America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Winning the Fitbit Game
5 June 2017
Your social media feed is filled with people reporting Fitbit steps. While the whole Fitbit fad may seem silly to other people, as a gamer, you get it. Fitbit is a casual wrist or watch game, like the classic Space Invaders game for Casio watches. Its real goal isn't fitness, it is winning, and ideally the sort of total pwnage you can post on social media or stream on Twitch. To do this, you'll need the right collection of strats and hacks to kill the Fitbit game without interfering with your 14+ hour a day serious gaming schedule merely to score points against casuals. While 10K steps on your Fitbit is a decent achievement, it's not something for which you'd want to jeopardize your League of Legends ranking.
Fitbit claims to measure steps and so your first step should be walking around with one. Unfortunately, walking around your bedroom for a few minutes doesn't yield many steps and walking in place at your computer while checking out some favorite Twitch streams doesn't yield any. Using the stationary bicycle in your mom's garage while playing GTA on an Xbox is also a total fail; apparently, if you don't move, you don't get step credit. Next, you could try taking your Fitbit out to the parking lot and racking up steps while playing Super Mario on your phone. After your third /headcurb, you will come to the realization that some more sophisticated strats are needed.
As you are polishing off some mac and cheese and Red Bull while skimming new game reviews, you might notice your step counter increasing. As you move the arm on which you are wearing your Fitbit, the 3-axis accelerometer in the device records the motion. An obvious hack, therefore, is placing a bag of potato chips a few feet away from your keyboard or console and reaching for one potato chip at a time as you are gaming. Although this sounds like a good strat, problems emerge when you do some basic theorycrafting. There are approximately 15 chips per ounce of potato chips or 150 chips in a ten-ounce family-size bag. To achieve the 10K steps to advance beyond the noob level, you would need to consume approximately 67 ten-ounce bags of potato chips, one chip at a time. Assuming a consumption rate of ten chips per minute, this would take approximately 16 hours. Although this is feasible if you combine your potato-chip consumption with other games, it still involves more time and effort than you really want to invest in a mere fitness game which doesn't actually let you blow up or kill things.
While some gamers have ethical concerns about using bots, for many, it's an efficient way of grinding. From this viewpoint, it is worth considering outsourcing some of the step-collecting grind. Luckily, the wristband of most Fitbits is approximately the same size as a cat collar. By putting the Fitbit on your cat, you can increase your step count while letting your cat actually earn some of the expensive cat food she demands by doing your grinding for you. The problem is that despite occasional bursts of pouncing on your mouse as you game or jumping on your face when you are sleeping, your cat doesn't actually move around very much, preferring to spend 16 hours a day sleeping, usually on your laptop or lap. While you can pull out a laser pointer and have your cat chase around the red dot for a few thousand steps, the cat hack is basically a good bonus but won't cover the entire 10K grind.
Flying your Fitbit around on a camera drone can rack up megasteps. Even better, you can live stream your step grind. Like the cat/laser pointer hack, though, it has a downside, namely that it takes time away from your real gaming. Luckily, there is an even better tech solution. An iRobot Roomba or similar robotic vacuum cleaner probably lurks somewhere in a box in your closet. Charge it up, duct tape the Fitbit to the top, and watch the steps build as you get your floors cleaned. Even better, as your robotic vacuum explores under furniture and in corners, it may well retrieve for you several sets of 20-sided dice, a few dozen action figures, and a memory stick with the unlocked version of classic Doom. While it may take a few recharge cycles to hit a top score, the robotic vacuum strat will handily top the step counts even of hardcore runners as well as locating for you all sorts of miscellaneous gear and perhaps even your car keys. With the time you save by automating your Fitbit steps, you'll be able to watch "Pure Pwnage Teh Movie" uninterrupted while your social media friends are wasting time outdoors or in the gym sweating and straining and losing valuable gaming time just to increase their step counts.
DISCLAIMER: It should be noted that this article is a satire. No facts, real or alternative, were researched in its production. It was written purely for entertainment purposes and the author is not liable for any /headcurbs, annoyed cats, or other damages associated with reading it.
Carol Poster has published two humorous nonfiction books, Skiing! and Unnatural Fauna, with Globe Pequot and translated Aristophanes' Clouds (University of Pennsylvania Press Complete Greek Drama Series) and Plautus' Stichus (Johns Hopkins University Press Complete Roman Drama). After many years of university teaching, she has recently returned to full time freelance writing. Her most recent chapbook of poetry, Returning to Dust, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.