I love the Wii.  I hate the Wii Fit.  Here’s why.


When you first start using Wii Fit, you are immersed in the potential for fun and losing weight and exercising — and my friends and family really got into the idea of getting fit with Wii until the experience began to sour in two weeks and then die, rotted in expectation, a month later.

Nintendo decided to use the awful BMI index to determine if you are healthy or not — and right off the start, that’s is a terrible idea because BMI only considers your height and weight to decide if you’re obese, overweight, fit or underweight. 

BMI doesn’t take into account muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are doing your Wii right, you will be building muscle and losing fat — but your weight will go up a bit in that transition from fat to fit — but Wii Fit doesn’t understand that crucial process so, all the while you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, Wii Fit is making fun you and mocking your progress with inappropriate and condescending comments at precisely the moment you should be educated and encouraged.

Another taxing matter of using Wii Fit is its insistence that balance is the most important part of getting fit.  While I understand the point, I don’t think balance should be the mandate of the day because it only ignites hostility in the user when the Wii Fit again condescends and mocks and asks if you trip over the sidewalk when you walk if you are not perfectly balanced.   

Perhaps that is the Asian way of teaching — the Asian sense of
situational humor — to mock and prod and belittle, but I can tell you
that, for fat Americans, that way of “encouraging” is enraging.

The
more you use Wii Fit, the more you become aware the whole program is
suited for perfectly balanced, perfectly weighted ten-year-olds and not
middle-aged New Yorkers trying to get in shape using a video game.

The balance games are not fun.  In fact, they’re so annoying that you only play them once and never hope to repeat them — except for the meditation game — I win that one every time.

If you are unable to make a perfect circle with your hips, you will lose at the Hula Hoop aerobics game. 

The demands of swinging your hips in one direction and then the next is taxing — but to what end?  Will loose hips sink how Wii Fit ships?

The strength exercises are terribly boring and unfair in that if you can’t see your TV screen while doing all the exercises, you will miss the visual queues of when to move and when not to move.  That results in a perfect exercise routine that gets you no love from the Wii Fit program. 

As you progress through the strength routines, it becomes easier and easier to cheat — and you will want to cheat as often as possible just to say you were able to “get through” everything.

Finally, the Wii Fit Yoga stuff is just too easy to master.  If you do Yoga the right way, it is one of the best and most challenging exercise programs in the world — yet that element of danger and perfection is missing. 

When the Wii Fit pushups are harder to conquer than perfect balance in Yoga, something is horribly wrong.

Stay away from Wii Fit if you have sensitive feelings or if you long to lose weight the right way.

Wii Fit is a great idea with poor execution — but if we use the bundled Wii Fit program as a template for what could be, instead of what is — then the possibilities for exploiting the greatness of the balance board becomes more intuitive and necessary.

I can’t wait for the shooter games to start arriving that make use of the Wii Fit balance board.  A a good shoot-em-up should get the blood pumping and your heart boiling — and losing weight and mastering a real sense of life-saving balance will be your ultimate reward.

11 Comments

  1. David,
    Thank you for the bluntly honest review. I knew there was a reason I haven’t yet purchased the wii fit. I read that the large majority of people purchase wii fit and stop using it after a short period of time and I thought it was due to sloth, apathy, or myopia but I think it’s more likely this issue.
    I think they might have gotten the insult-the-customer bit from the Brain Age series of games though those games were much more sensitive in their language.

  2. Gordon —
    Wii Fit does have a snarky attitude and, frankly, the games are just too hard to do well in so you quickly get discouraged because there’s no way to slowly master them.
    I think I have pretty good balance based on my previous Yoga and Pilates work, but Wii doesn’t think so and, according to their measurements, I’m unbalanced but I think a 49.8% left foot and a 50.2% right foot overall balance deserves much more credit for being nearly perfect — but Wii doesn’t think so…
    The key to Wii Fit will be how future programmers use the balance board to enhance their games — that will bring the real genius of the invention to the forefront.

  3. Wii Fit is a fun idea, Dananjay — I just hope other game manufacturers take on the device to enhance their games.
    One competing fitness title from Jillian Michaels for the Wii Fit was a hopeless dud — and it came out a couple of weeks ago.
    EA Sports was supposed to be working on the ultimate game/workout routine for the Wii Fit — but I think the idea was shelved.

  4. Interesting review David, and even more interesting comparison!
    I understand you are mad because of their implementation, I haven’t used Wii fit – so I won’t know but thanks for the honest review!

  5. David ~ just unpacked the Wii Fit – I want to back over it with my car so it can join my old cell phone in driveway dna.
    I was beating myself up until I read this article, actually in tears. I had a full physical less than a month ago and all bloodwork, etc was pronounced “perfect” by my physician. I agree with you about the beastly BMI, because it doesn’t take into account your frame either.
    btw ~ my 5 year old (told he was underweight) and teenager (a serious athlete and basketball player) hate it too –
    with gratitude in Vermont

  6. Vermont —
    Hate the Wii Fit program, but please love your Wii Fit board because you can use it with several new, fun, games that take the bite out of the fitness bitterness.
    I’m currently enjoying:
    Raving Rabbids TV Party
    Skate It
    Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip
    Enjoy!

  7. Words cannot describe how happy i found
    This feedback. Im 6ft tall female very muscular I’m a size 14. I recently lossed 20 lbs fixing all my hormonal issues. I work out
    Very hard bootcamp classes spin classes step aerobics. I asked my husband to get me this present for my wedding anniversary. The very first time I got on the board it immediately told me how obese I was and all the health concerns that i could have! Needless to say Nintendo can have there pathetic product back. I’m disgusted with it!
    There is no way to determine muscle mass and it’s truly unfair for Nintendo to make one
    Feel bad because of there incompetent system not knowing I’m very athletic. I run marathons but how would the system know this? It’s programmed horribly.