Wii Fit has been out in the UK for a while, in a rare â€˜we got a game first!â€™ moment of joy. However, as the awesomeness of the latest Wii peripheral is now available to the USA, itâ€™s only right that I tell you all to go and buy it immediately. Hereâ€™s why.
Itâ€™s better than the gym.
I am a failed gym-goer, and my objections are not uncommon, which is why anyone who wants to get fitter, lose some weight, or generally feel more active but canâ€™t quite get the discipline together, will love this game, for all the reasons below:
1. You donâ€™t have to leave the house to work out. Sure, thatâ€™s no different to buying some lame fitness DVD, but when combined with all of the points below, this becomes much more than squat thrusts with Oprah.
2. Itâ€™s a fraction of the cost of the gym. My last gym membership was Â£50 a month. Wii Fit is Â£70 for the game and board. More money for extra Wii games!
3. You donâ€™t get checked out by creeps. This was one of my main issues with the gym. I didnâ€™t feel self-conscious working out most of the time, but occasionally thereâ€™d be a guy who crossed the line between a quick glance at my bum, and leering. And Iâ€™ve been followed into the sauna more than once. Wii Fit doesnâ€™t come with a sauna, but you can get the same effect by boiling a kettle with the windows closed.
4. You can play as Hitler. Or any Mii you can think of. You can be yourself, of course, but thatâ€™s boring. I have a whole host of celebrity Miis, so Iâ€™m getting to do step class as Liza Minnelli. A bit later tonight, I plan to do yoga as Jesus.
5. Your other Miis are bystanders in the game. Iâ€™m jogging through the very pretty virtual park, and thereâ€™s Michael Jackson, waving to me! I wave back in a moment of madness. Oh, hi Alf the Alien! I didnâ€™t know you jogged here too!
6. The technology is like we imagined the future would be. Virtual Reality Gaming is really here! Well, the closest the world has come so far, anyway. The board is so incredibly responsive to your movements, itâ€™s staggering. I have never been so impressed with a piece of technology and gaming physics in my life (and Iâ€™ve been gaming since Day One).
7. The competitive element will keep you coming back. Because the game gives you a score and star rating for every event, you not only have a clear way to track your progress, but you have constant goals. My sister and I take great delight in knocking each otherâ€™s hi-scores into the ether.
8. Itâ€™s more fun than the gym can hope to be. Firstly, the range of activities are more diverse, from yoga to hula-hooping, and secondly, there are activities that arenâ€™t actually possible in the real world. For example, when you were a kid, did you have one of those plastic games that had ballbearings in? You had to tilt the game to get the balls into the little holes. Imagine that, human-sized. You stand on the Wii board, and your every tiny shift of weight moves the TV version to roll the virtual balls into the hole. Or straight off the edge if youâ€™re crap. Also, at no point in real gym life do you get to dress as a penguin, or float a giant bubble down a river. Take that, reality! You canâ€™t compete with this rainbow universe.
9. You can do woo-free yoga. The yoga element is actually very good, and far superior to non-Wii yoga because itâ€™s measuring your balance and posture the whole time. You can make minute adjustments based on its feedback. Plus thereâ€™s no hint of chakra anywhere. The only bit of slightly dodgy science in the whole game is the BMI index, which isnâ€™t a particularly sophisticated way of measuring anything. But itâ€™s forgivable, because itâ€™s a handy shortcut for â€˜progressâ€™, and you can go by weight if you prefer. The game calculates your â€˜Wii Fit Ageâ€™ based on various tests, and thereâ€™s some satisfaction in seeing it improve, but for the most part, the hi-scores and star rating do a better job.
10. You donâ€™t have to wear special clothes. I wore my gym gear (I know, I know, Nike and Adidas in the same outfit is a crime, whatever) for the photo, but usually I work out in my jeans or evenâ€¦shock horror, naked. Close the blinds if you do that, though.
I admit I was very skeptical about Wii Fit before I tried it, but I was hooked immediately. I already had a Wii, but to be honest I would recommend buying one just for this, particularly as other games are going to involve the balance board. And it actually works as a fitness regime, particularly if youâ€™re going from little or no exercise (well duh). I feel more toned and have more energy, and my sister has a noticeably reduced waistline.
Now excuse me, Liza Minnelli needs to go and beat her virtual hula hooping record.