The MarioKart Gym

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about a spin class she’s in.

“What’s a spin class?” I asked. I had heard the term before, but I feel like it’s one of those things you hear a lot as a guy and never really know what it is, like pilates or pap smears.

“It’s like, stationary bikes, with a teacher,” she said.

“Why do you need a teacher to ride a stationary bike?”

She went on to explain that having someone push you–like that crazy lady in the Biggest Loser–as well as people around you helps you exercise better. I get that. It’s the same idea behind having a personal trainer, a job that technically shouldn’t exist, but it does because we’re American humans and we need to be pushed to do anything.

It’s also the same idea behind Treadmill Racing, the concept I created way back in the days of LiveJournal blogging (fun fact: some people actually still blog on LiveJournal!) In my Treadmill Racing concept, you get to race against other people in the same gym (or even other gyms–you could log in from home) to help simulate the experience of running in the park and trying to catch the person in front of you.

But this spin class thing made me think: What if there’s an even better way?

What if…what if you combined treadmills, stationary bikes, gyms, treadmill racing, and the most fun video game ever?

You’d get the MarioKart Gym.

At the MarioKart Gym, when there are enough players to start a race, you actually race the other people at the gym on treadmills or stationary bikes by watching yourself on a video screen in front of your machine. Your kart’s speed depends on your actual peddling/running speed. You get all the fun bonuses in the game, and you steer as if you’re on the course.

I’m telling you, people would be begging to get healthy at this gym. It’s better than the actual MarioKart because you actually feel like you have an impact on your velocity.

Come on, Nintendo. Let’s do this. Let’s make a baby together. We’ll call it the MarioKart Gym.

9 thoughts on “The MarioKart Gym”

  1. Sweet sassy molassy! This is a great idea. Running on a treadmill would be much more fun if it offered you a chance to race other people. Maybe every treadmill in the gym could be hooked up to the race, and you could turn you monitor on if you wanted to see how you were doing (or you could just watch Oprah). Overall, I’m smellin’ what you’re steppin’ in. Needs a little detail work, but great idea!

    • Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines. You could also have a big screen in the front of the room that shows the race, although the vantage may be hard to calibrate. You could have outward-facing panels on each bike/treadmill to show the person’s current position in the race.

  2. I love this idea!! I would be in such great shape if this became a reality. And I might actually enjoy treadmills then!

    I’d want to start a league and keep track of stats. Ha ha 🙂

  3. The only way this would be fun is to be able to zap someone, or make the treadmill/bike vibrate like in the game. 😀


    • Oh, definitely. You’d still have all the shells and speed bonuses and whatnot that you’d have in the game. Maybe you could get feedback from the handgrips.

  4. Jamie – I LOVE it. You could play MarioKart to your heart’s content (or at least to your legs’ pain threshold) without the stigma of being a total couch potato! Imagine the implications. Suddenly the most hardcore video game nerds are walking around with tree-trunk Schwarzenegger legs. This could represent a whole new social caste – the “Gock” (geek + jock). Or maybe “Jeek”?

    Anyway, I seriously love it, I think it would be a blast! Nintendo’s all about “active” gaming on the Wii, so I think they’d be all over it.

    • I actually like both Gock and Jeek :). And that’s a great point about Nintendo–I’m writing to them to see if they’d allow something like this, but I think you’re right that they’d be supportive of it.


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