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Nintendo Wii Review: Wii Fit

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Got Wii Fit at launch; didn't want to say much about it till we'd spent a few days with it. We were all over it the night we got it, then somehow went a week without touching it again. But that's not to say it's bad; far from it. We just got busy and, as adults so often do, put fitness on the back burner.

If you have a Wii, this should be in your collection. Plain as that. Sure, it's almost twice as much as a normal game, but the Balance Board has a lot more tech to it than the Zapper or Power Pad. It can weigh you, sense your balance, posture, and a bevy of other pressure-related things. It'll get you doing yoga before you know it, strength training, aerobics, and all sorts of other balance/fitness-related minigames. It keeps track of how much you do each activity, much the way Brain Age did on the DS for its mental monkey bars, allowing you to unlock more activities, and more advanced forms of those already available. It tracks your total time in each category of activity, weight, BMI, Wii Fit age (based on actual age, balance, BMI, weight, height, etc.), and also allows you to enter real-world activity into the log to keep track of how much you're doing outside of the game, though it doesn't seem to let you enter specifics of the activity besides how hard of a workout it was.

It keeps comparative records for anyone who plays on the console as well. All this adds up to a competitive and addictive experience, which is something I never expected to say about doing the Half-Moon Pose or simulated slalom skiing. If you keep it near the TV, you'll be compelled to do it every day, trust me. And it's fun.

The various menus between activities can slow down the pace, but opening up longer runs, more reps, and entirely new activities helps you ramp up and stay busy longer.  Personally, I think the small cooldown between activities works fine, and considering most people investing in this sort of workout probably have at least a little room for improvement physically, starting small and building up makes sense. 

A few of the activities take some getting used to, and you need to find what works best for your own body type, but it's a nice alternative to sitting on the couch vegging out.  It makes getting up and active enjoyable, keeps you on task, and tracks your progress in several ways, letting you see if you're headed in the right direction.  The trainers serve as good teachers and don't come down too hard on you for not being awesome at everything on the first try, and are a lot cheaper than having a trainer living in your house.

Fitness tips, using your actual Miis (with weight and dimensions determined by your actual height and weight), and helping you to set attainable goals round out the package, keeping you invested and interested.  The sheer number of activities available and unlockable will keep you busy for months, so there's really no urgent need for a sequel, and the installation of the Wii Fit Channel on the Wii dashboard lends to hopes of new content or other upgrades down the road. 

If your New Year's resolution is to get in shape, Wii Fit is a great place to start.  Many people (myself included) dread a workout, but this "game" manages to make that life-extending goal not only more achievable, but also something I look forward to doing every day or so.  It's not a traditional game, but it never promised to be.  It's well worth checking out, whatever your age or current fitness level.  Some may malign the lack of true multiplayer, but without multiple Balance Boards, it'd be hard to pull off properly anyway.  Regardless, if others want to join the fun, simply revert to those antiquated notions of "sharing" and "taking turns."  I know, the horror [sarcasm].

Wii Fit is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief.

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About Mark Buckingham