Wii would like to get your fat butt into shape

Initial impressions following the jump. First, a preamble:

It\’s clear to me why the Nintendo Wii is still such a hard item to find on store shelves. I hadn\’t intended on buying Wii Fit on its release day, and it seemed that by waiting the decision was taken out of my hands, since it\’s sold out on every online retailer I checked. However, I live in the hinterlands of Virginia, so when I got a whim to go out and see if I could find a copy today after all, I figured I had a pretty good chance. As I got out of my car in front of the local Best Buy, I saw a fairly average looking woman walking towards me. . . carrying a box full of Wii Fit. I chuckled, since clearly they had at least a preorder stock. Once inside, I found a nice display of boxes, probably 30 or so still sitting out, so I grabbed one, thinking how this nice aspect of small town living totally doesn\’t make up for the rest of the shortcomings. Ahem. Anyway. As I made my way to checkout, I saw something I don\’t think I\’ve ever seen in all my years of buying video games: everyone wants one of these things. Everyone. I may have been the nerdiest person in line. There were a couple of business looking guys, a couple of normal mom-looking women, there was one man who very likely was a grandfather, there were a couple of average sorts like me. And bear in mind, I\’m unemployed, so this was at 10:30 AM – on the release day! I\’m not sure that there\’s any other conclusion to reach but that Nintendo has in fact tapped into the so-called \’casual\’ gamer market, bringing the video game back to people who probably stopped playing when Atari went out of style. Go figure. If you\’re interested in my take on the game itself, read on…

I\’m gonna leave out discussion of things like whether or not this is really exercise, or really yoga, etc. I don\’t think there\’s any serious question that something like this is not going to be the same as going to the gym. But that doesn\’t mean it\’s without merit. The game comes with what Nintendo is calling the Wii Balance Board, and the thing is cool. There will be games (there\’s one already out – a skiing title) that will take advantage of it, and I\’m gonna wager a Tony Hawk skateboarding game will be one of them. But anyway. Once you\’ve set up your character, and found out how overweight you are (we\’ll be leaving out all discussion of BMI and how \”inaccurate\” it is, too), you\’ve got your choice of four kinds of activity:

Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics, and Balance.

To start, you\’ve only got a choice of five or six activities in each, and for that I\’m glad. I\’m sure I would have tried them all (there are 8-15 activities in each category from the looks of it), and I\’m pretty sure it would have hurt. Instead, more activities open up the more you use Wii Fit, which is a good incentive to keep at it in the early stages. Briefly, then, from what I did do today. . .

The yoga poses were pretty interesting. The board measures your balance as you hold each pose. You\’re kind of on your honor to actually be faithfully trying to do each pose correctly (although why you\’d want to \”cheat\” in a game like this is beyond me).

The strength training exercises are good. Lunges, etc. The pushups were a real bitch. A) I don\’t like pushups. B) The board isn\’t very wide, which makes doing a pushup just that much harder. But hey, that\’s the point of working out, yeah?

The balance exercises are a set of games, and while I\’m not sure how much working out you\’re doing. . . they\’re fun. Heading soccer balls, slalom skiing, tightrope walking – this is why it\’s pretty clear that there will be some fun games that\’ll use the balance board.

Aerobics are game-like, too. There\’s a hula hoop one (I\’m terrible at this), a step class one, . . . and I\’ve forgotten the others at this point. And then finally there\’s actually a jogging program that doesn\’t use the board at all. You just put the Wii remote in your pocket and run in place. I only did a short jog, but it was pretty effective.

All in all. . . no, it\’s not a substitute for going for a run, or going to the gym. But it is exercise, and it is fun. I probably wouldn\’t lose weight solely by playing Wii Fit, but I think that it\’s definitely a worthy supplement if you\’re trying to eat healthier foods and be more active.







3 responses to “Wii would like to get your fat butt into shape”

  1. alex Avatar

    Next Morning Update: I have noticeable soreness. I regard that as evidence that I did in fact do some exercise.

  2. ed Avatar

    ahh, the BMI… according to those BMI peoples, I’m “obese.” love it.

    i’ve gotta get me one of those Wii Fit thingies. you’re right about everyone wanting one – even my mother wants one.

  3. alex Avatar

    Yeah, for fairly well-muscled people, BMI ain’t the best measurement. . . but then again those are the people who should know better what kind of shape they’re in, to the point where they can know to disregard BMI. Everyone else is just making excuses. 🙂

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