Nintendo Aims To Slay The Couch Potato

Dennis Faas's picture

Nintendo has been credited in the last year for making video game players more active by playing their Wii console.  The results have been impressive, at least, compared to the traditional play mechanics of the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.  However, Nintendo's latest product is a genuine fat-buster.

Wii Fit is a gym 'simulator' game though the exercise is entirely genuine. Players use a special balance board which tracks the movement and weight, then converts it into a movements for an onscreen character. The game includes more than 40 activities based around strength training, aerobics, balance and yoga. The activities range from simple push-ups to complex actions such as tightrope walking and snowboarding.

It's not just intended as fun though; the game measures fitness both through the traditional Body Mass Index (which compares weight to height) and a special Wii Fit age based on your performance in the games. The game allows you to track these indicators over time and set personal fitness goals.

It might seem an unlikely proposition for a video game, but it's already sold more than 1.5 million copies in Japan. The game just came out in the United Kingdom and has sold out with most major on-line retailers, who've also stopped taking pre-orders. (Source:

Nintendo has urged people to shop around and say they are doing their best to keep shelves stocked. That won't stop some cynics from alleging that the shortages are a deliberate ploy to make the game more desirable.

Wii Fit hits US shelves in May and will cost $89.99, the highest-priced Wii game to date. The board is reportedly being slightly redesigned for American frames and will be able to cope with users weighing up to 300 pounds.

The balance board won't just be used for Wii Fit. A boxing game backed by Don King will use the accessory, with rumors of a skiing game and cheerleader simulation following later on. (Source:

On the surface, it seems Nintendo is pulling off a great trick by charging ninety bucks for something that involves activities you can do free of charge. However, the game's success so far suggests plenty of people are finding the features make it a worthwhile purchase and anything that counters the stereotype of obese couch-dwelling games players has to be a good thing.

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