Tag Archives: Nintendo

Stick to the plan

Extra Life - Wii Fit

Extra Life’s take on Wii Fit is fairly apt, given my week. I’ve been checking in for my Body Test every morning, but haven’t been able to make time for as much exercise as I’d hoped. I did play a game of corporate netball, and do some pushups, but that’s about it. My weight has just sort of hovered.

I got back on track, the last couple of days, though. Yesterday, I worked my way through all of the yoga and muscle exercises I’ve unlocked so far; today I went for a short jog. So with Scott Johnson’s little dig at Wii Fit users hitting home, I’m going to have to make a bigger effort to find time for it this week! I’ll post snapshots of my progress as soon as I have time to fiddle with the camera.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting interview by Chris Kohler at Wired, with Wii Fit’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. It has a great punchline:

You take up gardening, we get Pikmin. You get a bathroom scale, we get Wii Fit. I feel like it would be a disservice to our readers if I didn’t ask: What are your hobbies right now?

I knew someone was going to ask me that question. (Nintendo President Satoru) Iwata has told me absolutely not to tell anyone. Of course, I did go jogging in Central Park this morning.

All right, there’s our clue.

Yesterday I ate a hamburger.


Up and away

I bought Wii Fit last Thursday, so it wasn’t until after work that I was able to fire it up and go through my first Body Test. Obese, it told me. A kick up the arse. I started out with the balance games that I’d seen in pre-launch promotions — soccer, skiing. Then yoga, muscle exercises, aerobics, another go at slalom. Then bed.

Body Test - Day 2

Day 2, and I went through the Body Test again. I’d somehow put on over a kilogram overnight. Disheartening. Wii Fit helpfully advised that your body naturally fluctuates +/- 1kg over the course of the day, so it was advisable to take the test at the same time each day for consistency. That sounded sane enough, so I decided I’d better stick with mornings. If I make Wii Fit part of my wake-up routine, I should be able to do the Body Test at roughly the same time each day. Then I can fit in some of the exercises in the morning or in the evening.

Body Test - Day 3

On Saturday, Day 3, I found I’d put on a touch more, but nothing major. Perhaps there is something to the fluctuation theory. Anyway, on Friday I’d eaten pretty badly: McDonald’s for breakfast, Nando’s chicken and chips for lunch, takeaway vindaloo and samosas for dinner. Plus chocolate. I was actually quite suprised not to have stacked on some weight.

I also knew that if I was going to reach my goal, I’d have to be a lot more disciplined. I was pretty good during the day on Saturday, but a family dinner at a Docklands restaurant meant beer, Coke, a huge chicken parmagiana, and a very rich icecream cone for dessert.

Body Test - Day 4

In the morning, Day 4, I was keen to see the damage. I lost 0.1kg. Not bad! Lesson: if I’m disciplined during the day, I can go out for a big meal and still break even. Good to know.

So that day I tried to eat smaller portions. A hash brown for breakfast, a single slice of pizza for lunch, and Pakistani lamb curry for dinner. I walked around Melbourne for an hour, but that was really my only exercise. I didn’t do my Wii Fit workout because I’d been playing Super Mario Galaxy and didn’t want to have to swap discs.

Body Test - Day 5

Today, Day 5, I got a bit of a surprise. I dropped 2.3kg!

BMI Graph - Day 5 Weight Graph - Day 5

The ball is rolling; let’s see if I can keep the momentum up.

Score to beat: BMI 33.8, 110.8kg.

Weighing in

The moment of truth. My first Body Test.

I hadn’t weighted myself since I was, what — fifteen? sixteen? Back then I was 178cm and 75kg or thereabouts. How would I do now?

Body Test - Day 1

112kg, with a BMI of 34.22.


Obviously, I have some work to do. Ideally, I want to be down to the “normal” range, which means my long-term target weight is 80kg. I want to get there in time for my wedding next year, so I’ve got ten months to lose 32kg. Let’s make it nine months, to make sure I’m ready in time to fit my suit. That’s a target of just over 10kg every three months.

The Wii tells me I’m going to need to lose 1.6kg each fortnight, which is slightly more than the 1.4kg it recommends. I’m going to stick with my own target for now; see how I go.

The silver lining is that I appear to carry my weight fairly evenly, though I need to stand forward on my feet.

First impressions

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.

In the beginning…

My New Year’s resolution was to shed a few kilos. In high school, I was fairly skinny, but when I got to university I no longer had compulsory sport to keep me exercising — and then I fell in love with beer and restaurants. So I’ve put on some weight.

As usual, my New Year’s resolution has been more of an aspiration, really. I haven’t done a lot about it. Occasional bursts of enthusiasm might lead to a couple of jogging or cycling expeditions, but they quickly subside. I find it hard to stay motivated, and I can’t afford a personal trainer.

That’s where Wii Fit comes in. I follow Nintendo fairly closedly, so I’d seen the early demonstrations of the Balance Board — and, to be frank, it looked rubbish. It looked like an expensive set of mini-games; dull, repetitive mini-games at that.

But after it launched, I think it finally clicked with me what it’s all about. Michael Abbott recently described Wii Fit as a “health hub” and sees it as something that relies on games technology but is not a game at all. Nintendo’s new strategy of selling Wii Fit through non-traditional outlets like sports stores suggests that’s exactly what the designers were thinking.

When I took myself out of the gamer’s perspective, Wii Fit started to look more interesting. It offers the structure and motivation to make exercise a part of your daily routine, but without pressure. And 4cr’s Great Experiment proves it can work — if you stick to it.

And that’s exactly what I plan to do.