And then I went home and got on the Internet and found out what Wii Fit was exactly.
And then I found out that I had just committed to purchasing a ninety-dollar bathroom scale...
For the next several weeks, I found myself studying Wii Fit, wondering what the heck were we getting into. Let's start with the obvious: in the videos and all the other advertising that we're seeing for this thing, the people using the Wii Balance Board are playing with it in their bare feet. I don't know how sterile the plastic is that Nintendo uses in their products, but no doubt there's going to be some athlete's foot and other gnarly fungal infections coming from this thing during the course of heavy use among several people (like yer average-sized family). Plus, how clean does Nintendo expect this thing to be? Tonight millions of people across America are enjoying their white, pristine Wii Balance Boards. In a few weeks or even days those will start to turn an ugly, festering yellow as the skin oils from the soles of their feet (trivia: there are more sweat glands on the bottom of your feet than the rest of your body put together) permeate the boards. And according to the literature you're suppose to do this barefoot. Can't Nintendo engineer a pair of Wii Socks or something?
Well, we picked up our Wii Fit this afternoon and after Lisa finished watching American Idol tonight, I gave Wii Fit a try. In addition to the Wii Fit I also bought a silicone protective sleeve (much like those for the Wii Remotes) to go over the Wii Balance Board, and in spite of the instructions I chose to wear regular socks. 'Cuz I'm the kind of guy who likes to keep his possessions in good shape for however long I have 'em, and it seemed like the hygienic thing to do. I also wore black sweatpants and a dark t-shirt.
So how did it go?
10:12 p.m. EST: Inserted the Wii Fit disc into the Nintendo Wii system, then proceeded to synchronize the Wii Balance Board.
10:14 p.m. EST: Synchronization complete.
10:17 p.m. EST: I'm being asked to select which "Mii" to use for my personal account on Wii Fit. I use my standard "Chris" Mii, the one that kinda looks like mii... I mean, me.
10:19 p.m. EST: Wii Fit is now asking for my height and my age. Since this is a ninety-dollar bathroom scale I'm assuming that it has already precisely determined my weight.
10:25 p.m. EST: Wii Fit has just finished running me through some balance and coordination tests. It needs to do this so that it can calculate my "Wii Fit Age" and Body Mass Index (BMI). And according to Wii Fit... I'm two years younger than my physical age! Balance and posture is darn near perfect (only a few tenths of a percentage point more inclination on my right side). Not only that but my BMI is only slightly more than recommended (but according to Wii Fit I'm still in excellent shape).
10:39 p.m. EST: The original results were so good, that I ran them again, just to see if the results would duplicate. Because I want to make sure that this thing is measuring everything right for sake of accurate record-keeping. Sure enough, the results come out the same. I'm satisfied enough to proceed.
10:42 p.m. EST: Wii Fit is about to begin me on exercises and it starts off by asking me which "trainer" I want to work with.
On the left-hand side of the screen is the 3-D rendered avatar of a buff, well-toned male. On the right-hand side of the screen, depicted equally well with Wii's 3-D capabilities, is a sultry and seductive lass who looks positively hot in her leotard!
If I choose to train with the man, I'll feel like people will wonder why I didn't choose the woman trainer. And if I choose to train with the woman, Lisa will get mad and I'll be "sleeping in the doghouse" for a week. Why couldn't Nintendo just let you work out with Mario or Toad instead? Why are they doing this to me?!?
11:01 p.m. EST: The sexy leotard-clad female trainer has told me that "You've got great abs! Keep it up!"
11:16 p.m. EST: Okay, I think that's going to be enough of the Wii Fit for a first time. All I did was a few sets of each of the four initial strength exercises, using the default number of reps for each one. Had to re-arrange the furniture in our living room some to do the things like jackknife and push-ups, and then put everything back afterward. I've set a goal to decrease my BMI over the next two weeks, to get it at the Wii Fit-recommended level for my height.
Based on this cursory experience, I think it's safe to declare that Shigeru Miyamoto has created another winner for his company. Wii Fit is certainly not a "toy" or anything that one should underestimated. If used consistently and with moderately increasing levels of intensity over time, Wii Fit could become a fantastic - and fun - part of any exercise regimen, with the benefit of yielding tangible results. It wouldn't be wise to rely solely on Wii Fit though: regular "traditional" exercise and good diet also go a long way. And I'm not in the peak of condition by any stretch: my goal is to eventually run a full marathon like my friend Chad Austin does all the time. Wii Fit won't necessarily build me up for something like that, but it should be a good complimentary tool toward that goal all the same.
If you've got a Wii, I'll recommend Wii Fit for ya. It seems quite worth the hype. And if you're wondering about real results, check out what happened to this guy after using Wii Fit for seven weeks.