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22 May 2008 Thursday

The Wii Fit / friendly balance board

slated in consumed at 4:05 pm

Wii Fit / balance board — pretty cool.

After two system updates to the Wii — one that apparently informed the system that it needed another one to recognize the Wii Fit disk, everything was pretty smooth sailing. Like a good piece of software, it teaches you what you need to know and guides you on the way. Now that the board and system are “synched”, I would feel quite comfortable putting the disk in and telling one of my parents, “just turn on the board, point the controller at the screen, and press A where you think you should or where it tells you to.” the software instructs all the rest.

The board seems very well-constructed and sensitive, although I feel it might seem a bit narrow for some people — what if someone is broad shouldered? their feet should stand accordingly to their shoulders. What if a couch potato has a horrible BMI and their thighs are big-big and that spreads their feet wide?

In any case, the system is responsive, talks a lot but also seems to let you skip most dialogue/instructions if you want to. I was a bit skeptical about the focus on posture and balance, but it seems to be a really good way to go — if you’re employing proper posture, then your weight will be properly distributed; if you’re well-balanced then you’ll be better centered, hopefully more self-aware and in control.

The board is quite friendly — it waves on screen, it makes funny noises when you step on it.. I did reasonably for most of the balance exercises except for one game, where the system reported something to the effect of, “you seem to have a lot of trouble with your balance — do you frequently trip while walking?” … That was mean, dude.

The attention to balance is really helpful for doing things like the yoga exercises — without the balance focus/guidance, I would certainly have been doing some of those exercises very incorrectly, but I could see to adjust my balance and the exercise felt very different. It’s good.

Don’t jump on the board — it doesn’t like that.

I’m not very good at the skiing game yet.. Seems as though if I balance my weight properly forward, I end up going too fast for control. I’ve also never real-life skiid (I know that’s sad), if that’s any excuse..

Oh, I also like the fit-bank… it collects minutes and unlocks levels/new games.
And if you can get other people in your household, or elsewhere, to come and play, then you can rank against them on the games and that’s happy.

For what it’s meant to be, it seems to be quite that so far. We’ll see what I think of it after a few weeks and months, but so far I am very glad to have it. Also, I’m really interested to see what new Wii games come out to utilize the balance board.

* added links:

  • I’m in my 20s, but Wii Fit thinks I’m middle-aged!
    Salon.com – 2008.05.28 By Farhad Manjoo

    Nintendo’s new fitness game keeps making fun of me. But its Balance Board could allow for some amazing video games.

  • Wii Fit: feelin’ the burn
    Engadget.com – 2008.05.21 By Ryan Block

    We’ve still got a few weeks left to see how we’ll do going up against the Nintendo-made workout routines of the Wii Fit, but we can tell you that we’ve had some mixed results early on.

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