Tired of parents telling you to turn the lights on, get off Xbox Live and go be active or you’re going to end up fat and alone? Well, Wii Fit is Nintendo’s idea of a solution: a combo workout and video game that allows you to appease your parents while still getting you your daily pixel fix, but is far from a solution to the age-old dilemma of screen time or gym time.
The first step to Wii Fit setting up a profile. It begins by asking the player simple questions and explaining the goals of the game. The theory is that being able to control one’s weight distribution properly will improve posture and remove stress on the joints, contributing to overall health rather than just aerobic fitness and muscle strength.
The game has four modes: Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics and Balance Games. Yoga and Balance Games focus on balance, Strength Training on building muscle strength and Aerobics on burning calories and increasing stamina. The player gains points by logging time in each of the modes, which also unlocks extra content such as additional exercises.
The balance emphasis is the game’s most interesting (and potentially strongest) aspect. When people think of fitness, they immediately think of two parts of the body: the muscles and the heart. Most people don’t consider balance or posture to be important to health or fitness, but balance is the primary focus of a significant portion of the Wii Fit activities.
For those who would take the game seriously and try to use it as a workout tool, getting your center of gravity to stay exactly still and exactly where the game wants is harder than you’d think.
Nonetheless, the game as a whole is both flat and unhelpful. Deep Breathing (a Yoga exercise) does not increase fitness. Pushups and lunges (Strength Training exercises) can be done without a screen and the inconvenience of having to somehow involve the Wii Fit standing pad.
As for the Aerobics exercises, virtual Hula Hoop and Basic Run are not most people’s idea of a workout. It is also easy for players to cheat just by shifting the weight in their feet forward and backward to trick the game into thinking they are running or twirling a hula hoop.
The one mode that accomplished its purpose was the Balance Games mode. This is the only mode that really incorporates a visual image. The player has an avatar, which participates in some form of activity, like heading a soccer ball or walking a tightrope.
This mode is more engaging and snares players’ attention enough to motivate the players to push themselves. Nevertheless, playing Balance Games cannot be the basis of a real workout, regardless of (a person’s) definition of fitness.
In conclusion, Wii Fit is a good idea but executed poorly. The actual fitness exercises it offers are easy and hardly provide a real workout.