Before I get started with my personal fitness diary, let me share a few of my initial thoughts about the Balance Board and the Wii Fit software.
The packaging is nice — a carry handle, minimal plastic, no styrofoam. Very enviro-friendly.
The Balance Board itself is an impressive gadget. It’s crisp and white, and looks like a nice set of bathroom scales. I actually expected it to be a little bit bigger than it is, but it’s not uncomfortable to stand on. It feels very solid; there’s no comparison with some of the Wii’s “plastic shell” peripherals. From the moment you slide it out of the box, you know the Balance Board is the real deal.
Running the Balance Board on four AA batteries is a bit of a pain. There’s a claimed battery life of 60 hours, but we’ll see. A built-in charger like the one in the DS would have been nice. I’ll have to invest in some more rechargeable batteries, or maybe go with a third-party option — I use a dock for one of my Wiimotes and it’s tremendously convenient.
On screen, your Mii is sized up using some kind of height-measurement equipment, but nobody has those in their living room. I had to rummage through my drawers to find a ruler, then mark the wall and add up the ruler-lengths. It would have been nice if Nintendo had thrown in a cheap tape measure, even if it was just a paper one like those they give out at IKEA. That’s a minor quibble, though.
Once you’ve got your height calculated, setting up your Mii is very straightforward — and fun! By giving instant feedback about centre of gravity and weight and BMI and what-have-you, the process doesn’t feel like a chore.
The Balance Board avatar is quite cute. I was worried when he first popped up — Clippy, anyone? — but he’s actually got an interesting personality. Quirky and friendly.
The FitPiggy and FitCash concepts seem a bit forced. Using the time you’ve spent on activities as the basis for unlocking harder tasks? Great. Converting the time into FitCash and storing it in a FitPiggy? Not so much. It doesn’t fit in with the software’s minimalist aesthetic. And since the FitCash graph shows your play time in minutes anyway, I just don’t see the point.