When we got the Wii for the kids last summer we bought it because my (then) 7 year old gave a pretty convincing argument for it: It was fun. We hemmed and hawed for a while but after playing it for a while at my cousins house we were convinced and bought the system.
Since then, my interest in boxing and bowling has waned a bit. I purchased the Legend of Zelda and after an hour of playing decided that I’d rather program for fun. I guess I’m not into those types of games. My teenager has since solved it after spending several weekends on it.
So when my youngest asked for the Wii Fit I was interested. The Wii breaks the mould of video gaming as I’ve known them (I was a teenager when Asteroids and Space Invaders was the rage at the arcade and I owned an Intellivision) and no longer are you relegated to sitting in one spot getting sore thumbs.
The Wii Fit comes with a Balance Board that measures weight and balance and responds to your body movement when you’re on it. The ‘game’ comes with 4 main sections: Yoga, Strength, Aerobics and Balance. Starting out, your Mii (pronounced me) is weighed and you can do a baseline balance test. It adjusts your Mii’s onscreen appearance to match your Body Mass Index (BMI) so if you weren’t truthful in the creation of your Mii it’ll be ‘adjusted’ accordingly.
The yoga portion is interesting. You start with a basic breathing exercise and can quickly graduate to the “Warrior” pose. When performing each pose the balance board tracks your balance and you get a score based on your balance. The better your balance the more points you get. Onscreen, a helpful male or female instructor (your choice) shows you how to do the pose and gives instructions. During the pose there is feedback indicating how well your balance is working. I’ve since unlocked 5 others poses and I guess my decade doing Aikido has helped a bit there.
The aerobics portion starts with a hula hoop simulation. As someone who’s never mastered the art of hula hooping in the real world, this is a much better version. It will get your heart pumping and is sort of fun (for adults – the kids love it) and points are awarded based on how many hoops you’ve hula hooped. The next game is a beginning step program where you step on and off the board to music while the screens shows you when and where to step. Points are awarded on how accurate you are with the music. The next game is running which is running in place where an animated pacer runs in front of you. Running is simple, but very good exercise.
The balance portion starts with a simple soccer goalie game where you shift your weight left and right on the board to hit the balls kicked at you and dodge the occasional shoe. Next is the downhill skiing which is tough as you have to lean forward (trying to hit a very small blue dot to gain speed) and shift your weight left and right to turn and go between the gates. This is probably the toughest one I’ve done so far as it requires multiple things happening at once. It is also probably my favorite. My second favorite is the ski jump where you have to balance properly to hit yet another really small blue dot to get speed and then straighten your legs at just the right time and then balance evenly for the flight.
Since I regularly go to the gym for weights I haven’t done any of the strength training exercises. I’m sure it would make me work in a few areas I’m not doing now. When I get bored I’ll think about trying it out.
As you continue to play, I mean do the exercises, it tracks how much time you spent doing it. At about the 45 minute mark it will recommend that you stop and get a drink of water. It’s pretty good at giving verbal feedback and telling you how to do things better. Some of the games are more interesting to kids but there’s enough there for the adults to like as well.
All-in-all, Santa made a pretty smart decision. My kid likes it. My wife likes it. I like it. I have no idea if it will keep my interest long term but it’s been an interesting diversion while the weather has been less than stellar in Kansas City (well, it’s been alternating between miserable and gorgeous about every 24 hours). If your New Years Resolution is get in better shape for 2009 and you’d like to have a little fun along the way then I’d recommend the Wii Fit.