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At least I won't hear Wii Fit make that disappointed noise again.
March 21, 2014 4:14 PM   Subscribe

What the Next Generation of Health & Fitness Software Can Learn from Wii Fit.
posted by Kitteh (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
That having the balance board forget your name after a long absence is heartbreaking and makes me not want to start it up?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:42 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


The fact that Wii fit didn't have a "I'm pregnant " setting killed it at our house. Eventually we got rid of the analog TV and now the Wii sits in the attic.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:50 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


clvrmnky: "The fact that Wii fit didn't have a "I'm pregnant " setting killed it at our house."

For real! I was using it as low-impact pregnancy exercise but it was just SO SAD AT ME that I kept getting fatter and fatter and it kept making my little dude tubbier and tubbier and I was like SCREW YOU YOU JUDGMENTAL WOMAN-HATING ELECTRONIC GAME DEVICE!

I had some hormones.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:05 PM on March 21 [42 favorites]


The piece doesn't really address the question it poses in its title. The author makes a valid point about how people with money to burn on Wii (U) Fit are going to tend to be healthier because they're more likely to have time to exercise, and I enjoyed how he related this fact using his own example of putting on weight when he was broke and overworked, but if you're going to title a piece "What the Next Generation of Health & Fitness Software Can Learn from Wii Fit", you should really have some answers as to what can be done to improve the situation.

Not that answers are easy to come by -- eating better costs money, and walking/biking to work are options for a small minority of folks -- but then again, nobody forced the Forbes copy editors to adopt such a clickbait-y headline, either.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:08 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I think maybe the headline writers at Forbes can't even wrap their heads around the idea of an article about how it's hard to stay fit after you wake up and find yourself unceremoniously booted out of the middle class? That's not exactly the kind of article that I think of Forbes as publishing!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:23 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


I really wanted to like the original Wii Fit, and I certainly wasn't expecting miracles, but I was expecting something more in line with Western fitness principles, not a lot of very complicated balance exercises, some lackluster yoga that had no idea what you were actually doing but was going to aggressively police how your weight was resting on the board because it couldn't do anything else, and walking in place being taken as relatively aggressive cardio. But it wasn't built for fat, out of shape Americans--or slim, health-conscious Americans. It was built for Japanese people with a very different idea of appropriate activity levels.
posted by Sequence at 5:35 PM on March 21


What can be learned from Wii in general?

"You are a fad and you'd better extract as much money as possible before people stop playing you completely."
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:10 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Eventually we got rid of the analog TV and now the Wii sits in the attic.

The Wii can't connect to a digital TV?
posted by yoink at 6:14 PM on March 21


What can be learned from Wii in general?

Don'ts, mostly.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:20 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


The Wii can't connect to a digital TV?

It can, but not natively.* You need to buy a special HDMI adapter from China. (The picture will still be blurry as all get-out.)

*This is, IMO, entirely a problem with televisions.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:23 PM on March 21


Seriously, Sys Rq. My 40" LG LED HDTV has an AV port that our old Wii hooks up to just fine.
posted by mollweide at 6:35 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, and I'm not obese. Stupid BMI based Wii Fit.
posted by mollweide at 6:36 PM on March 21


I don't know what the Wii Fit sounds like when it is disappointed, but I am imagining it as Marge Simpson's frustrated, "hrm."
posted by insert.witticism.here at 6:47 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I have a friend who LOVES Wii fit. She likes being nagged about not exercising enough and being criticized about her progress because she sees it as a form of caring and it matches her internal idea of how the world should be. She had the abusive kind of Tiger Mom childhood, though.
posted by subdee at 7:12 PM on March 21


The old Wii supports 480p via a componenent cable. There's no HDMI but a lot of sets still have component inputs.

The Wii fit is mostly hemmed in by needing to use the balance board for everything. That's why there's 20 balance exercises and no real cardio.
posted by GuyZero at 7:30 PM on March 21


mollweide: "Seriously, Sys Rq. My 40" LG LED HDTV has an AV port that our old Wii hooks up to just fine."

Same here. In addition to working with normal AV ports, I went to the trouble of buying a set of 5-plug Wii component cables to squeeze a little extra resolution for the purposes of Netflix/Hulu Plus. There's no such thing as an official Wii HDMI cable, but it's hardly the only option for modern televisions.

I still own a copy of Wii Fit + the balance board for the purposes of exercising in my apartment during the winter. It's a lot cheaper than buying a treadmill or other apparatus and doesn't take up nearly as much space. Other than that I agree, it's mostly a gimmick and could use a better means of gauging healthy weight than BMI. I'm a moderately trim 5'10"/200lbs, and the thing says that I'm borderline obese. For me, attaining a "healthy" BMI weight of 160 would mean either starving myself or hacking off an arm.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:34 PM on March 21


Wii Fit was interesting and did spark a renewed interest in fitness games it seems.

Anyone else have a Power Pad back in the 80s? That was my intro to the genre.

Kinect has the best fitness stuff so far IMO, in fact its one of the few genres that is a good fit for Kinect (along with dance games). Something that can only detect weight and foot placement is just too limited in the long run.

it's hardly the only option for modern televisions.

Depends on the TV. One of my TVs (32in Sony something) has only 2 HDMI in and nothing else.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:48 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


The Power Pad was great. I remember pounding my fists very hard to beat the cheetah in the sprint.
posted by stltony at 8:33 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


TL;DR = I was broke, then got fat, and Wii Fit didn't help at all!

Surprising that Forbes saw (ahem) fit to feature this (ahem) rather thin article.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:00 AM on March 22


I see people not understanding the difference between Forbes the magazine and forbes.com/sites. The former is Maxim for capitalists. The later is Geocities for clickbait writers.
posted by persona at 4:20 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


"There is perversity in the desire to micromanage health through small fact-gathering machines, placing the impetus of self-care on individuals in an environment that is increasingly hostile to the idea of a self."

The article does seem to have a point. Nothing to do with the headline though.

Also, I'm appalled that the original Wii Fit doesn't understand pregnancy. Does anyone know if that's fixed in the Wii U version?

Wii Fit Plus allows you to weigh pets and track them individually. They thought about pets but not children? wtf?
posted by citizenoftheworld at 5:45 PM on March 22


citizenoftheworld: "Wii Fit Plus allows you to weigh pets and track them individually. They thought about pets but not children? wtf?"

Wii Fit does let you make adorable baby Miis in cute pajamas and will weigh them the same way you can with pets, and then they crawl around the screen and it's very adorable. But you can't play any games with them, it'll say, "Uh oh! Nine months is too young for Wii Fit!" or something. But no, no option for pregnancy.

The other issue I had with the Wii Fit during pregnancy was the stupid balance board was always telling me my balance was terrible, which, NO SHIT SHERLOCK. My arches basically completely collapsed when I was pregnant and I'm quite short and carried huge, so I was always walking around with my spine massively curved and counterbalancing my huge belly by leaning my shoulders back and trying to make my feet hurt less by standing on them funny and anyway, Wii Fit does not like it when your center of gravity is being bizarre.

I could probably have gotten over the part where it was so eager to criticize me about weight gain and making my Mii fatter and fatter, but it was constantly getting mad at me that my balance was off and I wouldn't "center" my balance properly when doing any of the exercises. It was just too damn frustrating.

"Walk It Out," which uses the balance board and is a walking in place game, works super-great when pregnant, though!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:59 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


The author makes a valid point about how people with money to burn on Wii (U) Fit are going to tend to be healthier because they're more likely to have time to exercise

I have a Wii and Wii Fit, but, I stopped using both a very long time ago. I've always told myself that I would get a Wii U, just so I could use Wii Fit U (since I already have the balance board), but, despite having the money to burn for it, I certainly don't have the time to devote to it. It seems like there's always something more pressing (or sometimes just more interesting) to do, even if it's just exercise in some format other than Wii Fit. Probably means I can cross Wii U off the things-I-want list though.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 7:29 AM on March 23


I lost 30 pounds using the Wii Fit. So it can be useful. I have since gained back 10 pounds, curse you gloomy winter days. I am getting back into it so there is hope I will reach my goal of weighing 130 pounds which I haven't weighed since high school in 1976.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 9:36 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Count me as someone who still uses the WiiFit and found it very useful for kickstarting me into doing non-Wii related exercise. But I agree with everyone else that it's idea of what my ideal body weight is is way off or unrealistic. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like that I have lost weight but there is no way I'm going to achieve the goal weight it has set for me of 120 pounds. Scary.
posted by Kitteh at 1:18 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Ignoring the Wii fit was pretty awesome, but now I've moved on to ignoring my Kinect.
posted by malocchio at 11:01 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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