The Wii

I’m not a console gamer. I don’t own all of those available and don’t follow console development beyond what I read in passing online or pull in through osmosis.  Soon, though, I will be procuring a Wii.

Unless you’re a new visitor to my site, you know that I have a PlayStation 3 (and a PlayStation 2, but that was generously given to me after I got the PS3, and it’s currently residing unused in a closet).  Let me summarize some of my earlier comments about the PS3:

  • Sony removed PS2 compatibility from recent models of the PS3 – boo!
  • All the games I’ve seen play in 720p – and they could probably make 1080p capable games.  Yay for HD!
  • It has a Blue-Ray player built in.  More yay for HD!
  • It upscales regular DVDs to HD very well.  Yay!

So there was a lot of practical reasons for me to pick up the PS3, particularly when I got my 1080p HD TV.

I had been hearing a lot about the Wii.  I admired it from afar; the marketing was targeting everyone, not just a gamer. Here are the things I learned even before touching one:

  • Parents were guiltlessly buying them for their younger children, since the games were very “fun” oriented, and involved movement.
  • Both in concept and apparently in execution, the “wand” controller was a great idea and well done.
  • My parents got one for themselves – including Wii Fit, which I will go in to in depth here shortly.

Now, there’s always a story behind the story behind the story, so, as I tend to do, a tangent or two:

I’m getting up there in age.  My metabolism doesn’t process salt and food as well as it used to.  So, while I’m not overweight, I do have issues (according to my doctor) with my cholesterol level and blood pressure.  Regular exercise can be hard to come by, due to:

  • the weather
  • my will power
  • my tendency to become distracted
  • my tendency to become complacent

Having heard stuff in passing about this “Wii Fit” thing, and hearing rave reviews from my parents and a coworker or two, I thought I might have to look into it.

Tangent 2:

My girlfriend is a fiend for amusement parks, particularly the Disney parks (and of course Busch Gardens).  While visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we hopped on a ride called “Toy Story Midway Mania”:

  • If you intend to go on this ride, get to the park at opening, even if you intend to get FastPasses.  Passes go fast and the line gets really long really quick.
  • It’s a lot like a riding-along computer game.  Some folks have commented that it’s too much like a video game.  I can see that.  However, the 3D effect, built in games, and score tracking made it very fun for me.
  • The games are “gun” based – you shoot darts, paint balls, and other things at targets to rack up a score.

So she comes to me one day and says, seemingly out of the blue, “I want a Wii.”  My brain can sometimes skip things so I responded simply with, “Well, we’re visiting my parents in a week or so and they have a Wii, so we can try it out up there.”  After a little bit, she asks me: “Don’t you want to know why I want one?”

It turns out that in September, there’s a game called Toy Story Midway Mania being released for the Wii.

Now, back on track:

Flash forward to my vacation:

A couple of days in, after expressing interest in the Wii and Wii Fit, we found some time for me to try it.  Here’s a thing or two I’ve “learned” (some of these may not be factual – I haven’t fully researched it yet):

  • The Wii doesn’t do HD
  • Wii Fit is expensive, because it involves a special controller
  • Midway Mania doesn’t come out until September, as mentioned

Now, everything I’ve learned about Wii Fit, certainly not arranged in bullet points:

It’s not really a game.  The exercises are broken up into four categories (Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobic, and Balance), and there are many exercises in each category.  Some of the exercises are not available until you’ve done some of the other games for a while.  Wii Fit keeps track of your weight and BMI (don’t fret, ladies – you can password lock your profile), the time you’ve done particular exercises, and can even pester you about the other people who use Wii Fit if they haven’t been on it in a while (my parents’ Wii kept asking me about my Mom).  It won’t suggest to you the exercises (or even the category of exercise) to use to reach your set goals.  And you can set a BMI goal and see how close you are to reaching it.  Most require use of the Wii Fit Balance Board, a specialized controller that can measure your weight and balance, and through that, how you’re moving.  “Running in place” was very clever – it didn’t use the Balance Board, but had me put the Wii wand in my pocket and used the movement of that to determine how “fast” I was running.  Many of the exercises are actually fun (the “Step” exercises clued me in to why Dance Dance Revolution was so popular).  So, Nintendo has made an effort at making exercise more fun and something you might actually stick to.

Given I’ve only had a couple of days with it, I can’t vouch for it’s ability to combat distraction.  Who knows?  Once the novelty wears off, one might just stop getting on the Balance Board and doing the exercises.  It might be just as easy to find something else to do as it can be when it comes to regular exercises.  But it seems to me like it’s something to do, particularly if you are in a climate where it’s way to hot to go out or it rains a lot.

Ordered everything from NewEgg.  Let’s hope I don’t have to follow this up with a negative NewEgg review … 😉

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