Consider me stumped as to WiiFit's appeal. The game -- er, "lifestyle product" -- doesn't even officially come out until today anywhere except the Nintendo store in New York, but it's safe to say it's going to be a hit. Anecdotal evidence suggests that non-gamers at general-interest publications, to use the scientific term, are going apeshit over it. It happened at the Phoenix, it happened at MTV, and it's probably happened everywhere. Why?
Don't get me wrong: I'd like to play it, too. I'm a sucker for gimmicky video games, and the potential for future games to utilize the Balance Board is intriguing (I would love a Board-compatible update to Nintendo's own 1080 series of snowboarding games). Further still, I'm always interested to see whether Nintendo's Wii experiments can pass the ultimate test of appealing to my non-gaming fiancee (so far, nothing has). Unfortunately, the WiiFit feeding frenzy left me on the outside looking in, so my only option is to buy it.
And, I've got to say, the thought of spending ninety bucks on this thing is somewhat less than tantalizing. Partly, it's because I already exercise regularly, and one of the biggest benefits of doing so is being able to sit on my ass playing video games all night, guilt-free. Still, if WiiFit were fun -- fun in the way that, say, Guitar Hero is fun -- then I'd be happy to do it. But I'm not convinced.
See, exercise isn't fun. It's one of many things I do every day not because I want to, because I have to -- like waking up, or going to work. It's one thing to do something genuinely fun that also has health benefits, like team sports or snowboarding. It's another to do push-ups and get yelled at by a virtual trainer. (Not to mention getting called fat, thanks to Nintendo's dubious inclusion of the Body Mass Index.) There's a reason why people are always signing long-term contracts with their local gym, only to spend two weeks exercising, and fifty weeks feeling guilty.
If WiiFit somehow succeeds in making fitness fun, then it will be the greatest trick Nintendo ever pulled. Call me a cynic, but I think what's really going to happen here is that the Balance Board is going to end up on heaps of discarded NordicTracks and treadmills in basements around the world.