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Ten early impressions of Wii Fit

Wiifitjp After four days with Wii Fit, I have a few thoughts on the, um, game (I honestly don't know what to call it, which I think is a good thing). These are simply impressions based on my own daily use and observing my wife with the system. If you're curious about Wii Fit, perhaps you'll find something useful here.

  1. The balance board is very sturdy and well-constructed. It's heavier than I expected, and it never shifts under you. You will feel stable and well-supported standing on it.
  2. Your trainer is encouraging, but also rather demanding. He/she will praise you when you're doing well and alert you when you're not, e.g. "It looks like you're swaying a bit on that leg." At the end of an exercise, your trainer will frankly assess your performance. If you were expecting a relentlessly upbeat "Nintendo experience," Wii Fit may surprise you. It may also discourage you when you think you've done rather well and are told "It looks like balance isn't your strong suit."
  3. At the end of certain exercises, Wii Fit will recommend an accompanying routine to maximize the effectiveness of your workout. For example, a half-moon pose (yoga) may be recommended following a rowing exercise (strength) to more fully address certain core muscles. The system is clearly trying to do more than offer a bunch of random disconnected activities.
  4. After you select your Mii from the Wii Fit Plaza, the game may ask for your impressions of another member of your family registered with the game. Today when I logged in I was asked whether my wife is looking "slimmer," "heavier," "more toned," or "the same." Be very careful here, ladies and gentlemen. ;-)
  5. You can definitely get a good workout if you make your way through each training area (Yoga, Strength, Aerobics, and Balance) choosing at least a couple of routines from each. Some routines like the jacknife and push-up and side-plank will tax rarely used muscles (as I discovered this morning when I noticed sore muscles that haven't been sore in a long time).
  6. Finishing your workout with a short or long run, followed by a couple of balance games or yoga poses is a nice way to end strong by raising your heart-rate, followed by a stretching cool-down.
  7. Table Tilt (where you manipulate marbles over contoured surfaces into holes) is damnably frustrating. The sensitivity of the balance board to subtle shifts in your weight is both the key and the obstacle to success. The chances of me progressing to the advanced levels seem remote at best.
  8. The Wii Fit Channel is a convenient way to do your daily check-in without loading the game or even having the disc in your Wii. The game asked me if I wanted to install the channel for the first time this morning. I'm not sure why I wasn't asked when I first loaded the game.
  9. The wii-mote tucked in your front pocket does a nice job of accurately reading your running in place strides. Following a lead runner through scenic surroundings (and watching all your other Miis pass you by - "Hey, that Woody Allen can really run!") is a terrific way to make me forget I'm jogging and going nowhere.
  10. User rankings are a strong motivator, especially if several people in the same house are registered. At the end of each exercise or game, your score is ranked among everyone else's attempts. This could keep you coming back for more...or it could simply drive you away if somebody decides to be Mr. Hyper-Competive-Wii-Fit-Athlete.

At the risk of sliding down the slippery Nintendo-shill slope, I must say that Wii Fit has my wife and me hooked. We'll see if it continues to hold our interest and motivate us to monitor our fitness daily. So far, so good. As I write this, she's currently setting a new record with the Hula Hoop and informing me that she's "whooped me but good."

Well, we'll just see about that.

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