run and walk in the real world to collect energy for a video game adventure. You play by moving and exercising to collect energy and unleash attacks and special skills. It's a novel approach to playful...
Release Date: 27/02/2012, updated in 2019
Zombies, Run is a combination of a fitness app, radio play and zombie game. You choose the distance on the app, run in the real world and the narrative plays in your headphones.
Release Date: 07/11/2010
Out Now: Wii
Fling Smash is an action-throwing game where you direct a ball-shaped hero by flicking the controller.
Release Date: 25/04/2008
Wii Fit is a collection of games designed to help you exercise. They use the Wii Balance Board peripheral that works with both Wii Fit on the Wii and Wii Fit Plus on the Wii U. The Balance Board measures the pressure you place on it and enables a range...
Release Date: 13/11/2011
Out Now: Xbox 360
The Gunstringer is an Xbox Kinect camera game where you use your body to control a cowboy puppet and shoot the villains by forming a gun with your fingers. You can play with two people working together, with one player controlling the character’s...
Release Date: 01/11/2016
Beasts of Balance comes with beautifully sculpted physical toys that interact with your iPad to create and nurture creatures in a magical land. You place a toy creature on the plinth provided and it appears in the game. Balance another creature on top...
Release Date: 28/02/2015
GPS Pong is a game of retro pong played in the real world by running and walking to move your bat. Once you have set up the game on two smartphones you specify how much space you have and then move to position your bat to return the virtual ball to the...
Release Date: 09/03/2023
Peridot is a pet simulation game from the makers of Pokémon Go. Rather than training and fighting your pet, here the focus is on digital care, teaching tricks and taking it with you on walks. It stands out for the Augmented Reality interactions and...
Release Date: 11/12/2013
The Walk is an adventure you play by walking in the real world. A device detonates in Inverness station, and you have a package that could save the world. To stay alive, you’ll need to walk the length of the UK.
Release Date: 06/05/2008, updated in 2009
Components: 3D First-Person and Blocks
Boom Blox is a puzzle game on the Wii, designed by Steven Spielberg, where motion controls are used to direct projectiles at towers in surprisingly accurate and engaging ways. This extends beyond Jenga-style play to offer physics-based puzzles where you...
Release Date: 09/12/2016
Deep Time Walk is a physically-active narrative game where you go for a walk as you listen to a history of the Earth that's tied to each step. The game calculates your speed and distance to match your real-world progress and translates it to a journey...
Release Date: 15/10/2014
Out Now: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is an Xbox Kinect camera dancing game using your whole body. Its narrative follows Disney’s Fantasia film as you take a musical journey to earn your sorcerer’s hat. Sweeping your arms to trigger the orchestra, pointing...
Release Date: 29/06/2016
Components: 2D Side-On and Dice
Fru is a platform game with a twist. One player uses a controller to run and jump around the level; a second player stands in front of the Xbox Kinect camera and appears on the screen in silhouette. This person must use the outline of their body to...
Release Date: 08/06/2009, updated in 2009
Grand Slam Tennis is a physically active sports game where you choose one of the 23 real tennis players or create your own. You can play either singles or doubles. Unlike other tennis games, this focuses on hitting the ball with a gesture via the Wii...
Release Date: 15/06/2020
Jump Rope Challenge is a virtual skipping game where you hold the Switch controllers like rope handles and skip. The game displays an on-screen counter and you can play with another person at the same time as you compete for a high score.
Release Date: 03/11/2010, updated in 2014
Out Now: Xbox One
Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports Rivals are a pair of games offering the Xbox equivalent of Wii Sports. Although these games use the Xbox Kinect camera so you simply move in front of the screen to control the different activities.
Release Date: 17/06/2019
Orna: The GPS RPG, as its longer name suggests, is a combination of role-playing adventure and real-world (geocache-style) treasure hunt. You select a character at the start of the game and head out on a walk. As you do you can encounter creatures,...
Release Date: 22/08/2016
Run an Empire is a combination of real-world running and a strategy game where you battle other players for land and resources. Once set up you run around your neighbourhood, which in the game is divided into small hexagons. As you encircle areas in the...
Release Date: 18/07/2017
Champions of the Shenga is a fantasy card-battling game. You assemble a deck of creatures, equipment and spells in order to compete, but play is regulated via a special heart rate monitor designed to help players track and master their emotions while...
Release Date: 30/06/2023
Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Filmed
Everybody 1-2-Switch is a party game played with the Joy-Con motion controllers to compete in a series of fun and silly challenges. From making friends with aliens to filling giant balloons with just the right amount of air, or working in a manic ice...
Release Date: 20/08/2020, updated in 2021
Stride: Walk, Run, Capture is a strategy game played by walking and running in your local area. However, this isn't played for the fastest time or longest run. Here you need to complete routes that enable you to claim the territory you visit.
Release Date: 14/12/2013
Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Persistant World
Ingress Prime is an adventure game that uses your smartphone's GPS to locate you in a game world that correlates with reality. You interact with virtual "portals" located near statues, monuments, and civic and historic buildings in your real world.
Release Date: 22/04/2020
Out Now: PC
SoundSelf: A Technodelic is an interactive guided meditation. Using the microphone, and optionally enhanced by VR, the game leads you through a landscape that responds to the sounds of your breath. This encourages you to make the Ujjayi Pranayama sound...