25 February 2010
Getting my wife to play a video game is about as easy as getting the Pope to cook breakfast for Satan.
I’ve tried and tried, but she just doesn’t care for them. So when the Nintendo Wii came into my life I knew it was my last shot. Be careful what you wish for.
I’d like to officially thank the good people at Nintendo for making a “game” that my wife enjoys so much that I may finally have to wait my turn for a chance to play. (And this comes on the heels of my mother’s now infamous Christmas Eve Wii Bowling massacre.)
Wii Fit is actually more of a game than I originally thought. It has all the classic hallmarks of a good game: Challenges, score keeping, goals, a learning curve. However, it is the game’s other qualities that drew my wife’s attention. As a pediatric health care provider, she is suspect of gaming from a health perspective. She is also — like most medical professionals — skeptical of any product that promises health benefits.
She was impressed by the approach and science behind Wii Fit. The game goes into a surprising amount of detail — but not too much — regarding your health and how it is judging you. Its science seems sound and its ability to gauge your physical ability is impressive. (But don’t get carried away. It’s no substitute for your annual physical.)
It’s a useful tool — as a working mother, my wife doesn’t get to enjoy yoga classes as much as she used to. Wii Fit can help. And it’s fun.
After some quick BMI and wellness goal business is over, Wii Fit goes straight into Nintendo’s trademark approach of using fun to entertain, teach and (sometimes) enlighten.
The balance board is incredibly sensitive, not to mention heavy and sturdy. Although she focused her time on the yoga, the game also sports a variety of strength, aerobics and balance-based games that are a lot of fun and get the job done.
If you want to work up a sweat, you will.
And that’s the idea, right? Working up a sweat for an extended period of time while having just enough fun to forget you’re working out is probably just what Doctor Mario ordered to get you gamers (and non-gamers) in shape. Just to make sure the balance board doesn’t gather dust, the game will track your BMI daily and help you stay on track to achieve your goals.
Wii Fit is not the answer to a personal trainer, but it is a fun way to get exercise and plot a course to better health. As other games start to take advantage of the exceptional balance board peripheral, I think you’ll find this is an excellent addition to the growing amount of Wii stuff accumulating in your living room.
By Victor Paul Alvarez