Friday, February 27, 2009

Ten Things I Learned While Playing With My Wii

When I first heard about the Nintendo Wii, I assumed it was just another video game like any other. I had no interest or desire to learn much about it, because I lumped it into the category of “unnecessary timewasters I didn’t subscribe to.” Not to say I didn’t have my own set of timewasters (as my extensive collection of videos certainly proves), but spending time in front of my TV trying to fight and kill enemies and capture tokens was just not my idea of a good time. Then one day, instead of resisting, I actually played a few of the Wii games…and pretty much, after that, I was hooked.

It wasn’t long before I bought the Wii Fit, which includes a balance board/step that you stand on while doing most of the exercises. This might be intimidating for some people, as the daily suggested “Body Test” gives you an ongoing evaluation of your weight gains and losses. But not for me. Especially because the first time I took the daily Body Test, I was rated in the perfect weight range for my age. Naturally, I figured this meant I was in superior physical condition and could easily handle anything the Wii had to throw at me. How wrong I was. To follow are a list of things I learned about myself during my recent encounters with my Wii.

  1. I have the worst balance in the world. (Well, maybe not the worst—I think Paula Abdul is pretty unbalanced as well.) But whether I’m trying to hit soccer balls that are being thrown at my head, or skiing down a slope weaving in and out of flags, I just don’t have control of my balance the way I thought I did. This was especially evident one day when I got a little carried away during a ski jump, and actually put a dent in my basement ceiling with my head. I think I probably also put a dent in my head from the basement ceiling, but that isn’t as noticeable.

  2. My weight can fluctuate by as much as ten pounds a day. Well, this isn’t really true, but for a while it appeared as if the Wii was having difficulty giving me an accurate weight count. As I mentioned, on the first day I took the Body Test, I landed in the “good weight range” category. But when I took the same Body Test the following day, I had gained eight pounds, and the Wii told me I was now overweight. In fact, a little disapproving voice even tells you “You’re overweight!” (Just like your Mother used to…or was that just me?!!!) Then two days later when I took the test again, I’d lost three pounds, then I gained ten, then lost four. Apparently, if you use the Wii Fit board on carpeting, you need to add the extensions to get an accurate count. Once I did that, my weight returned to normal…but for a while there, I was getting a little concerned about my metabolism.

  3. The Wii image you create for yourself (called a Mii) actually goes up and down in weight when you do. So during my aforementioned bout with the daily Body Tests, my Mii image fluctuated between an Ed Norton and a Ralph Kramden.

  4. I’m very competitive. And because you get a score at the end of each exercise, it motivates you to constantly do better.

  5. Did I mention I’m very competitive? This became increasingly evident when I had some friends over to play, and some of them beat my existing scores on a few of the games. And though I tried to suppress it at the time, I have not stopped trying to beat some of those higher scores during my daily routine.

  6. I don’t like machines asking me questions. Especially when they can’t really respond to my answer. But one of the “highlights” of your daily training session is to be bombarded with questions about your eating and exercising habits. For instance, if you skip a day of exercise, one of the first things the Wii says to you is: “Too busy to work out yesterday, eh?” (Bee-yatch!!!!) Or if you happened to gain a few pounds, the Wii makes you select a reason for the weight gain. And if you choose “Don’t know,” it harasses you for the next few days until you finally admit you like to eat late night snacks. (Double Bee-yatch!)

  7. Just when you think you know a routine, the Wii throws in a curveball. For example, one of the exercises is called an Island run, which is basically a “running in place” type of workout whereby you follow another Mii on the television screen as they run around a beautifully animated island. You don’t use the balance board for this exercise, but you do have to keep the Wii remote either in your pocket or your hand so the computer can accurately measure your performance. But what’s really cool is that you don’t always go to the same place each time. Sometimes the Mii takes you one way and another day it might take you another. You also aren’t always following the same person each time, so it’s like you have a whole new group of friends to hang out with. (They don’t really talk to you, but they certainly smile and wave a lot.)

  8. The Wii games are populated with many, many people. In fact, many of the games have you actually performing in front of people, or working out alongside groups of other athletes. And when you win, everyone cheers you on. If only that would happen more often in real life.

  9. I don’t confuse the Wii with Oui (the hardcore magazine) any more.

  10. Exercising is fun. Again.

But that’s just me. What kinds of things have you learned from your Wii?


Denford said...

Sounds like a cool piece of equipment. How much did you poay for yours and where was this, Stateside or outside of the states?

Roxy's Best Of... said...

Hi's been a while, but I'm dropping in on Saturday morning before the weekend kid stuff begins...including roller blading tonight. I'm afraid if I tried the Wii, I'd be hooked, too.


Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

That's great you are enjoying exercising again, even if it is with animated people! I tried the Wii for the first time today at the library. They had the bowling game on so I gave it a shot. I like real bowling much better, but it was okay. I would like to try tennis, although I'm sure I'd probably like real tennis better too.

Henson Ray said...

Denford--I got this in the states, and I think it was $225-$250, and then the Wii Fit is like $89. Well worth it for ongoing entertainment.

Roxy--Yes, you probably would. And we all know you don't need one more thing you have to do on a regular basis...heh, heh...

Karen---Well, yes, the real thing is always better. But with the Wii, you get to bowl without leaving your house...and especially with skiing, you don't have to put on all that bulky winter gear to take a ride down the slopes...

desperateblogger said...

it's pretty hard to buy the gadget here in the philippines. there are just very few stores selling it and it cost a lot!! the wii is about $400 here exclusive of the game.

Youvegotmaille said...

Things I've learned.

1) I'm excited about getting in shape. Thumbs up.

2) Weighing yourself every day is not conducive to good moods on the days you fluctuated up. Stop berating me because I ate breakfast first today and didn't yesterday, you weasly little piece of plastic. Also, stop going "Oh!" when I step on you like I'm fatter than you expected. And, you could start me out at the Mii-size I was yesterday instead of going from twig to fat every day when you animate my fatness. What the heck?

3) Having a 16-year-old in the house is guaranteed to make you feel old when you see his scores on balance games. I win at yoga, though.

I love my WiiFit, all in all. I do wish it had an option to give me my personal best scores on games instead of overall scores, and I also wish it would track my scores over time. But I'm definitely in better shape than I was when I got it :)

Ken Armstrong said...

I learned to keep the controller wrist strap on at all times (well, when playing at least) otherwise it *will* bounce off your TV screen at some point. :)

Henson Ray said...

desperateblogger--I'm sure the price will eventually come down. They always do. Believe it or not, it is sometimes very hard to get it in the states too. They sell out so fast.

Youvegotmaille--Oh boy, your response made me laugh. I can totally relate. Glad I don't have kids around to show me up all the time though...heh, heh...

Ken--I've never had that issue...but I have fallen off the board a number of times during the balance exercises. Who knew I couldn't lift my leg over my head in a single motion?