South Africans can finally get fit. Apparently we have an obesity problem, though usually that ranks well below our ‘not enough meat and beer’ problem. Ironically we also seem to love gyms. But above all of that, we love the Wii. The console has proven very popular locally, so Nintendo’s new game is the second-best thing to arrive. The first is obviously being a meat and beer game, complete with the Wii Braai peripheral. But for now we can make do with the new Balance Board, a nifty new controller that resembled a stealthy bathroom scale.
This forms the core of Wii Fit, which Core launched on Wednesday. Read on for lots more game detail…
Wii Fit will make you happy. It will make you fit. It will make you incredibly excited. Seriously, look at the guy on the left:
He looks like he’s watching a stripper or UFC bout.
The launch gave press a chance to try the various games and walk off with a bunch of the units. Matthew Grose, General Manager of Core Games, challenged the media to take on Core’s challenge to use the game for 25 Days. The winners are the ones who will improve their body mass index the most and as a reward they can donate their Wii Fit units to charities of their choice. Fortunately I didn’t get the game, so it’s up to Lazygamer himself to see if he can get into the top 5. ([ed]You have no idea how badly I wanted to delete this line….)
There are four categories: Aerobic, Balance, Muscle Workouts and Yoga.
The first two are essentially mini games, if you can go as far as to call Jogging a game. Aerobic games include things like Rhythm Boxing, Jogging (with the Wiimote in your pocket, the game will determine how far you go while you run on one spot), a rhythm stepping game and Hoop Hoop, where you twirl your hips to simulate a hula-hoop. The rest of Aerobics are variants on these, such as two-player jogging. The Balance games are more varied and each pretty much has its own thing going. Obviously they all involve shifting your more subtle qualities (gravity) around, but they look like a lot of fun with stuff like skiing, snowboarding, maneuvering bubbles to a hole (will Atari consider a Wii version of Ballance?) and head-butting incoming soccer balls.
Yoga and Muscle Workouts are much more conservative. A trainer of your gender preference gives you the lowdown on fifteen different exercises each. For your muscles you’ll do stuff like jack-knives, push ups, lunges and leg lifts. Yoga has various stances, with the trainer showing you how to do them step by step.
By why bother with Wii Fit? Probably because it’s designed in the same way Brain Age was. You can keep a daily regime that is charted and graphed for your pleasure, plus you can compare stats with other people on the console (or you can hide your wasteline behind a password). Apparently your Mii will reflect your progress, so if the Mii is losing weight and you are not, maybe you shouldn’t have made one that looks like Mr. T.
A final note on the whole package is the aspect of balancing. The balance board can detect your center of gravity, so it aims to help you improve posture and tone your balancing muscles. This is an interesting aspect, not only because a lot of us can probably do with some improvement in that department, but it also hands the Wii a peripheral that can detect your shifting weight. A couple of third-party games are already eying its use, though hopefully you won’t start encountering log-balancing sections in Zelda soon.
Core makes a valid argument about how this compares to a gym contract for a family (its estimate puts R4600 for the game + console to R 8500 a year for your family to kick it at the local health barn). It’s unlikely that Wii Fit will do you much good if you are already very focused on fitness, but it certainly is a better alternative for kids. Adults who don’t want to get up at four-thirty to hit the neighborhood stairmasters will appreciate it as well. At the very least this can help people feel the benefits of regular exercise.
Finally, a few launch pictures!
Last Updated: April 25, 2008