Whilst most of Cheltenham appeared to playing GTA IV this weekend, Ali twisted my arm and persuaded me to bring a Wii Fit into the house. If it hadn’t been for her interest in Nintendo’s take on the Reebok Step I probably wouldn’t have bought one and our living room would be one large lump of plastic lighter. As it is, my initial cynicism for the product has given way to a begrudging respect.
The main theme of Wii Fit is to improve your posture and flexibility whilst also keeping an eye on your waistline. Each time you turn it on, an animated Wii Fit board encourages you to take a couple of minutes out of your day to be weighed and to attempt a pair of balance tests, from which he will produce your Wii Fit Age. Those of you who have played Brain Training may see the similarities and overtime the aim is to keep this age as low as possible.
To aid you on your way there are four blocks of activities to sample: muscle training, yogo, exercise and mini-games. The first two are the serious side of the game, where the sensitive board measures your body undertaking a variety of stretching and toning movements. Technically, all the board does is have a series of pressure sensors embedded within it monitoring your weight and its distribution, but it allows for some very unnervingly accurate records of what you have (or haven’t) been doing, scoring you appropriately.
As funny as watching someone turn themselves into a tree yoga-stylee in the middle of your living room can be, the fun is to be had in the other two sections. With options to hula-hoop, head footballs, ski, jog and a host of unlockables, you start to see how the potential of the board; for hours at a time over the weekend, four of us took it in turns to throw ourselves down a slalom and play their variation of Monkey Ball.
Current household favourite is the ski jump, where you must keep you must crouch and lean forward to get speed down the slope, before standing quickly causing your Mii to jump high into the alpine air. With a leaderboard after every couple of jumps, trying to gain more speed and more height for more reach with each jump is an addictive affair.
The engineer in me kept simplifying everything down – all it is is a giant analogue joystick, where you are the stick and your centre of gravity its position – but as with most things Nintendo, they’ve taken that something simple and executed it wonderfully.
You’re going to look silly with this thing, you really are. No matter what mode you choose from the menu, jiggling, stretching and contorted positions are inevitable, but it does have a draw both for potential games and the possibility of being an interactive fitness regime. What else comes for the board is still up in the air, but you can’t really fault the first effort.