Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wii Fit

I finally got around to setting this up. These are some really early impressions (about 1hr). I've tried probably less than 15% of the mini games errr ummm "exercises" so far.

- I had pre-ordered it from gamestop over a month ago at $90.
- According to the instructions it seems like only one balance board can be used at a time which is a shame since I could definitely see some interesting co-op opportunities.
- Pairing the board was a bit odd. I kept trying to do it from the Wii Home screen which apparently doesn't work. Instead, boot the Wii Fit disc and when it asks you to pair the device, do it then and it works just fine. This wasn't exactly explicitly mentioned in the manual and the process is a bit inconsistent with how you pair other wii devices. The manual mentioned something like up to 10 wireless devices can be paired with a wii, and the board uses player slot #4.
- Uses 4XAA batteries, completely wireless, nice big power button that you can hit with your toe.
- It's surprisingly heavy, comes with some extra feet to raise the board for thick carpet. Oh and it works just fine on carpet. I was surprised how accurate the weight was (within 1 pound of my Tanita Scale).
- My BMI is 24 so I'm just on the cusp of being overweight. It lets you set a BMI goal and a time period to achieve it yet it doesn't seem to draw up some sort of daily routine required to reach that goal so I'm not sure what the point is exactly except I guess to let you track your progress.
- I haven't tried any of the strength games, did the aerobic ones, one yoga, and all the unlocked balance games up through the tight rope. I think the only thing that even got my heart pumping was jogging, and you don't even use the board in that one. I did find running through the virtual park kind of fun though. The balance games are quite amusing. My 6 yr old's favorite is the ski jumping. I like how the ski games not only let you lean side to side to steer but also forward to go faster.

- There is one game where you have to tilt a board to sink marbles into a hole. My 3 yr old was having some issues with shifting his body weight instead of his head/upper body. So my 6 yr old decided to help him by pushing him around sort of like a human joystick. It actually worked quite well! Instant co-op mode!

- Everything seems so balance centric in this game. You might as well call it Wii Balance. I half expected a mini game where you would have to balance on the edges of a row boat, practicing punches with your wii mote/nunchuck, while some old guy keeps rocking the boat to try and knock you off. Hmm...that actually sounds pretty cool.
- Calibration seems to work quite well and is very specific to the player. I'm guessing it adjusts stuff like sensitivity based on the player's weight. So you have to go through all these menus just to switch players. When my 6 yr old jumped on the board with my profile he could barely get it to register weight shifts. So you really have to create separate profiles for every unique player.

We Ski
- I picked this up for $30 hoping it would be something like Alpine Racer from the arcades since it is released by Namco. Unfortunately, it's not for the most part.
- I only had a chance to spend a few minutes in the free roam mode with this game so these are really early impressions.
- I do ski in real life and have gone several times (mostly blues and some blue/blacks).
- Don't go expecting SSX. The pace is a lot slower. the trails are more tame (or can you say realistic?).
- Basically the board is only used for steering left/right. It doesn't seem like leaning forward or back has any effect. The remote/nunchuck are just used for mushing with the poles. It would have been nice if each controller part tracked each pole independently . Again, I see so much potential here for a more realistic and immersive control scheme and it just all seems so dumbed down for the kids and the masses. There does seem to be a bit more to the controls like how to tackle moguls but I haven't read the manual or done the ski school thing yet. So there might be a bit more depth I haven't tapped into yet.
- The leaning to steer does feel pretty good though. It actually felt a bit like I was skiing....sort of. Heh I found myself trying to keep my weight on the down hill skill but ummm yeah without the slope it's kind of awkward.
- Sense of speed is ok. You have to mush quite a bit to traverse some spots or just to give yourself a speed boost.
- The mountain is small, and I mean way small. You could probably hit every trail in 30-45 min. Kind of nice you can watch yourself ride the lifts (or just skip them) with some classic namco soundtracks like ridge racer going in the background.
- The slopes are pretty well populated. There are all these people to talk to. what is this, animal ski crossing?

So far it's a pretty fun toy. The kids are really enjoying it. I see a lot of potential in the balance board. It's built quite well. As far as "fitness"? Well, I need more time to find out. At least it gets your butt out of the chair.

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