Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tech: Wii Fit

The Nintendo Wii video game console has been annihilating its competitors at retail, mostly by appealing to a very different audience than the traditional hardcore gamer. Case in point? The game-that's-not-really-a-game, "Wii Fit":

Wii Fit retails for $90, which includes the game disc itself and a "balance board" that wirelessly synchs up with your Wii game console. The balance board is essentially a sophisticated version of your bathroom scale - it contains multiple pressure sensors that can detect your center of balance. Considering that a normal electronic scale retails for $20-$30, the whole package isn't as expensive as you first think it is.

The included software is pretty basic - you are guided through dozens of exercises and balance games by a cute, animated onscreen version of the balance board. "Wii Fit" includes yoga poses, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. Some of the exercises are pretty challenging (one of them is just a straight push-up competition, for instance), but most manage to use the weight-sensing capabilities of the board in interesting ways.

The game tracks your progress meticulously, which drives you to work out regularly. Think of the time a typical "World of Warcraft" player takes when he or she grinds for experience. Now imagine that instead of leveling up a virtual character, you're getting stronger and more flexible in real life. It's a fairly ingenius way to harness the gratification of completing a game with physical fitness.

Although I like the included balance board, I think the software is still a bit basic. You have a "favorites" menu, but there's no way to set up a long, uninterrupted workout routine. It also would have been nice to have the ability to play back your choice of MP3 music while you work out (other Wii games actually have this functionality). The focus on BMI is also a little strange, too - according to the game, people with muscular, short frames are "obese." Still, with all these caveats, it's a unique experience you can't get anywhere else.

Rating: 80/100

P.S. - Check out this awesome Wii Fit comedy skit:


Post a Comment

<< Home