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Three Health Tips I Learned From Video Games

Today’s video games are too complex, too lengthy, and require you to adopt a sedentary lifestyle that is the opposite of healthy.  But retro video games–think Super Nintendo back through Atari–are wonderful sources of tips and wisdom for anyone interested in health, muscle building, strength, and symmetry.  If you really want results, you have to think out of the box.

For maximum benefit, you’ll want to memorize these health mantras and keep them in a little notebook to refer to often.

1.  Food doesn’t have to be clean, or even cooked (Final Fight – Super Nintendo)

What do you do when the Mad Gear gang kidnaps your daughter?   Well, if you’re mayor Mike Hagar, you put on your finest one-strap overall, grab a lead pipe, head down to the slums, and start piledriving everyone into oblivion.

But alone the way, you’re going to expend a lot of energy.  You’re going to have to eat.  Luckily, the city’s oil drums and stacks of tires usually contain delicious clusters of grapes or even full pot roasts.  You can eat them right off the ground with no ill effects.

Note the hamburger in the lower right corner, plate and all.

Note the hamburger in the lower right corner, plate and all.

That should be a relief for anyone who hates going to the grocery store.  Even better, if you find a turkey leg on the ground, you can eat the bone as well.

2.  The best way to cure your aches and pains (Bloody Wolf – Turbografx 16)

You have a mission to complete: rescue the president amidst a hail of non-stop gunfire and vicious commandos, not to mention terrible translations (“Beware the hot bullets of die!”).  Your joints and muscles are going to ache.  Pain is a frustrating setback, especially when you need the agility to dodge razor sharp boomerangs thrown by a telepathic man in yellow panties.

These guys take their pain relief seriously, as should you

These guys take their supplements seriously, as should you

The answer?  The next time you save a hostage, ask them if they have any “Muscle emphasis tablets.”  Pop a couple of these pills the next time you’re recovering from a kettlebell workout, and you too will be saying, “Ahhh…..the pain is gone.”

3.  Symmetry is overrated (Altered Beast – Sega Genesis)

Bodybuilders yammer on and on worrying about their symmetry.  True champions know that you only need to worry about one thing to stay proportional and aesthetic: no matter how big your muscles get, the size of your head must not change.

Just ask the newly-risen-from-the-dead heroes of Altered Beast. Seconds after Zeus resurrects them, they are pencil-necked gimps in ripped tunics.  After kicking three two-headed wolves and absorbing the orbs that come out of their corpses, it’s a different story.

Check your head

Check your head

Once you have put on enough muscle so that lasers start shooting out of your feet, believe me, you’re not going to be worrying about whether your calves are proportional to to your neck. You will truly be an altered beast if you’re willing to dedicate yourself.  If it’s good enough for Zeus, it’s good enough for you.

So remember, be modest in your strength and don’t get a big head–literally and metaphorically.


Remember these three things and you’ll wildly exceed your own expectations.

  • The more food you eat off the ground, the better
  • If you can only take one supplement, get yourself some Muscle Emphasis Tablets
  • Forget proportion in bodybuilding.  Focus on the lasers in your feet and maintaining the size of your head.  Think small.

These out of the box methods are surefire ways to get you in the greatest, universe saving condition of your life.  I’m sure I’ve left a few out, so if you can add to the discussion in the comments section, you’ll be doing us all a favor.

And never turn your back on the hot bullets of die.  Just saying….


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  • Tim June 19, 2009, 8:18 am

    Lol, I enjoyed this post. Josh, you are so right about these old-school games. I bought myself a Playstation 2 a few years ago (I’m currently 40) and while it is fun, the games are so complicated and absorbing. I grew up with Atari 2600 and I’m not saying it was the best game system, but was super fun.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 19, 2009, 8:47 am

      I loved the Atari. Oh man, give me Yars Revenge and Kangaroo and I was set. The funniest thing to me is, I asked my parents how much they paid for my Atari 2600: $300. You can now get the PS2 for less than that. Anything new is expensive.

  • Girlwithnoname (Jackie) June 19, 2009, 1:38 pm

    HAHAHA!! OMG!!! that was waaaay too funny. Thanks for sharing THAT. I’m out to get me some of those tablets, hope to see some food on the ground on the way. My head is too big, gotta shrink it, any suggestions?


    • Josh Hanagarne June 19, 2009, 2:26 pm

      Hey Jackie. Does this mean you won’t be selling the muscle emphasis tablets this year for the father’s day sale? I’m finally a father and don’t know what else to buy. I’m heading over to clickbank to find a headshrinking product that I can sell to you:)

  • Stephen "Steve" Ruiz, RKC June 20, 2009, 6:36 am

    Josh: OMG — that is absolutely hysterical. Wow, what a flood of memories! Hey, where can I get some of those Muscle Emphasis Tablets?

  • David Cain June 22, 2009, 10:12 am

    Hahaha! That was hilarious. Old video games were so ridiculous, but charming. They didn’t care that it didn’t make sense for pot roasts to come flying out of enemies when you dispatch them, but we ate up these games anyway. Those were the days.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 22, 2009, 11:36 am

      Were the days? I spent about half of father’s day playing Duck Tales after my brother hacked into my Wii and put all the old games on it.

  • David Cain June 23, 2009, 3:14 pm

    It’s not the same. As a kid growing up at the dawn of the nineties, certain video games held a mythical place in my life. Each one was another world to me and my little friends. I remember how unutterably excited I was to get Super Mario 2 home and dive into its fantastic and mysterious landscapes.

    I can play those same games today, but that particular kind of magic is gone.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 23, 2009, 4:00 pm

      I used to pause Super Mario 2 before I’d go to elementary school and then unpause it 8 hours later when I’d get home.