Scott Hanselman

Wii Fit Review

May 27, '08 Comments [17] Posted in Gaming | Reviews
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I like my Nintendo Wii, although, so far it's been basically a $200 Tennis Simulator. The most fun is watching people play it for the first time. We had some friends over last week and they mentioned the Wii, and my wife said "you HAVE to try Tennis!" And they loved it, and it was good. However, as much as I try to get into other Wii games like Metroid and Zelda, I just don't.

But, I am a glutton for punishment, and while I spend more time using my Xbox, the Wife and I thought we'd give the Wii one more try with the Wii Fii Balance Board.

Before you read this review, by all means, watch this horrifically brutal and true Wii Fit Parody.

Ok, now that that's over with, YES, I know the Wii Fit is silly and YES I know it's a waste of money and YES I know I could "just go outside." We do go outside, and we walk and hike and run as a family, so that said...

The Wii Fit is a hoot. It's a lot of fun. Ultimately it's just a scale that knows where your center of balance is because each of the 4 corners is an independent scale. It constantly "re-zeros" itself between activities as you step on and off it, so in the week I've had it I haven't had any issues with its accuracy.

It's questionable as a fitness tool as it made my little Mii Avatar quite fat because apparently 187lbs (a number I'm not proud of) on a 5'11 frame is smack in the middle of overweight. (That's 180cm and 85kilos, by the way) After I entered this info in, my little on-screen dude swelled up and will stay there until I hit 165lbs it seems.

Regardless, I can see how the Wii Fit could act as a motivator for folks, like me, who prefer to workout at home rather than at a club. I actually prefer working out while watching TV, such that I'm forcing my self to work to watch my shows. The Wii Fit is fairly cheap, about US$89, and includes the game disc.

There's "over 40 mini games" according to the box, but in reality there's 4 categories with 12 or so games per. There's strength (all isometric), yoga, balance games, and aerobics. There strength and aerobics sections are fine, but not extraordinary. The games are a blast, especially downhill skiing, but the Yoga section is really nice. I think I'll use the Yoga for 30 minutes or so each evening and see how that goes. I have a number of Yoga DVDs, but I find the balance feedback that the Wii gives you to be invaluable for finding correct posture.

A few years back, the CEO of my then company, Corillian, left and started a company that created a game called Yourself Fitness for the Xbox. I thoroughly enjoyed this program, specifically it's crazy intense aerobics sections. It had a HUGE library of exercises that dwarfs the Wii Fit's. It's like 500 to 20. I'd love to see this application ported to the Wii and supporting the Wii Fit - THAT would be something special.

Still, I'm happy with the purchase, it's not that much more than a good quality electronic scale and if your expectations are set appropriately and you remember it's neither a game nor a really good workout system, I think you'll have fun also. Don't take my word for it, go try one at one of the many locations that Nintendo is setting up as the Wii Fit goes on tour.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008 7:33:08 PM UTC
> It's questionable as a fitness tool as it made my little Mii Avatar quite fat because apparently 187lbs (a number I'm not proud of) on a 5'11 frame is smack in the middle of overweight. (That's 180cm and 85kilos, by the way) After I entered this info in, my little on-screen dude swelled up and will stay there until I hit 165lbs it seems.

I mentioned this to you on Twitter already but since you were DODGING THE TRUTH I've put it somewhere that you can't hide from it!!

The Wii Fit's method of weight analysis is more questionable than its usefulness as a fitness tool; it uses the old BMI method of measuring (that's all it can do) so essentially *anyone* remotely athletic in nature is going to be labelled fat as a result, since BMI only calculates what your weight should be re: your height, regardless of your musculature. Having never met you in person, I can't say but if you have *any* muscle mass whatsoever, it's unlikely Wii Fit will ever consider you a reasonable weight. Maybe it's primary usage should be in triggering manorexia?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:26:12 PM UTC
You can't get fit with wii fit, maybe fat :)
If you want to stay fit do some pushups or something. Run a mile 'round the block.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:04:58 PM UTC

If it makes you more fit, it's not a waste of money. In these days of increased obesity, anything helps and certainly the better if it's with some fun. Going out is not always practical like when it's raining, cold or if one is just too lazy. You would be surprised on how many home excercize equipment are purcashed but not being used. Damn infomercials!

(It's from the same guy who made Donkey Kony and Mario Brothers games, a talented person)
Abdu
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:17:15 AM UTC
That's almost exactly my height and weight. I guess that makes us... probably average.
Harold
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:38:55 AM UTC
WiiFit totally smacked me down for my weight. It could at least make my Miis chest bigger than his belly.

BTW i really liked YourselfFitness too. Would love for a sequel to come out.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:54:41 AM UTC
My whole family is enjoying it so far. We still play outside, but I like the focus on posture the board brings as well as the fun of competition.

+1 Yoga Pose Aid
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 10:49:52 AM UTC
Your Amazon add is sitting on top of your content...
Richard
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:12:43 PM UTC
I bought Wii Fit the day it came out. I have to admit that I am pretty hooked on the thing. Just to add to a few things that Scott has said, my favorite feature of the game is the time bank. Bascially, it is a shiny way to keep track of the time you spent messing around on the game. This is important to me because I like to at least make sure I get some measure of activity in the afternoons, even when I get home late or when it is one of those muggy rainy days. I helps me keep track and allows me to set goals as I go along.

The games are fun and, for me at least, I do get some exercise - especially in your admonminal muscles while you are playing 'rock back and forth'. Interestingly enough, the Wii makes the board hyper sensitve so that your motions have to be very controlled and you have to physically lock your core muscles - thus the exercise.

In regards to weight, nothing beats getting a very chipper voice saying "Obese!" when you measure in for the first time.... ;)

On a side note, the Wii is really a community console. I can play Mario or Zelda, but those are not really what the wii excells at. Scott, if you like the community aspect of the Wii try these:

1) Boom Blox
2) Wario Ware
3) Mario Party
4) Rayman's Raving Rabbits (killing mentially-challenged rabbits ftw!)

Oh, and you have to love Super Smash Bros, lol.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:42:09 PM UTC
I was excited about the Wii Fit until I heard about the BMI ratings and the prominent display of its judgments on you. I can handle it fine, but I have a little girl in the house (that loves the Wii), and I cannot imagine how destructive it could be to have her toy (inaccurately) tell her she is overweight. We get enough of that from the rest of the media.
Does anyone know if the "parental controls" on the Wii allow you to modify the language Wii Fit uses to describe your progress? It would be nice if you could just disable the judgment calls and just track numerical measurements (like time spent with it and accuracy of the exercises) over time.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:25:17 PM UTC
Joshua - I didn't think of that, but now that I have, that is REALLY disturbing! I will take a look and see. Perhaps the BMI calculations are based on Japanese culture which is a little thinner than ours. Still, that SUCKS.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:26:12 PM UTC
I'm one of those nerds who reads the manuals and one of the first things it says is that measurements may be inaccurate for people under 20. We all still take the Body test, but we ignore the BMI and Wii Fit Age for the kids and we made sure to explain that they shouldn't worry about it.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:43:49 PM UTC
Ed Sherfick
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 8:22:45 PM UTC
Hey Scott;

Two major points:
1. BMI is a little weird
2. "The scale" is definitely a great tool, but limited in scope.

The scale is clearly targeted at balance and "core" muscles. It's a way to generate balanced muscles. This actually looks like it could be a great tool for athletes in training who are often seen doing exercises with balance boards and swiss balls and BOSUs.

It's worth checking some resources on BMO, but here's a good one, it has some specific caveats. The CDC has a BMI calculator for teens and children. The BMI is reasonably accurate for what would be deemed as "normal" humans with a light covering of muscle. Shaquille O'Neal at 320 lbs is obese, every football player and bodybuilder is also obese. In fact pretty much any professional athlete involved in anaerobic activity "breaks the scale".

In fact, the scale seems very "obesity-focused". A marathon runner at 5'9" and 140 lbs does not qualify as underweight. Underweight is 5'9" and 125lbs! Worth keeping in mind. (But yes 189 for 5'9" is a little high)
Sunday, June 01, 2008 4:40:32 PM UTC
> However, as much as I try to get into other Wii games like Metroid and Zelda, I just don't.

I agree, but have you tried Mario Kart and Guiter Hero? These are both excellent games, and provide a lot of fun. Nintendo WFC (Wi-Fi Connection, although wireless hasn't got anything to do with it as you can connect an ethernet cable to your Wii too) really adds a lot of value to these games.
Monday, June 02, 2008 7:58:53 PM UTC
Scott - thanks for the YF plug. While RDI is working diligently on getting the next release out, they have reprinted a batch of the previously sold-old PC edition (just launched today at GetMaya.com).

"use your laptop to control your muffin-top."

.dtw
Monday, June 02, 2008 8:14:33 PM UTC
Scott care to share you Wii id and xbox gamertag?
Mine is
Wii - 6122690541719354
xbox - benwaynt

Love the site

later,jb
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 3:36:04 AM UTC
wii: 4996 1582 0099 9551
xbox: glucose
Scott Hanselman
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.