Product Type: Nintendo Wii games
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Wii might wobble but wii won't fall down!!
Wii Fit (Wii)
Member Name: yabbadabbadoo
Wii Fit (Wii)
Date: 18/01/09, updated on 24/02/11 (625 review reads)
Advantages: Great laugh playing with family and friends
Disadvantages: brings out my competitive streak
It was just another typical late working, expenses claiming meal out in a curry house with the IT crowd, and as per normal the conversation topics were drifting comfortably from high-powered cars, to tried and tested Sci-fi film favourites leading inevitably to the most illuminating and endlessly fascinating joys of home cinema sub woofers, when the magic happened...
Somewhere in amongst all of that self-indulgent noise, emerged the topic of games consoles, and suddenly there was agreement on the family favourite, as the mighty WII took centre stage. Around the table, the four of us were suddenly gleefully sharing experiences, even more specifically of using the WII fit game.
I must admit I had to chuckle when I contemplated the fact that there we were four 15 stone plus middle aged chaps frantically tucking into a hearty curry banquet, earnestly discussing the merits of a device apparently devised with the aim of helping people get in shape!
Right there and then I realised that this was a concept who's time had truly arrived!
**** What's all the fuss about? ****
I'm sure most of you are already familiar by now with how the Wii gaming console works. Essentially, the majority of the games are designed to be as physically interactive as possible, in particular there are a whole range of sports games and accessories which you can use to simulate participation, whether that is via swishing the keypad around like a wand, using a mini tennis racket, golf club, steering wheel etc.
The number one selling point for me is the social aspect, the fact that its something you can do together with friends and family, not just locked away in your own private gaming zone.
So the main component accessory used for the actual wii fit game is the "balance board". This innocuous looking square white board performs a number of key roles. Firstly it's used to weigh and measure each participant, and then in the games and activities it's used for recording and tracking your movements.
***Standby for instant humiliation***
To set up the system, assuming the game CD is loaded, you first need to synchronize the board with your console - its pretty straightforward, press a couple of red buttons and follow the instructions provided.
Assuming you are already familiar with creating a little Wii character etc, I'll get straight to the tricky part. First thing you have to do is weigh in, and you supply your height details, step on the scales and it measures your weight. From this it calculates your BMI - Body Mass Index.
Now if like me you are on the larger side, prepare yourself for a shock. The moment the results come back, your character swells up in size to reflect the weight -not pretty... Motivational in some strange way I guess, but still pretty embarrassing all the same!
****Selecting an activity****
There are essentially four main categories for you to choose from. These are: Balance Games, Aerobic games, Muscle Workouts and Yoga Activities. For the muscle and yoga stuff, the first thing you have to decide on is who will be your "personal trainer", and there's a male or female character to choose from.
To encourage you to keep at it, each visit you make to the Wii fit zone is recorded in the calendar. Also, initially there's only a small subset of games available in each category, and its only when you've mastered those disciplines that other games are unlocked, so that gives you further motivation.
So allow me to take you through each of the activity options in a bit more detail.
It's supposed to be all about improving your stability and posture, but the very best thing about this section is that the games are all really good fun to play. You can turn yourself into a champion ski-jumper or slalom racer, dare yourself to walk the tightrope, hula-hoop away to your hearts content (if you in anyway self-conscience advisable to wait till people are out the room on that one - the gyrating required can be too much bear!)
As its competition based at all times, there's a leaderboard to keep track of things, and it's a constant battle with the kids to keep them out of the top 10!
Clearly, this is in many ways far more important than the actual fitness aspects, it just isn't cricket when a 9 year old can claim bragging rights over you. But fear not, there is more than one way to achieve greatness.
Take the aforementioned ski slalom - never mind all this knees bent , lean left, lean right nonsense. I like to take a more laid back approach. Grab the nearest bean bag or equivalent, get comfy, stretch your legs out and stick your heals on the WII board and away you go -apply a bit of pressure here and there and before you know it you'll be hurtling down the slopes in complete control, slicing multiple seconds of the cheeky chipmunks best efforts. Even better if you can manage to do this, while they are out the room - they won't know what's hit them!!!
*****Muscle and bustle****
Your personal trainer takes you through a range of activities designed to focus on and tone a whole range of muscles in your body. They'll introduce each exercise and what muscle group you'll be working.
To help you keep on track in terms of technique and proper alignment there's usually a yellow circle which represents your centre, and you need to keep as still as possible, keeping a little red dot that tracks your movements as close to the middle as you can. The leg exercises are probably the most useful, unless you've got a handy set of dumb bells available.
To completely misquote a familiar simile, in flexibility terms I'm considerably less supple than a brick, so the concept of me getting any benefit out of the yoga section was a real hard sell. However, as the activities start with simple breathing techniques, I felt compelled to give it a go. Lo and behold, when it came to standing on one leg and adopting the classic tree pose, I could almost manage it.
Particularly when I again cottoned on to the significant opportunity for cheating that presented it myself, by when the kids weren't looking using my height advantage to grab hold of the overhead light fitting, thus keeping me in perfect centred balance and propelling me to a surprise leadership position.
This aside, I admit it's not really for me but I can genuinely see how many people would enjoy the relaxation and meditational aspects of this
At last back on more familiar territory for me, with a whole range of cardio activities to try out. As a seasoned jogger, I naturally gravitated towards the running challenges, which essentially consists of you running on the spot as the graphics take you around a park, led by a whole variety of pacemaker buddies to give you something to aim at.
No board required here, just put the remote in the pocket and off you jolly well toddle. Word of warning - pace yourself - there's no point trying to overtake you're electronic jogging mates too early - it's a computer - they only let you win/ overtake when they want you to.
Some other good ones to look out for in this section ;
Hulahoops, fortunately much easier than the real-life version, as you lean and catch more and more hoops over your head. Nonetheless requiring much too much highly embarassing hip swirling and grinding for my liking.
Boxing - or more accurately punch bag practice - quite therapeutic in a way - you need a nun chuck device to be able to do this one.
Although the fitness messages are admirable, let's be honest the main reason to get one of these is as an entertainment package, and for groups of family and friends it sure as heck is an improvement on traditional board games and the like. It really does offer something for all ages, my soon to be three year old just loved doing the ski jumping (with a wee bit of sneaky help) and even his grandmamma wasn't averse to rediscovering her hulahooping credentials.
I could also see that in time, once the initial enthusiasm starts to wane, that it could end up being a glorified set of electronic scales, destined to gather dust in the corner next to that abdomizer and whatever other faddy fitness gadgets still decorate the outer reaches of the lounge area.
But all in all, even at the pre-xmas price of £69.99 I think it's well worth the money, I'm also sure that over the next year or so, now that much of the initial hype has subsided, you'll be able to pick these up for a veritable bargain basement amount.
Plus, how cool sounding are the accessories you can buy - the WII fit "anti-skid sheet" certainly conjures up some glorious imagery!
And after all, if four flabby sumo supremos in a backstreet Slough curry house are enthused by it, there's hope for all of us!!
Also posted on ciao.co.uk - username paulwilsontastic
Summary: Wii Fat and wii know we are...
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