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Nintendo released the Wii Fit game on Wednesday (see my original July 25, 2007 post). Players use a wireless balance board, which is reminiscent of a bathroom scale, to practice yoga, strength training, and aerobics, in addition to balance games such as Ski Slalom and Tightrope Walk.
My husband found the review copy on our doorstop Wednesday morning, and had it hooked up in 45 minutes and had gone running and skiing before I even had a chance to look at it. Naturally, I was most interested in the yoga component. But first, I chose a Mii character that would be my on-screen personality (Gema) and completed a body test that revealed my BMI (20) and my Wii Fit Age (eight years younger than my actual age. Yahoo!). Then it was on to yoga. There are 15 yoga poses, but only four were “unlocked.” I needed to practice for a certain amount of time before the next yoga pose was available to me. After doing Deep Breathing, Half Moon, Warrior, and Tree Pose two times each, I was allowed to practice Sun Salutation and Standing Knee pose. But after 65 minutes of practice, I still didn’t have access to the other nine poses, which was frustrating. Even though I executed the poses “perfectly,” I could not move to the next level until I had exercised the required amount of minutes.
As I did each pose, the game could tell if I was balancing correctly or if I was favoring one leg or another. In fact, it is easy to become more focused on the Balance Indicator than doing the pose properly. At the end of each pose, the game gave me a ranking of Yoga Newcomer, Yoga Novice, Yoga Trainer, or Yoga Master. It also ranked me against my past performance and other yogis who used the game earlier. My friend, Grace, didn’t like this feature. It made her feel too competitive, she said.
The balance board is two inches high, and it was a little strange doing Warrior Pose with one foot elevated on the board, and the other on the ground. But at the end of the day, I do think Wii would be a fun way to help beginning to intermediate level yogis develop a home practice. Wii Fit, with the Wii Balance Board, retails for about $90. To play Wii Fit, you must first have the Nintendo Wii game system, which costs about $250.