WiiNintendo.net got the VIP treatment from Nintendo this past weekend. We got to play the latest build of the US version of Wii Fit. (I was told that that the May 19th Wii Fit will be another build, but this was more or less the final build).
So, let’s get into it. The very first thing you notice is the familiar Wii Sports/Everybody Votes interface design. I tended to get the feeling that Wii Fit is almost a supped up version of something that could have been Wii Sports 2, which is a good thing. It really blew me away to see all of the detailed tracking, charts, calendars, game variety (over 40), and the amazing sensitive peripheral aka the Balance board, which takes 4 AA batteries packed into Wii Fit. I’ve been watching all the videos and reading about Wii Fit, but I honestly didn’t think it was as deep as it was.
Before I get into specifics I’d like to just touch on my very first impressions with the game. We had a little over an hour to play around with Wii Fit, so we rotated between Diana (my wife), Dave (best friend), and me. We all took turns playing different games. I noticed with all three of us we tended to lift our feet up off the board while leaning, this in turn doesn’t register well and you won’t get the desired movements. I think I tried to over exaggerate my movements when I didn’t need to. After 1-2 games we all got the hang of it pretty well. It’s sorta the same feeling I got when I first rolled the bowling ball in Wii Sports and couldn’t believe the controls were that fine tuned. Our Nintendo rep (who I met a few months before the Wii came out in NYC at another demo) had been playing Wii Fit for about a month and easily moved around on the board with complete and precise control.
The process of setting up Wii Fit is great, 8 people can use their Mii’s to set up a profile that tracks everything they’ve done in that session and stores up to a years worth of data. The cool thing I saw during the demo was that it knew, based on the Mii profile, who was standing on the balance board. For instance Diana set up her profile first and then when I stepped onto the board it knew I wasn’t her and asked if I wanted to change my Mii. Wii Fit also has a place where you can enter other exercise data that you did outside of Wii Fit (gym, bike ride, house clean, etc..). The balance board analyzes your stance/lean, weight, age, BMI then gives you a Wii Fit Age, much like Brain Age. The calendar that shows you your progress is very similar to Brain Age as well. In addition to a calendar that keeps tabs of your data you’ll get a Wii Fit channel on your Wii Menu that will remind (via a scrolling bar) that you need to workout, which is a great way to guilt you into doing some cardio instead of playing another 10 hours of Smash Bros. (or maybe before you play SSBB).After my Wii Sports Experiment, I was bombarded by literally 100’s if not 1,000’s of emails/phone calls/reporters asking how I tracked my data. A lot of people were under the assumption that Wii Sports did that for me, they were let down after I told them I used a scale, paper, and pen. I think Wii Fit addresses this issue fantastically, the only thing I would like to have seen would be a way to access your “fitness data” online or have it hook into something like Traineo.com. That way you can discuss your workout with others, see what other people have been able to do, challenge others in your weight class, get motivation, etc…
We ended up playing around 15 or so games from yoga to push ups to tight rope walking. All games got our hearts pumping almost immediately (we’re all in decent shape too, the night before we walked 40+ blocks from Dave’s office at CollegeHumor.com to our hotel). I was especially surprised by the push-up game, I was dripping sweat. The Nintendo reps turned the A/C on for me.. haha. Another surprise was that some of the games/exercises don’t use the board at all. For instance during the running game you simple put the Wiimote in your pocket (or hold it) while you run/jog and using the built in accelerometer it acts as a pedometer. I had the most fun with the skiing game and the snowboarding game, mainly because I could see the potential of the balance board had when I rotated it 90 degrees to snowboard (normal stance only, sorry goofy footers). It controlled really well, you could curve on a dime. This “controller” opens up the door to dozens of games like Skateboarding, surfing, etc… With the addition of the Wiimote, nunchuk, and head tracking… we’re in for some serious innovative gameplay in the near future.
Wii Fit looked great in 16×9 aspect and the frame rate had to be a steady 60fps (as far as my eye could tell, I didn’t have anything hooked up for a definitive read out). I was told that Wii Fit will be sold for under 100$, I think recent speculation puts the price at 89.99$ or 79.99$. The environments in game are similiar to those in Wii Sports. You’ll see Mii’s popping in everywhere cheering you on and watching your every move. There is a lot of subtle eye candy that adds to the environment, but doesn’t over crowd your character or distract you from your score/readout.
I’ll be receiving an advanced copy of Wii Fit in the coming weeks and I’ll be putting my body through the ringer again for another 6 week experiment. With the additional strength training exercises in Wii Fit, I’m hoping to tone some muscle too. I can already tell from my one hour demo that Wii Fit will be a massive calorie burner. During my Wii Sports Experiment ending on January 15th, 2007 I ended up losing 9lbs. by just playing Wii Sports every single day. The experiment gathered national media attention and I’ve been looking forward to following up to all those who covered the story with my “Wii Fit Experiment”.
(I’m still writing a little more, just had to leave it there for the moment)
Step onto the Wii Balance Board and into a fun way to get fit.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Control on-screen action with your movements on the balance board as you work your way through a variety of challenges aimed at getting you off the couch and into the action. Check your Body Mass Index (BMI), see your Wii Fit Age and keep tabs on your daily progress towards a more fit you.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Get fit with more than 40 activities and exercises, including strength training, aerobics, yoga and balance games. Whether youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing a yoga pose or snowboarding down a slalom course, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an activity for everyone.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Challenge your family and friends to get in shape! Create your own personal profile and set goals, test your balance, track your progress with daily workouts and unlock new exercises and activities.
Create a Profile: Before you jump into doing exercises and activities, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll start by creating your own profile. Choose a Mii, enter your height and age information, and do a few quick tests:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ BMI Check: BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that is the standard used by agencies such as the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health. To check your BMI, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll enter your height then stand on the Wii Balance Board and let it read your weight.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Wii Fit Age: After youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve checked your BMI, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll do a basic balance test and find out your current Wii Fit Age. This basic balance test measures how well you can control your left and right balance. Based on the results, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be assigned a Wii Fit Age.
Wii Fit features four main categories to choose from: Strength Training, Aerobics, Yoga and Balance Games. As you spend time exercising, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll earn Fit Credits that unlock additional exercises and activities within these categories. Wii Fit also tracks the activities you do the most and puts them into the Favorites category.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Strength Training: Put your strength to the test with muscle-toning exercises like Single Leg Extension, Sideways Leg Lift, Arm and Leg Lift, Single-Arm Stand, Torso Twists, Rowing Squat, Single Leg Twist, Lunge, Push-Up and Side Plank, Jackknife, Plank and Tricep Extension. Challenges include Push-Up Challenge, Plank Challenge and Jackknife Challenge.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Aerobics: Get your heart pumping with fun, interactive Aerobic exercises like Hula HoopÃ‚Â®, Basic Step, Basic Run, Super Hula Hoop, Advanced Step, 2-P Run, Rhythm Boxing, Free Step and Free Run.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Yoga: Work on your balance and flexibility with Yoga poses and activities like Deep Breathing, Half-Moon, Dance, Cobra, Bridge, Spinal Twist, Shoulder Stand, Warrior, Tree, Sun Salutation, Standing Knee, Palm Tree, Chair, Triangle and Downward-Facing Dog.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Balance Games: Get into the action with fun, balanced-based games like Soccer Heading, Ski Slalom, Ski Jump, Table Tilt, Tightrope Walk, Balance Bubble, Penguin Slide, Snowboard Slalom and Lotus Focus.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Keep tabs on your daily progress with easy-to-understand graphs and charts. Using your personal profile, you can set goals, view a graph of your BMI results over time, see how many Fit Credits youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve earned, check your Wii Fit Age and even enter exercise time youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve done outside of Wii Fit. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all about coming back and exercising a little every day, and the personal profile makes tracking your daily progress simple and easy.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ You can quickly check your Wii Fit Age and BMI without even putting the game in the console by going directly to the Wii Fit Channel.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Up to eight family members can create their own profiles in Wii Fit. On the profile-selection screen, everyone in the family can see each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent BMI progress and Fit Credit total. This will allow families to have a friendly competition to exercise and get fit.