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How Fit is Wii Fit?

Posted Sep 14 2008 2:42pm

Wii Fit is here! The Nintendo game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who created millions of couch potatoes with his previous games like Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, and Zelda. Miyamoto is now trying to reform those couch potatoes with Wii, a gaming system that uses a remote-control wand requiring players to actually move their bodies to play. Miyamoto took this idea a step farther by designing Wii Fit, a game created to get people purposefully exercising.

The game comes with a Wii balance board(TM), which you can use to play balance games and do strength training, yoga, and aerobics. Players weigh themselves every day and can set goals and chart their progress.

So what are people saying about Wii Fit? Will it turn you into a lean, mean machine, and will you have fun while you're at it? From what I've read, the game has some limitations. Oh, you knew that was coming, didn't you? There still is no magic wand for fitness.

Wii Fit appears to be ideal for fitness novices, people who don't exercise much to begin with. The yoga component is more about exercise than an authentic yoga practice, and the strength training is a good place to get started but no substitute for the gym. This is according to a small survey of Wii Fit testers in the New York Times. Another reviewer for the Timeswas not impressed with the intensity of the Wii Fit workouts.

The game seems to prioritize weight loss over cardiovascular health, perhaps because weight is easier to track on the Wii Fit balance board.

Still, if Wii Fit gets otherwise sedentary people to move around I think that's a good thing. Wired blogger Chris Kholer admitted to the appeal when a friend asked him why he didn't just go running instead: "'Because I want to bank Wii Fit minutes,' I say, realizing how into the 'game' aspect I am." Wii Fit appeals to a wider audience than the usual gaming crowd, but also provides more exercise than the gaming crowd usually gets. Wii Fit may even be a great fit for senior citizens.

I'll stick with my own workout routine, thanks all the same. But I do know a few couch potatoes who could use a little electronic motivation.

Read about another gamer's test ride of Wii Fit on Kotaku.

Watch the trailer for Wii Fit, and then watch a parody of the Wii Fit trailer.

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