Yesterday when browsing my kind-of-local WalMart store in Defiance, OH I noticed something… They didn’t have the DVD player I wanted. But what they did have was far more magical, far more elusive, far more expensive…
The Nintendo Wii
Was I dreaming? Was I hallucinating? Or was I in reality about to make a big mistake?… Yep, the third option.
You see, although I was an early critic of the Nintendo Wii (even having never played it — I thought it seemed like Nintendo built a system around what could have been simply an add-on accessory to any system), I have recently been longing for a fun way to get exercise. I work on the computer all day long and love to eat — and it shows!
I have been able to cut back on my bad eating habits; limiting my pizza intake, eliminating late-night snacking, and reducing my portions greatly. However, on the exercise front I have done almost nothing.
Sure, my family does go for walks on most days, but not the kind that get the heart pumping. The kind where you wait for the kids to catch-up and move at the pace of a pregnant woman… That kind.
I suppose I could just do some standard exercise but I have very little “me” time so when I do have some, I really want to enjoy it and not run on a treadmill, do situps, or go for a jog. That would just make me crazy. I like to keep my mind active too!
So, the Wii seemed like the perfect solution. Not only could I enjoy exercise — I mean REALLY enjoy exercise — but I could play with my wife and kids! That would just be awesome… Or so I thought.
So, I took the Wii home with me and and extra set of controllers. And Mario Kart — my wife and I LOVE all the Kart games and still play them on my Xbox with a N64 Emulator. Anyway, back to the Nintendo Wii.
We got home and after some time with the kids I excitedly hooked it up to our tv. I put the batteries into the Wii remotes and fired the little guy up.
SETUP SCREEN >>
Ok, this was expected. So, I breezed through the setup screen which was simple enough and was ready for some action!
My first game — Wii Sports of course! This was included with the Wii so it was the obvious choice.
The first game we tried was baseball and well, as I already knew, the Wii graphically looked like a last-generation gaming system. On par with the PS2 or Xbox, although not even that good. Of course, this was the included game so the graphics on the Wii were probably not being utilized too well. Back to Baseball.
I was batting first and my wife was pitching. She made a simple throwing motion and the ball was on its way. I swung the Wii remote and saw my litte “Mii” swing his virtual bat… STTTTRRRIIIKE! It was going to take a little bit to get used to the controls and timing.
After an inning we both had them down pitch…. HIT! Although this game was very basic, it had some fun to it. The novelty of the Wii was “hitting” home (sorry for the bad pun).
Next we tried Tennis. Same thing, different graphics. Swing the remote, wait, swing the remote. This is when I began to notice that the Wii remote was more of a gimick than a serious VR interactive device. I could basically swing the thing any way I wanted and get the same effect — tennis ball hit or missed based mainly on my timing. Nothing else really.
On to Wii bowling. Here, the Wii showed me that it was doing more than just sensing if the remote was moving. The Wii wanted me to make a particular motion and when I did not, it corrected me. That being said, the bowling was left with a simple make a “bowling like movement” and watch the Wii do the rest.
Boxing however was probably the biggest disappointment. Why? Because I had read raves about what a good workout it provides and how fun it is. To me, neither was true. I don’t know about anyone else but I could jab and hook my arms forever and they were not getting tired. Even adding the ducks and weaves were not really a great cardio fix. But the worst part was the fun factor, or lack of one. The game only seemed to respond to particular jabbing movements and not to different punches and moves. If you got really into it, the nunchuck cord would get in the way. It was very annyong and simply no fun at all for me. Plus… I didn’t come close to breaking a sweat. I guess I might have after playing for 3 hours straight but who has that kind of time.
Wii Fit is due out in a couple of weeks and that is supposed to be all about the fitness; hence the name. However, at this point I will probably not own a Wii by the time it comes out. Considering I can score a Xavix system on eBay for under $100 which includes the major workout titles of Jackie Chan J-Map Fitness Studio and Jackie Chan Boxing I don’t see the Wii as being the answer for me.
In the end, the Wii has potential as both a fun gaming system and a entertainment-fitness machine. However, I am back to my original opinion — if this was a controller for the Xbox 360 I would probably buy one. The best of both worlds; good graphics and motion-sensing controllers for new interactive gaming. But for now, the Wii seems to be to be… Well, old. Last generation’s graphics and motion sensing technology that was probably already surpassed by the EyeToy. Yes, I know it is not the same. But the new 3D ZCam, which will be under $100 and work with real next gen systems will make the Wii look like it already plays — weak. Take a look at the ZCam…
The Wii uses REALLY OLD technology to track movement. It really seems like it was a system from 5 – 6 years ago. I will give it a couple of more days but if something doesn’t change and make me suddenly a “Wii Addict” I am bringing this back to the store for a Wiifund!