Anti-Obesity Commercial Riles Some Game Biz Types

Do video games make you fat? 

It depends on how many you eat!


A new commercial (left) for the UK government’s Change 4 Life initiative seems to have irked a few game industry types by linking video games with obesity and other health problems.

The commercial, created in stop motion with plasticine characters, features a boy playing a Space Invaders-like game. While he works the controllers, the camera zooms in on his body to observe all of the fat he’s storing. Cut back to the TV, where he zaps an in-game representation of himself for Game Over. The boy and his father look at the screen in horror before hurrying outside to exercise and eat healthily.

An unidentified insider at “one of the world’s biggest producers of fitness games” told MVCUK:

Any initiative that encourages people to move towards a healthier lifestyle can only be a good thing. But this is just another example of naive stereotyping and scapegoating. Video games can be a part of an active and healthy lifestyle for everyone of all ages.

Actually, because video games are playing such an important and fun role in people’s lives, the very audience this advert is supposed to address and speak to might dismiss it purely because of the naivety and ignorance shown.

Richard Keith, publisher for Future’s games portfolio added:

You would have to pretty hard-headed not to support the aims of the Change 4 Life campaign… However, it should be noted that when it comes to house-bound activities, gaming is much more ‘active’ than most – whether that’s exercising the brain with puzzles, rocking out with Rock Band or playing a few sets of tennis with Wii Sports, there’s more to gaming than sitting playing Space Invaders.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen

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  1. Baruch_S says:

    Most of the obesity problem is caused by the unhealthy, synthetic food-like substances that people in developed countries seem to be addicted to. If people would lay off the Oatmeal Cream Pies (yeah, they’re good, but check out the calories in one of them) and the Big Macs in favor of fruit and a healthy lettuce salad, the obesity problem wouldn’t be anywhere near as big as it is. Of course, if we started eating real, natural food instead of synthesized food-like products, farmers would have to grow something besides corn, and many food processors would go out of business…

  2. Kharne says:

    It’s a commerical that at one point has a game in it, so… um… yeah. Personally, I think the ads more about how we’re having weight problems due to lifestyle changes in general than any finger pointing at games.

    On that note however I whish the current media  rush of "ZO NO, TEH FATS!" would die down already, maybe it’s becasuse the year just started and everyone’s on thier new fool’s quest to try and loose weight, but every time I turn around there’s more shit about weight loss and obeisity being thrown around. Guess what kiddies, being fat is bad for you! Who’d of guessed?!

    And don’t get me started on the reality shows. "Oh noes! I’m a fat, ugly monster! Save me, heartless TV Execs!"

  3. Andrew Eisen says:

    And it shows an orange, plasticine caveman bopping a tyrannosaurus on the noggin with a club.  Awesomeness!


    Andrew Eisen

  4. gamegod25 says:

    I’m actually ok with the change 4 life commercial. Yeah it was obviously made by a non gamer but it didn’t single videogames out either and is very positive.

  5. Master_E says:

    I remember those… they were at the end of Ghostwriter weren’t they? And weren’t they sponsered by ‘Sega’?

  6. mikese says:

    I do get exercise each week and take vitamins as well as play my games i dont see the problem. Lots of kids get fat doing nothing

  7. BrandonL337 says:

    Hey, we don’t all like that shit.  Personally I’m into Stephen King’s books

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  8. zel says:

    That was sarcasm, you’ll see alot of it around here, lighten up 😛


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  9. Wolvenmoon says:

    Science can’t lie. Science can only show what it finds based upon how well we can test.

    Claiming that the untestable is science is a lie, and that’s just what these churches are saying to avoid, unless you get into the small fringe groups, which would not be millions.

    These small fringe groups are the same as any other fringe group, an asociation of nutcases determined to dominate others. Unfortunately, they’re the only ones that get any media attention, much like any other U.S. politics.

  10. CBell says:

    Yeah, I was gonna make a reply about that one.  I think the one you described is worse.  Atleast this one puts other things with it, like sitting on the couch watching tv, and not having to hunt our food like we used to thousands of years ago.

  11. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I saw something similar to that vid. The kid was playing a derivative of Pac-Man, and was getting all these sweets. Eventually, he gets too fat to squeeze in there to get the candy.


    Stupidity, thy name is anti-obesity. At least, in this case.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  12. Baruch_S says:

    I think people are more annoyed that it’s sterotyping gamers as obese, although the implication that video games make you fat is also annoying.

  13. PeVo says:

    That commercial isn’t an attack on the video games industry, and people who see it as such need to get out more. 

    The message is "lead a balanced life", which is pretty sound advice if you want to make it past 50.

    — Olly

  14. Outrun1986 says:

    In theory reading a book would do the same thing, since your still sitting there, so why not some hatred against books?  From what I see most kids like to read now and ask for books along with video games for presents.

  15. E. Zachary Knight says:

    This reminds me of a commercial I saw growing up about excersize. A fat kid was playing a game and finally beat it. He then jumps up to do a celebratory dance. He is jumping around and whooping and hollering and about 5 seconds into it gets out of breath and has to sit down.

    Good times.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    My Patreon

  16. Abadox50 says:

    I remember that commercial. "WHO’S DA MAN!?"

    — "Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?" -Andrew Ryan

  17. DeepThorn says:

    millions of people believe what their churches say

    millions of churches say science lies

    so why not get rid of science…

    wait wait wait…

    millions of people use computers

    millions of people get sick

    heck, lets get rid of every computer in the world, counting cell phones…  there we go… wait… that didnt solve anything and now people’s medical records are lost…  shit

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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  18. SeanB says:

    Millions upon Millions of people are overweight

    Millions upon Millions of people play video games.

    Wow, if comparisons for proof were that easy

    Millions of people eat beef every year

    Millinos of people die every year. Ban Beef.



  19. SimonBob says:

    Good thing video gamers like us can differentiate fiction from reality, right?  Otherwise we’d all be going off half-cocked at this scandalous media representation of what appears to be a terminally boring game where you shoot yourself and then earn a game over!

    …Oh, wait.

    The Mammon Industry

  20. DarkSaber says:

    It’s the see-sawing 1-2 combo critics of games like to use, just when the violence debate dies down, up pops this one.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  21. Vake Xeacons says:

     Or remember the old Gamefly commercial, with the fat guy playing games, then the doorbell rings; it’s the mailman and the fat guy just grabs the Gamefly envelope from him and slams the door in his face? Gamers bashed by a gaming company?

    Or how about in the new "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" where Mike TV was also a gamer in addition to his TV obsession.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the brain burns calories more effectively than any mussel in the body. Gamers, even before Wii Fit and Guitar Hero, were more fit per capita than most TV couch potatoes. 

    I don’t see anyone bashing TV anymore. Doesn’t it rot the brain? Doesn’t it turn you into a vegetable? Noooooo…but games do.

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