While we were in Las Vegas visiting my BIL, we had a lot of fun playing with their new Wii. So much fun that we came home with one.
Now, you have to understand that I hate computer games. OK, that’s not exactly true. I used to love computer games in the very early days. I’m old enough to have played adventure games when all you had were text commands and no images. In those early days of games like the original King’s Quest, or Loderunner, I played them a lot. Too much, in fact. Whenever I got a new game, I pretty much did nothing else until I had conquered it. But then I realized that I was spending way too much time doing that, and I gave it up entirely.
I have a real concern for kids growing up who do nothing but isolate themselves and play computer games – how will they ever learn how to relate to other people in the real world? I’ve been known to tell friends that I’d be a terrible parent, because I probably wouldn’t let my kids have Gameboys (I know, that’s old too, but you know what I mean), or that if I did, I’d really limit their use.
Even my husband, who does play some computer games once in a while, would never have imagined that he would ever buy a Wii.
So why did we end up bringing one home with us? Two main reasons: Wii Sports and Wii Fit.
Wii Sports is the set of games that comes with the Wii. Although I knew basically how the Wii Sports games worked, using the remote as a tennis racket, golf club, etc., I was really surprised at how realistic it was. You can really give yourself a bit of a workout – which sure beats sitting on the couch watching a movie, or sitting in front of the computer. (Try boxing – you can really tire yourself out quickly!) But even better is that not only are you up and moving, the interactivity encourages participation by multiple people. Yes, you can have fun bowling by yourself, but bowling with others makes it like a real game. So these counteract the reason I didn’t like to play computer games – you have physical activity and interaction with real people.
They also had Wii Fit, exercise software which lets you track your weight and BMI, and includes activities for yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance exercises. It uses a peripheral called a “balance board”, which is a scale for weighing you, but which also measures your center of balance, and shifts in your weight distribution. The program keeps track of your progress, lets you set goals, and even allows you to enter time spent on other physical activities. The games are fun and motivational, and it’s amazing how quickly the time goes. I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last couple of years, but have had a hard time getting motivated to do anything about it. Since I retired last fall, I no longer walk as much as I used to, since I’d walk for an hour 4 times a week with my co-workers. I think this will finally be the key that gets me off my butt. We couldn’t bring this back with us on the motorcycle, so we had to have it mailed to us. We got it last night, and it already motivated me to not only spend half an hour with it this morning, but also take a half-hour walk as well. So far, so good. The biggest draw is the cuteness of it. I suppose that could also be a drawback, and eventually get tiring. But if it can keep me going for a month, then hopefully it will have become habit.
We also got sucked into buying “We Ski“, a skiing game that optionally uses the Wii Fit balance board. Supposedly there will be more games that will incorporate the balance board. What makes this fun is that although you don’t need the balance board to play, if you use it, you just shift your weight on the board to turn – as if you were really skiing.
I suppose that after the novelty of it all wears off, we won’t use it as much as we are now – but even if we use it once or twice a week, it’s getting us moving. That’s better than just being couch potatoes or computer zombies.
Unfortunately, you can easily spend a LOT of money buying Wii games and accessories, but I doubt we’ll be buying many more games, so we probably won’t spend much more on it than we already have. You also need to have a lot of space for the sports games and Wii Fit. We have a tiny living room, so we have to move the coffee table out of it to really be able to play safely. It’s also much better if you have a large TV.
I really can’t say enough about the cuteness factor of the whole thing. It really sucks you in. One of the fun things is that you can set up your own characters, which are called “Mii”. It’s a blast trying to get them to look like yourself – or your friends and family or favorite celebrities. The biggest problem is that the options for hair aren’t all that great – but still, you can get the general likeness.
Below are the Miis for me and DH, as well as a mystery couple you may or may not recognize. They still need a bit of tweaking, but I think they’ll do for a start.