Student Life: Spend your student loan or get fit

The Skinny takes no responsibility for course failures, or for paving the way to the bottom of that oh-so-generous interest free overdraft, but here's a few secrets to getting fit thumbs. Phwoar!

Feature by Josh Wilson | 11 Sep 2008
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Life as a student has all sorts of advantages to it: Not only do you get discounts everywhere and cheap booze a-plenty, you also have a generous load of time to spend being hung-over and avoiding lectures. And while certain folk would have you believe that going to the gym, playing sports and all that 'shite' may be good for you, we all know, in our heart of hearts, that there are only two real ways to spend a morning after a night out (playing some videogames being the legal, smoke-free one).

And what with the great big wads of governmental money you get to 'borrow' (if you never get a job, it's kind of free…) and with all the stress of a new place 'n' that, you deserve a treat - in the form of a new games console. After all, you won't have as much money in one go for a good while, so you may as well spend it!

The big boys:

Two obvious candidates for splashing out on are the Xbox360 and the PS3. What you go for here is down to personal choice. If you are into your Final Fantasy or Metal Gear epics then you will buy a PS3 and leave little money to buy any more games. However if you want a wide variety of games, plus an excellent online service and downloads, then your only real choice is the Xbox 360. It’s cheaper, simpler and the graphics are just as ludicrous.

The people's choice

Aka the Wii. Aye the people's choice, and why is it that? Well, because people are stupid. Wii's are cool, they are fun to play – but only in short bursts and they only have a few games actually worth playing (Zelda, Smash Bros and Wii Sports). But that said, it is cheap, and a Wii Sports party is always fun and something everyone can get involved in. Just try not to reach that sad stage where you can do all the games without actually having to stand up… this could be your only regular exercise after all!

Go retro

A much cheaper option, though definitely not a less fun one. Who needs shiny fancy graphics or motion controllers? Mario Kart 64 is still the best four player racing game ever (the Wii version is OK, yet disappointing, so best to avoid). Not only that, but everyone loves a good dabble on Goldeneye, so even if it controls horribly, nostalgia wins out. Other great consoles which could be obtained for cheap are the likes of the SNES or Megadrive - both offer classic platform action with Street Fighter, Super Mario and the EA sports collection, and are still horrifically addictive nearly 20 years on.

These consoles can be picked up cheap, at your local Chips or Geforce (in Edinburgh or Glasgow), at any Gamestation or indeed local pawnshop. An N64 shouldn't set you back more than £40 with a couple of controllers, so you really have no excuse for going to lectures.

Go really retro

Board games are still a lot of fun. You aren't allowed to admit it normally. But they are, so a mega-cheap option (and one rife with opportunities to turn everything into a drinking game) is to trawl some charity shops and pick up some games. Monopoly could be a bit too serious and lead to some unfortunate hissyfits with your new friends, but a good bout of Trivial Pursuit or Risk can easily while away a few hours/days. Or there is always a pack of cards. It is an actual near physical impossibility to not get drunk if you have a pack of cards with you. So bear that in mind… just don’t invite David Blaine over for a game of Snap.

Exercise more than your digits

Ok so Aberdonians say Aberdeen boasts some of the finest skaters, in-liners + BMX riders in the land, mainly due to city and shire funding over the years (take note Edinburgh), but there are places Scotland-wide to get on your wheels. Don't consign yourself to pretending to be Tony Hawk and co. on the consoles mentioned above, rip it up proper.

Transition Extreme Sports, Links Road, Queens Links, Aberdeen AB24 5NN
01224 626279
For all manner of vertical behaviour (climbing walls included), band rehearsal studios plus live gigs and film previews, the centre allows ‘sessioning’ all year round.

The Factory Skatepark, 15 Balunie Drive, Dundee DD4 8PS
01382 509586
Student sessions on Wednesdays include 2 hours riding, equipment hire plus a toastie & chips. Psych!

Transgression Park, Unit LE3, Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ
0131 555 3755
Edinburgh's urban freesports facility is perfectly placed undercover at Ocean Terminal, so mum can shop while you skate.

Unit 23, 45 - 50 Castlegreen St, The Old Bond, Dumbarton G82 1JD
01389 768333
A bit outta Glasgow toon, but under a roof with great ramps for BMX and inliners.

Dudhope Park, Dundee
Public concrete outdoor park with a big community.

Kelvingrove, Glasgow
Smack-bang in the middle of the city, in one of Glasgow's most obvious parks, concrete smoothness abounds.

Livingston Skatepark, Livingston
One of Scotland's oldest and most well-loved concrete parks, it has been skated by international and local pros alike.,,,,